The Briard is a big, shaggy, rugged and sturdy dog with a distinctive long coat. Muscular and well proportioned they are an impressive and handsome - with keen eyesight despite the long hair over their eyes.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks, alerts and it's physically protective
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Weight:  34 – 38.5kg
Height:  58 – 69cm
Colours:  Coats come in various shades of fawn with or without darker markings
around the face and ears and back, slate grey or black
Size:  Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 1/5


Protective and alert, the Briard will be true to their herding, guarding ancestry, and this can be a problem if not socialised and trained early on. Happiest as part of a family home and involved in family activities, they are a lively and energetic dog who will enjoy games and play. Clever and quick to learn with the right motivation, the Briard doesn’t mind what job they are taught to do, as long as they get to do it with you!

History and Origins

Country of Origin: France

The exact origin of the Briard is unclear, it is thought they arrived in France in the Middle Ages as the sheep herding dogs that accompanied nomadic peoples and their animals from the East. These were then crossed with local guarding and herding breeds along the way, and eventually became established in France as the ‘Chien Berger de Brie’ or ‘Sheepdog of Brie’, an ancient region near Paris.

There is a rather romantic 14th century tale that states Sir Aubry de Montdidier was murdered with his dog the only witness. The dog followed the murderer relentlessly until the King heard of this matter. To resolve the issue the King ordered a trial by combat, pitting the dog against the alleged murderer. Of course, legend has it the faithful dog won and became known as Aubry’s Dog or ‘Chien de Aubry” which easily becomes ‘Chien de Brie’ through common usage. We will never know what the truth of the matter is, but the Briard has a longstanding history in rural regions of France as a multi-purpose pastoral breed, herding, driving and guarding livestock against theft and predation.

During World War I they were used as Red Cross dogs, sentry dogs and ammunition carriers, which sadly depleted the population, and as such were not introduced to the UK until the late 1960’s.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Briard

Training Briards

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • Briards have featured in a number of films, TV series and cartoons, notably, Get Smart, Married…With Children, Dharma & Greg, Addams Family, Dennis the Menace (1993 live action film), Looney Tunes and quite a few more.
  • Traditionally the Briards ears were cropped and made to stand upright giving the dog a very different appearance, however this practice is thankfully now illegal in most of Europe including Britain and France, and hopefully the practice will die out worldwide as it is inhumane, wholly unnecessary and extremely painful for the dog.
  • Owners of the breed often report on how affectionate they are. Many even say that they ‘grieve’ when separated from their humans!
  • The Briard is a breed of many talents and have been used as service dogs and therapy dogs.
  • They have double dew claws which helps them balance, even on the most uneven of terrains!

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