The Briard is an old French breed which goes back in history as far as Charlemagne, having been seen in tapestries of that period, history also attributes two Briards to Napoleon.  Sometimes known in France as "Chien Berger de Brie" or Sheepdog of Brie, this name is thought to have originated in one of two ways.  The first explanation is that they originated in the ancient region of Brie, an environ of Paris.  The more romantic alternative stems from an old legend of the Middle Ages which recalls the murder of Sir Aubry de Montdidier.  His dog took it upon himself to relentlessly pursued the assassin, a man named Macaire.   The King ordained that a judiciary duel should take place between man and dog.  This strange conflict was fought out in 1371 on the Isle de Notre Dame, and the dog of which the description is very similar to that of a Briard , was the winner.  The dog might well then have been known as the dog of Aubry (chien d'Aubry), and it is easy to see how this could have changed, in common usage, to 'chien de Brie'.

A wonderful working dog, the Briard is the most numerous of the French sheepdog breeds and has been used throughout the centuries as a shepherding dog, as well as a guardian of the flock and the homestead.  With his size and substance he was well able to fight off wolves and other predators - even two legged ones!  Due to their keen hearing and vast intelligence they were used during World War I as red cross dogs, sentry dogs and ammunition carriers.  Consequently by the end of the war the Briard population was sadly depleted.

Despite his very ancient history, the Briard was introduced into this country only in the late 1960's with the first dog arriving from Ireland in 1966 and the first imports from France in 1969.  The first ever litter in Great Britain was born in March 1969 from Irish imports and the second in November of the same year.   The first Briard was shown in 1967 and by 1969 two Briards had qualified for Crufts.  The breed then went from strength to strength and November 1973 saw the formation of the British Briard Club.  In 1974 the breed was granted championship status, with the offer of 6 sets of Challenge Certificates, and this year also saw the first Briard Champion, Desamee Mitzi Moffat.

His character should be very intelligent, gay and lively and his temperament fearless with no trace of timidity or aggressiveness.  This often translates into boisterous and unless a puppy is sensibly trained one could easily end up with an over exuberant and unmanageable adult who will take its owner for a walk rather than the other way round.


Text taken from the British Briard Club