The Briard Dog
"Shepherd Dog of Brie"

photoDog breed info
Berger de Brie
Weight, Male 75 — 100 lbs
Weight, Female 50 — 65 lbs
Height:Male 23” — 27”
Height Female 22” — 26”
AKC Rank 2008 #121
Lifespan:10—12 yrs
Group Herding

Dog Breed Info - The Briard

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Breed Overview

Origin: France, 1300’s. Original function: Herding, guarding sheep. Today Herding trials. Guarding, Companion, Police work, search and rescue.

The Briard is the oldest of four French sheepdog breeds and has been around for centuries. Dogs depicting this breed appear in tapestries dating back to the eighth century with more definitive evidence by the fourteenth century. This breed may be a cross between several French dogs including the Barbet and Beauceron. The early dogs were known as Chein de Berger Brie, or “Shepherd dog of Brie,” giving the clue that they may have come from the area of Brie, France. The dog originally was used to protect flocks from wolves and estates from intruders but was later found to be an excellent herding dog too. After the French Revolution, land was divided and the flocks had to be kept in tight groups on their property by the dogs which were now herding instead of guarding sheep. The breed went into the ring as show dogs around 1900. A revised breed standard appeared in 1909. The Briard was the official mascot of the French Army during WWII, tracking the enemy, guarding munitions and in search and rescue. It’s unclear but thought Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson brought samples of these dogs to America around the turn of the century. The AKC did recognize the breed in 1922 and the dog became only modestly popular from then forward but they are more popular in Europe and serve mostly as herding, guard and companion dogs.


The Briard is known to be a trainable breed and eager to please but needs a firm trainer with pack- leader skills. Also helpful is the use of clicker training and positive reinforcement. This dog's temperament suggests a need to start heavy socialization and obedience training at the early age of 4 or 5 weeks and continue on through life. With strong guarding instincts, the breed needs a competent, kind, authoritative leader - an “alpha trainer.”

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Briard puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your dog will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Briard puppy is smart and usually pretty easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.



Dog temperament is an important overview of the dog's personality. The main purpose for this dog was to herd and protect animals like sheep. It still needs a job to do and above all else, craves that kind of work. This means when with humans, especially kids, the Briard likes to nip at the heels to “herd” the objects from place to place. This breed has the potential of being a loyal, devoted family pet but is not for everyone and probably not for the first time dog owner. The Briard is sensitive and does not take to harsh words and handling. Respect the dog, yes, but always be sure he knows his place in the family. YOU and the rest of the family must form the leadership role and your dog must know it. This dog does best when raised with children and other pets. He can be aggressive toward other dogs, and strangers.

Once the dog knows his place in the family, he can be loving, affectionate, gentle, and quite playful . He is self-assured, independent and has a bit of stubbornness about him. He needs plenty of exercise and is a willing jogging partner,

If you happen to get a Briard with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."


Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No. Can be dog-aggressive. Territorial. Will pick and choose his dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

If raised with dogs and cats, okay. This is a herding dog and wants more than anything to have something to HERD so other animals in the house might get “herded.”

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary of strangers. As a fierce guard dog, strangers are viewed as the enemy until they are introduced.


Very playful with family and kids.


Yes, can be affectionate IF well socialized as a puppy, trained by a kind, authoritative leader and given plenty of love and human friendship.

Good with children?

Best if the Briard is raised with the kids. Loves to play, romp and run with older, well-mannered children but will not tolerate kids’ antics of screeching, poking, pulling and pushing. Must be raised with the children and heavily socialized with kids starting as a young puppy. Will become extremely protective of the children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Needs too much exercise and not suitable.

Living environment

House with a medium size fenced yard, farm or ranch. Needs to be indoors to enjoy companionship with his family of humans and to protect them as a “job.”

A doggie door and ability to go in and out to a fenced yard would be ideal for this dog.


Energy level

Moderate energy. This is a herding dog, used to difficult work in the fields so has a lot of stamina.

Exercise needs, daily

The Briard is a good jogging partner. One or two long walks daily will work too, plus some play time like fetching balls or a Frisbee is also good. Add a training session for more exercise.


Excellent. Has above average hearing and is naturally protective.

Guard dog

Yes. Excellent. A guard dog by natural instinct.


None to very little shedding.


Has a long coat. Use a stiff bristle brush or metal comb from the pet store. Brush thoroughly 3 times a week to prevent matting.

Clean the ears once a week with a cotton swab. Remove oily, waxy buildups and trim excess hair to prevent moist areas where bacteria can accumulate and start ear infections. Do this VERY carefully



Suggested Reading For The Briard
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • 2nd book from the left is "A Dog Who's Always Welcome" which takes your dog way beyond normal obedience training and into the real THERAPY DOG world of gentle friendliness with the people he knows and accepts. You will be able to take your Briard anywhere, anytime and his friends will welcome his arrival!

  • 3rd book from the left is "101 Dog Tricks" that is a great teacher of exercises to stimulate a dog's mental capacity. There are things to do and learn that even amazed me!

  • The book on the far right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners.

Briard Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Briard puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training
Briard Breeders with puppies for sale.

Dog Health Issues For The Briard
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Briard by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem.
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempts to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse and even sudden death.

  • Lymphosarcoma—Cancer of the lymph glands which amounts to “cancer everywhere in the body.” Middle age and older dogs are the likely candidates. No appetite, weight loss, no energy and increased thirst and urination are signs of the disease. When a lymph node become cancerous, you can begin to feel the hardness of the node at the angle of the jaws and in front of the shoulder blades, for example because the nodes become enlarged. There are many other nodes you can’t feel. With chemotherapy, the dog may have a year to live. Without chemotherapy, she has up to 6 weeks to live. About 45% of all dogs in the USA will die of cancer by age 10 and only a third will die of old age. (Current statistics) Common to the Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever and Rottweiler.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Plott great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the Briard “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary skin allergy. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • von Willebrand"s Disease—A deficiency in clotting factor in the blood. The affected dog does not properly utilize the blood-platelets for blood-clotting. Thus, the dog is prone to excessive bleeding if in an accident or surgery.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated can lead to total blindness in dogs.

  • Otitis externa—Ear infections—Inflammation and infection of the outer ear, especially dogs with long, floppy ear flaps. Dirt and moisture collect and breed yeast and bacteria. Ear hair and wax contribute to the infection environment. If left untreated it can become a serious infection. If at home treatments with cleaning and meds don't work and the problem worsens, surgery might be the last resort.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—(PRA) An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Also prone to Heart problems, Arthritis, Night Blindness.

Other health problems could occur with your Briard. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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