Briard Breed Magazine - Showsight

BRIARD

Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Briard General Appearance: A dog of handsome form. Vigorous and alert, powerful without coarseness, strong in bone and muscle, exhibiting the strength and agility required of the herding dog. Dogs lacking these qualities, however concealed by the coat, are to be penalized. Size, Proportions: Size - males 23 to 27 inches at the withers; bitches 22 to 25½ inches at the withers. Disqualification - all dogs or bitches under the minimum. Proportions - the Briard is not cobby in build. In males the length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is equal to or slightly more than his height at the withers. The female may be a little longer. Head: The head of a Briard always gives the impression of length, having sufficient width without being cumbersome. The correct length of a good head, measured from the occiput to the tip of the nose, is about forty percent (40%) of the height of the dog at the withers. There is no objection to a slightly longer head, especially if the animal tends to a longer body line. Viewed from above, from the front or in profile, the fully-coated silhouette gives the impression of two rectangular forms, equal in length but differing in height and width, blending together rather abruptly. The larger rectangle is the skull and the other forms the muzzle. The head joins the neck in a right angle and is held proudly alert. The head is sculptured in clean lines, without jowls or excess flesh on the sides, or under the eyes or temples. Expression - the gaze is frank, questioning and confident. Eyes - the eyes set well apart with the inner corners and outer corners on the same level. Large, well opened and calm, they must never be narrow or slanted. The color must be black or black-brown with very dark pigmentation of the rim of the eyelids, whatever the color of the coat. Disqualification - yellow eyes or spotted eyes. Ears - the ears should be attached high, have thick leather and be firm at the base. Low-set ears cause the head to appear to be too arched. The length of the natural ear should be equal to or slightly less than one-half the length of the head, always straight and covered with long hair. The natural ear must not lie flat against the head and, when alert, the ears are lifted slightly, giving a square look to the top of the skull. The ears when cropped should be carried upright and parallel, emphasizing the parallel lines of the head; when alert, they should face forward, well open with long hair falling over the opening. The cropped ear should be long, broad at the base, tapering gradually to a rounded tip. Skull - the width of the head, as measured across the skull, is slightly less than the length of the skull from the occiput to the stop. Although not clearly visible on the fully-coated head, the occiput is prominent and the forehead is very slightly rounded. Muzzle - the muzzle with mustache and beard is somewhat wide and terminates in a right angle. The muzzle must not be narrow or pointed. Planes - the topline of the muzzle is parallel to the topline of the skull, and the junction of the two forms a well-marked stop, which is midway between the occiput and the tip of the nose, and on a level with the eyes. Nose - square rather than round, always black with nostrils well opened. Disqualification - any color other than black. Lips - the lips are of medium thickness, firm of line and fitted neatly, without folds or flews at the corners. The lips are black. Bite , Teeth - strong, white and adapting perfectly in a scissors bite. Neck, Topline and Body: Neck - strong and well constructed. The neck is in the shape of a truncated cone, clearing the shoulders well. It is strongly muscled and has good length. Topline - the Briard is constructed with a very slight incline, downward from the prominent withers to the back which is straight, to the broad loin and the croup which is slightly inclined. The croup is well muscled and slightly sloped to give a well-rounded finish. The topline is strong, never

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swayed nor roached. Body - the chest is broad and deep with moderately curved ribs, egg-shaped in form, the ribs not too rounded. The breastbone is moderately advanced in front, descending smoothly to the level of the elbows and shaped to give good depth to the chest. The abdomen is moderately drawn up but still presents good volume. Tail - uncut, well feathered, forming a crook at the extremity, carried low and not deviating to the right or to the left. In repose, the bone of the tail descends to the point of the hock, terminating in the crook, similar in shape to the printed "J" when viewed from the dog's right side. In action, the tail is raised in a harmonious curve, never going above the level of the back, except for the terminal crook. Disqualification - tail non-existent or cut. Forequarters: Shoulder blades are long and sloping forming a 45-degree angle with the horizontal, firmly attached by strong muscles and blending smoothly with the withers. Legs the legs are powerfully muscled with strong bone. The forelegs are vertical when viewed from the side except the pasterns are very slightly inclined. Viewed from the front or rear, the legs are straight and parallel to the median line of the body, never turned inward or outward. The distance between the front legs is equal to the distance between the rear legs. The construction of the legs is of utmost importance, determining the dog's ability to work and his resistance to fatigue. Dewclaws - dewclaws on the forelegs may or may not be removed. Feet - strong and rounded, being slightly oval in shape. The feet travel straight forward in the line of movement. The toes are strong, well arched and compact. The pads are well developed, compact and elastic, covered with strong tissue. The nails are always black and hard. Hindquarters: The hindquarters are powerful, providing flexible, almost tireless movement. The pelvis slopes at a 30-degree angle from the horizontal and forms a right angle with the upper leg bone. Legs viewed from the side, the legs are well angulated with the metatarsus slightly inclined, the hock making an angle of 135 degrees. Dewclaws two dewclaws are required on each rear leg, placed low on the leg, giving a wide base to the foot. Occasionally the nail may break off completely. The dog shall not be penalized for the missing nail so long as the digit itself is present. Ideally the dewclaws form additional functioning toes. Disqualification - anything less than two dewclaws on each rear leg. Feet - if the rear toes turn out very slightly when the hocks and metatarsus are parallel, then the position of the feet is correct. Coat: The outer coat is coarse, hard and dry (making a dry rasping sound between the fingers). It lies down flat, falling naturally in long, slightly waving locks, having the sheen of good health. On the shoulders the length of the hair is generally six inches or more. The undercoat is fine and tight on all the body. The head is well covered with hair which lies down, forming a natural part in the center. The eyebrows do not lie flat but, instead, arch up and out in a curve that lightly veils the eyes. The hair is never so abundant that it masks the form of the head or completely covers the eyes. Color: All uniform colors are permitted except white. The colors are black, various shades of gray and various shades of tawny. The deeper shades of each color are preferred. Combinations of two of these colors are permitted, provided there are no marked spots and the transition from one color to another takes place gradually and symmetrically. The only permissible white: white hairs scattered throughout the coat and/or a white spot on the chest not to exceed one inch in diameter at the root of the hair. Disqualification - white coat, spotted coat, white spot on chest exceeding one inch in diameter.

