Questions on the Briard

We asked the following questions to various experts involved with the breeding & showing of Briards. 

QUESTIONS:

  1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
  2. We’ve all heard the Briard described as a “Heart wrapped in fur.” What’s he like around the house? Around shows? Around strangers?
  3. Your Standard contains many DQs: 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. Are there any you’d like to see removed? Are there any you’d like to see added?
  4. How does the general public view the Briard. Have they seen enough of them to recognize the breed?
  5. How do you place your pups?
  6. At what age do you choose a show prospect?
  7. What is your favorite dog show memory?
  8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.

RESPONSES

Marsha Clamp

Many years ago when I started in dogs I had Siberian Huskies. I wanted another breed that wasn’t so popular and when a friend got a Briard puppy and asked me to show her, well that did it. I fell head over heels in love with the breed, and have been involved with them since 1977. I have bred and owned some very nice Briards over the years. Some have done well in the breed ring, some in obedience and other performance venues, and also herding. I strive for a balanced dog, sound in mind and body.

I live in Worcester Massachusetts. I work for Home Depot as a Price Auditor during the week. Most of my time outside of work does involve dog related projects. I am currently working to get one of my dogs certified as a therapy dog to visit nursing/rehab homes.

Around the house Briards are very loyal and lovable, and can be very entertaining. They have a wonderful sense of humor and love to be the center of attention. They get along well with other pets when they are raised with them, even when they have a high prey drive. Their intuition towards strangers and situations is very acute. A Briard can tell one’s intentions, be it friend or foe. While they are very protective of house and humans, when raised correctly they are a very social animal, welcoming friends and other dogs into their domain. It is very important to socialize a Briard puppy to all sorts of different situations while they are growing up. Locking them away when anyone comes to visit can make them very anti-social and they may become aggressive. I take my puppies everywhere I go if I can, exposing them to shows, people and other animals. One cannot get too much socializing for a Briard puppy. Many of mine have learned the art of “baiting” in the ring by sitting ringside in my lap and having handlers give them treats. A Briard with high prey drive can be a handful, but over the years I have learned to “channel” that energy into a very well adjusted and happy showdog. I really enjoy having them be “up” in the ring and may times have had one be the entertainment for ringside spectators with
their antics.

Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? I would have to say the DQ’s in the breed are fine the way they are. They are all in there for a reason and we strive to keep this breed as it is.

How does the general public view the Briard? Very few people outside of shows now what a Briard is, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. We do not want the Briard to become a “popular” dog, as many times that causes many problems in a breed. I will educate anyone asking what it is, what are they bred for, etc. when I have one with me out in public. And my dogs always enjoy meeting new people wherever we go.

How do I place my pups? When I have a litter I am very careful to whom I sell a puppy. They are not the breed for just anyone. Many people love the look of a long coated breed but have no idea the care that goes into one. They also need to be aware of the socializing that goes into a Briard puppy (and many of the other herding breeds). If the dog isn’t going to be raised correctly and taught from the onset about proper behavior around people and other animals and grooming, I do not want one of mine in that home. Over the years I have placed puppies with many types of families, from one with little children to a single owner. All have done very well, except for a couple whose owners became lax with training, socializing, etc. I have taken a couple back over the years and rehomed them after some work on my part and they became very well loved and behaved dogs.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? It is difficult to keep multiple Briard puppies for a long time to make a choice because of the socialization they need. I have learned over the years that by watching them grow as puppies over the first eight weeks that I can make a very educated guess by eight weeks, sometimes earlier. All the ones I have chosen at hat early age have turned out like I thought they would. A breeder who knows their lines and sees enough puppies over the years can be successful in picking good puppies at an early age.

My favorite dog show memory? I have so many wonderful memories that it is hard to pick just one. One of mine is at a National where I was showing my boy, Larry, as a veteran for the very first time. He just loved the ring and had not been in one for a couple of years. The more the crowd cheered him on, the rowdier he got! Jumping up on me, barking, being a real brat, but held it together enough to win his veteran class and go on to be one of the final three males in the ring. A wonderful and heartwarming experience to be sure!

