times in my life, I have felt such euphoria
as on that 9th of July 2011. It was the absolute happiness
and pride of living the upmost achievement I could ever dream
of as a Briard breeder, owner and handler. But in addition,
this happened in the presence, with the involvement and support
of my family and friends, which gave the event another dimension.
As soon as I found out that the 2011 World Dog Show was happening
in France, my home country but more importantly the home country
of our breed, it became my priority to participate. And how
could it ever be anything better than that incredible day:
Sage, World Winner 2011, in France, over all the top Briards
of Europe (132 Briards total), for the centennial anniversary
of the FCI, then going to win the Breed and placing in the
herding group (out of 50 breeds and 2266 herding dogs). My
mentor and dearest friend Jacky Passebosc also became World
Winner (female), with his bitch Douchka des Monts d'en Crouzille,
while Corinne de Brouwer, the breeder of Calice, won the best
breeding group of the herding group with 4 children of her
beloved Taboo de la Chaume de Bois Dieu. My sister, who had
never been to a dog show prior to that weekend, helped me
immensely and without her, but also Gilles and the kids, my
brothers Bruno and Denis and also Tim's support in the US,
it would have been impossible. The funny part is that it was
also obvious to all at ring side that Sage was living the
instant as fully as I was and was understanding each winning
step along the way to his highest crown. He was the best behaved
dog and each time the judges were pointing at us as the winners
of that specific class or step, he would immediately jump
up and give me a big hug.
Not a single piece of those two days was incomplete or imperfect.
We spent two days of joy and pride, in Villepinte, near Paris.
will spare you the details of the nerve wrecking logistic
to get Sage and Calice to Paris and bring them back home,
but imagine your flight being cancelled the day before you
leave with a 500 crate and a 700 crate and your 2 dogs, imagine
how to maneuver with the crates and dogs alone in CDG airport
and eventually pick up a rental vehicle large enough to fit
them, similarly imagine how to manage walking from your parking
spot to the show entrance about 1 mile away, pass the veterinary
checks and be in the ring at 8:30 am while the parking lots
doors would only start opening at 6:30am for close to 10,000
dogs / day, etc, etc…. Only one answer: lots of pre-planning
and tremendous involvement of many people as mentioned above.
And maybe it all happened thanks to the magic step in the
poop with your right foot as both Sylvie and I did on Friday
morning ! But the stress to actually get there was such that
I knew that I would simply enjoy the shows.
The show was held in two halls of the Villepinte exhibition
center, covering 100,000m2 surface, with the Championnat de
France in the mornings and the World Dog Show in the afternoons,
over the course of 4 days and with more than 38,000 participants.
The rings were spacious, with green carpet, no fence around
them. There was no formal benching/crating area, therefore
crates were staggered wherever a little spot was found, but
the overall area was not overcrowded. There were lots of vendors
and meet the breed booths all over the place. The Championnat
de France, on Friday, had an entry of 113 briards, judged
by Lin Montenot. And the World Dog Show (La Mondiale), on
Saturday, had an entry of 132, judged by Jean Larive for the
males and Salvatore Gianonne for the females. Sage and Calice
were each entered in their respective open class. On Friday,
Sage was in the very first class to step in the ring at 8:30am.
Sylvie and I had been in line to get in the parking lot since
5am and Gilles met us just before judging start so that we
all could enjoy the moment and live it together. Sage was
ready and from that moment, the rest was history. He obtained
the CACS with ease. Next were the black girls. A lovely group
of females that was headed by three grey relatives. Then came
the tawny males and females. Calice was in the largest class
of the show, a very beautiful group of 20 open tawny females.
She too showed very pretty and ended up going RCACS to a bitch
handled by Annie Taboutaud.
I was absolutely thrilled with the results, the performance
of the dogs and the fact that we were able to have Corinne
and Jacques see Calice for the first time since they had shipped
her to the USA. In the evening, Sylvie and I met my friend
Ellen for dinner around a bottle of champagne.
Saturday was the Mondiale and the number of competitors increased
by 19, including the added participation of Calice's brother,
the very handsome Jag, the dog who had won BOB at Crufts this
year and at any show he competed at in Europe. Our ring time
was 12:30 pm and at this time when we arrived the morning
dogs were still there while the afternoon dogs had to get
in. Density of set up was much higher. I had decided that
a good performance would be all I wanted. Only the male and
the female who would earn the CACIB would become the two 2011
world winners and I certainly thought that Jag was arriving
here with lots of wind under his wings, along with some really
beautiful dogs from other countries who have won the CAC or
RCAC at the French National in prior years. Once again, Sage
was a showstopper and he took the open class with ease under
the obvious agreement of the spectators. The working class
had two highly ranked males who were very stiff competition.
