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Terry with her Briards - Bucket, Rosa and Jammie

Love in a fur ball!

Stunning looks, extremely devoted to family and a sense of humour – can you ask for more? Briards are one of the most loving breeds of dogs…a sheer joy to be around! Here’s more on these wonderful dogs.

The looks…

Olive (Pic Courtesy: Irene Cotter, Furfetched Photography)

Olive (Pic Courtesy: Irene Cotter, Furfetched Photography)

The Briard’s general appearance is a medium build, athletic, herding dog. Their proportions are slightly off-square. Their countenance is distinct with proud head carriage and agile quicksilver movement. Their glorious coat and athletic gliding feline-like movement are probably their two most distinct and notable physical traits.

They have a double coat – a coarse and dry outer coat, which lies flat and falls in long wavy locks and a fine and tight undercoat. The Briard comes in various shades of tawny, black and gray and a combination of those colours. The breed also comes in dilution of the tawny and black although neither is considered desirable.

The average height of males is 24-27 inches while that of females is 22-25 inches and they weigh around 35 kg.

In the history…

French emperor Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson and Lafayette all owned Briards. The dogs were used to run messages, detect mines, pick up trails, support commando actions, find the wounded and carry food and ammunition to the front lines.

The demeanour…

The Briard is a working dog at heart and was developed in the beginning mostly as a guard dog and anti-poacher dog. With the advent of farming and the increase of population, they became an all purpose farm dog providing help with many of the farm tasks such as driving stock down the road to the fields, keeping stock in open unfenced grazes, and guarding the farm and family. Therefore, their basic temperament is one of protectiveness and discriminant tendencies. They are a dog who prefers to know their limited circle of family and friends and is intensely devoted to them. They must be thoroughly and constantly socialised outside of the home to strangers and new people for their first year of life.

The breed learns fast, has high drive to work and perform tasks, and has a developed sense of humour. They are a dog with strong opinions and an assertive nature. Briards are best in the hands of pet parents who are clear with setting and maintaining limits and boundaries.

Living with them…

Briards are a wonderful dog to live with. They are affectionate and loving to their family and friends, devoted and kind. Most would rather lie on the feet of their pet parents and that would be their favourite activity. The breed is rarely destructive, if raised right with boundaries and limits. They do not tend to be active in the house and even when young have a very sensible outlook on living within the confines of a house. Their sense of humour is one of their most delightful traits.

Exercise needs…

Briards are not usually a high energy breed. Exercise needs are the normal exercise given to any canine. Walking is good! As a young dog we especially feel it is good for them to get out and gallop and retrieve and get to stretch their legs at least few times a week.

Games to play…

Many Briards love to retrieve balls, sticks and frisbees. The breed loves games of chase and hide & seek. Tug of war with a stuffed toy is often a favourite, although it is discouraged from dogs living with young children.

Puppy care…

Puppy care is no different that sound raising practices of any growing medium size breed. We suggest a crate for confinement when no one is home or watching. An excellent quality dog food is a must and of course fresh water. Briards are easy to train, easy to housebreak and easy to bond with. The breed’s socialisation needs are extremely high. The new pet parent must be aware of the high maintenance of this breed. The grooming needs are very demanding, being a fully and heavy coated breed. The socialisation requirements outside of the home are even higher and cannot be treated lightly. There is no shortcut to proper care and raising with constant socialisation away from home. Briards are not a breed for overly busy people unless the dog can be included in every aspect of the busy lifestyle which can be a plus for socialisation.

Grooming needs…

The coat must be line brushed on every inch at least once a week using a pin brush and slicker. This process can take 1-5 hours, depending on the age of the dog and quality of the coat. Weekly bathing and blow drying with line brushing like all drop coat breeds keep the coat clean and mat free.

Briards do not really shed hair. But hair does die. Short coat breeds shed that dead hair and it falls all around on the floor, furniture and clothing. Long coat breeds have the live coat entangle with the dead hair which is what creates mats. The brushing process removes the dead hair when it is not shed and prevents the dead hair tangling into mats.

Health…

Most responsible breeders screen for hip dysplasia by x-raying. The breed has gastric torsion which most likely has some hereditary basis. The breed is also screened for Stationery Night Blindness (SNB) with a DNA test. SNB is inherited through recessive genes. As breeders we also screen for eye disease health through annual visits to veterinary ophthalmologists. There is definitely an inherited basis for poor temperaments with some dogs displaying genetically inherited dog or people aggression.

On a concluding note…

When considering the Briard, first make sure the breed will fit your lifestyle. They need you to be comfortable at being their leader and in charge of reinforcing consistent boundaries and rules. Briard is not a breed for a person looking for an easy pet. They are a lot of work when you include the grooming needs and socialisation requirements. If you are not afraid of the work involved, there is not a more devoted, demonstrative or loving pet on earth.

