Showsight Presents The Briard

briard Q&A WITH ANNE BIXLER, PAT HASTINGS, JOE HOLAVA, BRIAN & CINDY MEYER, LINDA ROBEY, STANLEY SALTZMAN & WALTER SOMMERFELT

“I DON’T THINK MISUNDERSTANDING OF BREEDS IS LIMITED TO ONLY NEW JUDGES. THE HERDING DOG

TEMPERAMENT IS SOMETIMES DIFFICULT FOR NON-HERDING DOG PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND.”

JH: New judges to the breed, as well as those who don’t get to see the breed often enough (a problem with a more rare breed), can have difficulty with the proportions of the breed if they don’t to their homework. If they see one or two here and there and then are faced with a larger entry, they can especially run into difficulty. For exam- ple, four entrants are too long and only one is properly proportioned, the new or inexperienced judge with the breed might ignore the properly proportioned entrant, as he is different from the rest. Different is not necessarily a bad thing. Too many overly long dogs in the ring can present a challenge to the judge in his or her quest for the best. B&CM: Many judges we have observed have not studied the standard and know the disqualifications. When examin- ing a Briard, approach with confidence, do a quick and thorough exam and lastly check for dewclaws (lack of two dewclaws on each hind leg is a disqualification). The Briard should stand for the exam, but keep in mind they are reserved with strangers. SS: I don’t think misunderstanding of breeds is limited to only new judges. The Herding dog temperament is some- times difficult for non-Herding dog people to understand. 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? LR: I must have a balanced dog that has the proper quicksil- ver movement. They also must have a correct coat tex- ture and a good topline. Things I have to forgive recently are the correct head size. The head should be 40% of the height of the dog at the withers; however, many heads are getting smaller. Something I look for, but am seeing less and less, is the lack of the “J” crook tail. WS: My “must haves” are the proper proportions, coat, head and topline. They should be sound and well muscled to do the work they were bred for. They must also possess the supple and light gait that the standard describes as “quicksilver” that allows them to make abrupt turns, and springing starts and stops. As to shortcomings, the Briard has numerous dis- qualifications in the standard, which address the major

concerns of the breeders. When judging, the perfect dog has yet to be bred, so there will always be areas we must make allowances for based on the dogs presented on that day. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? LR: I enjoy the shows that have a theme—Woofstock, for instance. I think they bring the fun back to the shows. The exhibitors really seem to enjoy it. Also some of the clubs are doing a dinner at night for all the exhibitors, I like that also. Anything that can bring people together to have fun. There are a few things I’d like to see stopped; like too much complaining about everything; judging, grooming, etc. I see it on Facebook and other social media venues. While I enjoy some of the social media sites, I think people think it’s okay to trash others online. It is a hobby, we all should be enjoying it. I like to think of us as a family and while we don’t have to agree on everything, we should support each other. When I was showing, it was a great time to see my friends. Win or lose, you take the dogs you love home. WS: Improvements in presentation and conditioning. I would like to see more attention paid to the proportions area of the standard. I see too many exhibits that are long in body and short on leg. The standard calls for a dog that is equal to or “slightly” longer in length to height. 7. What, if any, are the traits breeders should focus on preserving? LR: Thankfully, I think most breeders are pretty dedicated to their breeds. The main thing I would say is please read your breed standard frequently. I think we can get car- ried away with winning and breeding to the big winner of the day. That leads us to generic show dogs. It also leads to dogs that all move the same. Not all dogs do, or should, move alike. Think of the breed standard and try to stay true to it. WS: I believe many of today’s exhibitors and some breed- ers do not pay attention to the “breed specific traits” described in the standards. There seems to be a tendency

338 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2018

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