Briard – All you need to know

Featured image by © / Volofin

What is a Briard?

The Briard, a confident, loyal, and faithful herder was named after the French region of Brie (yes, the same Brie as cheese) near Paris, and was developed as a herding and guard dog. They are both sheepherders and flock guardians, and have been working the French countryside since the middle ages. This breed remains very popular in France, but sadly, like many other breeds of dog, its numbers were drastically depleted during the Second World War. Thomas Jefferson had a Briard, and proclaimed it to be “the most watchful and faithful of all servants”

Pros and Cons

Appearance and Size

Group: Herding (AKC)
Height:  22 – 27 inches
Weight: 60 – 100 pounds

The Briard is large shaggy dog, known for a long, wavy coat, which is often described as dry, harsh, and goat-like. Its coat typically comes in either gray, tawny, or black. Fawn Briards may or may not have black muzzles and ear tips, and often have varying amounts of black or grey shading across the neck and shoulders. The Briard has a distinctive beard, and long hair which obscures the eyes, and is parted naturally in the middle. It sports a fine undercoat providing it with excellent insulation against the cold and harsh climates, common to the regions they once worked in.  A distinctive characteristic of the Briard is the double dew claws. Although the extra claw is of no real use to the dog, it is part of the purebred standard. They are strong, burly, and muscular, though can move with great agility, and a nimble-footed gait.

Briard breed profile © / shutnica
A red Briard puppy playing in the park © / shutnica


The Briard is an active breed that is happiest when on the job. He is suited to active work such as herding, and is very alert, lively and affectionate. The breed is especially faithful and devoted to its family, and very fond of their companionship. Early socialization is a must, as they can be weary of strangers and other dogs. Briards are very intelligent and learn quickly. They have an excellent memory, and excel at canine sports, agility, and obedience training.


The Briard requires a thorough brushing, several times a week. Use a good quality bristle brush, a pin brush, and a steel tooth comb to keep your Briard looking its best. The Briard does not need to be trimmed, but be prepared to spend some quality time brushing this breed.

Some quick tips:

  • Start young and make brushing a fun activity
  • Brush all the way to the skin.
  • Bathe your dog only as needed. Frequent bathing will make the coat softer and more prone to knotting, therefore more infrequent bathing will reduce the need for grooming.


The Briard is a Relatively healthy breed, though some do suffer from the following: Hip Dysplasia, hypothyroidism, immune diseases, kidney disease and Congenital Stationary Night Blindness. Feed your dog with a good quality dog food to ensure a long and healthy life. Like all dogs, trim their nails frequently, and check ears for debris.

Briard breed profile © / photosergii
Briard walking on city pavement © / photosergii

Life Expectancy

Thr Briard’s lifespan is around 12 -14 years.

5 Fun Facts about Briards


The Briard is a herder, and will be happiest with an active job, or an active family. They crave action and love to exercise, making them great companions for hikers, bikers, and joggers. They are a perfect companion and would prefer to be by your side rather than anywhere else.  Due to their size and personality, they are generally not recommended for families with small children. Since grooming can be quite time consuming, they are also not generally recommended for the elderly. They are ideally suited to energetic families with older kids, who can provide a large, fenced in yard for the Briard to let loose. Briards are smart, loving and exceptionally loyal, and will add many years of happiness to your household.

If you’re looking to add a Briard to your family, consider adopting one instead. Rescuing an animal is a win-win for all, and you save a life.

To learn more about the Briard, check out