I cannot stress enough for the buyer to do their homework and buy from a reputable breeder, and not the cheapest puppy out there. Breeders strive to get the best we can from a breeding. Health checks are a must. All dogs need to be sound in mind as well as structure; a very beautiful dog with serious health or temperament problems is not a good example of the breed. Good breeders take their time choosing who to breed for many reasons, both structure and temperament being in our minds. Their are not a breed for people not willing to do some work in raising, training and grooming! A Briard is an awesome dog to have, but their owners need to be firm and consistent in everything they do.

Gina Klang

I have been involved with this amazing breed since 1995. My daughter started showing our dogs when she was just a little girl six years old. Now as time has passed, KayCee and I are partners in this venture of breeding and dog showing. We take special care in breeding for easy biddable temperaments and lovely examples of the breed. We are a partnership in that I do more of the breeding, caring, raising of the dogs and KayCee does the training, and expert handling of the dogs. We evaluate the litters together and make selections as a team. Together we have raised multiple group winning dogs, Specialty winning dogs, National Specialty winning dogs, and two generations of Best In Show and Reserve Best in Show winning dogs. My hope is that when I am long gone that KayCee will continue on and preserve the pedigrees and dogs of Mon Amie.

We live in Thousand Palms California just east of Palm Springs. Besides the dogs I own two quarter horses and enjoy riding and cow sorting.

Briards are described as a “heart wrapped in fur” I think because Briards want to please and have a strong sense of attachment to their people. Briards love to be where ever their people are. If you want to lay around and watch movies and have a lazy day Briards are happy to hang out with you. They are happy if they are with you no matter what you are doing.

At dog shows, if well socialized they do very well around other dogs and people. We have had lazy dogs that once at a show just come to life and are quite the “show dog”. Briards are very funny and have a lot of personality and sense of humor. Briards, per the standard are aloof with strangers. They should tolerate strangers and never show any signs of aggression.

Briards were bred to guard so they attach themselves to their people and really do not care much about the outside world, but again if properly socialized Briards can be quite social.

The Briard standard does have eight disqualifications. In my opinion some are to differentiate the Briard from its cousin the Beauceron. The DQ’s for eye color for example, and the DQ for spotted coat are meant to clearly separate the two breeds. I do not feel like there should be anymore DQ’s we already have more than most breeds. And, as far as adding any more DQ’s I do not feel like we need to add any the Briard is pretty well covered from head
to tail.

I do feel that size is of “concern” in our breed. Briards are a medium sized working breed, and it seems that some of the dogs are just getting too big. We do have wording that appears twice in the standard that says “inelegant gait should be severely penalized”. The bigger dogs can be cumbersome and not have the “quick silver” gait required of the breed. The Briard should be able to work trotting and changing speed and direction over the corse of a work day, the larger dogs would break down and tire in my opinion. This is a concern and not something I feel should be an added DQ but as breeders we should be mindful of.

The general public often mistakes the Briard for a Bouvier. Not sure how but I guess to the uneducated eye they make that assumption. Briards are not very well know and there are very few out and about for people to see. People often admire their regal appearance and are taken by the beautiful coat. When we have one of our dogs out with us we know that it may take us longer to get where we are going because people stop us to ask us lots of questions about
the breed.

I evaluate the entire litter at eight weeks. This gives me the opportunity to pick out the stand outs from the companion puppies. All of our puppies are placed into show homes first then I place puppies into the other companion homes based on appropriate temperament for each family. Because choosing the right temperament for each individual family is primary I select each puppy for each buyer. All of our puppies are sold with a purchase agreement requiring spay or neuter and we are there to assist new owners through the life of their puppy.

Show prospects are chosen around 12 weeks of age although I generally evaluate the entire litter at eight weeks. I watch the puppies move around in the yard from about five weeks on. Often there are a stand out puppies who cover the ground beautifully and never stop without being four square and just seem to always put their feet down just right. Generally you can see this by eight weeks of age. As far as having it all together though, if I can hang on to my favorite puppies until about 12 weeks that gives me a good idea of their foot timing, how they carry themselves and movement. It seems like they come together and are coordinated at that age.

