A variety of breeds of dogs have common ancestry. It is rare for dogs so closely related to be seen for such a long history as that of the Beauceron and the Briard. These dogs, though unique, are both sheep dogs. They are companions throughout the last several centuries and share many of the same characteristics. Most importantly, they are well loved and respected dogs that have a place in the hearts of many in their native country of France. For those planning to adopt these dogs, or perhaps already owning one, it is interesting to see the difference in the Briard and the Beuceron.
The Briard was first registered in 1922, but it is known that these dogs have a much longer history. They have been spotted on tapestries dating way back into the 8th century and are talked about in the 12th century in written records. The Beauceron does not have such an old, well documented history. He is just now getting his AKC recognitions, in fact. Yet, he can be dated back to 1587 in written records. Both dogs originated in France. French naturalist M. Buffon drew the Beuaceron in 1758 and depicted his temperament and style.
It would take until 1809 for an official difference in these two dogs to be understood and written about. Abbe Rozier was first to realize this difference. He called the dogs Berger de la Brie for the Briard and Berger de la Beauce for the Beauceron. Then, in 1863, Pierre Megnin first described the different qualities that the dogs have. The Briard, he determined, had a longer coat than the short coat of the Beauceron. Standards for each breed of dog would be developed by 1897.
Although these two dogs are so similar in the way that they look and act, people loved them both well. They were often seen in various sculptures, in artwork as well as in medallions. In the 19th and 20th century, they became well known for their beauty and strength due to their shared art history. To this day, they are seen in this manner by their masters.
The history of the Briard and the Beauceron do split ways, at least somewhat. In the 1700's, a man named Marquis de Lafayette brought the dogs to the United States. Thomas Jefferson is also known to have brought the Briard to the Americas. While the Briard grew in popularity among the rich and high classes, the Beauceron remained largely popular only in France. The Briard's first club, the Briard Club of America was first founded in 1928, while the Beauceron has just begun to see a following like this.
Both dogs are highly devoted, loyal dogs that have a history dating back hundreds of years.