Canine Breed Menu

Brie Shepherd

Brie Shepherd

No Additional Pictures
Breed Organization
Briard Club of America
Native Country
Other Names
Briard, Berger de Brie
Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-12 Years
Litter Size
Average 8-10 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Herding
Breed Description
Head: Strong and long. Pronounced stop. Rectangular forehead. Squarish nose. Head covered in hairs forming a beard and mustache with fall shading the eyes.
Ears: Set on high. Preferably cropped and carried erect.
Eyes: Set horizontally. Large and of dark color. Long fall covering the eyes.
Body: Solid, muscular, well constructed and of good length. Broad, deep chest. Muscular loin. Slightly sloped croup. Straight back.
Tail: Not docked. Well-feathered, forming a hook at the tip. Carried low, not falling to the right or left.
Hair: Coarse, dry (goat hair), light undercoat no more than 7 cm long. (2.8 in).
Coat: All uniform colors (except white), brown, mahogany, and bi-color. Dark colors are preferred.
Size: Dog: 62 to 68 cm. (24.4-26.8 in).Bitch: 56 to 64 cm. (22-25 in).
Weight: 30 to 40 kg. (66-88 lb).

In 1863 a man named Pierre Megnin differentiated two types of sheepdogs, one with a long coat, which became known as the Briard, and the other with a short coat, which became the Beauceron. to improve the dog's look. The Briard became popular only after the Paris dog show of 1863. In 1897 the first shepherd dog club was founded and both the Beauceron and the Briard were accepted into it. Prior to 1889 the Beauceron and Briard had a reputation of being a flock guard who was brave but one who was more incline to snap and bite in defense of its flock. Both breed’s temperaments were softened through selective breeding. Charlemagne, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson and Lafayette all owned Briards. Centuries ago the Briard was used to defend its charges against poachers and wolves and by the French army, ignoring exploding bombs and artillery fire. The dogs were used to run messages, detect mines, pick up trails, support commando actions, find the wounded, and carry food and ammunition to the front lines. The Briard may have been named after Aubry of Montdidier, who owned an early Briard, or for the French province of Brie, although the dog probably does not originate in that area. The Briard was recognized by the AKC in 1928. The Briard still serves as a flock guardian and herder.

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. This 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. Briards were used in all types of herding situations, having the ability to learn many commands and fulfill the jobs expected of them. The Briard was most commonly used as a farm dog in the more crowded farming valleys of France, where row crops were grown. Sheep were allowed to graze the grass strips between crops and Briards were responsible for keeping the sheep moving along these strips, and preventing the sheep from eating the crops. The Briard moved the sheep daily from the farm to the graze areas and back again at night. At the farm, the Briard was the shepherd’s partner, helping with livestock chores. The Briard was also used to move large flocks of sheep in areas of France that had wide grazing pastures and mountain pastures in summer. Those flocks were moved on foot, to the grazing areas, much like large sheep ranches do in the western United States and Canada. The Briards were usually worked beside one or two other breeds to keep the sheep from straying and herd the sheep to the proper areas. At night, they were alert and vigilant watchdogs, protecting the shepherds and flock from wolves and thieves.

The Briard is a very loyal and protective breed, and is sometimes called "a heart of gold wrapped in fur". Once they have bonded to their family members, they will be very protective. They can be aloof with strangers - new introductions should be on the dog's terms, including furniture or the addition of a new baby into the household. They require showing that the new intrusion is friendly and free of conflict. They must be 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. Indeed, these dogs rapidly develop an affection to their owners. They are really emotional, capable of crying for a long time after their owners' departure and celebrate their return in a very enthusiastic way.

It is also 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. Briards should be walked as often as possible, to many different places, and they will develop into a well rounded animal. Pet stores, city parks and malls are a good place to start.

The Briard has been bred for centuries to herd and to protect their flocks. To domesticated briards, their family is the flock and all strangers may appear to be predators. 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. 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, the knowledge will be retained 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. They were bred for centuries to think for themselves and to act upon their conclusions, sometimes to the point of thinking what the "flock" will do ahead of time.

These are some of the traits that the Briard has retained throughout history. Even if a Briard is a city dweller, they have a degree of herding ability within them. If ever, during their lifetime, they are introduced to sheep or cattle, they will automatically start doing what they were bred to do, herding. They will even herd humans by nibbling on their ankles or guiding with their heads and guide them to his master if ordered.

Generally healthy, but some lines are prone to PRA, cataracts and hip dysplasia. Briards, like other large-chested breeds, can experience bloat and stomach torsion. The condition can come on very fast and, if left untreated, is fatal.

This robust, active, powerful dog needs lots of space and exercise. He is usually not a city-dweller but can adapt. His coat should be brushed and combed regularly to keep it mat-free: two to three times per week if he in an outdoor dog; once per week if he is an indoor dog.

Sheepdog, Pet.

Horse Herd