Let’s Talk Breed Education!
EXAMINING THE BRIARD
BY THE BRIARD CLUB OF AMERICA BREED EDUCATION COMMITTEE
T he Briard is handsome, alert and powerful without coarseness. He must possess the structural integrity and mental versatility necessary to accomplish his roles as a herding dog used to keep his flock within the boundaries of a designated graze, and an all-purpose farm dog that serves the shepherd in diverse tasks. These roles, which keep him on the move for long hours, demand soundness, efficiency, and athleticism above all other things. A hands-on examination and evaluation of movement is neces- sary to determine the details of the breed standard. Touching the dog to verify what the coat covers is critical to the evaluation of the Briard. Learning to identify the landmarks under the coat will assist the eye in scrutinizing the movement, which can be shrouded by the dense Briard coat. There is ample range allowed in size, keeping in mind that undersize is a disqualification. Dogs range from 23"-27" and bitch- es from 22"-25½". The dog should appear masculine and the bitch feminine, irrespective of size. It is perfectly possible that there will be dogs in the ring that are smaller than bitches. The acceptable size range allows for dogs that might be shorter in height than bitches, yet are well within standard height. Briard proportion can create some visual confusion, primarily due to the illusion the coat can create. The measuring points are clearly defined by the standard. The Briard is equal to or slightly longer than its height at the withers, measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttock. Bitches may be a little longer, which is not a mandate, but rather, a possibility. The word “slightly” is defined as “very small in size, degree, amount or importance.” When explaining the significance of “slightly” in the breed, we often say that if one were to be at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and you were asked to step forward—slightly—how far forward would you go? It is, indeed, a very small measurement. This image clarifies the nuance of the word. Being a coated and tailed breed that calls for a “moderately advanced breastbone,” the Briard will appear off-square. As spe- cifically stated in the AKC standard, “The Briard is not cobby in build.” It is believed that the word “cobby” was used in its literal sense, per its definition: “Cobby, as that of a Cobb horse, small, usually of stout build,” referring to a type of body and not to describe the length of back as the word is often used in the dog world today. The “cobby” image calls to mind a Briard that is heavy and inelegant, like that of a draft horse.
The withers are prominent, the back straight, the loin broad, with croup slightly sloped. The ribs are moderately curved in an inverted egg shape. The correlation between the depth of chest, breastbone, and ribcage are important as they enhance the correct shape of the dog, but most importantly of all, they provide a body shape that promotes lung and heart capacity, essential to the ability to work a full day with endurance and resistance to fatigue. A Briard head gives the impression of length and sufficient width, its length being about forty percent of the height of the dog at the withers. Skull and muzzle are of equal length, strong, and cleanly sculptured with the planes of the head being parallel. The occiput is surprisingly prominent. The nose is square and must be black, no matter the color of the dog. Ears are to be set high, and may be either cropped or left natural. There is no preference given to either, but the ears should be expressive and mobile—though
“A HANDS-ON EXAMINATION AND EVALUATION OF MOVEMENT IS NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THE DETAILS OF THE BREED STANDARD.”
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EXAMINING THE BRIARD
they will not necessarily be in a constant state of alert. The eyes are set well apart, large, neither round nor almond, with a horizontal axis, and the upper lid is somewhat arched. They are black or black- brown, with a confident, questioning expression. Pigmentation of the eye rims should be very dark, sometimes extending beyond the rim of the eye. The lips are black. The neck is of good length and is in the shape of a truncated cone. “The head joins the neck in a right angle and is held proudly alert” is a phrase that is applied to the dog in a stationery position. It connotes the manner in which the neck joins the base of the skull. It does not imply that the neck is held in a vertical line. When in motion, the head and neck should extend forward. The outline of the Briard is completed by a breed hallmark, the distinctive tail that ends in a crook (or “crochet”), similar to the let- ter “J” when viewed from the right side of the dog. The shape is not always apparent when the dog is in repose. Ideally, the tail should be carried low, never coming above the level of the back (except for the terminal crook). Another traditional breed hallmark are the double dewclaws required on each rear leg. It is important to learn how to examine for the digits as, ideally, the dewclaws form functional toes and are, therefore, much lower than one might anticipate. The Briard coat should enhance the outline of the dog. A cor- rect coat needs less grooming and functions better in the elements. The correct double coat is coarse, hard and dry, and slightly waving on the outside with a tight, short, protective undercoat. The col- ors are black, tawny, and gray in various shades. Combinations of two of these colors are permitted without marked spots, but rather, with smooth, gradual, and symmetrical transitions from one color to another. White is not allowed, except as scattered white hairs throughout the coat on all colors or as a spot on the chest no bigger than one inch in diameter at the root of the hairs. Briards may go through color changes from puppyhood to adulthood, which may include the changing of some black coats to gray, and tawny coats to lighten (and then darken) over time. This transitional color change also occurs in the grays. The coat texture may also go through changes over the course of several years. The gait of the well-conformed Briard is beautiful to behold. It is light and gliding, a marvel of supple power; effortless. It is impor- tant that the angulations of the front and rear be correct and equal, to help drive the dog forward and create the balanced gait so valued by the shepherd. Briard movement clearly displays the balance, pow- er, flexibility, and soundness synonymous with its correct structure.
