Showsight July 2020


understand the naturalness of the breed. My well-rounded knowl- edge would not be complete without the dedication and hard work of both of these women. What is it about my breed that has sustained my interest and encouraged my involvement in the sport? I guess the fact that the Canaan Dog is awesome doesn’t really justify as an answer. The fact that this is a breed worthy of, and in need of, preservation is a sus- taining factor in my dedication to the Canaan Dog. From detecting my son’s seizure disorder, before we knew he had issues, to bringing me joy with every litter—I cannot imagine my life without them. The breed has allowed me to walk in partnership with them on this journey, and I hope the journey continues. ELLENMYERS Ellen Myers has been a devoted

suits them is Fast CAT. I can currently boast of having the fastest recorded Fast CAT Canaan Dog. Coursing Ability Tests are also another favorite of my Canaan Dogs. Unfortunately, after a few CAT runs they swiftly learn how to read the line and just lay in wait for the “rabbit” to come to them. We do dabble in Herding, but haven’t really gone past basic Herding Instinct and Tested levels. This is more due to handler ability than the dog’s ability and desire. Is my breed still capable of performing its original function? As the breed was developed from a geographical convergence of type, their original function was survival. Could these dogs still survive if left to their own devices? Emphatically, yes. They are thinking dogs that easily solve problems to benefit their needs. Once semi- domesticated by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago, they were proficient in moving and guarding stock. They are still very capable of those functions today; a natural breed, capable of covering much ground in a day, of moderate build, with a keen mind. Can I define the key essentials of “type” in my breed? A square dog of moderate build with an effortless, ground-covering endur- ance trot; a blunt, wedge-shaped head with intelligent expression in balance with an athletic body; and a tail carried, no more than one curl, straight above the back. You want to see smooth side planes on an elongated head with obliquely-set, almond-shaped eyes; a harsh, flat-lying double coat with no preference to color (other than those that are a DQ); an endurance trot that is clean coming and going without extended reach and drive on the side. Am I pleased with my breed’s current overall quality and popu- larity? The overall quality of the Canaan Dog seen in the Breed ring is excellent. You can easily find dogs of sound mind and body, car- rying correct type, in your ring today. There are always exceptions, but the breed and its dedicated group of breeders are producing dogs of quality. I doubt that the breed will ever be popular and I’m quite happy with where the breed is today. They are a thinking dog that can often outsmart their owners. That’s not what most people want in a dog. For those that can appreciate their naturalness and intel- ligence, they are the perfect fit and people find that they cannot be without a Canaan Dog. How challenging has it been for exhibitors to find “majors?” With the exception of our National Specialty week, it can be diffi- cult to find majors. With the “new normal” it will probably be even more difficult. Our show community does try to keep everyone apprised of where we might congregate to create majors. Addition- ally, there is a Facebook page: Canaan Dog AKC Point Builder, where we try to let folks know where there may be an entry. We also encourage those interested in seeing the breed to also join the group. Is there a market for “pet quality” puppies in my breed? The companion dog market is our largest market in our breed. Even though we can consistently place in the Herding Group across the country on any given “normal” show weekend, we are not a sought-after breed for conformation. There is a small mar- ket for performance Canaan Dogs, as they do excel in multiple performance venues. My mentors in the world of purebred dogs were and are my parents, Mike and Merry Carol Houchard. Although Mom is no longer with us, I still hear her in my head and she comes out of my mouth from time to time. My best words of wisdom from Mom go back to my Junior Showmanship days, “Smile, enjoy your dog, and have fun.” These words still resonate today. My Canaan Dog mentors are Bryna Comsky and Donna Dod- son. Both are breed matriarchs. Bryna bred my first Canaan Dog and instilled a romanticism of the breed and its history. She also contributed to my eye that spots the elegance of the breed. Donna bred many of the dogs behind my foundation in the breed. Her keen sense of the essence of Canaan Dog temperament helped me to

dog fancier and breeder since 1987. She is a Breeder of Merit with the AKC. She has published previous articles about the breed in interna- tional dog show publications. She has a published series of E-books on aspects helpful to dog owners in general called: Life With Puppies, Holidays with the Dogs , and oth- ers. Her Briards have achieved high

titles both in the USA and Canada, and in European Countries. I live in Bridgehampton, New York. My breed is the Briard, Le Chien de Brie. I have a lot of interests, really, and involvement in other areas. I have career involvements as well. I am a creative per- son professionally in entertainment, as a creative story writer, pro- ducer, and sometimes actress. I have been an avid skier, and am a yogi, teaching specifically mudras work. I have an interest in horses, and metaphysics is a lifelong interest of mine. I am for a long time engaged and interested in the field of human development poten- tial. I love to read and travel. I love many kinds of music. I like to dance. I am basically still curious about many things. How many years have I been involved in dogs and as a breeder? I have been involved with the Briard since the late 1980s. I bred my first litter in 1993. Do I compete in conformation, companion or performance events? All three, really. I have competed internationally in confor- mation with my dogs, as have some of my puppy buyers, but always my dogs are bred first and foremost to be companion dogs. Even if they show and compete successfully, their bulk of life I aim to be compatible with their person and families. It was an effort on my part to produce, as best I could, a dog that had it all. Yet, I have, I believe, as a breeder, produced the top-ranked ever AKC Herding dog in competition in America: Triple CH Fresco of the Coastline, [also] a conformation CH, whose one litter was filmed at my home by the Discovery Channel for their show on the Briard, Too Cute . Several other Briards of my breeding have competed to high results in herding as well. Many of my dogs have been simply big family dogs, or shown only in conformation classes to success. The last dog of mine that was out showing was shown to his CH in conformation from start to finish by his owner, Mr. Joe Contrera of Massachusetts, who had never been in a dog show before in his life previous to owning his Briard, whom he calls Seth. Is my breed still capable of performing its original function? There are many professional herding people whom I have heard say, for the most part—in the USA at least—that many Briards today are not able to perform well, nor are [they] such good students of sheep herding, the original purpose of the Briard in ancient times. That aspect of nature for that work is not very evident at this time when they see them show up for herding classes. It is not only their >


Powered by