(Terry Miller of Deja Vu Briards is based in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a dog behaviourist. Deja Vu Briards is home to almost 300 champions and holds every record for Briards. Deja Vu Briards is the home of the top winning male and female of all time and the top sire and dam of all time. Deja Vu dogs are exhibited all around the world and have won more Briard Club of America national specialties and group placements at the famous Westminster Kennel Club than any Briard kennel in history).

Briards we loved!

  • Ruff – In the popular comic Dennis the Menace, Ruff is Dennis’ big, lovable, faithful dog, who follows him everywhere.
  • Reno – In the film Top Dog, Reno is a police dog, whose handler was killed. He teams up with Wilder to investigate a plot by domestic terrorists to attack a conference on unity.
  • Cho Cho – In the movie The Karate Dog, Cho Cho is a dog who can speak to humans and is an expert in martial arts.
  • Sam the Sheep dog – In cartoon series Looney Tunes, Sam the sheepdog, is a large Briard Sheepdog with white or tan fur and mop of red hair that usually covers his eyes. He very rarely runs and tends to be sedentary in his movements.
breed profile

Jack Russell Terrier: A ball of energy

Jack Russell Terriers change your life…completely. They give your life a purpose, entertain you and create focus in your lives…what more can you ask for? Katies kids

breed profile

Your life will never be the same when you choose a Jack Russell as a companion. They are a great match and meaningful addition for humans who are intelligent and outgoing. We have had Jack Russells for over ten years and enjoy their spirit and vigour. And believe me, they have brought so many human people to our world. They have introduced us to people with similar likes and desires. They really are there for you…always!

The descent…

The Jack Russell Terrier of America recognizes and registers a type of working terrier that is 10” to 15” tall at the shoulder. They were originally bred in England to aid in fox hunting by bolting the fox from the ground, and to serve as rodent and vermin control around the homes and farms.

Small but robust…

Jack Russell Terriers are big dogs in a little package. They are robust and hardy. Strong and intuitive, they have bright eyes and a determined nature.

The colour variations…

The Jack Russell Terrier can have three types of coats- smooth, broken and rough, each with an insulating undercoat and harsh element resistant outer coat. They have following colour variations – white, tan and white, black and white, and tri colour- black, brown and white. All the colour variations must be at least 51 percent white so he can be distinguished when running in the field.

Basic instincts…Love to play

Jack Russell Terriers are a working breed and their job is hunting. Because of their nature, they are tenacious and active. They enjoy being busy, and their working instincts can be channelled to projects such as agility, flyball, racing, therapy work, and yes, they can be your active companions.

Living with them…

Jack Russell terriers are extremely intelligent. They require strict rules and constant supervision. They enjoy being with their human partners. They can be trained to be comfortable in many environments. But they are also excellent at training people and pet parents must always maintain their alpha position.

It is better to have a sole Jack Russell Terrier or opposite sex pair as they do not do well in same sex pairs, or in groups larger than two, unless strictly supervised.

Jack Russell Terriers and children must both be supervised. If children are well behaved, and interact appropriately, the terrier will be well behaved and form excellent companions. All humans need to be mindful of not teasing the terrier, purposely or unintentionally. Games such as chase, tug of war or keep away are not recommended.

Perhaps the best and the worst quality of a Jack Russell Terrier is their extreme intelligence and outgoing personality. Their ability to play mind games and keep up with everyone’s physical activity makes them a challenging and versatile companion!

Love to exercise…

Jack Russells love exercise and can rarely be exhausted. They love ball retriveal, hiking, running, and being active. Almost as important as the physical exercise is the mental exercise and they need to be stimulated, challenged and kept busy at all times.

Pup care…

Jack Russell Terrier puppies do best when kept with their pet parents as close as possible the first year. It is important to praise the good dog and arrange your home and life to eliminate the opportunity for him to be a bad dog. Misbehaviour is usually the fault of the human the first year. The firmest punishment you can give him is ignoring him when in trouble and removing the situation. Proper and varied confinement is important to provide control as well as training.

Low maintenance breed…

Jack Russell Terriers have excellent, all weather, low maintenance coats. They can be brushed when desired. Rough coats can be clipped or groomed. They need their toenails trimmed every few weeks, and clean teeth can be maintained with safe chew bones, or brushing.

Hereditary problems…

Jack Russell Terriers can be prone to deafness as is common with many other white coloured breeds of dogs. This can be tested and eliminated by annual eye exams as promoted by the CERF foundation.

(Sue Anne Wilson has been involved with Jack Russell Terriers for over 12 years and support the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America. She hosts two JRTCA sanctioned trials each year bringing together over 200 terriers and their human companions for a weekend of fun and games.)