EXAMINING THE BRIARD The Briard should be approached calmly, with assurance and self-confidence on the part of the examiner. The Briard should stand his ground with- out cringing or menacing the examiner. All judges are expected to check for each of the Briard’s dis- qualifications. If a Briard does not appear to meet the minimum height requirement for its sex, it is incum- bent upon the judge to request a wicket and measure the dog. Bearing in mind that the head is coated, approach from the front so the dog can see you and be aware of your presence. Place one hand under the chin, taking care to not grab the beard. Head planes, proportions, and ear placement are confirmed during this portion of the exam. Brush the hair away from the eyes to check eye color, shape, placement, and pig- mentation. You may then move on to examining the bite and noting nose color. Any disqualifications on the head may be identified at this time. To check for disqualifying white on the chest, face the same direction as the dog, place your right hand on the left side of the dog’s head as you lean forward to lift the coat on the dog’s chest. Do make sure the dog’s head is controlled by the handler. It is recommended that you follow good judging practice as directed by the AKC to avoid placing yourself at risk. Proceed with the examination as with any other breed. Remember to check for coat quality as you examine the body. To examine for length of tail, con- tinue from your exam of the loin and croup, gently place your hand at the base of the tail, then run it down to the bony tip of the tail, verifying that it is uncut. You may then bring the tail over to the hock, taking care not to pull, stretch or force the crook of the tail open to make your determination of length. You must be able to confirm that there are two dewclaws on each rear leg. When reaching down to check for dewclaws, do not use the dog’s hindquarters to support yourself; nor should you stoop down or kneel on the ground. To facilitate the examination of the dewclaws, place your hand at ground level at the inside of each rear foot and move it upward. Dewclaws that are attached low on the leg or are positioned next to the other toes may necessitate that you lift the foot to confirm the presence of the dewclaws. If you are unable to locate the dewclaws, give the handler the option of showing them to you. If the handler wishes you to proceed with the exam yourself, carefully lift the leg back and up just a bit, keeping the foot and leg in line with the body.
DISQUALIFICATIONS • All dogs or bitches under the minimum size limits (dogs under 23" and bitches under 22") • Yellow eyes or spotted eyes • Nose any color other than black • Tail non-existent or cut • Less than two dewclaws on each rear leg • White coat • Spotted coat • White spot on chest exceeding 1" in diameter
The BCA’s Breed Education Booklet that contains the breed standard and commentary is available on the Briard Club of America’s website. AUTHORS Marsha Clamp, Theresa Lee, Terry Miller, Margaret Shappard, Denise Simenauer, and Meg Weitz
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Introducing the next generation all sired by
GIBBS MBIS MBISS GCHG CH CELEBRA’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENTWORK
REMEDY GCH CH TAMBRIE’S
POTION NUMBER NINE WINS BEST OF OPPOSITE SEX AT THE BRIARD CLUB OF AMERICA NATIONAL SPECIALTY
FAITH CELEBRA’S REFLECTION OF FAITH
WINS BEST BRED BY EXHIBITOR BITCH AT THE BRIARD CLUB OF AMERICA NATIONAL SPECIALTY
More Gibbs puppies coming in November!
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*AKC BREED STATS 2020
PRESERVATION BREEDERS LIKE
CHRISTI LEIGH THAT BREEDER IN NEWMEXICO
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Creative Puppy Raising In a COVIDWorld
BY TERRY MILLER
I am a breeder. I am a dog trainer. I am a dog trainer coming off of months spent working with training clients seven days a week to meet the needs of however many families that acquired dogs dur- ing the Pandemic. Many were inexperienced. Many were lonely and desperate for a canine friend. Many took whatever was available in the depleted inventory created by like-minded neighbors—and the rest of the world. The lucky ones planned ahead and were able to actually choose a breed and, in some cases, even a breeder. Others took whatever was offered by rescues, shelters, pet shops, puppy farms, puppy websites, Facebook, Craig’s List, and fancy websites. Whether these puppies came from a master breeder or an Amish puppy farm, one common denominator that I have seen across the board has been a consistent lack of social confidence towards strangers. The remarkable consistency was that almost every puppy/adolescent struggled with this, no matter the breed. The breeds that we might generalize about, with an expecta- tion of being gregarious, socially forward, and indiscriminately friendly, were worrying about social contact almost as much as their selective or aloof and anti-social cousins. Lab puppies were standing behind their owners’ legs when offered the chance to greet a new person. Goldens moved away rather than rushed up to joyfully say hello. Cockers sub- missively urinated and avoided contact. All [reactions] were a result of our society’s self-imposed social isolation. Breeds that I would have expected to be unscathed by a lack of social contact with strangers dis- played worries akin to their naturally selective cousins. Coming from a breed with high needs for novel socialization, I began to panic about our own approaching litter. My breed, even in “ normal” times, needs devoted efforts for constant social contact and new situ- ations. We instruct puppy people that they cannot afford to skimp on socialization, out and about and away from home. We interview new potential homes about their lifestyle, their own social tendencies, their time availability. (It takes commitment to produce a well-raised Briard.) We coach our puppy people on specific techniques for the best results. The wise raising of any and all puppies includes an early life full of variation, interaction, novel situations, social experiences, challenges,and positive stimulation. Puppies derive the most benefit from this exposure during the first year of life, from puppyhood through adolescence.
“Whether these puppies came from a master breeder or an Amish puppy farm, one common denominator that I have seen across the board has been a consistent lack of social confidence towards strangers .”
