The Briard is a very old French herder, closely related to the Beauceron, as well as the Picardy Sheepdog and, by some accounts, even the Great Pyrenean. Descended from ancient eastern Molossers introduced to the area some 2000 years ago, its type was established as early as the 8th century, but most authorities trace its origins to the 1300's Brie district, where the breed received its Berger de Brie name to differentiate it from the Beauceron. The popular Briard name was introduced in 1809. Some believe that this rugged working dog was developed by crossing Beaucerons with the Barbet, while others figure the Picardy Sheepdog and various Asian ovcharkas into its heritage. Whatever its origins may be, the Briard has been a valued livestock herder and protector, excellent wolf-killer and common farm dog for centuries.
The French Shepherd Club was formed in 1897 and in the early 1900's the Briard entered the world of Dog Shows, alongside the Beauceron, from which it finally received separate recognition in 1911. First Briards are believed to had reached America when they were imported by Lafayette. Thomas Jefferson owned a number of these magnificient dogs, but the breed was slow to gain popularity. When American soldiers returned from WW1, they brought quite a few Briards with them and the breed has been present in the United States ever since.
Very smart, trainable and alert, the Briard makes an agreable companion, but can be stubborn and overly protective at times. Some specimens might not tolerate other dogs, which is why early and broad socialization is important. This is an excellent watchdog, best suited for a life in a large yard.
The coat is rich, harsh and dry, common in all solid colours, as well as brindled. Average height is around 25 inches.