Briard Q & A
“BRIARDS LOVE TO DO EVERYTHING WITH YOU—ANY SPORT YOU CAN THINK OF, THEY WILL BECOME GOOD AT.”
Densie Simenauer continued
a stranger and want to crawl in their lap and be petted while oth- ers may stay aloof. I have learned over the years that if my Briards do not like someone, there is good reason and to be suspicious of that person. Many times, my Briards were better at detecting a bad character, well before we would know about it. Our Briards have served as Therapy Dogs in hospitals, schools and in working with Hospice. They have a keen sense of the needs that someone may have. They can be vigorous and rough when playing with a teenager yet extremely careful and gentle around the elderly. Are there any DQs I’d like to see removed or added? I am fine with the disqualifications as they are. I do feel that perhaps the wording on “cut tail” could be more explicit. I believe the intent of the wording was to disqualify a dog with a docked tail. A dog that had to have surgery on the tail and was “cut” should not be subject to a DQ, that is, unless the tail was removed or shortened considerably. How does the general public view the Briard? It is really rare to have our dogs out in public and have someone recognize them as a Briard. “What kind of dog is that?” is usually what we hear. Next is the question, “Can it see?” or “Does it have eyes?” I will assure you that if you want to go site-seeing in a crowded location and want to do it without interruption, you cannot bring your Briard with you. If your Briard is with you, just about every ten steps, someone will stop to ask you about your dog! How do I place my pups? I guess the answer is “very carefully.” I feel that I have brought the puppy into this world and I have every obligation to assure that the home is a wonderful place for the pup- py to live out their entire life. I will not sell to anyone that keeps their dogs in a kennel. I insist that the dog is a house dog their entire life, including showdogs. I interview the buyer on the phone many times and have on-going conversations. I have them send photos of their home, their yard and their family. I ask for references and call those references. I ask around. I will not send a puppy to anyone without first meeting that person and then the puppy is not sent but needs to be picked up by the buyer or I will fly the puppy to their new home. If I have any feeling of reservation about the person or situation, I decline placement of the puppy. At what age do I choose a show prospect? Honestly, I have cho- sen some puppies right at birth but of course, I do not confirm that until they grow into their body. I like to do a thorough evaluation at eight weeks but seeing the puppies everyday and being around them gives me the best feel for how they will turn out. My favorite dog show memory is being in the audience at West- minster Kennel Club watching our home-bred Briard Champion, CH. Dior Rainbeard On The Ball (Pele) show. As the judging evolved I could see that it looked more and more likely that the judge really liked our boy. I could see the judge continue to look back at him throughout the judging. The suspense was intense as it was a huge entry and it built to a climax when he was awarded Best of Breed! After the show photos, I went to him in the bench area and he showered me with kisses all over. He licked my face that had tears of joy on it and he was so happy along with me! Even though it was more than a 14 years ago, I could cry today just reliving that feeling of pride and love for our boy. As I said earlier, Briards will do just about anything with you. They are very intelligent and really enjoy learning and any chal- lenges that you place before them. Briards excel in just about every dog sport. They can be silly and foolish and serious and precise. I am proud to say that many of my Briards have not only excelled in the show ring and been fabulous family dogs but have also, under a great trainer, gotten their U.D. and U.D.X obedience titles with scores in the high 190’s!
element in raising their five children. Now the Dior Briards share an equally important role in spending time with the Simenauers’ grandchildren. Denise is a retired teacher and school principal. She currently holds conformation classes as she enjoys teaching others how to show their own dogs. Denise also shares her home with another breed that she loves, the Coton de Tulear. She is an AKC and UKC judge and has bred and finished close to 100 champions as well as specialty winners, top five and top ten dogs, many owner-handled, and the BOB win- ner at the World Dog Show. She has served as the Show Chair for The Briard Club of America National Specialty, the Kalamazoo Kennel Club Apple Blossom Shows and the Greater Fort Myers Dog Club Strawberry Cluster. She has served multiple terms as a board member of the Briard Club of America and of the United States of America Coton de Tulear Club, was co-chair of the Breed Education Committee which wrote the AKC Standard for the Coton and is the current Briard Club of America Breed Education Committee Chair. I live in Cape Coral, Florida ten out of twelve months a year. The other two months we travel in our RV to Michigan with all of our dogs where we visit our children and grandchildren and take in some dog shows in the midwest. I am a fused-glass artist and enjoy making glass art as well as exhibiting in Art Shows. I also enjoy being a grandma and spending time with the grandkids. As time and energy permit, my husband and I enjoy dancing. What’s the breed like around the house, shows and strangers? Briards are very devoted and loving. They keep an eye on you all of the time and are also very much aware of their surroundings. You never get to go anywhere in the house or yard without being accompanied by a Briard. They have a keen sense of hearing and know when a car or someone is approaching before we can hear it. Our Briards have a deep desire to please and do whatever we ask. Our Briards are very affectionate and always want to be touch- ing you or near you (underfoot sometimes). Ours sleep in our bed- room and usually jump on the bed to be cuddled for a few minutes before getting down to sleeping on their own bed. However, some- times they sleep in our bed all night! If you have your Briards on a schedule (eating, playtime, training etc...), they will tell you when you have to do the things and will nudge you to remind you of that schedule. Briards are also very clean dogs. Their coats seem to repel dirt and they do not have a body odor. They are extremely careful about never messing in the house and will go many hours waiting to be let outside. Even the intact males would never think of lifting their leg inside the house. Briards love to do everything with you—any sport you can think of, they will become good at. Mine love boating and are excellent swimmers. When swimming, Briards are usually excellent “lifeguards”, paying attention to everyone and swimming near the person that may be too quiet or drifting away and letting the person grab their coat or their tail to be pulled back to safety. Our Briards have the luxury of traveling to shows in our RV, so to them it is home. When we first take them into a show, they act sassy and show off. But soon they calm down, are cooperative to groom, usually fairly quiet in a crate and usually enjoy the ring. They also enjoy competing in other events at shows such as CAT, Fast CAT, Barn Hunt and do well in Obedience and Agility. Not all Briards act the same around strangers. Some are more leery than others. Since we have quite a few dogs, I usually put my dogs in another room until my guests have arrived. Then I bring out one dog at a time to meet the strangers. Some take immediately to
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