The Briard /briːɑrd/ is an ancient breed of large herding dog, originally from France. A Briard-type dog appears in Gaston Febus' Livre de chasse ("Book of the Hunt"), written in the 14th century. According to legend, about the same time, a Briard fought a judicial duel with Robert Macaire to revenge its murdered owner, Aubry of Montdidier. Charlemagne, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette are all said to have owned Briards.[citation needed] It became popular after the Paris dog show of 1863, after the breed had 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 companion dog. The Briard can be any of several different solid colors or lighter colors with darker or light ears and face. 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. Their long coat requires an extensive amount of grooming. Briards come in a variety from different colors and the ones with lighter colors are often mistaken for haystacks.

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