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Why not throw in the patronage of animal establishments that have a feel for the challenges at hand, and would benefit from some business? I have found myself suggesting sources that I usually recom- mended avoiding before. Here is a limited list to consider: 1. Take your puppy to doggie daycare businesses—not for the dog interaction (which can be of limited benefit), but more for the human handling opportunities that a new group of strangers provides. Make it clear that the goals are for the puppy to reap rewards from the puppy/human contact most of all. Request handling and physical contact with every one of the humans at the business. Novel is the governing factor, so going back to the same familiar daycare defeats the purpose. Change is good. Change is challenging. Challenge is good. 2. Call grooming shops and ask for these same things. Pay for a bath or a 15-minute cursory dog massage, and ask if there are multiple employees so that the puppy may be exposed, held, and connected with each one. Make appointments with as many grooming shops as you can visit. Explain the goals in your request to the shop. Might the groomer tether your puppy to them for a few minutes while answering the phone or brushing another dog? Perhaps the puppy can be brushed by one, then trimmed by another, and petted by yet another? “Change” and “novel” are the words of the day. Hanging in the personal space of a new person is a necessity. 3. Call your vet. Ask if they might, for a small fee, babysit your puppy for 15-30 minutes just for the positive impact it will have on the puppy. Perhaps the puppy can sit with the people at the front desk answering the phone and doing paperwork. Once again, the puppy should be on a leash so that the per- sonal space of the socializer is the “no escape” option. 4. There are lots of sources for active chaos, which adds to the positive impact of socialization. Get creative and come up with your own list: Saturday in front of the grocery store; inside stores that do not serve food; hardware and home improvement stores; some department stores; electronics stores; the dry cleaners… Keep in mind, this is about novel experiences practiced frequent- ly. There is no such thing as too much socialization.
The puppies that are most in need, ie., individuals of breeds or profileswith a tendency toward avoidance, suspicion, or little inter- est in new people or experiences, are potentially harmed by miss- ing out on the constant exposure opportunities of pre-COVID times. The word “novel” looms large in the pursuit of enough experiences to stimulate and pattern the social confidence sought. These needs are universally critical in most all walks of life for dogs, but are most essential in urban settings. Whether the dog will be a working animal, service animal, family companion or show dog, the dog’s life (and humans who interact with him/ her) is enhanced tremendously by thorough and varied exposure to life experiences. Average intensive socialization should incorporate meeting, greeting, and being drawn into the personal space of strangers in novel locations. This should be in repetitions of 50 new people in 50 new locations per month, from 2-14 months old. It is especially needed in the many Working and Herding breeds whose default settings are to be selective, watchful, and aloof in the unfamiliar. But now, with the social void of isolation and distancing (and with most people wearing masks), it becomes a useful tool for all developing puppies. So I asked myself, what creative solutions can I develop for my own puppies? For my puppy peoples’ puppies? For my training clients’ puppies? How does one make that happen in a pandemic? First, creativity. If the primary goal is the word “novel,” the implication is that one has to provide lots of change and new- ness. If the other goal is the word “frequent,” the implication is that one has to come up with enough options to not be stuck vis- iting the same locations. And lastly, the goal is for the puppy to spend time in the personal space of each new person and, if possi- ble, long enough to relax and drink in the attention and lavished positive physical contact. Sometimes, luring in the puppy with food to the personal space of a stranger is an excellent solution to squelch avoidance. The stranger keeps the dog near, engulfed in their personal space, holding onto the leash (so you can social distance), and feeding multiple treats one at a time until the puppy accepts the treats, eats them and, therefore, relaxes. The source of the treats needs to be the stranger’s hand, not yours.
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1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. We’ve all heard the Briard described as a “Heart wrapped in fur.” What’s he like around the house? Around shows? Around strangers? 3. Your Standard contains many DQs: All dogs or bitches under the minimum size limits. Yellow eyes or spotted eyes. Nose any color other than black. Tail non-existent or cut. Less than two dewclaws on each rear leg. White coat. Spotted coat. White spot on chest exceeding one inch in diameter. Are there any you’ d like to see removed? Are there any you’ d like to see added? 4. How does the general public view the Briard. Have they seen enough of them to recognize the breed? 5. How do you place your pups? 6. At what age do you choose a show prospect? 7. What is your favorite dog show memory? 8. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. MARSHA CLAMP Many years ago when I started in dogs I had Siberian Huskies. I wanted another breed that wasn’t so popular and when a friend got a Briard puppy and asked me to show her, well that did it. I fell head over heels in love with the breed, and have been involved with them since 1977. I have bred and owned some very nice Briards over the years. Some have done well in the breed ring, some in obedience and other performance venues, and also herding. I strive for a bal- anced dog, sound in mind and body. I live in Worcester Massachusetts. I work for Home Depot as a Price Auditor during the week. Most of my time outside of work does involve dog related projects. I am currently working to get one of my dogs certified as a therapy dog to visit nursing/rehab homes. Around the house Briards are very loyal and lovable, and can be very entertaining. They have a wonderful sense of humor and love to be the center of