Some people say the Briard (BREE-ard) gets his name because he originated in Brie, France, the town famous for its cheese. Others say the dog was named after a thirteenth century nobleman named Aubry de Mondid-ier, who built a cathedral in honor of the brave and loyal dog. Wherever the name came from, this breed is centuries old and has been beloved by the French since the Middle Ages.
His most common job has always been herding. He will push people with his head to show them which way he wants them to go, and his acute hearing makes him an excellent watchdog. The Briard has a strong character, and is happiest leading a busy, active life.
This big dog thinks for himself, so training may take patience. Like most sheepdogs, Briards are wary of strangers, canine or human.
The Briard's coat is six inches long. It needs brushing and combing almost every day. He can be any solid color except white; he is usually black, gray, or tawny. He has big, dark eyes; ears are natural or cropped.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: Vigorous and alert, powerful, agile.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--males, 23 to 27 inches at withers; females, 22 to 251/2 inches.
Being so smart and loyal, Briards can often sense their family's feelings. One Briard knew when the children in his family were sick or just trying to play hooky. If they were really sick, he would lie down next to the bed. If they were faking, the dog would be off somewhere else.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.