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24 Aug 2000

Dog of the Week

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Name of breed: Briard
Class: Herder
Size: Dogs; 57.5-67.5cm (23-27in) bitches; 55-64 (22-25.5in) about 33.7kg (75lb).
Coat: Long and slightly wavy, and dry to the touch, with a fine, dense undercoat.
Colors: Solid black, or with white hairs scattered through black coat; fawn in all its shades, darker shades preferred; fawns may have dark shading on ears, muzzle, back and tail.

The Briard, or Berger de Brie, is the best known of the French sheepdogs, the others being the Beauce, Picardy and Pyrenean. The Briard is reputed to have come to Europe with Asian invaders before the end of the Middle Ages, along with other breeds of sheepdog such as the Hungarian Komodor and Kuvasz and the Russian Owtcharka which have similar conformation.

“Les Amis du Briard” was formed around 1900 when a standard of sorts was drawn up.

However, it was not approved until 1925 and then was amended in 1930. The Briard Club was formed in about 1928. By this time the breed had already become known in other parts of the world, pertly through its work in the French Army during the First World War, when it carried ammunition and was employed by the Red Cross.

It is widely believed to have been introduced into the US during the 18th century, possibly by the Marquis de Lafayette or Thomas Jefferson. The first litter was registered with the AKC in 1922.

Character and care

The Briard has a gentle nature and makes a good family pet or farm dog, provided sufficient space is available. It is good with children, intelligent and fearless. It is a breed that takes pride in cleaning itself, but needs regular brushing. Like all sheepdogs, it requires plenty of exercise, and is not suited to a cramped environment.



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