Records of the Briard, the oldest of the four French sheepdog breeds, date back to the 1300s. Though the Briard originally defended estates and flocks against wolves and human intruders, its role developed into more of a peaceful herder. The tale goes that the breed surfaced in the U.S. with either the Marquis de Lafayette or Thomas Jefferson. In 1922 the AKC registered the first litter of Briards. The breed is still a popular sheepherder in France.


Large; females 22 to 251/2 inches, 50 to 65 pounds; males 23 to 27 inches, 75 to 100 pounds.


Black, gray, and tawny.


Naturally protective, fearless, reserved with strangers; loyal, loving, gentle with friends and family. Intelligent and independent, easily trained. May try to herd children.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Firm, confident owner.


Daily exercise (long walk or jog, play session) and interaction (training), early training and socialization, frequent brushing to prevent matting.

Life expectancy:

10 to 12 years.