Showsight Presents The Briard

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,

246 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019

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