Unsolicited Advice – Conformation with Jo Lynne

Robyn Salley

When I first arrived in Austin, I was starved for dog sports. I was still commuting back and forth from NYC and crashing with a fellow ABC club member, Marissa, while I managed my transition. My very first week in town, Marissa invited me to a free dog class at a local park. I was extremely nervous about making it on time so I ended up being 30 minutes early! That is where I met Jo Lynne. She welcomed me even though I didn’t even have a dog! I quickly learned that she runs her conformation classes with care, class, and a strong eye to improving you just as much as your dog.

When I finally got the rest of the household moved to Austin, I started attending with Nyko just for the experience. At the time, there were two other Beaucerons who attended class. Now, at the end of 2020, we have six that attend class any given week! Jo Lynne has been fantastic with the breed – working with their aloofness and desire to make their own decisions. I have learned an incredible amount from her in a short period of time and I thought she was an excellent choice to do an interview with given her tenure in the sport and exposure to the breed.

How long have you been active in the sport?

I started showing dogs in 1972 when my mother put me and her first show dog, a Lhasa Apso named Mandy, in a fun match. I was too short to put my dog on the table and the judge had to help me. The dog promptly laid on her side. When we did the down and back she shat in the ring. I won the sportsmanship award that day. I assume it was for the kid whose dog soiled the ring or hit her and she didn’t cry about it. I still have the trophy – small silver bowl. So, long story short, rapidly approaching half a century.

When was the first time you worked with a Beauceron?

I met my first Beauceron when they were just about to leave the Miscellaneous group and go into Herding. I think this was around 2007 time frame. He was at an Australian Cattle Dog national specialty in WA state with his handler, Kris Read. He was aloof and completely focused on Kris. The first one to come to class was a young, rambunctious teenager who nipped at me every time I touched her. I think it was a game to her. There was no malice in her, but she did have a particular glint in her eye. I think she was laughing at me.

What should someone who is just starting in conformation look for in an instructor?

Experience. How long have they actually competed in dog shows? Have they shown more than one breed? Do they know what a Beauceron is and the breed’s original purpose? Have they ever shown a Working or Herding breed? Can they answer your questions about dog show procedure? If not, can they help you find the answer? This has more to do with how a Working or Herding breed should be presented than anything else. (Hold the head for the judge during the exam, how to examine a Beauceron bite. These things are not required in other groups.)

What is the most challenging aspect of the breed, relative to other breeds, that you have experienced?

Bending over to touch the rear dews with a bad back. 😉 They remind me a lot of both Cattledogs and Anatolians – intelligent, aloof, busy like the ACD. I expect their intensity is the most challenging thing about them for people who live with them. I actually like the breed a lot, although I suspect they’re a lot like ACD and they get better with maturity.

What has surprised you about the breed, good and/or bad?

It’s a super intelligent breed. The first one that came to class was a little bit of a pain in the rear and I halfway hoped the dog wouldn’t come back. She was the first of her breed that I spent any length of time around. Her people kept coming back with her and she got better and better at everything we asked of her with just the slightest amount of work. I find myself really liking the breed a little more with every one that I’ve met. You can see them thinking, weighing options, making plans – moreso than a lot of other breeds. There is an impish sense of humor tied to that intelligence. Don’t let that get bred out of them and watered down.

Do you have any advice for Beauceron owners when they’re choosing which shows to attend?

Start local. Start small. Find a local show where you aren’t driving three hours to get there, and there aren’t 3,000 dogs and enter it. If that goes well, enter the 3,000 dog show next.

Any other thoughts or advice?

Remember that it’s just a dog show and just an opinion. You go home with the same dog you showed up with. Take a picnic lunch and a friend for moral support and make it an enjoyable day out with your dog that just happens to be at a show. Set reasonable goals – best of breed is not outside the realm of possibility but I like to start with just remaining upright when I run around the ring. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a chair and water for you and your dog. Make friends in other breeds so that when the dog show life turns on you, you still have people you can turn to for support. For the dogs – Socialize your dog. Even if you don’t think you’re ever going to seriously show your dog, take it to classes and get it accustomed to being handled by people and being around other dogs.

2020 AKC National Championship

Congratulations to all of the Beaucerons who competed in the
2020 AKC National Championship!