attention. They get along well with other pets when they are raised with them, even when they have a high prey drive. Their intuition towards strangers and situations is very acute. A Briard can tell one’s intentions, be it friend or foe. While they are very protective of house and humans, when raised correctly they are a very social animal, welcoming friends and other dogs into their domain. It is very important to socialize a Briard puppy to all sorts of different situations while they are growing up. Locking them away when anyone comes to visit can make them very anti-social and they may become aggressive. I take my puppies everywhere I go if I can, exposing them to shows, people and other animals. One cannot get too much socializing for a Briard puppy. Many of mine have learned the art of “baiting” in the ring by sitting ringside in my lap and having handlers give them treats. A Briard with high prey drive can be a handful, but over the years I have learned to “channel” that energy into a very well adjusted and happy show- dog. I really enjoy having them be “up” in the ring and may times have had one be the entertainment for ringside spectators with their antics. Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? I would have to say the DQ’s in the breed are fine the way they are. They are all in there for a reason and we strive to keep this breed as it is. How does the general public view the Briard? Very few people outside of shows now what a Briard is, and that is not necessarily a
bad thing. We do not want the Briard to become a “popular” dog, as many times that causes many problems in a breed. I will educate anyone asking what it is, what are they bred for, etc. when I have one with me out in public. And my dogs always enjoy meeting new people wherever we go. How do I place my pups? When I have a litter I am very care- ful to whom I sell a puppy. They are not the breed for just anyone. Many people love the look of a long coated breed but have no idea the care that goes into one. They also need to be aware of the social- izing that goes into a Briard puppy (and many of the other herding breeds). If the dog isn’t going to be raised correctly and taught from the onset about proper behavior around people and other animals and grooming, I do not want one of mine in that home. Over the years I have placed puppies with many types of families, from one with little children to a single owner. All have done very well, except for a couple whose owners became lax with training, socializing, etc. I have taken a couple back over the years and rehomed them after some work on my part and they became very well loved and behaved dogs. At what age do I choose a show prospect? It is difficult to keep multiple Briard puppies for a long time to make a choice because of the socialization they need. I have learned over the years that by watching them grow as puppies over the first eight weeks that I can make a very educated guess by eight weeks, sometimes earlier. All the ones I have chosen at hat early age have turned out like I thought they would. A breeder who knows their lines and sees enough puppies over the years can be successful in picking good puppies at an early age. My favorite dog show memory? I have so many wonderful mem- ories that it is hard to pick just one. One of mine is at a National where I was showing my boy, Larry, as a veteran for the very first time. He just loved the ring and had not been in one for a couple of years. The more the crowd cheered him on, the rowdier he got! Jumping up on me, barking, being a real brat, but held it together enough to win his veteran class and go on to be one of the final three males in the ring. A wonderful and heartwarming experience to be sure! I cannot stress enough for the buyer to do their homework and buy from a reputable breeder, and not the cheapest puppy out there. Breeders strive to get the best we can from a breeding. Health checks are a must. All dogs need to be sound in mind as well as structure; a very beautiful dog with serious health or temperament problems is not a good example of the breed. Good breeders take their time choosing who to breed for many reasons, both structure and temperament being in our minds. Their are not a breed for people not willing to do some work in raising, training and groom- ing! A Briard is an awesome dog to have, but their owners need to be firm and consistent in everything they do. GINA KLANG I have been involved with this amazing breed since 1995. My daughter started showing our dogs when she was just a little girl six years old. Now as time has passed, KayCee and I are partners in this venture of breeding and dog showing. We take special care in breeding for easy biddable temperaments and lovely examples of the breed. We are a partnership in that I do more of the breed- ing, caring, raising of the dogs and KayCee does the training, and expert handling of the dogs. We evaluate the litters together and make selections as a team. Together we have raised multiple group
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Briard Q& A winning dogs, Specialty winning dogs, National Specialty winning dogs, and two generations of Best In Show and Reserve Best in Show winning dogs. My hope is that when I am long gone that KayCee will continue on and preserve the pedigrees and dogs of Mon Amie. We live in Thousand Palms California just east of Palm Springs. Besides the dogs I own two quarter horses and enjoy riding and cow sorting. Briards are described as a “heart wrapped in fur” I think because Briards want to please and have a strong sense of attachment to their people. Briards love to be where ever their people are. If you want to lay around and watch movies and have a lazy day Briards are happy to hang out with you. They are happy if they are with you no matter what you are doing. At dog shows, if well socialized they do very well around other dogs and people. We have had lazy dogs that once at a show just come to life and are quite the “show dog”. Briards are very funny and have a lot of personality and sense of humor. Briards, per the standard are aloof with strangers. They should tolerate strangers and never show any signs of aggression. Briards were bred to guard so they attach themselves to their people and really do not care much about the outside world, but again if properly socialized Briards can be quite social. The Briard standard does have eight disqualifications. In