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The Briard has been known for some centuries. Charlemagne, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette all owned Briards. This ancient sheep guardian and herder has also been used by the French Army as a sentry, messenger, and to search for wounded soldiers because of its fine sense of hearing. It became popular only after the Paris dog show of 1863 - in large part due to the improvement of the dog's looks achieved by crosses with the Beauceron and the Barbet. The Briard is named either for Aubry of Montdidier, a man who was supposed to have owned an early Briard, or for the French province of Brie, although the dog probably does not originate in that locale. The Briard still serves as a herder and flock guardian today, as well as an esteemed companion dog. Some of the Briards talents are search & rescue, police work, military work, herding, watchdogging and guarding.
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