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Gait: The well-constructed Briard is a marvel of supple power. His movement has been described as "quicksilver", permitting him to make abrupt turns, springing starts and sudden stops required of the sheepherding dog. His gait is supple and light, almost like that of a large feline. The gait gives the impression that the dog glides along without touching the ground. Strong, flexible movement is essential to the sheepdog. He is above all a trotter, single-tracking, occasionally galloping and he frequently needs to change his speed to accomplish his work. His conformation is harmoniously balanced and strong to sustain him in the long day's work. Dogs with clumsy or inelegant gait must be penalized. Temperament: He is a dog of heart, with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity. Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle, and obedient, the Briard possesses an excellent memory and an ardent desire to please his master. He retains a high degree of his ancestral instinct to guard home and master. Although he is reserved with strangers, he is loving and loyal to those he knows. Some will display a certain independence. Disqualifications: All dogs or bitches under the minimum size limits. Yellow eyes or spotted eyes. Nose any color other than black. Tail non-existent or cut. Less than two dewclaws on each rear leg. White coat. Spotted coat. White spot on chest exceeding one inch in diameter.

Approved February 8, 1975 Reformatted January 12, 1992

OVERVIEW OF BRIARD HISTORY

by MARY LOU TINGLEY, TERRY MILLER & DOMINIQUE DUBE A s with many other breeds the origin of the Briard is obscure. We can say with some certainty that it arose In 1896, Mr. E. Boulet created Le Club des Chiens de Bergers Francais in France. A standard for the Briard was adopted in France in 1897.

The first Best In Show Briard was Ch Phydeaux Tambourine. There are probably 3,000-4,000 Briards in the US—much more than that worldwide. American National Specialties are now 100-200 Briards. Briards are much better citizens in the world due to better under- standings of management, socialization and grooming. B riards are a breed, for its numbers, with relatively low health issues. Average life span, when factoring in accidents and failing puppies is probably eight or nine years old; however, most Briard fanciers expect the breed to live eas- ily to 11 and 12 remaining fairly vital and youthful for a good long time. It is not unusual for a Briard to live up into their teens at 13 and 14 years old. Routine screening should be per- formed on all breeding stock on hips and eyes. Hips are screened for dys- plasia, most fanciers using the evalu- ating services of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ( www.Offa. org ). Eyes are screened for the routine opthalmic concerns by a board certi- fied opthalmologist. A small sector of the breed carries the gene for station- ary night blindness of which there is a DNA test ( www.Optigen.com ). There is of course cancer which is the most common fatal illness in Bri- ards as in all breeds. The cancers most common in Briards are Lymphoma and Hermangiosarcoma. Gastic Torsion Volvulus is another breed health issue. Also known as bloat, it can be fatal if not attended to quickly. It is unknown what the cause is, but is develops when the stomach fills with gas and twists, or torsions, cutting off blood supply to vital organs. Quick veterinary intervention can save a dog’s life which often requires sur- gery to do so. BRIARD HEALTH WATCH by TERRY MILLER

from the varied farm dogs of Western Europe. Dogs were developed into separate breeds as their basic function emerged. The modern expression in dogs is that form follows function. It was truly born out in the development of the early breeds as they were sepa- rated and segregated and labeled with a name. Some of the possible cousins of the Briard, once believed to have been closely related were the Beauceron, Berger de Picard and Berger des Pyr- enees. The Briard and the Beauceron are the oldest of those breeds. Records show their first appearance in Paris at the Societe Imperialle d’Acclimatation, the premier dog exposition in 1863. The Briard was prized for his keen sense of hearing and acute awareness of his surroundings. Starting out as a guarding dog against poachers and predators, the advent of farming found them proving to be a versatile all pur- pose farm dog, driving stock down the road to the graze and then keeping the stock within the graze’s boundaries, pulling a cart, guarding the farm and providing family companionship. In 1789 Thomas Jefferson imported to the United States a “chienne bergere big with pup” believed to be a Briard. So satisfied with the abilities of these dogs, and with the help of his friend Lafayette, Jefferson continued import- ing them through 1814, not only for his own farm but for friends and neighbors as well.