my opinion some are to differentiate the Briard from its cousin the Beauceron. The DQ’s for eye color for example, and the DQ for spotted coat are meant to clearly separate the two breeds. I do not feel like there should be anymore DQ’s we already have more than most breeds. And, as far as adding any more DQ’s I do not feel like we need to add any the Briard is pretty well covered from head to tail. I do feel that size is of “concern” in our breed. Briards are a medium sized working breed, and it seems that some of the dogs are just getting too big. We do have wording that appears twice in the standard that says “inelegant gait should be severely penalized”. The bigger dogs can be cumbersome and not have the “quick silver” gait required of the breed. The Briard should be able to work trot- ting and changing speed and direction over the corse of a work day, the larger dogs would break down and tire in my opinion. This is a concern and not something I feel should be an added DQ but as breeders we should be mindful of. The general public often mistakes the Briard for a Bouvier. Not sure how but I guess to the uneducated eye they make that assump- tion. Briards are not very well know and there are very few out and about for people to see. People often admire their regal appearance and are taken by the beautiful coat. When we have one of our dogs out with us we know that it may take us longer to get where we are going because people stop us to ask us lots of questions about the breed. I evaluate the entire litter at eight weeks. This gives me the opportunity to pick out the stand outs from the companion pup- pies. All of our puppies are placed into show homes first then I place puppies into the other companion homes based on appropriate tem- perament for each family. Because choosing the right temperament for each individual family is primary I select each puppy for each buyer. All of our puppies are sold with a purchase agreement requir- ing spay or neuter and we are there to assist new owners through the life of their puppy. Show prospects are chosen around 12 weeks of age although I generally evaluate the entire litter at eight weeks. I watch the pup- pies move around in the yard from about five weeks on. Often there are a stand out puppies who cover the ground beautifully and never stop without being four square and just seem to always put their feet down just right. Generally you can see this by eight weeks of age. As far as having it all together though, if I can hang on to my favorite puppies until about 12 weeks that gives me a good idea of their foot Gina Klang continued
timing, how they carry themselves and movement. It seems like they come together and are coordinated at that age. For KayCee and I our favorite memory has to be our National Specialty Breed win. As breeders that is a very rewarding win and it was so special because my daughter and I are a team. We bred, raised, and trained the dog and KayCee beautifully handled the dog to his win. That was such a wonderful moment for us. Such a cherished memory. CHRISTI LEIGH In terms of breeding Briards. I got my first Briard in 1992. I got my first show Briard in 1996. I bred my first litter in 2000. I have bred about 60 champions in 38 litters. I have bred Westminster winners, grand champions, Best in Show winners, Specialty win- ners. The most important thing is producing dogs that contribute to families. I have done that as well, companions as well as service/ therapy dogs. I live in New Mexico. I work on radioactive waste disposal. What’s the breed like around the house, shows and strangers? Around the house the Briard is interactive and funny with his peo- ple. They are pretty much shadows, with you all of the time, if you let them. They are highly intelligent and can be very funny when they are negotiating with you over something they want. They defi- nitely serve as watch dogs because they alert bark at any number of things—like there is a squirrel in the yard—danger danger Will Robinson. At shows they are well behaved if you have trained them to be. The Briard is supposed to be reserved with strangers. That is guarded at first and then may warm up to them as time passes. They are not supposed to be aggressive in any way—just alert and watchful in case there is a danger. Are there any DQs I’d like to see removed or added? There is no need to change the Briard standard in any way. Many of the DQs are things that I have not ever seen in a Briard, so you might think they don’t exist any more. But, there is no reason to eliminate them as DQs. They are easy to memorize and when thinking about the actual purpose of the breed, they make perfect sense. How does the general public view the Briard? More people are recognizing Briards in public but it still a small number of people. Most people react to the dogs saying how cute they are, asking to pet them, and then asking what breed they are. I have a number of friends who carry explanation cards with them to hand out to the inquisitive public. How do I place my pups? All I can say is that I am looking for homes that will value the pups as much as I do. Value the fact that they are a high quality purebred dog with specific traits that you want to see in your family dog. Finding those people is always a struggle no matter how much you advertise. It is generally a ration of about 10 to 1. That is, talk to ten people, maybe sell one puppy. At least that is the way for me. I use a purchase agreement to ferret out where I might have difficulties with a buyer. For example, I have had a number of people (mostly men) who just do not like the idea of neutering a male dog. If the buyer cannot get over that stipula- tion, they don’t get a dog. At what age do I choose a show prospect? I watch the litter from birth to ten weeks. Pups change from week to week not just in shape and size but in personality. I have decided what I want to keep for my breeding program by ten weeks. It may not be the pup consid- ered the best for showing because showing is only part of the pic- ture. I will choose the pup that has the characteristics I was breed- ing for without compromising what I have already accomplished in my breedings. My favorite dog show memory? Dog shows are necessary for someone who breeds because the breeder needs to see what others are doing with their gene pool and be able to discuss the ins and outs of the breed with experienced people. That is not always fun.
