The Briard: A Complete Guide

Rightly labelled as “a heart wrapped in fur”, the Briard is a herding dog that is naturally inclined towards staying close to its owner and family.

This shaggy dog is large in size, but this is not something to be intimidated by. It’s agile and strong front is backed by a lovable and protective nature.

Briard
Briard is very affectionate with other dogs.

Although it may react aggressively with strangers and be shy to interact with unfamiliar faces, with the right socialization and early training, you can get this dog to enjoy the company of other people.

Despite its long history, there are many things that you may not know about this breed.

If you’re looking for a dog that is highly energetic, strong, and can go overboard protecting the people it has grown up with, it is safe to say that the Briard could possibly be the right breed for you.

Having said that, before taking any major step towards getting a Briard, it is important that you do your homework and amass the necessary know-how of buying and owning a Briard.

To help prepare you for your dog-keeping experience, this manual will give you an insight into not only the prerequisites of getting a dog but also into everything that you can expect from this wise pet.

The Briard Puppies – Before You Buy…

Whether you’ve already made your decision about opting for a Briard or are still in two minds about it, this guide encompasses some basic pieces of information that you need to have on your fingertips.

Before we get started, ask yourself the following questions to see how much you really know about the breed:

  • How much does a Briard puppy cost?
  • Can I find trusted breeders for Briard puppies?
  • Do I have the stamina and patience to own and raise a Briard?

The following sections of this practical, step-by-step manual will help answer these questions as well as many others that may cross your mind.

What price are the Briard puppies?

The Briard has a high price tag, with a well-bred and healthy puppy easily costing you around $1000 to $1200.

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The prevailing price for a Briard pup with documentation but no show quality is $1375.

For a Briard of the best quality, you should budget an even larger amount, as a top pedigree Briard can force you to pay anything between $2100 and $5000.

How to find reputable Briard breeders?

To find and trust a sincere breeder is always a gamble, but the risk of getting fooled can always be minimalized if you do your homework beforehand.

A good way to tell if a breeder is not only aiming to swindle you is that he or she has a thorough, in-depth discussion about the breed with you.

All reputable breeders are commended for having a special bond of love and care for their dogs, hence a good breeder will only clear away any confusions that you may have about the breed, but will also question you to ensure that you and your family are a good match for the Briard.

Honest breeders will try to build a rapport with you and make their best efforts to click with you on a mental level because they understand that this is a long-term commitment that you are about to make, not a one-time deal.

With a breed that you have no prior experience of owning, there will undoubtedly arise some unexpected questions and problems that you will want to solve instantly.

So, instead of letting you panic alone, a truthful breeder will be available to answer your queries and help you with any dog-related troubles that you may face with your new pet.

Other red flags to look out for include a malpractice known as inbreeding.

This is essentially a quick and convenient tactic for breeders only looking to produce dogs consistently and in a shorter time frame.

To avoid being a victim of this, you will have to closely observe and research on the prior generations of the puppy that the breeder has matched for you.

Ask to see how many times the mother of your puppy has been bred, and how much other members of the puppy’s family resemble each other.

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Disreputable breeders will have Briard pups that have a “line look” instead of the “type look”.

The type look is what you’re looking for. This means that the physical appearance of the Briard puppy fits the standard description of the whole breed, not just one type of family amongst it.

The line look that breeders will often try to sell to you will have the Briard looking like a specific, distinct group of Briards within the breed, and is a surefire sign of the breeder having inbred his/her dogs.

The breeder may try to sell a Briard with the line look on the false pretence that it is unique and visually consistent to its family, but the fact of the matter is that inbreeding comes at the cost of the longevity, temperament, and health of the Briard pup.

3 Little-known facts about the Briard puppies

Briard
Briard has a unique look.

The following are some additional and interesting facts that you ought to know about this breed:

  • The Briard will poke its head into everything you do

If you do decide to bring a Briard home, you can forget all about personal space.

The Briard has a very commanding presence around the house, and you will have to devote the better part of your day to cater to your pet.

  • Protecting its surroundings is natural to the Briard

Owing to its herding background, the Briard will nip and push its owners as well as other pets to control their activities and movements.

This trait of the Briard makes it perfect for kids, whom the dog will defend and protect with all its heart.

  • The Briard needs regular grooming

This is a dog suitable for people who can devote plenty of hours of the week to the grooming and upkeep of this dog.

The visually pleasing double-coat of the Briard will need daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles.

