A BRIEF HISTORY.
A dog of heart
with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity, the Briard is intelligent, gentle, faithful and obedient with the correct training. Also known as the Chien Berger de Brie in France his resident land, the Briard is a natural descendant of the oldest of domesticated dogs. The breed developed over the years by natural selection for its herding and guarding capabilities. Although most of the early history of the breed is unwritten, tapestries show the Emperor Charlemagne with Briards more than 1200 years ago.
During World War I, the Briard was an important dog in the war, used to carry messages to the soldier's in the front line, search for wounded soldiers and they would bark if a soldier was still alive, thus saving many soldiers lives. They were used to pull carts and wagons, and to patrol at listening posts. At the end of the war the Briard numbers were so low from war casualties that many feared the breed would disappear. Fortunately, French, English, and American soldiers returned home from the war with stories of the dogs' great courage and a keen interest in the breed was developed from then on, preventing the breed from possibly becoming extinct?
In 1863 the first official dog show was staged and the Briard came first beating all the shepherd dogs. Then in 1897 the first official breed standard was formed. In 1937 an advert was placed in the dog world annual for Briard puppy’s for sale, but it is felt that they did not sale any in England, as the first record with the Kennel club of registration wasn’t until 1966.The first Briard registered in England was imported from Ireland, by a film director, who’s wife went to purchase a Irish Wolf hound, but after viewing the available puppies did not find one and was then shown this black, fat, fluffy puppy which she instantly fell in love with. Once returning to London she was often stopped and asked what it was (and this is still the same today, as you will find out) and the most common comment was, it’s a cross between an old English sheepdog and afghan! Apparently, the directors wife (Nancy) started to show her Briard and was overjoyed when she won her first highly commended card and found a lot of enjoyment out of her new hobby and felt that as the Briard has such a steady temperament and ideal family pet then all British families should have the chance to own one thus the original English Briard kennels “Desamee Kennels” were established a year later in 1967. Mrs Nancy Tomlin imported a bitch from the kennels in Ireland and she named her Mitzi Moffat who went on to be the first Briard Champion in 1974. By this time the awareness of Briards in Britain was created and even more when the press did an article on the first Briard in England. Also a number of stars have owned a Briard including Brigitte Bardot and Cilla Black and up until a few years ago you would often see John Bird with his Briard in the show ring.