The Briard is an ancient breed of large herding dog, originally from France. According to legend, about the same time, a Briard fought a judicial duel with Robert Macaire to avenge the murder of its owner, Aubry of Montdidier. Charlemagne, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette are all said to have owned Briards. The breed became popular after the Paris dog show of 1863, after having been fixed with crosses with the Beauceron and the Barbet. During the First World War, the Briard was used, almost to the point of extinction, by the French army as a sentry, messenger, and to search for wounded soldiers. The Briard's modern-day roles include police, military and search-and-rescue work, as well as a companion dog.
The Briard can be tawny, black, grey or blue however there are variations in each color. Briards stand 58 to 69 cm (22 to 27 inches) at the withers. Ear cropping has been common in the breed, although more breeders are leaving the ears in their natural state since ear cropping is becoming illegal in most European countries, including the Briard's land of origin, France. When cropped, the ears should stand erect and parallel with the base being wide and tapering to a rounded point with hair covering the opening.