BRIARD HERDING DOG
The Briard is an ancient French breed, also known as the Chien Berger de Brie.
They are depicted in artwork going back to the eighth century, and described in records from the fourteenth century.
The Briard is a herding dog, bred to work. In times past, they may have been used to live with the sheep and protect them. The Briard is a boundary herder, and their primary function is to keep a flock in an unfenced area, allowing only selected portions of fields to be grazed. The type of herding they do demands a certain independence and use of judgment, which they can also display in family life.
The most important thing you can do for your Briard is to properly socialize him, and continue to do so.
Socialization is extremely important for Briards. They must be exposed to new situations as puppies, or their natural reserve can become fear. Exposure to as much as possible during the first year, including training classes, pays off for many more years.
Getting together to meet and greet is always a favorite activity. Socialization means exposing your dog to as many different situations as possible, until they are willing and able to cope with new things easily. It does not mean having a friend come over every day to pet the dog. It is not enough to be sure your Briard is comfortable in his own home. They must also be comfortable visiting, going out to parks and stores, riding in a vehicle, attending classes, etc.
It is impossible to over stress this point. The Briard should attend early puppy classes, but don't stop there. Take them again at 6 months, and then again before they are a year old. This is because they can go through several fear periods, and can need the additional socialization to overcome the effects of these. Socialization also plays a large part in controlling dominant behavior in the Briard, as they learn to look to the owner for instructions in strange places, and to respect the owner's judgment at all times.
Socialization is also fun, for you, the owner. Your Briard is guaranteed to start conversations and make new friends. They are irresistible to most people you meet, and who doesn't enjoy being the center of attention ?
Briards are people dogs, never happy when ignored or forced to spend long hours alone. They believe they are lap dogs. They fully develop their character when allowed to live with their people.
The Briard always believes it is a lap dog. Human contact is essential, and they will follow you from room to room. You never have to worry about where your Briard is. You just have to be sure you don't step on him, or push a chair back into him when you get up.
Briards left in a backyard with only occasional attention can become nervous, shy, or aggressive. Briards that are members of the family will shine! Most do well with children, although some are too high energy and exuberant for young kids. Their protective nature can take odd twists, they have been known to herd boisterous kids into a bedroom, and keep them there.
The Briard is an athlete. They are quick, agile, and can be very high energy. This is a dog that was bred to herd sheep all day. While they will lay at your feet happily for hours, they are always up and ready to go at the least sign of encouragement.
Most Briards need daily exercise, and if kept in a small house must be walked often, and a safe place to run and romp will make for a happier dog. In a perfect world, every Briard would have the chance to herd sheep. Most never see them, and are still perfectly happy.
They can be kept in small apartments, or in houses without fenced yards, but it takes a commitment of time and energy. Neither owner or dog will be happy if a Briard is not given adequate exercise.