One of the oldest and well-known breeds both in France and abroad is the Briard breed. These dogs are known for being very warm-hearted and kind, and their thick, long hair is the hallmark that makes the briard so recognizable.
The emergence of the breed dates back to the eighth century. Despite the fact that briar was distributed almost throughout France, the Brie region is considered its homeland (and yes – you understood correctly, the name of the region is consonant with the name of Brie cheese for a reason). And the breed itself in the Middle Ages was known for a long time as Chien Berger De Bri.
On the other hand, there is another story explaining this name of the breed (after all, we remember that it was widespread everywhere, not only in the Brie region). This second version sounds like this: the legend of the 14th century tells that Aubrey de Montdidier, a courtier of King Charles V, erected a cathedral in memory of the brave dog of the Briard breed who saved the life of Aubrey’s son. Chien d’Aubry eventually became the name of the Briard breed. Which version to believe is up to you.
Be that as it may, but the French monarchs really loved these dogs, and Charles the Great is no exception. He kept several of these dogs, and they often accompanied him on trips around the country, moreover, they lived in the palace. This is confirmed by tapestries and other pieces of art that have remained since then, on which the emperor is often depicted with his dogs.
In addition, the Briard dog was an honorary breed of the French troops during the reign of Napoleon. The Emperor loved these dogs for their loyalty and courage.
One of the well-known and in its own way amazing facts is that this breed was brought to America by Thomas Jefferson himself – one of the founding fathers of the United States and one of the authors of the constitution of this country. The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1928. But in England, these dogs were seen only in the 60s of the 20th century, which is quite unusual, given that in France the breed has existed since the eighth century.
The Briard is a strong, muscular and slender dog of medium size. The head is rather broad, covered with long hair, forming a beard. The limbs are medium in size, but appear short due to the amount of hair. The muzzle is slightly flattened, the ears are folded. The tail is medium, the coat is long. The color can be any color other than white, but most often it is black, fawn, gray.
The Briard breed of dog combines many wonderful qualities, however, the most characteristic features are courage, dedication and a huge, kind heart of a dog. So kind that in France there is a saying – “Briard, this heart is wrapped in wool.”
Briard is very attached to his family and owner, and loves to be around no matter what you’re doing. Here, it is more important for the dog to feel contact and interaction with the owner than to distinguish between any specific type of activity. Although, of course, the dog has favorite activities – and this, of course, walks, games, exercises and even household chores, if the dog has the opportunity to help with them. For example – to drag a garden cart for an elderly hostess who lives in a private house or who has got out to the country.
The Briard is a herding dog breed and this is reflected in everyday life within the family. A pet may try to control its family like a herd by nudging you or using its voice. But these animals are very affectionate and love their people endlessly, although they can be stubborn and at some point even try to put themselves in the role of a leader. This quality partly comes, again, from the shepherd’s past. It is quite possible to work with this, but you need to start from a very early age, showing your dog who, so to speak, is the owner and leader in the house.
This is a wonderful dog for a family, an excellent companion with whom it is always interesting and fun. They have an energy level above average, need daily walks, active games and physical exercises, as in the absence of activity they can gain excess weight, in addition, this negatively affects the character of the dog.
Strangers are perceived with restraint, with distrust, although if they are friends of your family and they often visit your house, the dog will get used to them and will be friendly. They treat children very well, but there is one subtle point. If you have a dog, but you do not have children yet and they will appear a little later, then you will need to introduce your pet to the children. This will broaden his horizons and give him an idea of this, so to speak, a slightly different kind of human beings.
The Briard breed has excellent intelligence, perfectly understands everything that is happening around them, understands a person and is good at recognizing various behavioral hints. The dog also feels the emotional state of the owner, and is always glad to provide support with his presence. But in fact, this dog is more of a couch potato, and even if you have a private house with its own yard, your pet is more likely to choose your company inside the house than loneliness outside. But the briard is also an excellent watchdog, vigilant and suspicious of strangers.
A Briard dog needs education and training in obedience, as by nature it has a tendency to stubbornness and can sometimes show its own independence. This needs to be corrected, but by no means through rudeness and uncompromising pressure.
A dog can learn many different commands, but the basic ones must be learned without fail. And separately it is worth noting the harmonization of character in relation to strangers, since about 30% of specimens of this breed are by default set up quite hostile to strangers. They may not be aggressive, but they are clearly not friendly.
You must socialize your dog, introduce him to different people and other animals, which will greatly soften the character. In the process of training, be consistent, patient, with a good sense of humor, you should not lose your temper over trifles, as well as retreat if the dog does not immediately want to follow the commands. And encouragement and goodies will be a good ally in the learning process.
Long and thick coat ideally requires daily brushing, and this is not suitable for everyone. But the minimum is combing out 3 times a week. The animal is bathed at least once a week, the eyes are cleaned as needed, the ears three times a week. The nails are trimmed three times a month.
The Briard breed of dogs, like all breeds, has some diseases, although it is not a fact that you will meet them in your pet:
- dysplasia of the hip joint is a hereditary disorder in which the femur does not fit snugly against the hip joint;
- elbow dysplasia;
- congenital stationary night blindness;
- hypothyroidism: This is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It is believed that hypothyroidism can lead to conditions such as: epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin diseases;
- progressive retinal atrophy;
- von Willebrand disease;
- gastric torsion, or, as they say “in the people” – volvulus.