| In the late 1970's I was living in rural Stearns County, Minnesota with an
ancient Irish Setter and two little children. One winter we headed for Arizona
to warm up for a couple of weeks and returned to a house which had been
ransacked and burglarized. "Never again!" I declared. I had grown up on farms
with German Shepherds and Collies and mixes of the two who were all-around farm dogs. We wanted a dog who was guardy enough to provide us with protection in our rural setting yet was tolerant of children, required minimal grooming and was hardy and intelligent.
I had grown up in a time when dogs were expected to bark at strangers coming to
the farm and even to bite them if they felt it was necessary. The Bouvier seemed to fit the bill and later in the year Helga came to live with us and change my life!
Since that time, I have come to view Bouviers as my constant companions, a hobby and passion which has spanned
almost 30 years! Over that time I have learned that there are good and bad Bouviers, smart and dumb Bouviers, active and lethargic Bouviers, good obedience dogs, lazy dogs, affectionate Bouviers and independent Bouviers.
They are a varied bunch! I have enjoyed showing them in
conformation, obedience, tracking, and ringsports and have titled many under the "Briarlea" kennel banner.
Here is my son Miles and Bica in 1981. Miles is now in law enforcement
with the Routt County Sheriff's Department in Colorado and still has a Bouvier in his
life over 20 years later!
Some of the things I've enjoyed participating in have been:
- writing for Dog World Magazine
- contributing to the Dirty Beards Quarterly, the official publication of the American Bouvier des Flandres Club
- attending the Bouvier Education seminar at Westminster Kennel Club in 1980's
- serving as Agility Trial Secretary for the 1999 Bouvier National Specialty
- acting as 1998 Judges Education Coordinator for the American Bouvier des Flandres Club
- acting as Director of Training for Granite City Kennel Club in St.Cloud, MN
- teaching Community Education dog training classes
- organizing and teaching Puppy Kindergarden classes
- organizing and becoming a Charter Member of the Great River Stockdog Club of Minnesota
- training dogs to herding titles and to work on the farm
- planning breedings and whelping many litters of Bouviers with puppies in almost all 50 states of the U.S.
- using fresh-extended semen in one of Minnesota's first breedings using this new technology in the 1980's
- organizing Lyme disease testing clinics
- organizing and hosting herding clinics
- training and titling one of the youngest American Bouviers to multiple titles:Ch. Briarlea Norstar Rose O'Luke TD,CD had all 3 titles by the time he was 14 months old
- long-time member/delegate of the Minnesota Purebred Dog Breeders Association
- have had 4 generations of top-producing dams
- in 1999 we had top-ranking dogs in conformation, obedience and "top producers"
- Co-Presented breed study group on the
Bouvier with Nancy Eilks -sponsored by the Minnesota Dog Judges Association in 1998
2001 we began importing Bouviers from the Netherlands and Belgium
fresh-extended breeding results in puppies!
- First grandchild born!
2002 ~ a visit to Amsterdam
and the World Dog Show
Many new titles in 2002
Second grandchild born!
August 2003 I become an official AKC "Canine Good
Attend Pat Hasting's "Tricks of the Trade"
seminar for experienced and professional breeders.
Many new titles in
New kennel building goes up!
Antara surprises us with top obedience scores and ends up
#5 obedience Bouvier in the U.S.!
We start working with new bloodlines...KNPV, SchH and IPO
and begin training with
Midwest Ringsport Club in an attempt to discover whether the Bouviers we
are using in our breeding program have what it takes to compete in this
elite dog sport.
We continue writing for the Dirty Beard magazine,
profiling people in the Bouvier fancy.
2004 we experiment with a "multiple-sire"
breeding using the AKC's DNA technology to identify the sires. The
result? 11 puppies sired by Riptide's Karlson, 1 puppy by Crestwood's
attended Dr. Patricia McConnell Seminar on dog-dog aggression and
advanced canine behavior.
Designed websites for Pawsitive
Dog Training and
Croix Valley Tracking Club.
audited Michael Ellis working seminar
imported Alta de la Saulaie Maraiche
Lots of new titles in
participated in Michael Ellis seminars in New Mexico and
continue working with decoy Mark Keating and Real Dog
Sport Club to learn French Ringsport
Chairperson 2005 Herding Trial at the
Bouvier National Specialty ... September/October...Rochester, MN
Helped coordinate AKC Working Dog Sport program demo at
Continue to contribute articles to the Dirty Beards
Quarterly, the Bouvier magazine for the ABdFC
More new titles in
2005 along with a trip to France for the French Bouvier Club National
Attended Celeste Meade obedience workshop
2005 ended for us with Lark as #1 Obedience Bouvier in
the U.S. in average scores and Una in the Top 10. This is also the
year that we were awarded the 'brevet' in French Ringsport with Una at the
NAWBA Working Bouvier Championships. We learned a huge amount about
dog training with Una and this first ring experience.
