Plush toy, poodle in wool, hippie dog. How just do not call these adorable pets. However, it is worth noting that the breed is quite rare and little known in our country. In the world, this dog has won the well-deserved title of “cute workaholic from France.” As you may have guessed, this particular country is the birthplace of this breed.
Briard is an amazing and ancient breed of dog that appeared in France in the 8th century. And the first mentions of Briarian herding dogs date back to the 7th century. It still bears its name in honor of the region – Bria. The breed received the official name “Briar Shepherd” at an exhibition in Paris in 1809. The breed standard was approved in 1897, although the Briards were officially registered in 1885. Then there were two varieties of the breed: with goat-type wool and sheep.
But this breed would not have been so famous in the world and loved if not for the Second World War. This is where these dogs’ strong natural flair came in. They helped look for the wounded. Then they were almost on the verge of extinction, since for a long time they could not compare either in working capacity or in external qualities with many known breeds. However, a group of enthusiasts not only managed to preserve the Briard population, but also significantly improved the breed in appearance. To achieve such a beautiful appearance, they used beacerons and barbets.
Thomas Befanson was the first to bring briar to the United States. And in our country in 1996, the National Briard Club was organized for the first time. Today it has branches in all major cities of Russia, including Ryazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Petrozavodsk.
Perhaps the most important quality of briards is their luxurious coat. Such hair could be the envy of many of the fair sex. First, the dog’s skin is covered with a short but thick undercoat, followed by long flowing hair. However, without proper care, the dog looks shaggy and unkempt. All this is due to the fact that French farmers, breeding a shepherd breed, selected dogs not at all by external data, but by exclusively working qualities. These dogs, working as shepherds for centuries, are accustomed to cold and heat, and to any weather. And all this thanks to the thick and dense coat.
Briard is a fairly large dog. The growth at the withers in males reaches 68 cm, bitches – 64 cm. Like all true Frenchmen, the Briard is distinguished by a proud posture, a nobly raised head, a harmonious physique and a smooth gait. They have a large muzzle, well-developed limbs, broad chest, massive shoulders and a strong back. The tip of the tail is curved and looks like a hook. The structure of the wool is similar to that of a goat. Color according to the standard is allowed black, gray, fawn. Earlier, briars had their ears cropped, but after innovations, this is strictly prohibited. The ears of the dog are slightly lowered in a resting state and rise when the dog is focused.
Briard, despite his cute appearance, is a rather aggressive dog. She needs early socialization and close communication with people and animals from the very first days of her life. This breed has a very strong guardian instinct. But if a dog from early childhood lives next to children or other animals, then they get along well. Even so, be careful when meeting other dogs. Briard can take this as a challenge and engage in combat with the enemy.
Briard is a very intelligent, strict and at the same time calm dog. However, they have one “but” – stubbornness and independence. Such qualities, as you know, are simply a necessity for any herding dog. Therefore, in this case, it is not a vice, but on the contrary a dignity, if the briard is used as a herd guard. Such a dog always knows what it needs to do and when, without unnecessary human prompting.
Let us remind you once again that with the wrong upbringing and insufficient socialization, briards can be ferocious dogs. As for their temperament, they are active, inquisitive and cheerful. Excellent memory and readiness to serve people make them excellent assistants in the management and protection of the economy.
Briard is, first of all, a shepherd dog and guard. However, due to many useful qualities in Germany, Austria, Italy, these pets are used as seekers for people under avalanches and buildings. Here these dogs show a very high dedication.
If you want to have a dog like the Briard at home, you will need both space and time. With such a volume of wool, you will definitely not get bored. The dog needs to be brushed thoroughly every day. In addition, if you want your dog to always look neat, you should take him to the groomer every 2-3 months. With proper care and brushing, the briar coat practically does not shed. The dog will need to be bathed about once a month. Also, a prerequisite for care includes the removal of excess hair in the ears, on the pads.
As for the conditions of detention, this breed is not suitable for a city apartment. They are both too large and too mobile. Like any other herding dog, the briard loves freedom and relaxation. They need to run and play a lot. If you have a large apartment and you are a sporty person, then you can get a briar. But then you are provided with everyday jogging or cycling. Adequate amount of exercise helps maintain the mental health of dogs.
Briards are smart, easy to train, but they don’t always want to. Their self-sufficiency and independence sometimes turn training into sheer disobedience. However, rudeness and irritability should not be applied to this dog. Nothing but aggression and rage will provoke your behavior in the pet. Only positive teaching methods can bring results.
Today, Briards participate in a very wide variety of sports games and competitions. For example, they are successfully used in the rescue service, in Mondioring, in the French ring, weight pulling (carrying heavy loads), in freestyle (dances and competitions), in offense and skijoring (towing a skier).