Showsight Presents The Briard

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

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

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