2006 arrives and with it a litter from Lark which
includes our Stella. A fantastic puppy, we hope to see good things
from her in the future!
I step up to the plate to assist Charlie Price in editing
and contributing to the Bulletin, NAWBA's publication and set up an
ecommerce website for the organization to help support ongoing activities
directly effecting the working bouvier.
Stella earns her Tracking Dog title at 7 months and I am
nominated to serve as Vice President of the North American Working Bouvier
We import Schwartzi from Europe; the first adult male
we've ever brought to our kennel, he is trained in French Ringsport. A
handsome, equable dog, we are glad he's joined our family.
2007: We are working with our dogs of course, but are
also beginning a new business. We have purchased a commercial building
in Glenwood City where Jim will open a cafe.
Stella goes to live with Lynn Beihl and Nina,
Una's daughter leaves us to live with Reg Cobb. Lynn and
Reg are longtime elite competitors and we're proud they have
chosen Briarlea Bouviers for their competition dogs!
In 2007 Una and I successfully trial for our
French Ringsport 1; Una's the first female Bouvier in North
America to be awarded this title.
Not to be outdone, Lark is awarded the ASCA
WTCH (Working Trial Champion) title under the hand of our friend
Marie Murphy. Lark is one of only three Bouviers to ever
be awarded this title and the only female Bouvier.
November 2007 we pull out our checkbook and
have Una inseminated with frozen semen from V-2 and Ch. Banjo
vom Schwarzen Baeren IPO3, SchH3. The semen is 20 years
old and Banjo long gone. The result is one male puppy who we
have named Solo.
This year we added dairy goats to our farm;
Faith, Hope and the Red Tiger, all Nubians, are our foundation
stock. The summer found me experimenting with chevre
from Faith - we'll see where this goes!
Ruby, Una and I continue to work with Mark
Keating who is awarded the 2007 'The Golden Baton' by the
North American Ringsport Association...and is NARA's Decoy of
the Year - we're proud of him! We also work with Fernando
Dosta in 2007, adding to our experience and knowledge. Una
performs chein blanc for FR2 at the CZ Selectifs and is
complimented by the gallery for her heart and good work.
We're proud of her also!
2008 is a full year for us. In dogs
Solo earns the AKC Tracking Dog title and we travel to Florida
for the NAWBA Championships where Una earns the first leg of her
French Ring 2. Many of our extended family with Bouviers
have fun training and trialing. On a sadder note, our old
friend Rocket is battling cancer, Mr. Norbu passes away and
Charlie Price's dog Toby leaves us to travel over the rainbow
bridge. In 'other life' Jim opens a little Cafe in town
and I manage the farm this summer, learning to make chevre and
other cheeses from our growing Nubian herd, grow a huge garden
and generally run ragged until winter descends upon us.
2009 ~ I chair the 2009 NAWBA Championships
in Glenwood City, Solo earns his BH and a number of our other
young dogs start or continue their trial careers. We also
add an Australian Working Kelpie to our family to help with
stockwork and so that I can continue to learn to train dogs in
yet a different way. Lark goes on to her retirement home,
leaving our life a bit less full but Trouble, Alta's young
daughter, fills up that space in our hearts. Solo
continues to train with Joanne Plumb - we miss him and will be
happy when he returns home sometime in the next year.
2010 ~ By in a blur ~ Solo comes home to us
after winning the SchH2 level at the DVG Nationals and sires 2
litters in early 2011 - from Birdie and Trouble. His 2010
litter to Impetuous Nyra v Caya's Home lands on the ground and
we'll watch those pups develop in the next couple of years.
2011 - A Banner Year for us!
Congratulations to Trouble on
going High in Trial at the ABdFC National Specialty Herding Trial on October 1 at Purina
~ to Carol Walker
and Briarlea Spice of High Rolls on their Schutzhund 1 and their
to Maggie Bennett and Briarlea Breeze
on their MACH! ~
~ to Reg Cobb and litter sister Briarlea Nina on attaining
~ to Betsy Hadac and Briarlea Stryker on their MX MXJ~
~ to Lee Murrer and Briarlea Sam on their
AKC Started trial leg with a score of 93/100 and RHiT on April 9! And
finishing their title on October 6~
~ to Team Windog ~ Terry and Nancy Culley on Briarlea
Bennie's NA, NAJ, NF & OF and Briarlea North Star Dixie on her NJP, OJP
Sam's sister Trouble on her AKC Started Duck title on June 24 and the first leg
of her AHBA cattle title in August, followed in September by finishing her AKC
Started Sheep and Intermediate Duck titles and in October finishing her AHBA
Started Cattle title! October 22-23 she finishes her ASCA Started Sheep
and Started Cattle titles!
