FCI GROUP: Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
FAMILY: Livestock, herding
Allowed as pet in Singapore HDB Flat: No
Origin: France, 1300s; probably the most ancient of the French sheepdogs. In 1863 a man named Pierre Megnin differentiated two types of sheepdogs, one with a long coat, which became known as the Briard, and the other with a short coat, which became the Beauceron to improve the dog's look. The Briard became popular only after the Paris dog show of 1863. Prior to 1889 the Beauceron and Briard had a reputation of being a flock guard who was brave but one who was more inclined to snap and bite in defence of its flock. Both breed’s temperaments were softened through selective breeding.
Original Purpose: Shepherd, flock guard. Centuries ago the Briard was used to defend its charges against poachers and wolves. The French army used these dogs to run messages, detect mines, pick up trails, support commando actions, find the wounded, and carry food and ammunition to the front lines.
Behaviour and Temperament: Happy, dominant, devoted, self-assured, lively, strong-willed.
Breed Characteristics: Makes a superb watchdog and guard dog. If you are looking for pet (not a guard or herding dog), you must find a breeder who breeds Briard for pet temperament. This breed has a fine memory and is intelligent with a lot of drive. They need a lot of leadership and to be kept busy to be happy. Not the sort you can pat on the head and ignore the rest of the day. Briards will take over the house if permitted; not for first time dog owners without extensive research.
Physical Features: 56 to 68.5 cm; 34 to 45.5 kg. Has double dewclaws on the hind leg. Any solid colour except white; mostly commonly black, tawny, fawn, or grey.
Coat Type and Grooming: Long (30.5 cm long in show dogs, commonly 10 to 15 cm long in pets), slightly wavy, very dry, double; undercoat fine and tight; likened to a “goat’s coat.” Very high maintenance; requires lots of brushing. Some trimming needed. Expect light shedding if well groomed. Professional grooming is very desirable. Estimated grooming charges in Singapore: Basic grooming, S$70 - S$90 (recommended once every 3 weeks due to their unique double declaws). Full grooming, S$100 - S$120 (recommended every 6 weeks, to prevent long fur from matting).
Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years.
Health Concerns: Hip dysplasia, eye problems (congenital night blindness, cataracts), von Willebrand’s, hypothyroidism. Also prone to bloat and stomach torsion, which can be fatal.
Exercise: Moderate to high. The Briard will become restless and can develop behavioural problems if not adequately exercised. Daily long walks or runs alongside bikes are recommended. They make an excellent jogging companion and also enjoy a good swim.
Housing: Not suited for an apartment; needs a great deal of space. They are moderately active indoors, and will do best with an average sized yard.
Sociability: Excellent with children if socialised early; may attempt to herd them. Very suspicious of strangers. Suspicious of other pets, aggressive with other dogs.
Trainability: High, willing learner and eager to please. Handler needs to be confident and consistent with patience and a firm hand.
Activities: Search and rescue, police and military work, herding, agility, herding trials, Schutzhund.
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