In the United States the first Briard Standard was adopted by the AKC in 1928 and the first Briard Champion of record in 1931. During WWI and II many Briards were enlisted as messengers, guards, carriers and what we now know as Search and Rescue. Not only were many dogs killed to near extinction as a result of the Wars but many records were lost due to the bombings. Post war, the breed was held in little esteem among dog fanciers, whether due to the coat care, the cow hocks so prevalent in the breed or the strong per- sonality is unknown. By the 1960s there were only three or four breeders in the US and of these, most were owners of one or two dogs. Few were shown. Bri- ard National Specialties consisted of eight or ten dogs. The Briard had a bad reputation and were often unsocialized and unreliable. As the years progressed so did the popularity of the Briard; the stately car- riage and handsome coat attracted fan- ciers in the dog world. Coat care and socialization, so essential in all breeds, but even more so in the Briard, gave us a dog who is a contender in herd- ing, tracking, Schutzhund, obedience, flyball, agility and conformation, to say nothing of being a great companion to those who live with him. The first Briard Champion was Regent de la Pommeraie. The first group winner in the US was Ch Phobe Chez Phydeau.

“NOT ONLY WERE MANY DOGS KILLED TO NEAR EXTINCTION AS A RESULT OF THE WARS BUT MANY RECORDS WERE LOST DUE TO THE BOMBINGS.”

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EXAMINING THE BRIARD

BY THE BRIARD CLUB OF AMERICA BREED EDUCATION COMMITTEE

T he Briard is handsome, alert and powerful without coarseness. He must possess the structural integrity and mental versatility necessary to accomplish his roles as a herding dog used to keep his flock within the boundaries of a designated graze, and an all-purpose farm dog that serves the shepherd in diverse tasks. These roles, which keep him on the move for long hours, demand soundness, efficiency, and athleticism above all other things. A hands-on examination and evaluation of movement is neces- sary to determine the details of the breed standard. Touching the dog to verify what the coat covers is critical to the evaluation of the Briard. Learning to identify the landmarks under the coat will assist the eye in scrutinizing the movement, which can be shrouded by the dense Briard coat. There is ample range allowed in size, keeping in mind that undersize is a disqualification. Dogs range from 23"-27" and bitch- es from 22"-25½". The dog should appear masculine and the bitch feminine, irrespective of size. It is perfectly possible that there will be dogs in the ring that are smaller than bitches. The acceptable size range allows for dogs that might be shorter in height than bitches, yet are well within standard height. Briard proportion can create some visual confusion, primarily due to the illusion the coat can create. The measuring points are clearly defined by the standard. The Briard is equal to or slightly longer than its height at the withers, measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttock. Bitches may be a little longer, which is not a mandate, but rather, a possibility. The word “slightly” is defined as “very small in size, degree, amount or importance.” When explaining the significance of “slightly” in the breed, we often say that if one were to be at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and you were asked to step forward—slightly—how far forward would you go? It is, indeed, a very small measurement. This image clarifies the nuance of the word. Being a coated and tailed breed that calls for a “moderately advanced breastbone,” the Briard will appear off-square. As spe- cifically stated in the AKC standard, “The Briard is not cobby in build.” It is believed that the word “cobby” was used in its literal sense, per its definition: “Cobby, as that of a Cobb horse, small, usually of stout build,” referring to a type of body and not to describe the length of back as the word is often used in the dog world today. The “cobby” image calls to mind a Briard that is heavy and inelegant, like that of a draft horse.

The withers are prominent, the back straight, the loin broad, with croup slightly sloped. The ribs are moderately curved in an inverted egg shape. The correlation between the depth of chest, breastbone, and ribcage are important as they enhance the correct shape of the dog, but most importantly of all, they provide a body shape that promotes lung and heart capacity, essential to the ability to work a full day with endurance and resistance to fatigue. A Briard head gives the impression of length and sufficient width, its length being about forty percent of the height of the dog at the withers. Skull and muzzle are of equal length, strong, and cleanly sculptured with the planes of the head being parallel. The occiput is surprisingly prominent. The nose is square and must be black, no matter the color of the dog. Ears are to be set high, and may be either cropped or left natural. There is no preference given to either, but the ears should be expressive and mobile—though

“A HANDS-ON EXAMINATION AND EVALUATION OF MOVEMENT IS NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THE DETAILS OF THE BREED STANDARD.”