Best of Breed
GCH CH Odds Maker Of Prairie Crest
Bred by Karla Davis, Adrienne Scott, and Tara Richardson
Owned by Adrienne Scott


Best of Opposite Sex
GCHG CH Maitrise Du Chateau Rocher RN CA RATN CGCA CGCU TKA
Bred by Karla Davis
Owned by Karen Muller


Select Dog
GCHB CH Harbin L’Amour De Ma Vie RN MXP MJP CA DS CGC TKP
Bred by Cindy Hartwell and Michael Greenburg
Owned by Paige Johnson and Cindy Hartwell


Select Bitch
GCH CH Noelle Du Chateau Rocher CA BCAT CGCA CGCU TKN
Bred by Karla Davis
Owned by Regina Fasold


Best Bred By in Breed/Variety
CH Svajone’s Pour La Reine RI FDC CGC
Bred by Kayla Phillips and Sherri Phillips
Owned by Carly Fryer and Kayla Phillips


Best of Winners
Praetoria Noire De Roi Givre
Bred by Pamela A. Frost
Owned by Scott A. Godwin and Pamela A. Frost


Winners Dog
Pavo Platoon Des Monts Du Lac
Bred by Eric Vavassori, Joanne Prager, and Joanne Broudreault
Owned by Adam Borman and Erica Igelsias Borman


Winners Bitch
Praetoria Noire De Roi Givre
Bred by Pamela A. Frost
Owned by Scott A. Godwin and Pamela A. Frost


1st Award of Excellence
GCH CH Kafziel Von Der Funkhalde RN CGCA CGCU TKN
Bred by Karl Villiger
Owned by Ashley De Noma and Jill Rose


2nd Award of Excellence
CH Svajone’s Pour La Reine RI FDC CGC
Bred by Kayla Phillips and Sherri Phillips
Owned by Carly Fryer and Kayla Phillips

Complex Art: A Visual Study in Conformation

Jasmine Sanders

For the first piece of my project comparing real examples to the wording of the breed standard, I wanted to look at the whole picture, particularly the Beauceron’s proportions. Referring to the AKC Breed Standard & the ABC Illustrated Breed Standard, I pulled out pieces that I found most relevant when evaluating the ideal Beauceron as a whole. We will take a look at two of the four Beaucerons I choose for this project and examine what the standard says in relation to the two examples.


Substance

…a well balanced, solid dog of good height and well muscled without heaviness or coarseness. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness...Dogs are characteristically larger throughout with a larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness in substance or structure.

http://beauce.org/2006/08/breed-standard-u-s/
Nectar dit Noir de la Negresse (left) & Elka des Habits de Feu (right)

When I compare these two examples, I notice a few places where each excels and areas where they falter. My impression of Nectar is that he is a bit slight in bone. Although he is “well muscled without heaviness or coarseness,” to me, he appears to have a slightly feminine body. My preference for a dog is to be more on the substantial side of the standard. In my opinion, his head is of heavier bone than the rest of his body; however, his proportions are technically correct. This leads me to wonder if my perception of the ideal male is misguided. After all, the Beauceron should be “medium in all its proportions.”

On the flip side, the bitch, Elka des Habits de Feu, seems slightly on the heavier side for a female. I am not necessarily referring to weight, but rather to her substance. As is allowed for in the standard, her slightly longer body helps offset the slight coarseness, in my opinion. Though her “distinctly feminine” head is not perfectly harmonious with her bulkier frame.

Harmonious Proportion

The Beauceron is medium in all its proportions, harmoniously built with none of its regions exaggerated in shortness or length. The length of body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is slightly greater than the height at the withers. Bitches can be slightly longer than dogs. Correct proportion is of primary importance, as long as size is within the standard’s range.

http://beauce.org/2006/08/breed-standard-u-s/
Proportions of male and female: length of body (yellow line) is slightly longer than the height at withers (orange line). The length of the heads (blue line) is approximately 40 percent of the height (orange line) as shown.

To illustrate proportions as discussed in the standard, I have presented relative lines to mark the lengths and height that determine correct proportions. Length of the body is “measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock” and is “slightly greater” than height at the withers. You can see in the figure that both examples are slightly longer than they are tall.

