Briard Dogs are very ancient. They probably originated from the oldest domesticated dogs. Large and long-coated dogs looking like Briards are depicted in ancient tapestries and stone chiseling. Such dogs are mentioned in French folk songs and ballads. The original purposes of this breed was guarding and herding the cattle. Ancient Briards were also used as watchdogs and messengers.
The main beauty of Briard Dogs is their long coat. It continues to grow throughout the dog’s life and forms long, shiny, and wavy locks that fall naturally. The longest coat on the chest and shoulders is about 6 inches in length. On the face, the hair is shorter, but it’s long enough to partially cover the eyes. If a coat of the Briard is well cared for, it reaches a considerable length up to a foot. If the Briard is groomed regularly, it sheds a little and can be kept indoors. A typical Briard coat is dry and coarse; it makes a rasping sound when touched.
All coat colors are accepted in Briard Dogs except white. Black, gray, and various shades of golden are common in this breed. Golden dogs often have dark points (ears, face, and tail) and a dark overlay in the body coat. Briard puppies are usually born black or dark red and change their coat color by three or four months. By two years of age, most golden Briards become pale tan. In adult dogs, the coat color continues to change for 4-5 years. It’s impossible to predict the future coat color of the dog when you buy a Briard puppy.
According to the AKC breed standard, ear cropping is optional in Briards. In the UK and some Scandinavian countries, cropping is illegal. When cropped, the ears in Briard dogs stand erect and emphasize the parallel lines of the head and neck. Cropped ears enhance the hearing ability of the dog and prevent ear infections. Briards are the only long-haired dogs with cropped ears. Briard Dogs and the Great Pyrenees are the only AKC registered breeds with double dewclaws on the hind legs.