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EXAMINING THE BRIARD

they will not necessarily be in a constant state of alert. The eyes are set well apart, large, neither round nor almond, with a horizontal axis, and the upper lid is somewhat arched. They are black or black- brown, with a confident, questioning expression. Pigmentation of the eye rims should be very dark, sometimes extending beyond the rim of the eye. The lips are black. The neck is of good length and is in the shape of a truncated cone. “The head joins the neck in a right angle and is held proudly alert” is a phrase that is applied to the dog in a stationery position. It connotes the manner in which the neck joins the base of the skull. It does not imply that the neck is held in a vertical line. When in motion, the head and neck should extend forward. The outline of the Briard is completed by a breed hallmark, the distinctive tail that ends in a crook (or “crochet”), similar to the let- ter “J” when viewed from the right side of the dog. The shape is not always apparent when the dog is in repose. Ideally, the tail should be carried low, never coming above the level of the back (except for the terminal crook). Another traditional breed hallmark are the double dewclaws required on each rear leg. It is important to learn how to examine for the digits as, ideally, the dewclaws form functional toes and are, therefore, much lower than one might anticipate. The Briard coat should enhance the outline of the dog. A cor- rect coat needs less grooming and functions better in the elements. The correct double coat is coarse, hard and dry, and slightly waving on the outside with a tight, short, protective undercoat. The col- ors are black, tawny, and gray in various shades. Combinations of two of these colors are permitted without marked spots, but rather, with smooth, gradual, and symmetrical transitions from one color to another. White is not allowed, except as scattered white hairs throughout the coat on all colors or as a spot on the chest no bigger than one inch in diameter at the root of the hairs. Briards may go through color changes from puppyhood to adulthood, which may include the changing of some black coats to gray, and tawny coats to lighten (and then darken) over time. This transitional color change also occurs in the grays. The coat texture may also go through changes over the course of several years. The gait of the well-conformed Briard is beautiful to behold. It is light and gliding, a marvel of supple power; effortless. It is impor- tant that the angulations of the front and rear be correct and equal, to help drive the dog forward and create the balanced gait so valued by the shepherd. Briard movement clearly displays the balance, pow- er, flexibility, and soundness synonymous with its correct structure.

EXAMINING THE BRIARD The Briard should be approached calmly, with assurance and self-confidence on the part of the examiner. The Briard should stand his ground with- out cringing or menacing the examiner. All judges are expected to check for each of the Briard’s dis- qualifications. If a Briard does not appear to meet the minimum height requirement for its sex, it is incum- bent upon the judge to request a wicket and measure the dog. Bearing in mind that the head is coated, approach from the front so the dog can see you and be aware of your presence. Place one hand under the chin, taking care to not grab the beard. Head planes, proportions, and ear placement are confirmed during this portion of the exam. Brush the hair away from the eyes to check eye color, shape, placement, and pig- mentation. You may then move on to examining the bite and noting nose color. Any disqualifications on the head may be identified at this time. To check for disqualifying white on the chest, face the same direction as the dog, place your right hand on the left side of the dog’s head as you lean forward to lift the coat on the dog’s chest. Do make sure the dog’s head is controlled by the handler. It is recommended that you follow good judging practice as directed by the AKC to avoid placing yourself at risk. Proceed with the examination as with any other breed. Remember to check for coat quality as you examine the body. To examine for length of tail, con- tinue from your exam of the loin and croup, gently place your hand at the base of the tail, then run it down to the bony tip of the tail, verifying that it is uncut. You may then bring the tail over to the hock, taking care not to pull, stretch or force the crook of the tail open to make your determination of length. You must be able to confirm that there are two dewclaws on each rear leg. When reaching down to check for dewclaws, do not use the dog’s hindquarters to support yourself; nor should you stoop down or kneel on the ground. To facilitate the examination of the dewclaws, place your hand at ground level at the inside of each rear foot and move it upward. Dewclaws that are attached low on the leg or are positioned next to the other toes may necessitate that you lift the foot to confirm the presence of the dewclaws. If you are unable to locate the dewclaws, give the handler the option of showing them to you. If the handler wishes you to proceed with the exam yourself, carefully lift the leg back and up just a bit, keeping the foot and leg in line with the body.

DISQUALIFICATIONS • All dogs or bitches under the minimum size limits (dogs under 23" and bitches under 22") • Yellow eyes or spotted eyes • Nose any color other than black • Tail non-existent or cut • Less than two dewclaws on each rear leg • White coat • Spotted coat • White spot on chest exceeding 1" in diameter

The BCA’s Breed Education Booklet that contains the breed standard and commentary is available on the Briard Club of America’s website. AUTHORS Marsha Clamp, Theresa Lee, Terry Miller, Margaret Shappard, Denise Simenauer, and Meg Weitz

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Creative Puppy Raising In a COVID World

BY TERRY MILLER

I am a breeder. I am a dog trainer. I am a dog trainer coming off of months spent working with training clients seven days a week to meet the needs of however many families that acquired dogs dur- ing the Pandemic. Many were inexperienced. Many were lonely and desperate for a canine friend. Many took whatever was available in the depleted inventory created by like-minded neighbors—and the rest of the world. The lucky ones planned ahead and were able to actually choose a breed and, in some cases, even a breeder. Others took whatever was offered by rescues, shelters, pet shops, puppy farms, puppy websites, Facebook, Craig’s List, and fancy websites. Whether these puppies came from a master breeder or an Amish puppy farm, one common denominator that I have seen across the board has been a consistent lack of social confidence towards strangers. The remarkable consistency was that almost every puppy/adolescent struggled with this, no matter the breed. The breeds that we might generalize about, with an expecta- tion of being gregarious, socially forward, and indiscriminately friendly, were worrying about social contact almost as much as their selective or aloof and anti-social cousins. Lab puppies were standing behind their owners’ legs when offered the chance to greet a new person. Goldens moved away rather than rushed up to joyfully say hello. Cockers sub- missively urinated and avoided contact. All [reactions] were a result of our society’s self-imposed social isolation. Breeds that I would have expected to be unscathed by a lack of social contact with strangers dis- played worries akin to their naturally selective cousins. Coming from a breed with high needs for novel socialization, I began to panic about our own approaching litter. My breed, even in “ normal” times, needs devoted efforts for constant social contact and new situ- ations. We instruct puppy people that they cannot afford to skimp on socialization, out and about and away from home. We interview new potential homes about their lifestyle, their own social tendencies, their time availability. (It takes commitment to produce a well-raised Briard.) We coach our puppy people on specific techniques for the best results. The wise raising of any and all puppies includes an early life full of variation, interaction, novel situations, social experiences, challenges,and positive stimulation. Puppies derive the most benefit from this exposure during the first year of life, from puppyhood through adolescence.