…the head must be in proportion with the body, measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput it is about 40 percent of the height at the withers….

http://beauce.org/2006/08/breed-standard-u-s/

The length of the head must “be in proportion with the body,” and the value is “measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput…it is about 40 percent of the height at the withers.” Presented underneath each dog is the stack of the body length, height, and head length lines to show each dog’s proportions. Obviously, these measurements are not exact, but I thought it would be a way to mentally compare them, keep away from specific numeric values, and focus on overall balance. Balance is particularly important in a working dog, and the standard is quite particular about what is considered the ideal.


It is important to remember that no dog or bitch is perfect. Despite these minor deviations from my interpretation of the breed standard, both of these dogs are exceptional representations of the breed regarding substance. Neither the slight lack of substance in the dog nor the slight heaviness in the bitch leads me to the impression of an overly heavy or bulky individual. Each example appears balanced and well within the standard as it is written. When judging, I would personally determine that faults should be minimal regarding proportion and substance.

Although the overall impression of balance is of the utmost importance, the Beauceron’s physical harmony greatly relies on the specifics of the individual parts. As I continue in this personal exercise, I will focus my attention on several different aspects. But for me personally, the next most important feature of the Beauceron is its head and expression. In my opinion, both play such a large role in the breed’s overall presence and thus the headpiece will be the focus of my next article.

2020 AKC NOHS Final Rankings

The rankings and points were final as of October 7, 2020. Forty-two Beaucerons are included in the final tally, which is impressive given that COVID-19 brought a halt to trialing for most of this year. Congratulations to all the Owner-Handlers of 2020!

Rank Dog Name Owner NamePoints
No. 1GCH CH Kafziel Von Der Funkhalde RN CGCA CGCU TKNAshley De Noma/Jill Rose355  
No. 2CH Outwit Des Gardiens D’ApollinaireDawn Johnson/Angie Robertson/Greg Johnson245  
No. 3CH Chronos Xerxes Z Babanovho Vrska DSCasey Nowtash/Daniel Nowtash175  
No. 4CH Quoiceneck Bleu De Montclea BCATLinda Buffa/Cindy Hartwell145  
No. 5CH Olympia Bleue Du Chateau Rocher RN FDC CA DCAT CGC TKA ATTMrs. Jasmine C Sanders55  
No. 6GCH CH N’vy des Gardiens D’ApollinaireAngie Robertson/Dawn Johnson50  
 CH Outclass Des Gardiens D’ApollinaireDawn Johnson/Greg Johnson/Angie Robertson50  
No. 8GCH CH La Belle Fleur Sauvage Des Siskiyous FDC BCATMrs. Jalien Watson35  
 GCH CH Mystique De Soleil Minuit FDC CA CGC TKNDerylee Hecimovich/Lan Hecimovich35  
 CH Princess Yue Du Chateau Rocher RN ATTYvette Ornelas35  
No. 11CH P’ Sirius Black De La Bergerie D’ ElanSierra Esparza30  
No. 12CH Octavia Bleue Gardein Des ChutesJoanna M Law/Carol A Cossey25  
 Protege D’Andromeda Du Joie De Vie Adventure TKN ATTDiane Yoha/Mark Ricciardella25  
No. 14Ame Magnanime Hughes RebellSheila Mills20  
 Proper Gent Du Chateau Rocher RN HT CGC TKAStephanie Lynn Smith20  
No. 16Pick Your Poison Du La Cour Des Reves RI CGC TKE ATTMrs. Alissa A Felix/Ms. Kayla Raquel Phillips15  
No. 17Armored Rose Defying Gravity CGCA TKNMarissa Ho/Jill Rose10  
 Birdwing Peace Of My Heart RN CGCA CGCU TKNSusan Griffin/Jack Carney10  
 GCH CH Ja’Ciara Le Coeur Pur CGCMarc Dicino/Terri Dicino/Angie Robertson10  
 CH Laisser Le Cote Sombre Dans De La Valle Katahdin RE FDC NJP CGCA CGCU TKEMrs. Stacy Crivello10  
 CH Northern Star Of Blue Kisses Gardien Des Chutes BN RN CAA BCAT CGCAMs. Susan J Walls10  
 Oh For Flock’s Sake De Haute Crete CGCA CGCU TKNAshtyn Chamberlain/Amelia Foreman/Alex Zeilmann/Angela Chamberlain10  
 CH Onassis Gardien Des Chutes RN CGC TKNMrs. Trina Marie Bastion10  
 GCH CH Ozella Du Joie De Vie Adventure BN CGCBetty Johnson/Bruce Johnson/Angie Robertson10  
 Pavo Platoon Des Monts Du LacAdam Borman/Erica Iglesias Borman10  
No. 26GCH CH Birdwing Nietzsche RI PT FDC CA CGCA CGCU TKN ATTSusan Griffin/Jack Carney5  
 CH Birdwing Oberklasse-Dieb RA PT CA DJ CGCA CGCU TKA ATTMrs. Shelby B Vannarsdall/Susan Griffin5  
 CH Birdwing Odin War Lord At Defisja RNPatrick F Cagney/Diana L Cagney/Susan Griffin5  
 CH Demro Heart Boyard FDC BCAT CGCA CGCU TKIRachael Lincoln/Bright Kailee5  
 Dhalia Black Heart Boyard BCAT CGCA CGCU TKI ATTKailee Bright/Lenore Hedemark/Rachael Lincoln5  
 GCH CH Matcho D Irko Des Monts Du LacKarla Davis5  
 Medicine Man Du Coeur De Soleil CGCLindsey Winslow/Tyler Winslow/Elaine Giannelli5  
 GCH CH Monet Happy Des Monts Du Lac CGCA CGCU TKNAngie Robertson/Dawn Johnson5  
 CH Moulin Vert No Higher Love FDC BCATCarolyn Mills5  
 GCH CH Nostradamus Des Gardiens D’Apollinaire HSAs FDC ATTJon Hicks5  
 Odaiourazi De L’Ombre Rouge De Phrygie CGCA CGCU TKN ATTSusan Griffin/Jack Carney5  
 Offender Du Joie De Vie AdventureRachel Rogers/Angie Robertson5  
 Orabelle Bleue Du Chateau Rocher TKIBrittany Rickard5  
 Patriot Fire Mes Yeux VigilantsSusan D. Bass/Heidi L Sparks5  
 Petra Tempete De Hope Of Prairie CrestBruce Johnson/Adrienne Scott/Betty Johnson5  
 Svajone’s Paint Your Pallet Blue And Grey CGCMaryAnn Sullivan/Ms. Kayla Raquel Phillips5  
 Svajone’s Prince SidonMaile Hirano/Ms. Kayla Raquel Phillips5  