For KayCee and I our favorite memory has to be our National Specialty Breed win. As breeders that is a very rewarding win and it was so special because my daughter and I are a team. We bred, raised, and trained the dog and KayCee beautifully handled the dog to his win. That was such a wonderful moment for us. Such a cherished memory.

Christi Leigh

In terms of breeding Briards. I got my first Briard in 1992. I got my first show Briard in 1996. I bred my first litter in 2000. I have bred about 60 champions in 38 litters. I have bred Westminster winners, grand champions, Best in Show winners, Specialty winners. The most important thing is producing dogs that contribute to families. I have done that as well, companions as well as service/therapy dogs.

I live in New Mexico. I work on radioactive waste disposal.

What’s the breed like around the house, shows and strangers? Around the house the Briard is interactive and funny with his people. They are pretty much shadows, with you all of the time, if you let them. They are highly intelligent and can be very funny when they are negotiating with you over something they want. They definitely serve as watch dogs because they alert bark at any number of things—like there is a squirrel in the yard—danger danger Will Robinson. At shows they are well behaved if you have trained them to be. The Briard is supposed to be reserved with strangers. That is guarded at first and then may warm up to them as time passes. They are not supposed to be aggressive in any way—just alert and watchful in case there is a danger.

Are there any DQs I’d like to see removed or added? There is no need to change the Briard standard in any way. Many of the DQs are things that I have not ever seen in a Briard, so you might think they don’t exist any more. But, there is no reason to eliminate them as DQs. They are easy to memorize and when thinking about the actual purpose of the breed, they make perfect sense.

How does the general public view the Briard? More people are recognizing Briards in public but it still a small number of people. Most people react to the dogs saying how cute they are, asking to pet them, and then asking what breed they are. I have a number of friends who carry explanation cards with them to hand out to the inquisitive public.

How do I place my pups? All I can say is that I am looking for homes that will value the pups as much as I do. Value the fact that they are a high quality purebred dog with specific traits that you want to see in your family dog. Finding those people is always a struggle no matter how much you advertise. It is generally a ration of about 10 to 1. That is, talk to ten people, maybe sell one puppy. At least that is the way for me. I use a purchase agreement to ferret out where I might have difficulties with a buyer. For example, I have had a number of people (mostly men) who just do not like the idea of neutering a male dog. If the buyer cannot get over that stipulation, they don’t get a dog.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? I watch the litter from birth to ten weeks. Pups change from week to week not just in shape and size but in personality. I have decided what I want to keep for my breeding program by ten weeks. It may not be the pup considered the best for showing because showing is only part of the picture. I will choose the pup that has the characteristics I was breeding for without compromising what I have already accomplished in my breedings.

My favorite dog show memory? Dog shows are necessary for someone who breeds because the breeder needs to see what others are doing with their gene pool and be able to discuss the ins and outs of the breed with experienced people. That is not always fun. So it is hard to pick a favorite memory. However, I would say that I was unbelievably pleased when my dog Cognac won the National Specialty in 2011. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and sacrifice keeping the dog out and in condition to be shown to this judge whose opinion I valued.

As with any breed, the look of the dog is cyclical depending on which human beings are showing and politicking the most. Those people naturally promote the look they have, and when judges see that look over and over and over, they tend to think it is correct. It takes serious consideration on the part of the judge to have in his or her mind what he/she thinks is the ideal look of the Briard first and then apply that to the specimens being examined. This is something that is just not possible for every breed a judge has to examine. That being said, the breed is currently being represented (in force) with specimens that are in my opinion too long and too narrow, lacking sufficient prosternum and spring of rib. This is simply my opinion. For me, I will continue to emphasize a proportional body shape in my breedings because I believe it contributes substantially to the dog’s ability to do the job for which he was bred—herding.

Barbe Lynch

I live in western New York State and I’m a Graphic Designer.