“Whether these puppies came from a master breeder or an Amish puppy farm, one common denominator that I have seen across the board has been a consistent lack of social confidence towards strangers .”

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CREATIVE PUPPY RAISING IN A COVID WORLD

Why not throw in the patronage of animal establishments that have a feel for the challenges at hand, and would benefit from some business? I have found myself suggesting sources that I usually recom- mended avoiding before. Here is a limited list to consider: 1. Take your puppy to doggie daycare businesses—not for the dog interaction (which can be of limited benefit), but more for the human handling opportunities that a new group of strangers provides. Make it clear that the goals are for the puppy to reap rewards from the puppy/human contact most of all. Request handling and physical contact with every one of the humans at the business. Novel is the governing factor, so going back to the same familiar daycare defeats the purpose. Change is good. Change is challenging. Challenge is good. 2. Call grooming shops and ask for these same things. Pay for a bath or a 15-minute cursory dog massage, and ask if there are multiple employees so that the puppy may be exposed, held, and connected with each one. Make appointments with as many grooming shops as you can visit. Explain the goals in your request to the shop. Might the groomer tether your puppy to them for a few minutes while answering the phone or brushing another dog? Perhaps the puppy can be brushed by one, then trimmed by another, and petted by yet another? “Change” and “novel” are the words of the day. Hanging in the personal space of a new person is a necessity. 3. Call your vet. Ask if they might, for a small fee, babysit your puppy for 15-30 minutes just for the positive impact it will have on the puppy. Perhaps the puppy can sit with the people at the front desk answering the phone and doing paperwork. Once again, the puppy should be on a leash so that the per- sonal space of the socializer is the “no escape” option. 4. There are lots of sources for active chaos, which adds to the positive impact of socialization. Get creative and come up with your own list: Saturday in front of the grocery store; inside stores that do not serve food; hardware and home improvement stores; some department stores; electronics stores; the dry cleaners… Keep in mind, this is about novel experiences practiced frequent- ly. There is no such thing as too much socialization.

The puppies that are most in need, ie., individuals of breeds or profiles with a tendency toward avoidance, suspicion, or little inter- est in new people or experiences, are potentially harmed by miss- ing out on the constant exposure opportunities of pre-COVID times. The word “novel” looms large in the pursuit of enough experiences to stimulate and pattern the social confidence sought. These needs are universally critical in most all walks of life for dogs, but are most essential in urban settings. Whether the dog will be a working animal, service animal, family companion or show dog, the dog’s life (and humans who interact with him/ her) is enhanced tremendously by thorough and varied exposure to life experiences. Average intensive socialization should incorporate meeting, greeting, and being drawn into the personal space of strangers in novel locations. This should be in repetitions of 50 new people in 50 new locations per month, from 2-14 months old. It is especially needed in the many Working and Herding breeds whose default settings are to be selective, watchful, and aloof in the unfamiliar. But now, with the social void of isolation and distancing (and with most people wearing masks), it becomes a useful tool for all developing puppies. So I asked myself, what creative solutions can I develop for my own puppies? For my puppy peoples’ puppies? For my training clients’ puppies? How does one make that happen in a pandemic? First, creativity. If the primary goal is the word “novel,” the implication is that one has to provide lots of change and new- ness. If the other goal is the word “frequent,” the implication is that one has to come up with enough options to not be stuck vis- iting the same locations. And lastly, the goal is for the puppy to spend time in the personal space of each new person and, if possi- ble, long enough to relax and drink in the attention and lavished positive physical contact. Sometimes, luring in the puppy with food to the personal space of a stranger is an excellent solution to squelch avoidance. The stranger keeps the dog near, engulfed in their personal space, holding onto the leash (so you can social distance), and feeding multiple treats one at a time until the puppy accepts the treats, eats them and, therefore, relaxes. The source of the treats needs to be the stranger’s hand, not yours.