Review: Pat Hastings’ Structure in Action Seminar

Robyn Gowen

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Structure In Action seminar in Oakland, CA, with Pat Hastings for my second experience. The first was many, many, years ago coming from an entirely different breed. My recollection of a day filled with pleasurable learning was reinforced by yet another day that went by much too quickly. Pat imparted her wealth of knowledge to an audience of breeders, dog show exhibitors, dog sports participants, veterinarians, AKC & CKC judges, SAR handlers, and others.

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Complex Art: A Visual Study of Conformation

Jasmine Sanders

I got my first Beauceron, Lily, from Karla Davis just over two years ago. She is my first purebred dog and my first sports dog. I can’t believe how owning Lily has afforded me so many opportunities to learn over the last two years. I have been introduced to the many, MANY sports that dog owners can participate in, and I’ve learned a great deal about trick training. To my great surprise, the area that piqued my interest the most was conformation. I admit I did not see the appeal when I entered the ring for the first time with my squirmy, bitey puppy. But as I learned more about the effect that even small structural changes can have on an individual’s ability to perform efficiently, the more I came to realize just how complex the art of creating a simultaneously beautiful and functional dog is. Social media has been an excellent platform for me to inquire, observe, and have education discourse regarding conformation; however, I like a more “hands-on” approach. Since current world circumstances have restricted my chances at first-hand experience, I have decided to dive into an educational art project.

