Page 52 - 2013 Le Mag 4th Qtr
P. 52
An Overview of Briard History by Mary Lou Tingley, Terry Miller and Dominique Dube

As with many breeds the origin of the Briard is obscure. We can During WWI and II many Briards were enlisted as messengers,
say with some certainty, however, that it arose from the varied guards, carriers and what we now call Search and Rescue. Not
farm dogs of western Europe. Dogs were developed into sep- only were many dogs killed to near extinction as a result of the
arate breeds as their basic functions emerged.Architect Louis wars but many records were lost due to the bombings. Post war
Sullivan’s adage that formfollows function truly applies to the the breed was held in little esteem among dog fanciers, whether
development of the early breeds, as they were separated and due to the coat care, the cow hocks so prevalent in the breed, or
segregated and labeled with various names. Some cousins of the the strong personality; we simply don’t know.
Briard, are thought to have been closely related are the Beauce-
ron, Berger de Picard and Berger des Pyrenees. The Briard and By the 1960s there were only three or four breeders in the
the Beauceron are the oldest of these breeds. Records show their United States, each with only one or two dogs. Few were shown.
first appearance in Paris at the Societe Imperialle d’Acclimata- Briard National Specialties consisted of eight or ten dogs, in part
tion, the premier dog exposition, in 1863. because the Briard had a bad reputation and was often unsocial-
ized and unreliable.
The Briard was prized for his keen sense of hearing and acute
awareness of his surroundings. Starting out as a guard dog As the years progressed so did the popularity of the breed; the
against poachers and predaters, the advent of farming found stately carriage, and handsome coat attracted fanciers in the dog
him to be a versatile all purpose farm dog, driving stock down world. Coatcare and socialization, so essential in all breeds, but
the road to the graze and then keeping the stock within graze even more so in the Briard, gave us a dog who is a contender in
boundaries, pulling a cart, guarding the farm and providing herding, tracking, Schutzhund, obedience, flyball, agility and
family companionship. conformation, to say nothing of being a great companion to
those who live with him.
In 1789 Thomas Jefferson imported to the United States a “chi-
enne bergere big with pup” believed to be a Briard. So satisfied The first Briard Champion was Regent de la Pommeraie. The
with the abilities of these dogs, Jefferson, with the help of his first group winner in the United States was Ch Phobe Chez
friend Lafayette, continued importing them through 1814, not Phydeau. The first Best In Show Briard was Ch Phydeaux Tam-
only for his own farm but for friends and neighbors as well. bourine.

In 1896 Mr Emmanuel Boulet created Le Club des Chiens There are probably 3,000-4,000 Briards in the United States and
de Bergers Français in France. A standard for the Briard was many more than that worldwide. Briard entries for the Amer-
adopted in France in 1897. In the United States the first Briard ican National Specialty now number 100-200. Due to better
Standard was adopted by the AKC in 1928 and the first Briard understanding of management, socialization and grooming,
Champion of record in 1931. Briards have become better citizens in the world

   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54   55   56   57