The Briard
Their Heritage

Why is the Briard a Briard ? They were originally bred to herd as well as guard flocks of
sheep. And they were often left to their own devices in order to accomplish their assigned
tasks. Which makes the Briard different from those breeds that only guard and those that
only herd. The breeds that just herd are often smaller in size, agile, and swift of foot.
Those breeds that just guard are usually larger and heavier.

The breed characteristics of the Briard, are of a medium sized, rugged, agile dog, having
harsh coat and double dew claws mounted low on each rear leg, resembling additional
toes. Each double dew claw should have bone substance and nail, giving the
appearance of a wider rear foot. Bred for centuries to herd, the additional digits on each
rear foot give the Briard the ability of pivoting on one foot for quick turns and complete
turn arounds, which are necessary when herding and guarding their flocks.

He should be a well balanced animal, sound in body and mind, and of a size appropriate
for both herding and guarding without tiring. He was asked to keep his flock within a
designated area by guarding the perimeter, constantly keeping his flock within and
keeping danger out. A large heavy type dog would soon tire from the constant running,
and may not to able to keep the flock together nor keep danger away.

Throughout history, the Briard has retained an appropriate balance of size and build that
is required for both herding and protection of their flocks. The size, not too large to tire
during the task of herding, and their build (structure), large enough to fend off predators
such as fox and wolves.

Their Characteristics

The Briard is a very loyal and protective breed. Once they have bonded to their family
members, they will protect them at all cost. Said to be aloof with strangers, any and all
new introductions should be on their terms and not forced upon them. This may also
include such items as furniture or the addition of a new baby into the household. Show
them that the new intrusion is friendly and free of conflict. Something has changed within
their world, and they must to taught that it is a good thing and not harmful. They have
proven to be a very good breed to have around children of all ages.

Being aloof with strangers, it is important that the Briard be introduced to several different
individuals of all ages and in all types of situations. Socialization starting at a very young
age is mandatory. Take your Briard puppy with you as often as possible, to as many
different places as possible, and they will develop into a well rounded animal. Pet stores,
city parks and malls are a good place to start. Do not let this section scare you away from
the Briard breed. Just remember that the Briard has been bred for centuries to herd and
to protect their flocks. To them, their family is the flock and all strangers may appear to be
predators. So letting them know that the public in general are friendly and not harmful,
will help them establish a lifelong socialization pattern which will result in an outgoing and
happy dog. And this socialization with the public in general will not diminish their capacity
for protecting and guarding their family.

The Briard has a very good memory. Once a lesson is learned, good or bad, they will
retain this knowledge for a long time to come. Sometimes they may appear to be strong
minded and stubborn, but, these are a few of the Briard's characteristics. Remember.
They were bred for centuries to think for themselves and to act upon their conclusions.
These are some of the traits that the Briard has retained throughout history. Even if your
Briard is a city dweller, they have a degree of herding ability within them. If ever, during
their lifetime, they are introduced to sheep, you will be amazed at the reaction from your
family pet. We have witnessed this several times, when a Briard from the city is taken to
the country to a herding event. Once the dog is placed with the sheep, you will not
believe that this is the same dog that you arrived with. Most Briards will automatically
start doing what they were bred to do, herd.

If your Briard has been socialized and has bonded to all family members, you will possess
a loving companion that will protect your family and property for their entire lifespan. They
will return to you and yours a love that can never be surpassed. A devotion, a love and
commitment that we have never witnessed prior to the Briard. Even the Labrador
Retriever will not come close to the Briard. A person can ignore a Labrador when sitting
in the living room watching television. A Briard will NOT let you ignore them. They will
come and sit next to you and ask for a pat, pet or to be rubbed behind the ears. You
cannot ingore a Briard !

If you are looking for an obedient dog for top notch obedience, then I suggest the
Labrador or a Sheltie. If you are looking for a  lifelong friend and companion, with a
devotional love, that will protect your family and love them until their very last breath, than
the Briard is right for you. To several Briards, obedience on a grand scale may show
through, but, most of the time on their terms. And. Upon hearing a verbal command, most
Briards will give you a look that says...........................get with my secretary for an
appointment. A person can actually sit and watch the Briard think out any given situation
before they act upon it.

So ! If you would like to own a dog that is very very smart, loyal, loving and protective, the
Briard may be the right breed for you. Sometimes a gentleman, but always a clown, the
Briard definately lives up to the expression, "A Heart Wrapped in Fur".

by Jack Wynne & Susan Stock
If you think that you may be interested in owning a Briard,
you may email us by using the link below. We will be
happy to answer any questions that you may have about
this breed.
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