Is the Briard Right for you? Owning a Briard is a unique experience, the one relationship in which you’ll be loved unconditionally, just for being yourself. But this is a decision you will need to make preferably with you head, not your heart. This Information puppy pack will hopefully assist you in your decision.
The Briard is an ancient French breed, also known as the Chien Berger de Brie. Briards are depicted in artwork going back to the eighth century, and described in records from the fourteenth century. They have a rich documented history through the centuries. The Briard is a herding dog, bred to work. This ancient breed herded and guarded sheep by day, and was a guard for its owner’s family and home by night. The Briard has also been used by the French Army as a sentry, a messenger, and to search for wounded soldiers amongst the dead on the battlefield utilizing its acute sense of hearing. Present day Briards employ those same skills as search and rescue dogs locating earthquake victims. The Briard still serves as a herder and flock guardian today, as well as an esteemed guard and companion dog. It is one of the most popular breeds in France.
“To see them work is to see intelligence and beauty in action.” Bash Dibra - DogSpeak
As you can tell, the type of herding they do demands a certain independence and use of judgment, which they can also display in family life. In times past, they may have been used to live with the sheep and protect them. Thus, like most herding breeds, they are naturally protective of their people, and by nature can be suspicious of strangers. When thinking about living with a Briard, it is very important to remember what they were bred to do, as it helps in understanding if they are the right breed for you. The Briard is an intelligent amiable dog that will protect its family with great loyalty. Because of the strong guarding traits early training and socialization are ESSENTIAL. If trained in a firm and consistent manner they will learn easily and are a patient dog. Briards are a spirited breed, especially during puppy-hood, and this exuberance, combined with their size and strength, may cause difficulties if the household has a combination of pre school-age children and the steep learning curve of first-time dog ownership. This is a dog that needs a good amount of activity and interaction every day. Its exercise requirements can be satisfied by a long walk or jog, or a long play session coupled with a little training. One of the greatest joys in a Briard’s life is to be with its owner, so although it can sleep outside at night if required (but not recommended), it needs to be indoors as part of the family whenever they are home. Its long coat needs thorough brushing and combing every week or mats will form.
We as breeders are absolutely passionate about Briards and work diligently to improve them as a breed. Through careful breeding techniques we aim to produce the best possible Briards, grooming them into champions, and placing them in good homes with responsible owners. The future welfare of our Briard pups is the first order of business for our kennel.
SO, SHOULD YOU HAVE A BRIARD? THESE ARE QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK YOURSELF, AND BE HONEST! Are your living arrangements suitable for a dog? Where and how do you live? In a city apartment or a country house? If it’s an apartment, will you be responsible for seeing the dog is walked daily? If you live in the country, is your property fenced? If not, will you commit to fencing it? Do you have young children? Many Briards are very gentle and loving with children, but as with any dog, care should be taken to avoid problems. They are large dogs and may be boisterous and have the potential to knock down a small child. Also, as with many other herding dogs, they may need to be taught that nipping is not an appropriate way of getting people’s attention. That being said, many families have both Briards and small children and are very happy with the combination. How much time do you have for a dog? The Briard takes a large amount of time. Socializing, training, exercise, play and grooming all eat up huge chunks of time, and all are ESSENTIAL. The average grooming time for a Briard is one – two hours a week, depending on the texture of the coat. Do you understand the Briard is a house Dog? These are not dogs that can be left in the backyard when you are in the house. They insist on being with their people. The Briard will only flourish as a house dog. Can you cope with a dog who will follow you from room to room and never wants to be apart from you? Seriously, even moving through your house changes when you have 70 to 90 pounds of dog always wanting to move with you. And they love to lay in doorways, in front of the stove or sink, and right by the bed, ready to be stepped on. Are you physically capable of dealing with a Briard? They are strong, large, exuberant dogs. They can easily knock over a child, and can set an adult on their rear end without too much trouble. They MUST be trained, and you must have the physical strength to hang onto that leash. An older, settled Briard may take less strength. Have you had a dog before? First-time ownership of a Briard can be a steep learning curve, Briards are not recommended for first-time dog owners. Do you have a dog now? Check the compatibility of the two breeds, keeping in mind the age difference. If you have an older dog, will he respond well to a new puppy on his territory? Can you say NO and mean it? Briards are smart, sometimes manipulative, often dominant, can be stubborn, and are very inventive. An owner who tries to negotiate with a Briard usually loses. They are independent and may try to seize control if they sense weakness on the part of the handler. You MUST be able to recognize when NO is appropriate, and be effective in conveying that to the Briard, without using harsh training methods. Can you be consistent and fair in training? Briards don't do well with mixed messages. They need reward-based, consistent, on-going training to be successful companions. Can you live with dog hair? No matter how well you brush a Briard, you will find clumps of hair in corners. They do not ‘blow coat’ like a Labrador or a German Shepherd, but will lose more coat than a Poodle. When the undercoat is shed, it stays in the coat (instead of coming out all over your clothes and furniture) and must be groomed out or else the dog will become matted. This is the reason why Briards are sometimes said to be “non-shedding”, but there’s no such thing as a totally non-shedding breed. Can you live with trails of dripping water, dirt, mud, etc in your house? When they drink, they drip from that beard. When they go outside, they bring the outside in. We sometimes call them "velcro dogs" because of what can stick to the coat. Clean up is constant, and remember, they won't be happy unless they are in the living areas of your home, with you. Dirty windows are an identifying feature of many Briard homes - that wet beard can obscure a view very quickly! Remember, Briards are NOT low maintenance dogs! Please contact us if you are interested in finding out further information to do with this wonderful breed. http://www.nzbriards.com/puppy-equiry-form.html