Page 72 - ShowSight Express, June 8, 2020
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worked well for me over the years. I have used it frequently and am always on the lookout for the right phenotype to utilize it again. Many of my best dogs have been created that way. Most notably, Ch. Deja Vu Purple People Eater, Ch. Deja Vu In Like Flynn and Flynn’s great-producing brother, Ch. Deja Vu Instant Success, were all from diagonal ladder breedings. However, with the diagonal lad- der, it is not merely the relationships in the pedigree; first one needs complementary traits.
Over the past 14 years, my partner Dominique Dubé (Popsaka- doo) and I brought our families of dogs together which were rooted in the same foundation. We have bred together since. Dominique was already an accomplished Briard breeder in her own right with a brilliant eye and a keen mind while living in Montreal, until she came to join me in Cleveland. We both share similar visions and both breed by being governed by phenotype first. We use pedigrees to guide us about health concerns and some future potential, but primary choices are made by what our eyes see. Briards breed pretty true to type, and one can usually count on what you see, especially in inbred pedigrees.
How many dogs do you currently house? Tell us about your facilities and how the dogs are maintained.
Our numbers are a bit fluid. We have our core pets, but we have dogs we share and/or co-own with other breeders. Sometimes they will come here or one of ours will travel there to whelp or be used at stud. With the self-imposed necessity of limiting dog numbers, we have figured out cooperative relationships with others in the breed. Our general numbers usually hover around ten Briards. But then there are the two Skye Terriers that we immensely enjoy and that boss the Briards around!
We are acutely aware of quality of life—ours and the dogs’. Prior to Covid-19, our dogs have participated in our lives in ways other than just dog shows. They do stuff with us...go for rides in the car, come along to the store, go for a stroll in town or at a farmer’s mar- ket, go sheep herding, come to the bank drive-through for a cookie, attend a class, walk around a shopping village. As a breed, the Bri- ard has a high need for socialization away from home. They are enormously high maintenance for their coat care and temperament care so it is logical to keep the number of dogs manageable.
Our dogs do not live as kennel dogs. Kennel life was never our aim. Even when Dominique and I lived separately, we each man- aged our individual family of dogs in a similar way. Our dogs are, first and foremost, our pets. We feel that most Briards are not well- suited to a kennel life because of their herding/guarding tempera- ment. Most Briards are happy to know only their family and pre- tend the rest of the world does not exist. It makes them intensely
loving and devoted family members, but a challenge to raise well with the demands of a social urban setting and dog shows.
We keep our oldies and cherish them in their golden years. Cur- rently, MBIS SBIS Ch. Deja Vu Mia Cool As A Cucumber is over 13 (at Regina’s house where he retired after his career to sleep next to her bed); we lost Bono and Buck Naked at 13 and 13-1/2 this past year; last year we lost Ten at 15-1/2; and our matriarch, Bridezilla, is now over 14.
In our old house, the bedroom was so big, that it could com- fortably accommodate six or seven dogs sleeping in the room, each on their own dog bed, and still have space for a whelping box. We recently moved and the space is dispersed differently. Now it is only comfortable to have four dogs in the room at night so the oth- ers have their beds around the house. The young ones, as we have always done, sleep in their crates in the dog room off the kitchen.
We bought a house previously owned by a dog person so it was well set up for us. It has more property and is one floor! We don’t miss the three flights of stairs in the previous house. We have what we call the small dog room which was an office room that houses crates. The large dog room is big enough for me to hold small class- es, exercise dogs in bad Cleveland weather, groom and train in.
All dogs are fed together with individual bowls in the large dog room all at the same time. We believe this fosters biddabil- ity amongst all and reinforces living in harmony in a big group. It is imperative that we have the kinds of temperaments that can be managed in a social environment with all the challenges and demands of a big family of dogs.
Being a dog trainer, I am careful that all dogs are maintained with clear expectations and boundaries. It reflects my own behav- ioral philosophies of what works best for the complexities of the breed and multiple dogs having to exist in synchronicity.
Who were/are some of your most significant Briards, both in the whelping box and in the show ring?
Significance is measured differently when speaking about repro- duction vs the show ring. In the case of Briards, since they tend to breed true, the good ones tend to create quality in their get. But some of our best show dogs are not necessarily our best producers.
My beginning was founded on three related bitches of immense importance to my current dogs, but also to the breed. I have been for- tunate to continue down generations from the beginning with direct descendants. I say fortunate because I realize the potential pitfalls and surprises that every generation can bring. The three were named Tet- ley (Ch. Aigner Teatotaller ROMX), Tinsel (MBIS, SBIS Ch. C’est Bonheur Woodbine Tinsel HT ROMX), and Tosha (Ch. Richlen Woodbine Atosha). Tetley was purchased, and both Tinsel and Tosha
   pictured above from left: Ch. Deja Vu Up Close & Personal under judge Evie Sullivan; Ch. Deja Vu House On Fire winning Group 4th at Westminster under Betty Moore.; Ch. Deja Vu Four Leaf Clover and her son, Ch. Deja Vu In Like Flynn

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