Briard Breed Guide
Middle Age: 5 years
Geriatric Age: 10 years
Life Span: 10 to 12 years
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Briard Background Info and History
The Briard is an ancient breed hailing from France that was developed in the 8th century. During the early modern period, the Briard was used as an all-around working dog. Over time, this breed was found to be particularly suited for guarding and herding flocks.
Modern Briards still serve this purpose today in both Europe and the United States, although much more are simply kept as companions. The rarity of the Briard today is due to their service in both World Wars, during which their numbers were greatly reduced.
Briard Temperament and Personality
Briards are known as an intelligent and brave breed that is extremely loyal to their family. They are at once aloof yet attentive to their surroundings. Their history as a guardian still resides in their personality, and they have a strong instinct to guard the home. At the same time, the Briard is an affectionate and loving house dog that will enjoy nothing more than curling up next to their human companions.
Briard Training Tips
Briards should be trained and socialized starting from when they are a puppy. Briards are extremely intelligent and can learn to understand up to 200 words. However, their intelligence can lead to instances of stubborn behavior.
This can be overcome with obedience training that is begun from a young age, and an owner who is positive, consistent, and loving. Briards can also be very territorial, so extensive socialization with other animals and people from the time they are a puppy is a must.
Exercise Needs of Briards
Briards have a moderately high energy level, so daily exercise is recommended. If their exercise requirements are met, Briards are renowned as gentle and calm house companion dogs.
Briards are known to live to up to 12 years.
Briard Breed Popularity
Briards are the 132nd most popular AKC registered breed.
Briard Feeding Requirements
Briards should be fed a high-quality food that contains good sources of proteins and fats, and contains no grain-based fillers. Briards weigh anywhere between 55-100 lbs., so feeding requirements will vary greatly depending on the weight and activity level of your specific dog. Briards can become obese as they get older if they are overfed, so be sure to limit your dog’s portions to what is necessary.
Briards should have their coat groomed at least two hours per week to minimize matting and shedding.
Are Briards Good With Kids?
Briards are a large breed so extra care should be exercised around very young children. They are, however, known to be loving, gentle, and playful companions that do well with children. Play with young children should be supervised, and Briards should be properly socialized when around groups of children playing.
Common Briard Health Problems
Lymphosarcoma in dogs is malignant cancer that affects the lymph system. Specifically, this type of cancer affects a white blood cell called a lymphocyte that is the major cell found in the lymph system. Normally, healthy lymphocytes are part of the body’s immune system and are responsible for fighting infections or disease.
When a lymphocyte turns cancerous it begins to attack normal, healthy tissue. Although lymphosarcoma can appear anywhere within the lymph system, the most general early symptom of lymphoma is a hardening and swelling of the lymph nodes. Once these cancerous cells begin to replicate, they spread throughout the lymph system.
Hip dysplasia in dogs is a condition that can affect nearly all dog breeds. This condition is the result of a malformation in the connection between the femur and the pelvic girdle. This malformation results in a loose connection that causes uneven wear on the cartilage that pads both bones. Over time, as this cartilage wears down, scar tissue and bone spurs can occur.
Hip dysplasia typically presents in younger dogs as a loose hip assembly and can be assessed from a young age through a physical examination by a veterinarian. In older dogs, the damage caused by hip dysplasia results in painful arthritis inhibited movement and eventually canine lameness.
Gastric torsion is a life-threatening condition caused by a buildup of pressure in the stomach due to excess food or gasses that fails to be released or excreted. This pressure can build rapidly, placing pressure on the lungs and reducing blood flow to the surrounding tissue. In rare cases, gastric torsion leads to a condition known as volvulus, where the pressure from the stomach becomes so great it actually flips within the abdomen.
Be mindful if your Briard displays any abnormal signs after eating, including drooling, attempting to but failing to vomit, abdominal swelling, and pacing. Gastric torsion and volvulus are life-threatening conditions and should be treated immediately by a medical professional.
National Breed Website: Briard Club of America
Rescue: Briard Rescue Trust
Health Issues Associated with this Breed:
- Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB)
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Hip Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)