But Sage got the CACS!. From that point on I was in my cloud.
I watched the tawny males exhibition and there were some really
beautiful dogs. I was able to watch many dogs I had only seen
on the web in photos. Jag won the champion class and therefore
we would be competing for the CACIB, along with the tawny
CAC winner and black champion class winner. And it ended up
being between Sage and Jag. To my biggest joy and surprise,
Sage had that little extra and he is the one that Mr Larive
chose as the World Winner Male.
Because of the parallel judging for the males and females,
I decided to not show Calice in order to stay focused on Sage.
Ellen ended up taking Calice in the ring. She showed well
and received excellent but did not place. For Mr Gianone,
the World Winner Female was Douchka. Which made Jacky Passebosc
the other world winner ! This was perfect.
The breed would be chosen between Sage and Douchka, two gray
briards, and cousins ! Winning the breed was not important
to me at all, but of course I was happy that we did. This
meant that we had to show in the group which is something
I have always found exciting, even though the day was getting
judging was preceded by a French Cancan danse !!!! Group judging
was a series of many events, best pair, best couple, best
breeder group, best youth, best veteran and then best amongst
the best of breed winners. Group participants were gathered
in a ring behind the honor ring and were "pre-judged" by the
judge there. Then we all entered as we were called in the
extremely large honor ring on this very beautiful blue carpet.
The herding group counted 50 breeds, many I had never seen
before, representing a total of 2226 herding dogs. Out of
them, the judge, Miss Lisbeth Mach, made a cut of 6. We all
had then to do a triangle and a go around again. Her final
decision came and we were called in reverse order to our placing
spot. Sage won the group 3 placement. We stepped out of the
ring, at 7pm, absolutely exhausted but with a huge smile and
a big trophy!
At each and every moment, Sage showed perfectly. I could never
ask him to do anything better than what he did those two days.
He was proud, happy, enthousiastic and simply gorgeous. It
was his cluster of shows and he owned the place. I believe
no other briard was indeed close to challenge him.
Sage came back home with the key CACS of the Championnat de
France, which completed his French championship title requirements,
the CACIB of the world show which made him the 2011 World
Winner and on top of that the BOB and a group III at the WDS.
really too bad that such a competition does not exist in the
USA. It is the moment of pride of the breeders. Such competition
exists at every all breed show in France. One can present
a group of dogs that he/she has bred and that were entered
at that show. There is no requirement to be the owner of the
dogs. The idea is to present an homogenous group of dogs to
show how consistent - and hopefully how beautiful!- your production
has been. On the previous days, I had watched that competition
for other groups. It is really a beautiful sight, specially
when the presenters also make the effort to dress alike. The
black and white newfoundlands (apparently not landseers ?)
won their group and all dogs were so beautifully similar but
the presenters all also wore the same outfit. In our breed,
traditionally the breeder will choose a group of dog that
are homogenous in color and type, mixing males and females.
But I do recall a group of three gray males briards that gave
me goose bumps each time I saw them. They were presented side
by side by their breeder, all half brothers, from the same
sire, almost perfect copy cut and in perfect harmony. Never
a tooth was shown even though they did not know each other
and each of them lived with a different owner.
to the Mondiale. There were three briard breeder groups presented
in the herding group (2 tawny and 1 gray). Calice was asked
to join her brother Jag, sister Croq'epine (both already Fr
champions) and her half sister Baboo. Corinne had asked us
to wear black pants and had selected a purple shirt as top.
So we, the people, were all similarly dressed as well. We
had worked out the order in which we would place each other.
Calice, being the smallest, was on the outside and Jag the
largest in the middle. The 4 of them gave a very beautiful
representation of the rich tawny color, with the same mask
and a very similar silhouette. All groups entered in a line
and then were placed around the ring, all facing the judge
in the center of the ring. We managed to have all 4 dogs really
glued to each others' sides and looking in the same direction
! The judge cut 6 groups out of all and we remained as the
only briard group. We did a down and back with all 4 dogs
side by side and after that exercise, the judge decided on
her placement. We knew that she liked them as one can notice
when the eye stops on you and really studies the dogs, but
we were not sure it was that much ! The Chaume de Bois Dieu
group ended up winning that breeder group to the biggest joy
of Corinne and Jacques, who rightfully so, were glowing with
pride. I was simply happy for them and happy to have had the
opportunity to participate in that competition.
it could not have been a better selection of winners, with
recognition of my dog Sage, Jacky's female Douchka and Corinne
and Jacques' breeder group :-)
Some of the Photos are Credit of "Briards du Bohemien"