I got my first Briard puppy as a rescue in 1974. I was impressed by his intelligence, gentleness, quick learning capabilities, and devotion to me. I fell in love with the breed, head over heels. I obtained my first show pup in 1976 and produced my first litter in 1978. From then to now there have been celebrations for many Championships, Herding titles/Championships, Performance titles, Rassemblement Selections and happy life experiences shared with the dogs’ owners, even the grandpup’s owners who continue to compete in the ever-growing venues AKC keeps providing to us.

From 1990 to 2004 I published “The Briard Journal”, a quarterly news publication that covered ‘Briard happenings’ around the world, which led me to see some major International dog shows and ‘kennel-hopping’ trips abroad.

Today, I enjoy living with Briards who are direct descendants from my original American bred bitch, that also share the genes of the fine dogs I imported from France and Australia, as well as, selected outcrosses to other quality dogs and lines done to add desirable features to our dogs. It is a point of pride that I can state my dogs are direct descendants to the first Briard registered with AKC, Dauphine de Montjoye.

My immersion in Briards is total. I’m a lifetime member of the BCA. I’ve served in many positions in the BCA including several years as art and Layout Editor of the BCA publication, “The Dewclaw”, 12 years as as a member of the Education Committee and Judge Mentor, currently enjoy working as a Trustee of the Briard Medical Trust. My heart has been in my work as longtime Archives/Historian chair. I’ve spent two decades seriously researching the beginnings and history of Briards in America, and am now finalizing the facts and stories and photos that owners have shared with me into a book. It has been a wonderful journey for my nearing five decades involvement in Briards.

What is the breed like around the house, shows and strangers? For a large dog the Briard adult is kind of lazy around the house, but a constant companion. You never get the bathroom to yourself when you live with a Briard. But when you’re ready to go do something outside, go in the car, the dog is up and raring to go. They can be bed hogs if you don’t make rules.

At shows, a puppy can be full of curiosity, nosy and silly, but an adult tends to be all business, up on the table for ring prep and minds its manners on the walk to the ring. As for strangers, young dogs can be overtly, embarrassingly friendly, adults reserved but calmly accepting. But some are wary until they get to know the new person. Briards take looking after their family seriously and keep a watchful eye on strangers.

Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? None should be added nor removed. The DQs are about retaining the uniqueness of type that makes a Briard a Briard. We also have two Penalizations in the standard. They go together as the first describes structural attributes that should not be lacking and the second penalizes “clumsy or inelegant gait”. A properly built Briard’s movement is like looking at fine artwork…simply stunning.

How does the general public view the Briard? Several movies an a TV comedy with Briards served to increase public awareness of the breed. But they are still a lesser known breed. I remember leaving a hotel one morning heading to a dog show when a person in the lobby exclaimed what a pretty ‘cockapoo’! Nothing like starting the day out with a major insult to your beloved showdog.

How do I place my pups? My first litter was born in 1978. Now most of my pups go to previous puppy owners. A couple who had one of the ‘78 pups now has a 2012 born dog, and in between had three others who overlapped or co-resided.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? When choosing for myself I have to consciously avoid the emotional blindspot. There is always one puppy I fall in love with but it isn’t always the best show prospect, so I have become brutally honest about assessing the plus and minuses of each pup. If I’m trying to choose between two nice pups, I’ll keep them longer and choose by 12 weeks but that’s rarer, usually my choice has been made by seven to eight weeks.

When helping a buyer, I present those pups of the desired sex who have the best structure and puppy movement thus far and give them my observation on each pup’s temperament and character. If they are experienced, I’d prefer they make their choice on what they see, if they are newer to showing, I’ll give my opinion based on what I think will fit what they have told me they want, i.e., dual purpose dog, show dog only, if they have young kids, etc.

My favorite dog show memory? Participating in the last dog show Mary Lou Tingley (Phydeaux Briards—kennel name retired by AKC/BCA) ever judged. It was the 1991 National Specialty.

I’d add on to that by saying the most Briard educational experience I’ve ever had was spending nearly a week at Mary Lou’s a couple of years before she past away, talking long into the night, scanning all her old photos, listening to so many incredible stories of old Briards and their folks. It was amazing, just total immersion into breed lore.

