Interview with Eric & Joanne Vavassori, Breeders of Des Monts du Lac Beaucerons
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
My name is Eric Vavassori, I breed and show Beaucerons since 1997. I was born and raised in France, but in 2018 my entire kennel and I moved to the US to breed Beaucerons under my kennel name, “Des Monts du Lac.” Shortly after I moved to the US, my Canadian-born wife, Joanne Boudreault, who has bred Whippets since 1997, joined me in breeding and showing our dogs.
As far as I know, I always had Beaucerons. In my beginning, I was mentored by Mrs. Monique Reverdy from the extremely successful “Des Assier Kennels” in France. All of our dogs go back to her pedigrees.
Since 1997, I have bred over 50 litters of Beaucerons. My dogs have won the highest awards for Beaucerons in both the US and Europe. One of these Beaucerons, called “Beowulf,” GCH Beowulf Rime Des Monts du Lac, has made American history by being the first Beauceron to ever win an AKC all-breed Best in Show in 2012. The same dog was also the first to ever place in the Herding Group at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2013. In 2020, Beowulf’s niece, our home-bred Am. Can. GCH Jaguar Noir Des Monts du Lac, became the second Beauceron to ever place in the Herding Group at Westminster, handled by Joanne.
Throughout the years, I have also bred three National Specialty winners, four World Champions, four French Champions, three Vice French Champions, and many other international awards, including 30 American Champions.
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
When looking at and observing Beauceron entries today, too many are lacking key points that are very well-explained in the AKC Beauceron Breed Standard, specifically lack of substance and movement:
Substance—The Standard mentions words such as “solid dog,” “depth and solidity,” and “The chest is wide, deep, long.” So why are light-framed, leggy Beaucerons rewarded? If necessary, withhold ribbons!
Movement—It is one of the most critical traits of this herding breed! The AKC Standard mentions, “Movement is fluid and effortless, covering ground in long reaching strides (extended trot). Strong, supple movement is essential to the sheepdog.” Too many Beaucerons are seen at shows that are unbalanced and/or lacking efficiency due to grossly incorrect front and/or rear angles. And many are seen winning top awards!
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
We are pleased that Beauceron entries are getting higher every year! In March 2023, during the ABC National Specialty, we had a record entry of over 80 Beaucerons! One of our home-bred dogs was awarded BOB at this show, GCH Pavo Platoon Des Monts du Lac.
Another one of our home-breds, GCH Rivesaltes Des Monte du Lac UDX OM1 UCDX, is the youngest and first male Beauceron to earn a UDX and OM1 titles. “Tarque” is currently pursuing his OTCH and is on track to become the first OTCH Beauceron!
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Any new dog breeder with high goals has to be selective and, especially, not emotional when evaluating his or her own breeding animals. We are lucky; the Beauceron breed is in very good hands. We are pleased to see a new generation of smart competitive Beauceron breeders who are going in the right direction.
As a continuing challenge, the American Beauceron Club needs to continue pushing judge’s education. The Beauceron is a relatively new breed in the US and it is still too often misunderstood by all-breed judges.