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VIEWING & EXAMINING THE BRIARD IN THE SHOW RING

BY DENISE SIMENAUER

J udging the Briard is a fun and rewarding experience. Some Briards (especially the juveniles) may be over-exuberant in the ring. Some love to get the crowd laughing and will act like clowns. The more you laugh, the more that they are clowns! Many are reserved and stoic and many enjoy showing off and catching the judge’s and crowd’s attention. All are loved by the Briard fancy! When you judge the Briard, we hope that you enjoy our breed and that you make the exhibitor enjoy showing to you. As a judge it is imperative that you know the way to exam- ine a Briard in the ring. While we all may understand judging a generic dog, a Briard has many features and hallmarks which need to be given special attention. If you are an exhibitor, it is good to know how the judge will proceed when examining your dog and what the judge is looking for. Now let’s get on to the judging. Once your class has been brought into the ring, back up to get a profile view of the exhib- its. While viewing the Briard in profile, you can get a good look of many qualities you may further wish to examine. First quickly look for dogs or bitches that may be undersize for which there is a disqualification. Then go on to proportion (In males the length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is equal to or slightly more than his height at the withers. The female may be a little longer) . So basically you are looking for a square dog with the judge’s eye accommodating

for the dog’s additional hair in front of the point of shoulder and behind the point of buttock. You may then quickly look for length and position of neck (The neck is in the shape of a trun- cated cone, clearing the shoulders well. It is strongly muscled and has good length.) Take a look at the position of head (The head joins the neck in a right angle and is held proudly alert) . Please do note this does NOT mean that the neck is held at a 90 degree angle to the body. The Briard should not have a ewe neck. The neck is erect but the head to the neck juncture is where you will see the 90 degree angle. Quickly go on to look for length of head (The correct length of a good head, measured from the occiput to the tip of the nose, is about forty percent (40%) of the height of the dog at the withers) and topline (The Briard is constructed with a very slight incline, downward from the prominent withers to the back which is straight, to the broad loin and the croup which is slightly inclined. The croup is well muscled and slightly sloped to give a well-rounded finish. The topline is strong, never swayed nor roached.) Over the years, I have seen some judges that have done a wonderful job of examining the Briard in the show ring. On the other hand, there have been some times that I was concerned for the judge as well as the dog when the Briard was examined. Here are some tips that combine my experiences and thoughts along with the recommendations of the Briard Club of America Breed Education Committee.

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Viewing & Examining The Briard in the Show Ring

BY DENISE SIMENAUER continued

Showing a young puppy with cropped ears which have been glued to “train” the ears to stand.

Showing a cropped eared 17 month old black dog.

The Briard should be approached calmly with assurance and self-confidence on the part of the examiner. The Briard should stand his ground without cringing or menacing the examiner. All judges are expected to check for each of the Briard’s disqualifica- tions. If a Briard does not appear to meet the minimum height requirement for its sex, it is incumbent upon the judge to request a wicket and measure the dog: Disqualification–All dogs or bitches under the minimum size limits. I strongly recommended that the judge wear no jewelry nor ornamentation on the judge’s clothing that could possibly get tangled in the dog’s coat. Over the years, I have seen this happen plenty of times with the dog’s hair getting pulled out or many min- utes spent on detangling the jewelry from the dog’s hair. Neither are pleasant. Bearing in mind that the head is coated, approach from the front so that the dog can see you and be aware of your presence. With the amount of hair on the dog’s head, it is possible that the dog may not see you. I recommend greeting the exhibitor with a “Hello. How are you today” type of greeting. In that way you can be sure that the Briard knows of your presence. Then place one hand under the chin, taking care to not grab the beard. Head planes, proportions, and ear placement and qual- ity are confirmed during this portion of the exam. Brush the hair away from the eyes to check eye color, shape, placement, and

pigmentation. Disqualification–Yellow eyes or spotted eyes. You may then move on to ask the handler to show you the bite and then note the color of the nose. Disqualification–Nose any color other than black. Keep in mind that it is possible that an exhibit may have a dilute gene with a nose that is dark but not black. Sometimes those exhibits may have a lighter eye as well. The Briard nose MUST be black. Now let’s talk about the Briard’s ears. The Briard is not natu- rally born with erect ears. The erect ears that you may see on some Briards have been surgically cropped, and glued together for many months to get them to stand. The Briard is born with pendant ears and unless surgically altered and “trained”, the Briard’s ears will remain a pendant ear. Whether cropped or left natural, there is to be no preference or extra points given for a cropped ear or a natu- ral ear. Although some judges may be accustomed to seeing mostly cropped eared Briards in the U.S. in the past, that trend has been changing with many countries banning the cropping of dog’s ears and some owners, breeders and veterinarians preferring not to do unnecessary surgery on a dog. So today you will see Briard show dogs with both cropped ears and natural ears. As a judge, it is impor- tant to remember that there is NO PREFERENCE to be given to the cropped ear or the natural ear. The judge must acclimate his/ her eye to view the quality of the dog’s head whether with cropped or natural ears being of equal value as long as they follow the

“WHETHER CROPPED OR LEFT NATURAL, there is to be no preference or extra points given for a cropped ear or a natural ear.”

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Viewing & Examining The Briard in the Show Ring

BY DENISE SIMENAUER continued

Showing a six month old natural eared tawny.