Over the next few months, I will be illustrating most aspects of the Beauceron standard and then comparing those drawings to illustrations based on real dogs. I selected four individuals who have enough visual documentation to detail their structure and were evaluated by French judges. Most of the dogs have passed and photos are limited but they are:

  • CH Lux/VDH CIE Django Bleu du Serment des Brumes, Ring 3, CSAU, Obeince 2, Cotation 4-recommande (bred and owned by Sophie Lhuillier);
  • CHCS 03 CACIB Nectar dit Noir de la Negresse, Ring 3 (bred by Alain Laissus, owned by Alain Gailleton)
  • CHCS 13 Elka des Habits de Feu, Cotation 4-recommande (bred by Thierry Laville, owned by Jacques Munilla)
  • CHCS CH DU/LUX Tortue Argentee du Monts des Croisettes, Brevet Ring/Obéissance (bred by Agathe Leurs, owned by Agathe Leurs and Agathe Jannin
Elka des Habits de Feu
“Torue” Argentee du Mont des Croisettes

I chose two of each sex, coat colors, and ear types. For this exercise, I will not illustrate the harlequin patterning as I worry that the color can sometimes be deceiving. I would like to take care to put all of the individuals on as level a playing field as possible. I will be referencing the current American Beauceron Illustrated Standard, publicly available photos, and/or photos used with the permission of the owners.

“Django” D’Jango Bleu du Serment des Brumes

I hope to learn something along this journey. I hope that conversations on the breed standard may be sparked, and I hope to provide visual references that may be useful for future breed education. This exercise is personal, but I want to share it with the membership. I am always open to feedback, critiques, or suggestions from club members.

“Noir” Nectar dit Noir de la Negresse

Conformation Q & A

Participants:

Stacy Crivello, 4.5 years showing in conformation: Vader and Banshee

Jannine Kowalchuk, 13 years showing in conformation: Storm

Naomi Shaw, 7 years showing in conformation: Abby and Willow

Heidi Sparks, 21 years showing in conformation: Ciar (Bubba) and Blaise

Sidney Wilcox, 25 years showing in conformation: Cash, June, Dingo, Jolene, Rooster, and Harlet

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AKC Junior Showmanship

Jacqueline Orr

My daughter Addyson is 11 years old and currently competes in Novice Juniors with her two-year-old Beauceron, Oiseau Jamais Du Vaillant Feu.

In 2019, when Addyson was nine, she attended her first show hosted by Silver Bay Kennel Club. On a whim, we entered her into the PeeWee’s event. Addyson is very shy and reserved by nature, so we were unsure if she would enjoy herself. Our family friend, Lauren Trathen, handed her a leash attached to a sweet young male named Gateau. Addyson sauntered into the ring with this silly puppy and came out with a huge smile! She began asking questions about showing, and I watched her love for dogs grow.

Addyson and Gateau at their first show.

Our family life comes with its challenges, though. We were a military family, I was the President of a Little League, and our lives were consumed with the Navy and baseball. Her father and I sat down and discussed purchasing a dog for her to compete with as we could see Addyson needed a sport of her own. We went back and forth on whether to start with a puppy or purchase an older, more experienced dog. Serendipity stepped in, Lauren Trathen had a one year old female become available, and we jumped at the opportunity! We took ownership of Oiseau in July of 2019 and so began our journey into AKC Juniors. We were able to submit the application for a juniors number online and entered Addyson in her first show. She competed at the Valley Center Dog Show at Bates Nuts Farm in August of 2019. Addyson and Oiseau took their very first class win together that day!

Addyson and Oiseau at the Valley Center Dog Show 2019.

As of 2020, Addyson is the Number 1 Junior Handler of Beauceron in the US recorded under the AKC and Canine Chronicles. I cannot express enough how vital the support from our breeder, our breed community, and our family has been in the success Addyson has had in her journey with Oiseau. Having the support of our breeder at every show and competitors in the breed taking the time to mentor and support Addyson has propelled her into a sport and hobby that she loves and, more importantly, has grown alongside her dog in. Addyson plans to continue showing Oiseau as shows start to open up again and trying their hand at a Rally Novice title.

Addyson and Oiseau at the Kennel Club of Riverside Dog Show, October 2019.

Encouraging the Next Generation: The 4-H Premier Showman Competition

Kara Staroski

We were all new to purebred dogs and showing at one point. Think back to how hard it was to break into the dog show world. Now imagine you are not an adult, but a child. Unless you were one of the lucky few to be born into a dog show family it can be incredibly intimidating. Most kennel clubs offer a juniors program, but even then to really excel you need a show quality dog. The exception to this is the 4-H Dog program. 4-H is a nationwide program open to kids ages 7–18, most counties have established clubs and offer what the kids are interested in. 4-Hers enrolling in the dog program may use mixed breeds and altered dogs, so it’s a great place for those who have family pets to start.

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