Due to their history as herding dogs, Briards are pretty active and athletic, but their exercise requirements aren't too extensive. Still, these dogs will need daily opportunities to stretch their legs with some outdoor activities--and those activities will need to challenge them mentally as well as physically. They also make great jogging partners.
The typical adult Briard, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need 45-60 minutes of proper exercise per day, which you can accomplish with a couple of leashed walks and a play period. You can start exercising your Briard puppy at three months of age by taking it on short (10-minute) leashed walks, then increasing the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.
Some precautions to consider when exercising your Briard: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running, and navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, a Briard will definitely need to be leashed when in public. These dogs have both strong herding instincts and high prey drives--which means they'll try to "herd" moving objects like people, bicyclists, and even small animals, and they'll instinctively chase interesting-looking critters (birds, squirrels, cats), if given the chance. A leash will help you control your Briard when these instincts kick in. Dogs of this breed also have high wandering tendencies, so even when exercising in your own yard the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off.
Safeguards aside, it's important to exercise your Briard every single day. If bored or restless, these dogs are known to dig, chew, bark excessively, and be unhappy in general--so consistent exercise is great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind. Some exercise ideas:
- Walking/Jogging: Two 20-minute walks (or 15-minute jogs) per day is a good target
- Fetch: These dogs will chase a ball or stick for hours
- Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
- Swimming: Briards usually love the water
- Canine Sports: These dogs excel at obedience and herding trials, flyball, and other competitions
- Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash
When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Briard access to one or more balls or chew-toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks or jogs after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.