Page 76 - ShowSight Express, June 8, 2020
P. 76

tail shape and carriage combine to give the classic look I dream of. In a breed where carriage, proportions and croups are a terrible problem, she excels in those qualities and is a classic example of what the breed should be.
It was a huge honor to be awarded AKC Herding Group Breeder of the Year in 2016, and also to win the Breeder of the Year (All Breeds) Award from Dogs in Review magazine.
Please comment positively on your breed’s present condition and what trends might bear watching.
The breed has improved in the size of our dogs. For a while we saw some pretty big dogs. Too big. It is a subject that I find interesting. I would not be exaggerating to say that many AKC judges have asked me whether a Briard that is of perfectly correct size is actually not big enough. When bitch size is 22"-25 1/2" (with a DQ for under 22") and dog size is 23"- 27" (DQ for under 23"), the expectations of size seem to be rather misunderstood. This is a medium-sized dog. The Briard is a moderate dog in pretty much every way, including size. Like most herding dogs, it is a purpose-driven breed with all priorities guided by function.
Silhouette has been one of our biggest challenges in the breed for two quali- ties. 1. The AKC standard mandates square proportions (“from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttock is equal to or slightly more than his height at the withers”). The struggle is that proportions with long bodies—more like the outline of the Bearded Collie—are not Briard proportions. A cutout of a Briard is unrecognizable if it resembles a Beardie rather than a Briard. We have signifi- cant challenges when it comes to dogs and bitches that are too long. 2. The breed has trouble with the shape and angle of the croup. Croups, like fronts, are not easy to understand or to breed for since there are multiple components that govern the croup.
The sport has changed greatly since you first began participating. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport?
The sport has changed as a reflection of the world. Irresponsibility, shortcuts, terrible sportsmanship, winning at any cost, disregard for the nobility of the canine species and the uniqueness of the purebred dog, cruelty to other humans and a belief of entitlement. I am not optimistic about the future of the sport and now in the midst of the pandemic, perspectives change—at least for now—there- fore, values change.
I was taught by my mentors by the example they set of unselfish devotion to dogs and the greater good for the sport, the greater good to the world, the greater good to the dog world.
My heart is sad over the absence of true breeders. In my own breed, fellow breeders whom I trust have an ongoing dialogue about the many empty seats at the table of real, true breeders of our breed. There is only a handful. Many of us, who came up together in the breed, wonder who will inherit the breed we have devoted our lives to. Our breed is one of the rarer ones to begin with. Over the past ten years we have watched so many of the breeders we could depend on for so much support, fellowship and intellectual curiosity, stop breeding, die, move on, change their lives and priorities. We can count on the fingers of one hand, the number of true breeders with breeders’ hearts and work ethic left in the breed. The conver- sation turns to how many do we have who breed an actual family of dogs? How many do we have who carry and sustain a vision for the Briard? How many do we have who sustain in their mind’s eye a template for the Briard? How many do we have who still read their standard over and over again? Our breed is not unique. There are people who produce puppies. But how many breeders are there, really? In the sport, breeding and breeders should be the main event. Not the means to the end of showing a dog.
I guess this is more complaining on my part than it is solutions. Until breeders rather than adoptions become at least equal, we and the sport are in trouble. The American Kennel Club needs to step up to the plate and take its place as the leader in the field, to create supportive actions to influence the views and hearts of the dog-loving public.
Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two?
The next decade or two might be a little bit of wishful thinking for me. I will be 85 by then! Dominique is ten years younger. She’ll be carrying on and perhaps
pictured from top: Ch. Deja Vu Popsakadoo It Is What It Is with judge Fred Bassett; Ch. Deja Vu Mia Cool As A Cucumber with judge Houston Clark
also Dominique’s daughter, Marjorie, who was a Briard owner in utero, and owns and loves the breed. Dominique and I will never lose the passion and thrill of breeding beautiful dogs. We still dedicate ourselves to study and never stop learning. We read the old French standards from the beginning ver- sions and contemplate the intentions of the writers. It helps that Dominique’s first language is French!
Finally, tell us a little about Terry outside of dogs... your profession, your hobbies.
I went to college for painting and drawing and have a degree in fine arts. I still love art although breeding dogs has mostly replaced my need for mak- ing art. It is a similar process and hugely satisfying to my need to be creative and my visual sense of bal- ance and beauty.
I am a professional dog trainer and behaviorist. I have run a hearing dogs for the deaf program, vol- unteered in a couple of shelters, done Schutzhund and sheep herding, puppy testing, spoken to kennel clubs, judges’ groups, high school career programs, and police k9 training groups about behavior, my career, training, about hearing dogs and about Bri- ards. I belong to two all-breed kennel clubs and a few Briard clubs. I am currently President of the Atlantic States Briard Club and am former show chair of the Sugarbush Kennel Club.
Our recent move has increased the house work- load. Even though the house was owned by a dog person before us, there is lots to do with changing fencing, still unpacking and making it our own. We are just learning to put names to the beautiful plantings all around the property. We look forward to having our first litter of puppies on this property sometime this summer.

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