Other names: Berger de Brie, Berger Briard


The Briard is a breed of herding dog from France. It is said to have come about in the 1300s. They were originally used to herd and guard flocks of sheep. More recently they have been (and in some places are still) used as farm dogs. They are exceptionally alert and confident animals but they have a tendency to be ‘on edge’. 

Key facts about the Briard

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Size :

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Origins and history

First bred it is thought in the Middle Ages, the Briard has been depicted in art and literature ever since. After the French Revolution, the Briard gained popularity among farmers who considered the dog perfect for herding and guarding sheep. During WW1 the dog was put to use as a sentry and was the official dog of the French army. 

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)


Section 1 : Sheepdogs

Physical characteristics of the Briard

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    Adult size

    Female : Between 22 and 25 in

    Male : Between 24 and 27 in


    Female : Between 66 and 88 lb

    Male : Between 66 and 88 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    This is a dog of medium to large build, stocky but not bulky. Its skull and muzzle are well-proportioned. The ears are set high and are usually small. The tail is carried low to the hocks when the dog is inactive but about level with the top-line when the dog is moving. 

    Good to know

    Think you’ve never seen one before? Think again. Tramp from My Three Sons was a Briard! So were Stinky, from Dharma & Greg, and Buck from Married...With Children.


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      The Briard has a pleasant and affectionate personality, and has a want to please its owners. Its temperament tends to waver between serious and clownish depending on how the dog feels. 

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      An active dog that likes to play and interact; it can also be mischievous. 

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      This dog does not enjoy surprises, loud noises or sudden movements and can, as a result of these things, become overly timid and agitated. 

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      This is a highly intelligent dog. Its training needs to be varied and done so in a forthright manner: the dog can be stubborn and refuse to learn if it is bored by the lesson. 

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      The Briard is a herding dog, but it will chase smaller animals if it feels like doing so. 

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      This dog is nervous around strangers and it will either be aloof or timid; it prefers to approach new people in its own time. 

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      Briards are independent thinkers but their loyalty to family causes them to tirelessly follow their owner. 

      Behaviour of the Briard

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        Tolerates solitude

        Briards do not tolerate solitude. If left alone for long periods of time this dog becomes agitated, barks excessively and chews furniture and carpets. 

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        Easy to train / obedience

        The Briard is a challenge to train. A confident master who consistently varies the dog’s training is needed. Briards get easily bored of routine. 

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        The Briard is not considered a very vocal dog; its barking quickly dies down.  

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        Tendency to run away

        The Briard can be manipulative. If its owner has allowed the dog to think of itself as being ‘in charge’ it will do what it likes when out for a walk. Reinforcing the ‘recall’ command is always worthwhile. 

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        The Briard can be very destructive if it is stressed or lonely. 

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        Briards are prone to obesity if fed too many treats or too much human food. 

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        Guard dog

        Briards are exceptionally alert and quick to fright. They will bark to let you know if someone is on the property or at the door or even walking down the street. 

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        First dog

        A Briard needs a firm (yet humane) hand during its formative years. An experienced owner who can manage the occasional stubbornness of the dog is called for. That being said, this is a reasonably good first dog. 

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        • 33%

          Briard in a flat

          As long as it is given plenty of time outdoors a Briard’s indoor living space does not have to be huge. This dog may suit a flat but it is far better suited to living in the country. 

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          An energetic dog is the Briard. The dog will expect its owner to plan long and exciting outdoor adventures

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          The Briard will become nervous when travelling. It is worthwhile to crate train this dog.  


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            Briard and cats

            Although a Briard is not known for its high prey drive it will still be interested in small scurrying animals and will enjoy chasing anything that moves.

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            Briard and dogs

            Some Briards exhibit aggression when they meet other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex.

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            Briard and children

            The Briard is a nervous dog, and it will not tolerate being played with roughly, taunted or deliberately scared. 

          • 33%

            Briard and the elderly

            Because it is a dog that requires lots of exercise, the Briard may not be the perfect choice of dog for some of senior years. 



            A purebred Briard puppy may cost you anywhere from £600 to £1,000. It will cost between £110 and £160 per month to keep a dog of this breed.


            A thorough brush at least three times a week is called for of this dog. Doing so prevents the thick coat from matting and becoming tangled. It is also a good way to relieve the coat of all the debris it has picked up on the dog’s travels. The Briard’s coat is notoriously adept at collecting mud, plant seeds and insects. 


            The Briard sheds lightly throughout the year. In warmer months it sheds more plentifully. 

            Nutrition of the Briard

            It is always worthwhile to feed a Briard a high-quality and specially formulated dog food rather than human food. 

            Health of the Briard

            Life expectancy

            The Briard is generally healthy and robust but is prone to ailments linked to genetic inbreeding. Its life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.

            Strong / robust

            A Briard will not care what the weather is like as long as it is outdoors. This is a brave and adventurous dog that can walk for miles at a time.  

            Withstand heat

            The Briard does not tolerate hot weather overly well. A ‘thin and trim’ haircut will help the dog to get through the hottest time of the year. 

            Withstand cold

            The double coat of the Briard keeps the dog warm in bad weather. 

            Tendency to put on weight

            Weight gain can be a feature of the Briard. If your Briard is not exercised as regularly as it should be and is fed too much human or substandard food it will become obese. 

            Common illnesses

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