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Briard Q& A
Christi Leigh continued
So it is hard to pick a favorite memory. However, I would say that I was unbelievably pleased when my dog Cognac won the National Specialty in 2011. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and sacrifice keeping the dog out and in condition to be shown to this judge whose opinion I valued. As with any breed, the look of the dog is cyclical depending on which human beings are showing and politicking the most. Those people naturally promote the look they have, and when judges see that look over and over and over, they tend to think it is correct. It takes serious consideration on the part of the judge to have in his or her mind what he/she thinks is the ideal look of the Briard first and then apply that to the specimens being examined. This is something that is just not possible for every breed a judge has to examine. That being said, the breed is currently being represented (in force) with specimens that are in my opinion too long and too narrow, lacking sufficient prosternum and spring of rib. This is simply my opinion. For me, I will continue to emphasize a proportional body shape in my breedings because I believe it contributes substantially to the dog’s ability to do the job for which he was bred—herding. BARBE LYNCH I live in western New York State and I’m a Graphic Designer. I got my first Briard
but a constant companion. You never get the bathroom to yourself when you live with a Briard. But when you’re ready to go do some- thing outside, go in the car, the dog is up and raring to go. They can be bed hogs if you don’t make rules. At shows, a puppy can be full of curiosity, nosy and silly, but an adult tends to be all business, up on the table for ring prep and minds its manners on the walk to the ring. As for strangers, young dogs can be overtly, embarrassingly friendly, adults reserved but calmly accepting. But some are wary until they get to know the new person. Briards take looking after their family seriously and keep a watchful eye on strangers. Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? None should be added nor removed. The DQs are about retaining the uniqueness of type that makes a Briard a Briard. We also have two Penalizations in the standard. They go together as the first describes structural attributes that should not be lacking and the second penalizes “clumsy or inelegant gait”. A properly built Briard’s move- ment is like looking at fine artwork...simply stunning. How does the general public view the Briard? Several movies an a TV comedy with Briards served to increase public awareness of the breed. But they are still a lesser known breed. I remember leav- ing a hotel one morning heading to a dog show when a person in the lobby exclaimed what a pretty ‘cockapoo’! Nothing like starting the day out with a major insult to your beloved showdog. How do I place my pups? My first litter was born in 1978. Now most of my pups go to previous puppy owners. A couple who had one of the ‘78 pups now has a 2012 born dog, and in between had three others who overlapped or co-resided. At what age do I choose a show prospect? When choosing for myself I have to consciously avoid the emotional blindspot. There is always one puppy I fall in love with but it isn’t always the best show prospect, so I have become brutally honest about assessing the plus and minuses of each pup. If I’m trying to choose between two nice pups, I’ll keep them longer and choose by 12 weeks but that’s rarer, usually my choice has been made by seven to eight weeks. When helping a buyer, I present those pups of the desired sex who have the best structure and puppy movement thus far and give them my observation on each pup’s temperament and character. If they are experienced, I’d prefer they make their choice on what they see, if they are newer to showing, I’ll give my opinion based on what I think will fit what they have told me they want, i.e., dual purpose dog, show dog only, if they have young kids, etc. My favorite dog show memory? Participating in the last dog show Mary Lou Tingley (Phydeaux Briards—kennel name retired by AKC/BCA) ever judged. It was the 1991 National Specialty. I’d add on to that by saying the most Briard educational expe- rience I’ve ever had was spending nearly a week at Mary Lou’s a couple of years before she past away, talking long into the night, scanning all her old photos, listening to so many incredible stories of old Briards and their folks. It was amazing, just total immersion into breed lore. It is an amazingly intelligent, adaptive breed. Loyal to a fault, deeply devoted, one that builds such a strong, nearly palpable bond with its family. We have a couple of sayings “Once you’ve been owned by a Briard, you can’t live without one.” I cannot imagine my life without a Briard in it. The other saying is, “The person get- ting a Briard must be at least as smart as the dog, or it will not work out well.” This has been proven, far too often. It is amazing that a breed established in the USA by 8-10 found- er French imports has developed with so few health issues. The two World Wars created a serious genetic bottleneck in the breed with so many dying as they were used as war dogs in a variety of capacities. Yet the breed has a good longevity record. The breed is very lucky in that the founder dogs were not just sturdy, quality animals, they appear to also have been quite healthy genetically too.
puppy as a rescue in 1974. I was impressed by his intelligence, gentleness, quick learning capabili- ties, and devotion to me. I fell in love with the breed, head over heels. I obtained my first show pup in 1976 and pro- duced my first litter in 1978. From then to now
there have been celebrations for many Championships, Herding titles/Championships, Performance titles, Rassemblement Selec- tions and happy life experiences shared with the dogs’ owners, even the grandpup’s owners who continue to compete in the ever-grow- ing venues AKC keeps providing to us. From 1990 to 2004 I published “The Briard Journal”, a quar- terly news publication that covered ‘Briard happenings’ around the world, which led me to see some major International dog shows and ‘kennel-hopping’ trips abroad. Today, I enjoy living with Briards who are direct descendants from my original American bred bitch, that also share the genes of the fine dogs I imported from France and Australia, as well as, selected outcrosses to other quality dogs and lines done to add desir- able features to our dogs. It is a point of pride that I can state my dogs are direct descendants to the first Briard registered with AKC, Dauphine de Montjoye. My immersion in Briards is total. I’m a lifetime member of the BCA. I’ve served in many positions in the BCA including sever- al years as art and Layout Editor of the BCA publication, “The Dewclaw”, 12 years as as a member of the Education Committee and Judge Mentor, currently enjoy working as a Trustee of the Briard Medical Trust. My heart has been in my work as longtime Archives/Historian chair. I’ve spent two decades seriously research- ing the beginnings and history of Briards in America, and am now finalizing the facts and stories and photos that owners have shared with me into a book. It has been a wonderful journey for my nearing five decades involvement in Briards. What is the breed like around the house, shows and strangers? For a large dog the Briard adult is kind of lazy around the house,
