Guild of Shepherds & Collies

A Heart Wrapped in Fur



Meet the Briard.

Find out why this handsome, dignified breed is described as “a heart wrapped in fur.”


The rugged, shaggy Briard, also known as the Chien Berger de Brie, has long been used in France as a sheepherder and guardian against predators and poachers. Although popular in its native country since the Middle Ages, the Briard’s numbers declined after World Wars I and II, when it was used as a messenger dog and supply carrier on the front lines. As of 2014, the Briard ranked 126 out of 178 breeds in the American Kennel Club.

briard description

Although Briards have sufficient coat and physical robustness to live outdoors, they prefer to be inside with their families. For large dogs, they are polite and quiet house dogs, and most simply enjoy lying at their owners’ feet. Most Briards are good companions for children of all ages, although supervision is always necessary between any dog and young children. When introduced properly, many Briards live amicably with other household pets, including cats and birds.


The slightly wavy, coarse hair repels water and dirt. Thorough grooming several times a week will keep the Briard’s beautiful coat healthy and free from mats. It’s best to start grooming during puppyhood, when the dog is smaller and easier to handle.

Herding and training

The Briard is different from other herding breeds because it is both a herding dog and a flock guardian. In order to carry out both types of work, the Briard needed strength and agility—characteristics that make the breed extremely versatile. In fact, the Briard can excel at numerous activities, including tracking, obedience, agility, and of course, herding.

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Extremely loyal and protective of its family and home, the Briard is naturally calm, dignified and aloof with strangers. Careful socialization to different people and strange places is vital in early puppyhood to prevent them from being overprotective. For the greatest chance of success, extensive socialization should be continued until at least the dog’s first birthday. For this reason, it’s not a breed for the casual or inexperienced dog owner.

With the right socialization and training, Briards are excellent companions. A big dog with an even bigger heart, the goofy, silly Briard has a keen sense of humor and is exceedingly attuned to the emotions of its owner. For those willing to devote the necessary time and effort to training, Briards return the favor a hundred times over with an undying devotion to their people.

If you’re committed to training, socializing and grooming, and enjoy being around powerful working dogs, the Briard could be a good match. Briard lovers describe the breed as “a heart wrapped in fur,” and those who share their lives with this loyal, intelligent dog can attest to its undying devotion.


Article By:
Jackie Brown


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