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
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
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Briard
Female : Between 22 and 25 in
Male : Between 24 and 27 in
Female : Between 66 and 88 lb
Male : Between 66 and 88 lb
This dog is seen of black, fawn, grey and blue.
Type of coat
A long double coat consisting of a long and coarse outer coat and a fine undercoat.
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.
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.
An active dog that likes to play and interact; it can also be mischievous.
This dog does not enjoy surprises, loud noises or sudden movements and can, as a result of these things, become overly timid and agitated.
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.
The Briard is a herding dog, but it will chase smaller animals if it feels like doing so.
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.
Briards are independent thinkers but their loyalty to family causes them to tirelessly follow their owner.
Behaviour of the Briard
Briards do not tolerate solitude. If left alone for long periods of time this dog becomes agitated, barks excessively and chews furniture and carpets.
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.
The Briard is not considered a very vocal dog; its barking quickly dies down.