Showing a mature natural eared dog.

standard. The standard is specific for the natural ear as well as the cropped ear. For all Briard’s ears– the ears should be attached high, have thick leather and be firm at the base. Low-set ears cause the head to appear to be too arched. For the natural eared Bri- ards– the length of the natural ear should be equal to or slightly less than one-half the length of the head, always straight and covered with long hair. The natural ear must not lie flat against the head and, when alert, the ears are lifted slightly, giving a square look to the top of the skull. For cropped eared Briards– the ears when cropped should be carried upright and parallel, emphasizing the parallel lines of the head; when alert, they should face forward, well open with long hair falling over the open- ing. The cropped ear should be long, broad at the base, tapering gradually to a rounded tip. After examining the dog’s head, you may then go on to check for disqualifying white on the chest: Disqualification–white spot on chest exceeding one inch in diameter. Turn your body so that you face the same direction as the dog is facing and place your right hand on the left side of the dog’s head as you lean forward to lift the coat on the dog’s chest. That means that you will be looking down

at the chest to see if a white spot is pres- ent. If a white spot is there, it should be no larger than the size of a quarter at the skin. Bear in mind that you are looking for white (as white as a white sheet of paper), not a light cream color which is permissible. While examining for the white spot, keep your hand on the head of the dog to make sure that the dog does not bring his head close to you. Do make sure the dog’s head is controlled by the handler. It is NOT rec- ommended that you use your right hand to control the dog’s head from the dog’s right side as that would necessitate you reaching your arm over the dog’s neck as well as con- trolling the head from the right side which would be hard to do without taking control of the beard as well as leaning on the dog’s neck. It is recommended that you follow good judging practice as directed by the AKC to avoid placing yourself at risk. Proceed with the examination as with any other breed. Remember to check for coat quality as you examine the body. To examine for length of tail, continue from your exam of the loin and croup, gen- tly place your hand at the base of the tail, then run it down to the bony tip of the tail,

verifying that it is uncut. Disqualification– tail non-existent or cut. You may then bring the tail over to the hock, taking care not to pull, stretch, or force the crook of the tail open to make your determination of length. One of the Hallmarks of the Briard are the dewclaws which ideally serve as addi- tional functioning toes. You must be able to confirm that there are two dewclaws on each rear leg and to look for the ideal. Dis- qualification–less than two dewclaws on each rear leg. When reaching down to check for dewclaws, do not use the dog’s hindquarters to support yourself, nor should you stoop down or kneel on the ground. To facilitate the examination of the dewclaws, place your hand at ground level at the inside of each rear foot and move it upward. Bear in mind that two dewclaws are required on each rear leg, placed low on the leg, giving a wide base to the foot. Flipping your fingers back and forth to feel for two nails is NOT a check of dewclaws. Remember that you are checking for two additional DIGITS, not two additional nails. Occasionally the nail may break off completely. The dog shall not be penalized for the missing nail so long as the digit itself is present. Also, you are looking

Incorrect Tail Carriage

Incorrect Tail-No Crochet

Incorrect Tail Carriage

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

Viewing & Examining The Briard in the Show Ring

BY DENISE SIMENAUER continued

Correct Tail Carriage & Crochet

Correct Tail Carriage & Crochet

Correct Tail Carriage & Crochet

Correct Tail Carriage & Crochet

for the ideal dewclaws which the standard describes as dewclaws which form additional functioning toes. Sometimes the dog may have additional nails but not two additional digits. Again, two additional digits must be present. Occasionally you may feel a third or even a fourth dewclaw and the dog is not faulted if the additional dew- claws are present. Dewclaws that are attached low on the leg or are positioned next to the other toes may necessitate that you lift the foot to confirm the presence of the dewclaws. If you are unable to locate the dewclaws, give the handler the option of showing them to you. If the handler wishes you to proceed with the exam yourself, carefully lift the leg back and up just a bit, keeping the foot and leg in line with the body. In viewing the Briard’s movement, you will want to see the side gait as well as the Briard coming and going. Our standard is quite beautiful in its description of a Briard’s gait. The well-constructed Briard is a marvel of supple power. His movement has been described as “quicksilver”, permitting him to make abrupt turns, springing starts and sudden stops required of the sheep-herding dog. His gait is supple and light, almost like that of a large feline. The gait gives the impression that the dog glides along without touching the ground. Strong, flexible movement is essential to the sheepdog. He is above all a trotter, single- tracking, occasionally galloping and he frequently needs to change his speed to accomplish his work. His conformation is harmoniously bal- anced and strong to sustain him in the long day’s work. Judges should note that there is a penalization in the standard for gait— Dogs with clumsy or inelegant gait must be penalized. While viewing the Briard’s gait, this is a good time to look for another Hallmark of the breed—the J tail. Tail— uncut, well feath- ered, forming a crook at the extremity, carried low and not deviating to the right or to the left. In repose, the bone of the tail descends to the point of the hock, terminating in the crook, similar in shape to the printed “J” when viewed from the dog’s right side. In action, the tail is raised in a harmonious curve, never going above the level of the back, except for the terminal crook. Although it may be one of the last things that you may examine on the Briard, it does not mean that it is of little importance. The J tail of the Briard is a Hallmark of the breed and those Briards without the correct tail do not give the true overall impression of the breed. It should not be straight but should always form some type of crochet or J in its shape. The tail should NEVER go above the level of the back except for the terminal J. At times, when a dog first comes in the ring or first begins to gait,

