Briards have large, muscular frames covered in coarse, hard coats that are long but flat. They come in almost any color. Their somewhat long heads are covered in hair. They have rectangular skulls, bearded muzzles and large, peaceful eyes. Their ears are carried high and are usually draped in hair, creating a distinctive “Briard” look. They have long, feathered tails that are carried low.
Briards are herding dogs with rather gentle personalities. They are relatively easygoing around the house, always ready to play, walk or cuddle. Slightly reserved with people outside the family circle, Briards have powerful protective instincts. They can be especially watchful and caring with children.
Briards need consistent, positive training from an early age. In spite of their mellow outlook, they have a stubborn streak and a strong sense of independence. Above all, they want to please their owners. When they know who the leader is, they will definitely follow.
Briards can live as long as 12 years. Generally healthy, some can develop eye problems and hip dysplasia. Briards are also prone to bloat. A good way to avoid this is to feed them smaller meals throughout the day.
The Briard first appeared hundreds of years ago in France. Originally used by farmers to keep poachers and wolves at bay, they eventually became gentle shepherds and, during World War I, couriers and guard dogs. Today, you can still find Briards working on European farms.