High in Trial Briarlea
Alta Bella (Trouble) for ends 2011 as
#1 Herding Bouvier (dogs defeated) with the ABdFC!
~to Pam Harder and Briarlea Smurf Cutter CGC
TDI CD RN PT on his TDIAOV - commemorating his 200th TDI visit!
.. to Solo for his obedience
~ to Lynn and Ziva for their first Standard Q in AKC
ABdFC Top 20
Performance Invitations to: Trouble, Nina, Breeze and Stryker!
Congratulations to Maggie and Breeze on their
MACH 2!! and for being the first Bouvier to get the Lure Coursing Test
title! ** Congratulations to Reg Cobb and Nina
on their OM1 and UDX2!
Congratulations to Susan and Noche'
on their AKC BN! ~ and the Junior Herding Dog title trained
and handled by Phyllis Clark! More Congratulations on their
HT and PT! ~ and followed by a first place in ASCA Started Sheep :)
More Congratulations to Solo's daughter
Briarlea Reina de la Noche and Phyllis Clark for their
High in Trial
out of the Started
Sheep Class with a 94 on September 22 at
the GSDC All Breed Herding Trial and finishing her Started title
with a 4th place on Oct 14!
Congratulations to Terry and Riker
on another agility Q!
Congratuations to Janet and
Briarlea Rey de la Luz PT RN on
their new Rally Novice title and now their AHBA sheep title!
Congratulations to Solo on his
192.0, 195.5, 194.0 in obedience to finish his AKC Novice title and
then on to his CDX with an average score of 191!!
To Briarlea Nightingale of Rustic
Road (Gael) on her HT and PT!
Trouble: HiT Briarlea Alta Bella: First
place in ASCA Started sheep to finish her title, Third place in
Advanced Ducks to finish that title and a Q in Open Sheep!
Trouble finishes her AKC Advanced Duck Title with one placement and
her Open sheep with a second place win. In October she earned
her first leg in ASCA Started Cattle with a second place.
We are proud of Solo's UD, PT and his puppies who are now beginning to mature.
We brought in some new youngsters to improve structure in our dogs but for the
most part they have not been successful. We continue to enjoy training and
planning the successful implementation of our breeding goals.
We ended the year with Trouble in #4 place as a top producer with all
performance offspring :) Mina, Rainy and Justine all titled in AKC events
and we were delighted to have a number of new CGCs on board. 2016 looks
like a promising year for our youngsters!
As this year comes to a close, we find Trouble as #1 top producer
thanks to her performance offspring. Mina, Justine, Devi,
Rainy, and Ram are all
littermates who helped make this possible. Our own Justine
went from a BN to a CDX, TD, STDs, CA, and RATN all before she
turned 2 years old. One can hardly wait for her to grow up!
In sad news, we lost our little sprite of a companion, Zelda and our
gentle soul of a llama, Khaki. We miss them both every day.
Over the years some of the dogs we've selected to add to our breeding
program have been chosen based on their ability to excel in herding, tracking, obedience and
we've certainly been happy with those selections. However we've always kept in mind the most important trait for a companion dog, and that is temperament.
We believe that the heritage of the Bouvier includes a willingness to think
independently; and to act prudently. We expect our dogs to be willing to
cooperate with us and to have an element of suspicion in their character.
I am in 1969. I was visiting my sister in New York City, I recall that
this was in the courtyard of the Cloisters and was a defining event in my life
as we can now see. The Irish Setter was our girl Eureka, a wonderful
companion for us and the other dog is, of course, a Bouvier.
We thank our fellow breeder-friends and fanciers who
have enriched our lives over the past many years, we thank the many people who
have made space in their hearts and homes for a Briarlea puppy and we thank the
Bouvier breeders of the past for taking the initiative and maintaining the
vision to create this great
breed of dog.
Outside of my dog life, I have worked many careers ~ as a dog
groomer and private trainer, as a writer, as Executive
Staff for a new Chamber of Commerce, as advertising sales
manager for tourism publications and, always, as a part-time
farmer and handweaver. Here I am in New Mexico "making do" with a
warping board..warping for a series of rugs. Besides maintaining our
kennel, I have participated "hands-on" in rebuilding and rehabbing old
houses and you will always find dirt under my fingernails as I can't stay out of
Look HERE for some pictures of our farm in Wisconsin.