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Briard Q& A
Caution should be taken by anyone judging the breed to pay close attention to nose color. We are seeing some dilute blacks who are not grey, but are actually blue. This means the nose DQ “ nose any color than black” would be found in such a dog. Therefore, this dog should be disqualified. How does the general public view the Briard. Have they seen enough of them to recognize the breed? The breed is more recognized now than it had been in the past however, there are also many more people asking if it’s a Labradoo- dle or a Goldendoodle or asking “what mix is that?” Our numbers have basically stayed the same, yet the breed is probably a bit more known by the general public. I would guess this has to be with increased visibility on social media. How do I place my pups? Extremely carefully. This is not a breed for everyone. Just the temperament and coat care alone are not for the faint of heart. They are very high maintenance. Fortunately, more than 50% of our puppies go to experienced Briard homes. Many of the homes have had Briards for multiple generations in their families and many are second generation Briard owners from us, having grown up with the breed and now as adults, seeking the breed for their own families. We spend a lot of time with the new people prior to placement teaching them all the reasons why the Briard may not be the right breed for them. They are asked to fill out a puppy questionnaire and be scrutinized with lots of questions about their life style and preparation for having a strong minded, opinionated working dog. At what age do I choose a show prospect? We start the choosing process at birth of course and continue sorting through until we are left with what we decide to keep for us. That is usually around10-12 weeks old. Even then, we continue to evaluate throughout their development. Our dogs are house dogs, therefore we manage our numbers carefully and thoughtfully. My favorite dog show memory? When I won the national spe- cialty with Ch C’est Bonheur Woodbine Tinsel under Ann Rogers Clark from the Veteran Bitch Class. I had always felt Tinsel was a great one, yet she was BOS at the National three times. Finally, as a veteran, in 1990 Mrs. Clark pointed to Tinsel and me for Best of Breed. I was crying, Mrs. Clark was crying, and much of the ring- side and other exhibitors were crying. ELLENMYERS An AKC Breeder of Merit, author of articles and one book on the Briard: Briards Past and Present: Conversation with Leading Breeders ( The book can be bought signed directly from Author or via Amazon.) A breeder whose tawny dogs are multiple country show winning Briards, in some countries the only breeder in North America whose dogs have won ever in certain countries. The breed- er of the only Triple CH Herding Briard in American History in the various clubs recorded. Her one litter is documented by Animal Planet in their series, “Too Cute”, filmed at her home over six weeks during the early development of the litter. She developed her line of dogs by going back to the country of origin over several years and studying the breed and the breed history and attempted to bring the American Briard more into proper alignment with the most historic valued characteristics of the breed appearing in the standard in all countries. Never a large scale breeder, she always valued her goal of quality over quantity, and lived her breeding life in that manner. I live On Long Island, New York. I am a mudra yoga teacher, a producer, writer, actress, metaphysician and investor. What’s the breed like around the house? The Briard is an active dog and primed to be a herding dog. Family members substitute for sheep to the Briard and so around the house, you become the center of attention for the Briard. They will often be of the mind to follow you wherever you are going in the house. For them, you are their charge and they need to be near you.
Terry Miller graduated from college with a degree in Fine Arts and promptly started training dogs, some- thing she always aspired to do. She started with two pet Standard Poodles whom she exhibited in obe- dience. The first dog shown in conformation was a cli- ent’s wayward Briard which started a curiosity and fas- cination with the breed. The first Briard came after lots of homework from the
great kennel of Briards Chez Phydeaux owned by the Tingleys in Mendham, New Jersey and Aigner Briards of the Keiters in Tan- nersville, Pennsylvania. This dog and bitch were Winners Bitch and BOS at the 1982 National Specialty. Deja Vu Briards was off to the races. Terry went on to run a Hearing Dog program for the deaf and a training/behavioral business for 38 years. There have been more than 300 champions, five Westminster group placers, and home to the top winning dog and bitch of all time who happen to be sire and daughter Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT and Ch Deja Vu Ruffles Have Ridges PT. Deja Vu also became home to the top sire and the top dam of all time who happen to be dam and son Ch Deja Vu Four Leaf Clover and Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT. Deja Vu is also the winner of many wins at specialties, including 12 wins of Best of Breed/BISS at the National. Terry and partner Dominique Dubé breed under the Deja Vu Popsakadoo prefix and were humbled to be chosen the 2016 AKC Herding Group Breeders of the Year. We live in Novelty, Ohio. I am a dog behaviorist and trainer. What’s the breed like around the house, shows and strangers? Briards are decidedly and typically uncaring about strangers and obsessed with their family. They are a guard dog by nature, and are selective and discriminant about who counts in their perfect world. Briards are demonstrative and extremely loving. They are silly, funny, learn fast, and would rather do whatever their owners do than any other thing. They are a dog who would chase a frisbee for hours, or be equally happy laying in a heap at their owners’ feet. However for every trait, there is an opposite trait. The Briard is often selective to a fault in our urban life styles and can quickly develop a willingness to avoid or even become aggressive toward anyone who they perceive to not be part of their family, If not thor- oughly and intensely socialized to strangers and in new settings, they can become untrustworthy and possibly aggressive. The breed tends to have high prey drive and can be emotional and reactive. In the good sense, this can create a very responsive and engaged dog. In the bad sense, if not properly managed, it can create a p roblem animal. The Briard, in its finest form is a fantastic house pet, clean, silly and responsive, easy and adaptive and in love with their family and circle of friends. In addition, they can be welcoming and happy to meet and greet guests and strangers. As with anything, it depends on nature and nurture both. Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? I believe all the DQs should stay as is. They are so much a part of the his- tory of the Briard and represent the intentions and depictions of the Briard and the writers’ of the original standard. I think we have a good standard which is mostly clear and beautifully descriptive of what the Briard is.
