1. Describe the breed in three words. AB: Independent, staunch and loyal. MG: Handsome, powerful and agile. SGP: Vigorous, powerful and agile.
I live in Westport, Connecticut and am semi-retired, but do still manage my business, which is located in New Jersey. Lynette and I spend some of each year in the homeland of the Briard. We have seen some marvelous entries at shows in France. We started showing dogs in 1956 and l began to judge in 1970.
PH: Hairy, herding and dewclaws. (I have been told that to describe a dog in three words it must be a description that anyone would recognize the breed and that breed alone from those three words alone. Easier said than done in many breeds.) JH: If limited to only three words to describe the Briard, the words loyal, athletic and eye-catching come first to mind. B&CM: Quicksilver, hairy and intelligent. SS: Balanced, elegant and alert. MS: Impressive, powerful and agile. WS: Alert, powerful and confident. DT: Affectionate, beautiful and confidante. MW: They’re usually known as “heart wrapped in fur”. 2. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? AB: No. MG: Attention does need to be paid to proportions. Extra body length does not necessarily result in a better side gait if the shoulder and croup are not correctly angulated, or the top line ends up being weaker. I also don’t want to see a short, straight fore and aft dog either, who will not exhibit a gait with any extension. I would prefer to see less straightening of the coat due to blow drying or other methods. The correct wave in a coat of good texture is enhances the whole picture of a Briard, but excesses of coat are also not necessarily a good thing either. SGP: Short tails, heads that are too small; closely set, light eyes; cow hocks. PH: I don’t think so. This is a breed that has improved greatly and consistently over the last 40 years. JH: For an exaggerated trait seen too often, I will go right back to the proportions characteristic. Far too many are overly long compared to their height. I feel this is an issue in several breeds, not just Briards. B&CM: No, not at this time. SS: I notice occasionally too much coat and more frequently low and long. MS: My pet peeve regarding “exaggeration” is excessive grooming. When describing the coat, the standard uses terms such as “coarse, hard, dry”, “falling naturally”, “forming a natural part”, “eyebrows . . . arch upward and out in a curve that lightly veils the eyes”. Between shampoos and other hair products, blow-drying and brushing to preserve coat, it is very difficult to evalu- ate correct coat texture (which the judge is asked to do). And of course there is that “knitting needle part” often on the head and all the way down the back—certainly not natural. We are not the only breed with this problem. Is it any wonder that most members of the general public view dog shows as “beauty contests” rather than the evaluation of breeding stock? I have long believed that the sport is full of frustrated hairdressers. Our multi-titled Briards often present with the most correct coat texture.
I live on the outskirts of Atlanta (in Fayetteville, Georgia) where I own and operate a boarding kennel. Although I grew up with dogs, my focus was on horses until the late 1960s when I purchased my first Great Dane. A few years later I became involved in obedience, and by the mid-70s began exhibiting in conformation as well. I have had Briards since 1983 and was approved to judge Danes, Briards and Juniors in 1997. I have served on a number of committees for both of my parent clubs and am currently a member of the Briard Club of America Breed Education Committee. WALTER SOMMERFELT I live in Lenoir City, Tennessee about 20 miles west of Knoxville. I am an Insurance agent and Financial Planning expert for Nationwide Insurance. I have been in dogs since 1972 and judging since 1985. DONAVAN THOMPSON
I am from Sacramento, California. In my life that supports dogs, I am a Real Estate Broker, duplicate Bridge player and passionate tennis and basketball fan. I’ve been in the dog world since 1965—51 years (wow, that is a long time especially since I still feel as though I’m 23!)
I live in the New Mexico presently. Outside of dogs, I’ve spent many years as film costumer/designer in LA. I’m also a fine artist in watercolors. I got my first Briards in 1983 started showing some after that. I started judging in 1990 and I also have an AKC Herding judge license.
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