BRIARDS AND PEOPLE
Briards are people dogs.. Briards left in a backyard with only occasional attention can become nervous, shy, or aggressive. Briards that are members of the family will shine.
Big or small, 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 trip over him!
Raised properly, most do very 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.
It doesn’t matter if you have acres of land, they will only use it if you are with them. Otherwise, they will usually sit by the door, asking to come in and be with you.
ALL THAT HAIR
Grooming is a big part of owning a Briard. Depending on the quality of the coat and the age of the dog, it can take from a few hours a week to a couple of hours a month. It is not difficult to learn, consisting mostly of brushing and combing through the coat, to the skin.
The coat has several stages, and a puppy blowing it's first or second coat can mat in what seems like hours. The correct coat is harsh, and easy to groom once past the puppy stage, usually taking less than an hour a week. A soft “cotton” coat takes much longer to care for.
Some pet owners choose to clip or shave their Briard, and retired show dogs are often shaved down for comfort and ease of care. A show coat can take considerably more effort to maintain, and needs experience or a good teacher.
Shedding and Allergies
Yes, they do shed! Not like a Labrador or German Shepherd, which blow coat all at once, and spread hair far and wide. The Briard coat change is less obvious. Most of the hair being shed is the soft undercoat, and it will stick in the outer coat and cause mats, unless removed through regular grooming. Even with regular grooming, the home of a Briard can often be spotted by the clumps of hair that appear out of nowhere, and collect in the corners.
As for allergies, the Briard does seem to be less provoking than some other breeds of dogs, but is not in the same hypoallergenic class as the Poodle or Portuguese Water Dog. Before getting a Briard with the assumption that allergies will be okay, spend some serious time with one. Contact a breeder anywhere in the country and they will help you find an owner local to you to visit.
Next - Socialization