It is an amazingly intelligent, adaptive breed. Loyal to a fault, deeply devoted, one that builds such a strong, nearly palpable bond with its family. We have a couple of sayings “Once you’ve been owned by a Briard, you can’t live without one.” I cannot imagine my life without a Briard in it. The other saying is, “The person getting a Briard must be at least as smart as the dog, or it will not work out well.” This has been proven, far too often.

It is amazing that a breed established in the USA by 8-10 founder French imports has developed with so few health issues. The two World Wars created a serious genetic bottleneck in the breed with so many dying as they were used as war dogs in a variety of capacities. Yet the breed has a good longevity record. The breed is very lucky in that the founder dogs were not just sturdy, quality animals, they appear to also have been quite healthy genetically too.

Terry Miller

Terry Miller graduated from college with a degree in Fine Arts and promptly started training dogs, something she always aspired to do. She started with two pet Standard Poodles whom she exhibited in obedience. The first dog shown in conformation was a client’s wayward Briard which started a curiosity and fascination with the breed. The first Briard came after lots of homework from the great kennel of Briards Chez Phydeaux owned by the Tingleys in Mendham, New Jersey and Aigner Briards of the Keiters in Tannersville, Pennsylvania. This dog and bitch were Winners Bitch and BOS at the 1982 National Specialty. Deja Vu Briards was off to the races. Terry went on to run a Hearing Dog program for the deaf and a training/behavioral business for 38 years.

There have been more than 300 champions, five Westminster group placers, and home to the top winning dog and bitch of all time who happen to be sire and daughter Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT and Ch Deja Vu Ruffles Have Ridges PT. Deja Vu also became home to the top sire and the top dam of all time who happen to be dam and son Ch Deja Vu Four Leaf Clover and Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT. Deja Vu is also the winner of many wins at specialties, including 12 wins of Best of Breed/BISS at the National. Terry and partner Dominique Dubé breed under the Deja Vu Popsakadoo prefix and were humbled to be chosen the 2016 AKC Herding Group Breeders of the Year.

We live in Novelty, Ohio. I am a dog behaviorist and trainer.

What’s the breed like around the house, shows and strangers? Briards are decidedly and typically uncaring about strangers and obsessed with their family. They are a guard dog by nature, and are selective and discriminant about who counts in their perfect world. Briards are demonstrative and extremely loving. They are silly, funny, learn fast, and would rather do whatever their owners do than any other thing. They are a dog who would chase a frisbee for hours, or be equally happy laying in a heap at their owners’ feet.

However for every trait, there is an opposite trait. The Briard is often selective to a fault in our urban life styles and can quickly develop a willingness to avoid or even become aggressive toward anyone who they perceive to not be part of their family, If not thoroughly and intensely socialized to strangers and in new settings, they can become untrustworthy and possibly aggressive. The breed tends to have high prey drive and can be emotional and reactive. In the good sense, this can create a very responsive and engaged dog. In the bad sense, if not properly managed, it can create a p
roblem animal.

The Briard, in its finest form is a fantastic house pet, clean, silly and responsive, easy and adaptive and in love with their family and circle of friends. In addition, they can be welcoming and happy to meet and greet guests and strangers. As with anything, it depends on nature and nurture both.

Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? I believe all the DQs should stay as is. They are so much a part of the history of the Briard and represent the intentions and depictions of the Briard and the writers’ of the original standard. I think we have a good standard which is mostly clear and beautifully descriptive of what the Briard is.

Caution should be taken by anyone judging the breed to pay close attention to nose color. We are seeing some dilute blacks who are not grey, but are actually blue. This means the nose DQ “ nose any color than black” would be found in such a dog. Therefore, this dog should be disqualified.

How does the general public view the Briard. Have they seen enough of them to recognize the breed?

The breed is more recognized now than it had been in the past however, there are also many more people asking if it’s a Labradoodle or a Goldendoodle or asking “what mix is that?” Our numbers have basically stayed the same, yet the breed is probably a bit more known by the general public. I would guess this has to be with increased visibility on social media.