A bath every six to eight weeks is highly recommended to keep your dog clean and its coat shiny and luscious.

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Physical Traits of the Briard

The Briard has a distinctive, wavy coat and a consistently confident expression on its face.

Keep reading to find out how heavy the Briard can get and how long it can be expected to live.

How big is a full-grown Briard?

The Briard is a large dog. The standard size of a fully grown Briard is 60 to 100 pounds.

Interestingly, the Briard can achieve such measures in only about 18 months, starting from its mere one-pound weight as a pup.

Males tend to reach heights of 23 to 27 inches tall, while females gain up to 22 to 25.5 inches in height.

What is the life expectancy of the Briard?

The average Briard lives up to 10 to 12 years given the right amount of exercise and a nutritious diet.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Briard

Briard
Briard is a highly energetic breed.

The Briard is a companion dog with a strong, incessant desire to earn its master’s trust.

The Briard will love and protect members of its family, and it will do so obsessively.

Since this is a very obedient and eager-to-learn breed, it is not difficult to teach this dog early socialization. It will internalize every new experience that is provided to it.

It is important to note that all Briards do not share similar personality traits.

Depending on its personality, the Briard can be intrusive. One way to perceive this, however, is that as controlling as the Briard is, it is equally friendly, albeit only so much as its French roots will allow it to be.

The Briard can get particularly aloof and aggressive towards unfamiliar people.

We have to warn you, living with a Briard is no walk in the park, unless extra care is taken to form some guidelines define boundaries in its early, formative years.

One of the perks of having a Briard is its incredible intelligence and ability to retail all that is taught to it.

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A firm owner who can manage the exuberance of the Briard will benefit greatly from its sharp memory.

Instead of forceful training that can send the Briard into its shell and develop a fearful and aggressive personality, try being consistent and patient with your dog.

Remember, its loyalty and friendliness will multiply tenfold when dealt with love, affection, and most importantly, reward-based coaching.

Being a working dog, the Briard will do wonders at rescue work and search missions, which is why they prove to be excellent at jobs like police training as well as protection work.

The Briard Diet

A healthy dietary routine of three to four cups of good-quality dog kibble that is portioned into two servings a day will serve the Briard well.

You can maintain the Briard’s health and physique with controlled amounts of food instead of keeping its food bowl filled and letting it eat whenever it wants to.

To ensure that your dog is not going overweight, you can carry out a simple eye and hands-on test.

This involves looking down at the dog for its waist and placing your hands on the back of your dog, with the thumbs lining up with its spine and fingers placed in a downward position.

If you can feel his ribs without them being visible, it indicates that your dog is in perfect shape. If not, take that as a sign of your pet needing more exercise and less food.

How much Exercise does a Briard need?

The Briard is an energetic breed. Therefore, it will need frequent opportunities to expel its energy.

Find ways to stimulate the boy and mind of the Briard with enough physical activities to ensure that it does not develop destructive behavior, like chewing, out of mere boredom.

About 30 minutes to one hour of daily walks will suffice for your dog.

Additional dog sports like herding trials will be an added bonus to allow the Briard to have an outlet to vent its energy in a productive manner.

The Briard Health and Conditions

All in all, the Briard is a healthy and sturdy breed. Having said that, it can be prone to some health ailments common to canines, especially if they run in the family.

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To guarantee that your Briard does not inherit any hereditary diseases, ask your breeder to provide proof of all the necessary health tests carried out on both parents of the puppy.

The following are some of the most common issues to show up in a Briard:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB)
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease (a blood disorder)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

My final thoughts on the Briard

Perfect for families that can allow a lot of time to the Briard and give it ample positive experiences, this dog prove to be exceptional in a comfortable atmosphere.

The Briard is not only kid-friendly but is also very affectionate with other dogs, given that it is encouraged to socialize and interact with different species as a puppy.

What should be kept in mind that restricting the dog to confinement or tying it up are possibly some of the worst things you can to your pet.

The Briard is most comfortable in the company of its owner and family, and we believe that is the right way to live with any pet.

Our final word on the Briard is that if you’re capable and willing enough to let this dog into your life, and dedicate quite a lot of time to its grooming to avoid the “shaggy dog syndrome”, you will find a compelling and loyal one-man (or family) dog for yourself that you can enjoy with for several years to come!

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

4
Cost to Buy
10
Cuteness Level
9.5
Family Safety
9
Friendliness
8
Health Concerns
6.5
Life Span
4
Exercise Required
3.5
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 6.8 / 10

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