The Briard is a large shaggy sheepdog that comes in black, varying shades of fawn and more rare grey.
The breed has its origins in France, and the earliest reports of them date back to the Emperor Charlemagne at about the 8th century. It is reported that Napoleon owned 2 of them. In 1863 Paris held its first dog show and the Briards were exhibited as Varied French Sheepdogs. It was towards the end of the 19th century that the breed really became established and early in the 1900ís the Club des Amis du Briard was formed. Whilst in France Briards were mainly worked, but then there was to be a change and their main purpose was to become a companion and family dog, a way of life at which they were to excel. His natural instincts are to guard, and it is not difficult for these instincts to be transferred from sheep to people, however, it must be remembered that this is a large, strong dog and must be well trained.
They are very intelligent and lively, fearless with no trace of timidity. The Briard is sometimes classed as a Heart wrapped in Fur, they are also great clowns, but be aware if they feel something is not worth doing, they can be quite stubborn.
The coat is quite high maintenance and needs regular grooming. This breed also have double dew claws on both back feet.
Like any other breed Briards have certain health issues, the two most likely problems are Congenital Stationary Night Blindness, and Hip Dysplasia. All reputable breeders will have their breeding stock tested for these problems, and in most cases now if both parents are clear of CSNB, then the puppies will be genetically clear. With the hips, the lower the score, the better the hips should be, 0-0 being the best you can get.
With good food, regular exercise, and lots of TLC, the Briard will give you years of pleasure.