How do I place my pups? Extremely carefully. This is not a breed for everyone. Just the temperament and coat care alone are not for the faint of heart. They are very high maintenance. Fortunately, more than 50% of our puppies go to experienced Briard homes. Many of the homes have had Briards for multiple generations in their families and many are second generation Briard owners from us, having grown up with the breed and now as adults, seeking the breed for their own families.

We spend a lot of time with the new people prior to placement teaching them all the reasons why the Briard may not be the right breed for them. They are asked to fill out a puppy questionnaire and be scrutinized with lots of questions about their life style and preparation for having a strong minded, opinionated working dog.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? We start the choosing process at birth of course and continue sorting through until we are left with what we decide to keep for us. That is usually around10-12 weeks old. Even then, we continue to evaluate throughout their development. Our dogs are house dogs, therefore we manage our numbers carefully and thoughtfully.

My favorite dog show memory? When I won the national specialty with Ch C’est Bonheur Woodbine Tinsel under Ann Rogers Clark from the Veteran Bitch Class. I had always felt Tinsel was a great one, yet she was BOS at the National three times. Finally, as a veteran, in 1990 Mrs. Clark pointed to Tinsel and me for Best of Breed. I was crying, Mrs. Clark was crying, and much of the ringside and other exhibitors were crying.

Ellen Myers

An AKC Breeder of Merit, author of articles and one book on the Briard: Briards Past and Present: Conversation with Leading Breeders ( The book can be bought signed directly from Author or via Amazon.) A breeder whose tawny dogs are multiple country show winning Briards, in some countries the only breeder in North America whose dogs have won ever in certain countries. The breeder of the only Triple CH Herding Briard in American History in the various clubs recorded. Her one litter is documented by Animal Planet in their series, “Too Cute”, filmed at her home over six weeks during the early development of the litter. She developed her line of dogs by going back to the country of origin over several years and studying the breed and the breed history and attempted to bring the American Briard more into proper alignment with the most historic valued characteristics of the breed appearing in the standard in all countries. Never a large scale breeder, she always valued her goal of quality over quantity, and lived her breeding life in that manner.

I live On Long Island, New York. I am a mudra yoga teacher, a producer, writer, actress, metaphysician and investor.

What’s the breed like around the house? The Briard is an active dog and primed to be a herding dog. Family members substitute for sheep to the Briard and so around the house, you become the center of attention for the Briard. They will often be of the mind to follow you wherever you are going in the house. For them, you are their charge and they need to be near you.

A Briard however is not a hyper active dog and is steady in mind and action if of good mentality. They will lay at your feet for hours quietly.

They can be quite boisterous when someone is approaching the house, as any dog can be, but due to their size and deep voice a Briard can seem quite intimidating to a stranger. For this same reason they are a good guard dog, alert to small noises or changes. A Briard can be taught very good manners, but this requires a human take the time to teach them.

Briards were not bred to be user friendly to strange dogs. If they had been, their ability to ward of strange animals approaching their flock of sheep in the fields would be non-existent. In the same way, they were not bred to be terribly interested and overly friendly to strange people. Strange people in the old days could walk into a field without fences and steal sheep if the Briard were not wary of strangers. So, around shows, in the outside world where they were not familiar with boundaries belonging to them, the Briard should be very alert to all that is around, and wary of strangers but a Briard is in such circumstances reserved, not aggressive. He is not shy or timid and so should properly be standing without hostility. Their natural intelligence and curiosity makes them alert and attentive but again, their behavior should, if well trained be polite and somewhat aloof. They will always be happy to see people they know and like, but otherwise, do not expect a lap dog attitude.

I believe with a Briard at a dog show, it is always useful to walk them around so they may see where they are and get their bearings, due to their intelligence. They are more relaxed if they have been given some time to take in where they are, especially if it is unfamiliar and busy. This is really common sense. A normally domestic family dog does not enjoy being kept in a crate for hours on end, and only taken out for grooming and a ten minute walk in a show ring. I personally also feel it is a kind thing to do with a dog of mine at least at a show, as my dogs have a lot of freedom at home.