the tail may elevate above the topline. However, the tail MUST come down and not be carried above the level of the topline, except for the terminal J. A typical hound tail which is curved over the back or an extended sporting dog tail which is straight IS NOT what a Briard’s tail should look like. So, please look for the crochet. Look for the correct carriage. It is a Hallmark of the breed! Lastly, let’s talk about grooming. Our standard says that the outer coat is coarse, hard and dry (making a dry rasping sound between the fingers). It lies down flat, falling naturally in long, slightly waving locks, having the sheen of good health. The Briard has experienced the same over-grooming that many breeds have and it is up to the judge as well as the owner to not accept it. The Briard is a herding breed with a coat that can tolerate the demands of field work, barns and pasture. The BCA Breed Education Committee says, “The proper Briard coat does not require elaborate grooming. In order to evalu- ate correct coat the Briard should be presented clean, free of tangles, mats and foreign substances. Other than trimming of the feet for a tidy presentation, any trimming which alters the natural appear- ance of the Briard is to be avoided. The length of coat described in the standard is often not apparent until 3-4 years of age and may not be maintained if the Briard is also working. No additional cred- it should be given for extra length of coat.” So please keep in mind that there is no additional credit given for long coat length and that any trimming or sculpting which alters the natural appearance of the Briard is to be avoided. It is up to judges to make this happen. If judges take a minute to say something to handlers about the over- grooming of Briards which are sculpted and trimmed, perhaps the handlers will stop doing it. Thanks to all the judges that have read this article and have taken it to heart. Hopefully it has helped you understand our stan- dard a little better and will help you the next time that you evaluate our gorgeous breed. We all look forward to presenting our beautiful Briards, our hearts wrapped in fur, to you. Note: The italicized portion of the content of this article is directly taken from the AKC standard. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Denise Simenauer has had Briards since 1974. She is a judge and has bred her dogs under the kennel name of Dior. She currently serves as the Chair of the Breed Education Committee of the Briard Club of America.

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019 • 253

EXAMINING THE BRIARD

by THE BRIARD CLUB OF AMERICA Breed Education Committee

T he Briard is handsome, alert and powerful without coarse- ness. He must possess the structural integrity and men- tal versatility necessary to accomplish his roles as a herding dog used to keep his flock within the boundaries of a des- ignated graze and an all purpose farm dog, serving the shepherd in diverse tasks. These roles which keep him on the move for long hours demand sound- ness, efficiency and athleticism above all other things. A hands-on examination and evalua- tion of movement is necessary to deter- mine the details of the breed standard. Touching the dog to verify what the coat covers is critical to the evaluation of the Briard. Learning to identify the landmarks under the coat will assist the eye in scrutinizing the movement which can be shrouded by the dense Briard coat. There is ample range allowed in size, keeping in mind that under- size is a disqualification. Dogs range from 23"-27", bitches 22"-25 ½ ". The dog should appear masculine and the bitch feminine, irrespective of size. It is perfectly possible that there will be dogs in the ring that are smaller than bitches. The acceptable size range allows for dogs that might be shorter in

height than bitches, yet are well within standard height. Briard proportion can create some visual confusion, primarily due to the illusion the coat can create. The mea- suring points are clearly defined by the standard. The Briard is equal to or slight- ly longer than its height at the withers, measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttock. Bitches may be a little longer, which is not a mandate but rather a possibility. The word “slightly” is defined as, “very small in size, degree, amount or importance”. When explain- ing the significance of “slightly”, in the breed we often say that if one were to be at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and you were asked to step forward slightly, how far forward would you go? It is indeed a very small measurement. This image clarifies the nuance of the word. Being a coated and tailed breed call- ing for a “moderately advanced breast- bone”, the Briard will appear off-square. As specifically stated in the AKC stan- dard, “The Briard is not cobby in build”. It is believed that the word cobby was used in its literal sense per its defini- tion: “cobby, as that of a Cobb horse, small, usually of stout build”, referring to a type of body and not to describe the length of back as the word is often used in the dog world today. The “cob- by” image calls to mind a Briard that

is heavy and inelegant, like that of a draft horse. The withers are prominent, the back straight, the loin broad, with croup slightly sloped. The ribs are moderately curved in an inverted egg shape. The correlation between the depth of chest, breastbone and ribcage are important, as they enhance the correct shape of the dog but most importantly of all, pro- vide a body shape that promotes lung and heart capacity, essential to the abil- ity to work a full day with endurance and resistance to fatigue. A Briard head gives the impression of length and sufficient width, its length being about 40% of the height of the dog at the withers. Skull and muzzle are of equal length, strong and cleanly sculptured with the planes of the head being parallel. The occiput is surpris- ingly prominent. The nose is square and must be black, no matter the color of the dog. Ears are to be set high, and may either be cropped or left natural. There is no preference given to either, but the ears should be expressive and mobile, but will not necessarily be in a constant state of alert. The eyes are set well apart, large, neither round nor almond with a horizontal axis and the upper lid is somewhat arched. They are black or black-brown, with a confident, questioning expression.

“BRIARD MOVEMENT CLEARLY DISPLAYS THE BALANCE, POWER, FLEXIBILITY AND SOUNDNESS SYNONYMOUS WITH ITS CORRECT STRUCTURE.”

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