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SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2022 | 11
Briard Q& A
Ellen Myers continued
standing the standard and the different expressions and types that existed within our breed. How does the general public view the Briard? I cannot speak for the general public. I have no idea. How do I place my pups? I never bred a lot of litters and so people generally would contact me and when I had a litter I would notify those who were on my list, or I placed notices on the BCA website where it has a place for announcing litters. Also today if one has a website for their dogs as I have for a long time,I could once I had a website announcing coming litters there as well. At what age do I choose a show prospect? For me no dog can be said to be show quality until it is at least five of six months of age. And so I don’t. Younger than that one can say perhaps the pup has show potential. That is all I ever honestly could say to people about a puppy previous to that age. My favorite dog show memory? I enjoy most in my experience a breed experience in France and their national Elevage for Briards. In my experiences this particular weekend has always been the most enjoyable for me. I always learned the most in this weekend of evaluations of the breed by particular experts in the breed, who work only really involved a concentration on Briards who had to prepare for nearly five years to be such judges. People bring their dogs from all over the world of the breed to this and yet it is done with great casualness and relaxation. I get to see so many dogs of the breed from so many places, and inquire and meet interested, serious people for the breed. Simply for myself the experience of my years with this breed has been very pleasurable although it is also a lot of work and much care and times has always been needed. I find that in a well bred Briard, given good relationships with humans, it is a great dog and will never disappoint a true dog lover. I have always considered my dogs, the great “all purpose dog.” DENISE SIMENAUER After many years of
A Briard however is not a hyper active dog and is steady in mind and action if of good mentality. They will lay at your feet for hours quietly. They can be quite boisterous when someone is approaching the house, as any dog can be, but due to their size and deep voice a Bri- ard can seem quite intimidating to a stranger. For this same reason they are a good guard dog, alert to small noises or changes. A Briard can be taught very good manners, but this requires a human take the time to teach them. Briards were not bred to be user friendly to strange dogs. If they had been, their ability to ward of strange animals approaching their flock of sheep in the fields would be non-existent. In the same way, they were not bred to be terribly interested and overly friendly to strange people. Strange people in the old days could walk into a field without fences and steal sheep if the Briard were not wary of strangers. So, around shows, in the outside world where they were not familiar with boundaries belonging to them, the Briard should be very alert to all that is around, and wary of strangers but a Briard is in such circumstances reserved, not aggressive. He is not shy or timid and so should properly be standing without hostility. Their natural intelligence and curiosity makes them alert and attentive but again, their behavior should, if well trained be polite and some- what aloof. They will always be happy to see people they know and like, but otherwise, do not expect a lap dog attitude. I believe with a Briard at a dog show, it is always useful to walk them around so they may see where they are and get their bearings, due to their intelligence. They are more relaxed if they have been given some time to take in where they are, especially if it is unfa- miliar and busy. This is really common sense. A normally domestic family dog does not enjoy being kept in a crate for hours on end, and only taken out for grooming and a ten minute walk in a show ring. I personally also feel it is a kind thing to do with a dog of mine at least at a show, as my dogs have a lot of freedom at home. Now, that being said, not all breeders have good reliable tem- perament in their Briard lines or specific dogs and yet they are able to be shown and to their owners they have value at a dog show com- petition. For Briards who have a harder nature, and are more highly suspicious and tense than others, then the owner may need to keep a firmer grip on such dogs and tell strangers to not if not suitable reach out to their dogs, etc. Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? I don’t believe any breeder should be in our breed attempting to get the laws or rules bent that exist in the standard. We have the standard for very well established reasons for very long. Our Briard is an ancient Briard and many many generations and even centuries fo breeding choices have gone into what makes a Briard. What I used to see when I was more active was breeders who were messing up and not getting a number of things right in their breeding results but attempting because that is what they got, to get judges to believe what they were showing was not wrong, but in fact, the judge should be rewarding them for being in the ring with incorrect dogs in regard to breed excellence just because that is what they had, and their interests were more about themselves than breeding excellent dogs. One needs to work to be a great breeder in the real sense and not the political sense, or simply business sense concerns. But this is my opinion. I used to say my competition was with myself not other breeders. My quest was to always do better against what I knew the highest standards were in every aspect of the dog with myself and my own results. I did not pay all that much attention to what others were doing because many are in love with whatever they breed. I always love and feel it is important to look at others breeding because no one breeder can do it all, and for the health of the dogs we need to reach out and breed with dogs who have things to offer our lines, and also to keep our dogs healthy. That is always how I approached breeding, along with really under-
showing American Sad- dlebred horses since she was seven years old, Denise began to show dogs. As a child, Denise showed her Miniature Poodle in Junior Showmanship. In 1968, Denise purchased her first show dog, Bruno, a St. Bernard. She showed and raised St. Bernards until 1974 when she went to visit a St. Bernard kennel in Eastern Pennsylvania and fell in love with the Bri- ards that had been recently taken in as rescues at that kennel. It was love at first sight! She then attended the first Briard American Rassemblement in 1974, in Columbus, Ohio where she met and fell in love with her first Briard puppy. The photo (left) is of Denise and
her first Briard, CH. Calumets Joharah J. Since 1974, Denise and her husband, Peter Simenauer have always had a Briard filling their home with love and humor. Bri- ards have been an integral part of their life and were an important
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