Now, that being said, not all breeders have good reliable temperament in their Briard lines or specific dogs and yet they are able to be shown and to their owners they have value at a dog show competition. For Briards who have a harder nature, and are more highly suspicious and tense than others, then the owner may need to keep a firmer grip on such dogs and tell strangers to not if not suitable reach out to their dogs, etc.

Are there any DQ’s I’d like to see removed or added? I don’t believe any breeder should be in our breed attempting to get the laws or rules bent that exist in the standard. We have the standard for very well established reasons for very long. Our Briard is an ancient Briard and many many generations and even centuries fo breeding choices have gone into what makes a Briard.

What I used to see when I was more active was breeders who were messing up and not getting a number of things right in their breeding results but attempting because that is what they got, to get judges to believe what they were showing was not wrong, but in fact, the judge should be rewarding them for being in the ring with incorrect dogs in regard to breed excellence just because that is what they had, and their interests were more about themselves than breeding excellent dogs. One needs to work to be a great breeder in the real sense and not the political sense, or simply business sense concerns. But this is my opinion. I used to say my competition was with myself not other breeders. My quest was to always do better against what I knew the highest standards were in every aspect of the dog with myself and my own results. I did not pay all that much attention to what others were doing because many are in love with whatever they breed. I always love and feel it is important to look at others breeding because no one breeder can do it all, and for the health of the dogs we need to reach out and breed with dogs who have things to offer our lines, and also to keep our dogs healthy. That is always how I approached breeding, along with really understanding the standard and the different expressions and types that existed within our breed.

How does the general public view the Briard? I cannot speak for the general public. I have no idea.

How do I place my pups? I never bred a lot of litters and so people generally would contact me and when I had a litter I would notify those who were on my list, or I placed notices on the BCA website where it has a place for announcing litters. Also today if one has a website for their dogs as I have for a long time,I could once I had a website announcing coming litters there as well.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? For me no dog can be said to be show quality until it is at least five of six months of age. And so I don’t. Younger than that one can say perhaps the pup has show potential. That is all I ever honestly could say to people about a puppy previous to that age.

My favorite dog show memory? I enjoy most in my experience a breed experience in France and their national Elevage for Briards.

In my experiences this particular weekend has always been the most enjoyable for me. I always learned the most in this weekend of evaluations of the breed by particular experts in the breed, who work only really involved a concentration on Briards who had to prepare for nearly five years to be such judges. People bring their dogs from all over the world of the breed to this and yet it is done with great casualness and relaxation. I get to see so many dogs of the breed from so many places, and inquire and meet interested, serious people for the breed.

Simply for myself the experience of my years with this breed has been very pleasurable although it is also a lot of work and much care and times has always been needed. I find that in a well bred Briard, given good relationships with humans, it is a great dog and will never disappoint a true dog lover. I have always considered my dogs, the great “all purpose dog.”

Denise Simenauer

After many years of showing American Saddlebred horses since she was seven years old, Denise began to show dogs. As a child, Denise showed her Miniature Poodle in Junior Showmanship. In 1968, Denise purchased her first show dog, Bruno, a St. Bernard. She showed and raised St. Bernards until 1974 when she went to visit a St. Bernard kennel in Eastern Pennsylvania and fell in love with the Briards that had been recently taken in as rescues at that kennel. It was love at first sight! She then attended the first Briard American Rassemblement in 1974, in Columbus, Ohio where she met and fell in love with her first Briard puppy. The photo (left) is of Denise and her first Briard, CH. Calumets Joharah J.

Since 1974, Denise and her husband, Peter Simenauer have always had a Briard filling their home with love and humor. Briards have been an integral part of their life and were an important 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 winner 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 touching you or near you (underfoot sometimes). Ours sleep in our bedroom and usually jump on the bed to be cuddled for a few minutes before getting down to sleeping on their own bed. However, sometimes 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 a stranger and want to crawl in their lap and be petted while others 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 puppy 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 chosen 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 Westminster 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 challenges 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!

   

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