FORT LORAMIE — Most people have heard the expression, “top dog” which refers to one considered the leader of a group, especially as a result of a competitive victory.
A black male briard, Grand Champion Majestique Dior Forever and Ever Amen UD, known as Neco, can claim the top dog designation. He is the current top briard in the country in obedience. His owner, trainer and handler, Karol Paulus, of Dayton, a native of Russia, has decades of experience in training and showing dogs and could be considered a top dog, herself, in the obedience field.
Paulus and her sister, Kathryn Burks, of Fort Loramie, recently went to St Charles, Illinois, to compete in the 89th annual Briard of America Club National Specialty and in a regional specialty competition hosted by the North Central Briarders Club.
Paulus and Burks were accompanied by their four briards, and each dog earned high scores in its respective classes.
Paulus’ briards were entered in obedience classes. Obedience trials demonstrate a dog’s ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring and emphasize the usefulness of a dog as a companion. The objective of obedience trials is to recognize dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs. Each level of obedience competition — novice, open and utility — requires mastering specific skill sets, which increase in difficulty, before advancing to the next level.
Neco won the national specialty obedience high in trial in the Utility B class with a score of 195 out of 200 possible points. The utility class, which includes scent discrimination, directed retrieves, jumping and silent signal exercises, is the most challenging class. In the utility class, dogs earn a Utility Dog (UD) title after receiving three qualifying scores under two different judges.
Neco also made first cut at the regional level as a special, a competition for just one breed.
Classique Dior Jack of All Trades CD, known as Bruce Lee, won the Novice B class and took third place in the regional Open Tawny class and second place in the national Open Tawny class. The briard comes in many shades of tawny, black and gray. All solid colors except white are permitted to compete, with black, gray and various shades of tawny (gold or red-gold) most common in modern briards.
The Novice class demonstrates good canine companion skills such as heeling with and without a leash, coming when called, standing for a simple physical examination and staying in both a sit and a down position with a group of dogs. In the Novice class, dogs earn a Companion Dog (CD) title after receiving three qualifying scores under two different judges.
During his first time in the ring, Dior Jubiaba, known as Jubie, won the Pre-Novice class at the regional and national specialties with scores of 197 and 195. Jubie also earned third place at both the regional and national specialties in Open Black class.
The Open class is more challenging as more exercises are done off-leash, and retrieving and jumping challenges are added. In the Open class, dogs earn a Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title after receiving three qualifying scores under two different judges.
Burks’ female, Grand Champion Viola! Justified Vanity of Moppet, known as Storm, entered the rally competition for her first time and won third place at both regional and national levels with scores of 186 and 179.
AKC Rally is a companion sport to AKC Obedience. It requires teamwork between dog and handler, along with performance skills similar to obedience skills. The dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The judge tells the handler to begin, and the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations.
So, while Neco is truly the top dog in briard obedience rankings, all of the Paulus and Burks dogs, Neco, Bruce, Jubie and Storm, represented the breed very well. And Paulus continues to add awards to her long list of credentials as a “top dog” in training and handling.
She offers training classes for all breeds at Burks’ grooming shop, Kat’s Canine Corner, in Fort Loramie. The next five-week session begins Sept. 27. To register and get information about the training classes, call 726-3088.
The briard, or Chien Berger de Brie, is an ancient working breed of France whose origin dates back to the eighth century. The Emperor Charlemagne and Napoleon kept briards. The briard has been used since early times as a guardian of the flocks and a herding dog. He has been the official dog of the French army and during both world wars, the briard was used, almost to the point of extinction, by the French army as a sentry, messenger and to search for wounded soldiers. Briards carried supplies to the front lines and served as sentry dogs due to their keen hearing, reputed to be the most acute of any breed. They were used by the medical corps to search for wounded soldiers. Reports stress the amazing ability of the briard to lead the corpsmen to those soldiers who still had a spark of life in their bodies. It was said that any man the briard passed by was beyond assistance. The briard’s modern-day roles include police, military and search-and-rescue work, as well as companion dog.
The writer is a media consultant for the Sidney Daily News. She can be reached at 937-538-4666.