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The powerful dramatic Briard is one of the most overlooked of the "nanny" breeds.  People are likely most familiar with the Newfoundland, memorialized in tales like Peter Pan, as a dog devoted to children but the French Briard shares such a reputation with those that know it well.  Also recognized as a remarkable contributor to the fighting forces of the French Army since the time of Napoleon, the breed was nearly wiped out by its sacrifices during both World Wars.  As a sentry, courier and even an assistant to the medics in finding wounded but still living soldiers, the Briard seems to have always served with distinction, courage and nobility.  Today the dog still possesses many of these characteristics including an uncommon confidence and lack of timidity.  These means that it is an incredible companion in the right home but likely too much dog for the typical inexperienced home with no one home all day.
By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Herding Height: 22-27 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 55-85 pounds Longevity: low teens
Colors: uniform in color with white being the only exception Coat type: soft undercoat with long, harsh, flat top coat with minimal wave
Recognized Registries: AKC, NCA, FCI, UKC and others
Overall Appearance: Substantial construction beneath all that hair makes the Briard a dog of great power and vigor.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate
General Nature: demanding yet fair if properly treated
  with Children: generally exceptional but partly dependent on proper rearing and behavior of the children
  with other pets: generally good but can have a strong herding/prey drive
  with dogs: generally good
Socialization requirements: moderate to very high
Ideal home characteristics: one that respects the stamina and intelligence of this breed
Temperament Notes: The fearless nature is to be admired but not if coupled with inadequate attention, care and socialization. This is NOT a choice for a family with minimal time, energy and experience to devote to their companion.
Training requirement: moderate to high; socialization, basic manners and some ongoing activity like Agility, Herding or other sport is best
Trainer notes: This is not a dog intended to be a couch potato.  The family with a Briard MUST be dedicated to spending regular time helping their dog achieve the mental and physical stimulation needed to be healthy.  Additionally, the dog will require regular grooming that demands a minimum of 1-3 hours per week.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 700s AD
Country of Origin: France
Original Function: Herding
History: Highly regarded as a courier and sentry through the many wars of Europe. Numbers of this breed succumbed in both World Wars leaving the breed depleted.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: white, light eyes, sloping top line, lack of substance
Health Notes: PRA, Hip Dysplasia, vWd, Hypothyroidism, Bloat
Health Testing: CERF, OFA, Thyroid Panel
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Briards?
  • Why do you have Briards (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Briard?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Briard?
  • How would you describe the ideal Briard home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Briard?
Web Sites: National Briard Rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard: AKC Standard for the Briard as per the Briard Club of America

Breeder Ethics: Code of Ethics for the Briard Club of America

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