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Anka's Story


The Story of Henry


The Story of Henry  (by Liz Kenitz)


About ten years ago I met Briarder Gail Reines.  Gail owned Am, Can, French Ch Looking for Trouble de Lindeau.  When Gail realized she was losing her battle with cancer she asked me to give her two promises: First, if she passed away before she could breed Layla, I would do it for her; Second, I was to make sure that Layla would always remain someone’s “princess on the pillow”.  The day Gail died, Layla came into season.  Layla was bred and soon came to live with Rick and me. 

A month or so later Layla had her litter. Her breeder Rob Ferber and I whelped that litter and my first promise was fulfilled. The first puppy born was a handsome male that just screamed “type”.  He was born with a full deep chest, beautiful angles, beautiful head…..and eeek!…he was missing a dew claw.  I can not tell you how many times that day we checked that puppy to make absolutely sure that we were not mistaken. Unfortunately there was no mistake…  The rest of the litter was born; Layla presented us with other fine puppies.  She raised her litter and left our home to fulfill the second part of my promise. She went to live with Ruth and Ray and to be the greatly loved “princess” in that home.

We placed Layla’s puppies very quickly. This was an important and long awaited litter for us and our breeder friends. All the puppies were spoken for soon and went to live in experienced Briard homes, many to be shown and bred. The male puppy that was missing that darn dew claw, however, was accepted as a “pet” and went to live with a family that had never owned a Briard or even a dog before, and didn’t care if their dog was ever going to be a show dog or a stud. All they wanted was a pet male Briard to love. They did explain that they did not want to neuter their dog because it was against their principals.  I made sure they understood that their dog could not be bred. They said that most of their friends keep dogs intact and never breed them and that was that. We sighed with regret, said goodbye to what could have been and went on with our lives….

The new owners of the “pet” asked me about a proper name for this pup. I told them about the naming conventions. He would have a name starting with an “O” and with the word Trouble somewhere in the name. Olga, his new Mom, decided to follow this convention. She wanted to name her dog “Henry”, so she ended up naming him OHenry The Great Troublemaker. Little did I realize at the time that he would prove to be named appropriately….

           Henry grew into a beautiful, kind, loving, strong male, the kind of a Briard every breeder dreams of ….  As soon as the initial adjustment period of getting and raising a new puppy wore off, Olga realized that she has fallen deeply into a new kind of love. She began to learn about Briards in earnest and flooded me with questions. After a little while the real torture began. Olga has learned enough to realize that she had someone really special living with her and began to pester me. “Why can’t  Henry be bred?” was a question that she asked me so much that it began to haunt me at night…. You have to understand, she called me every day; often more than once a day and it was before I had caller ID. I was never worried that Olga would breed Henry without my blessing, but I did want to help her understand that it was not just a matter of a “missing nail” as she called it. I patiently explained over and over that “we” don’t breed dogs with disqualifying faults.  Olga persisted…”Would you at least look at him?”  Sure, I said, and thought … “What’s the harm?”  We arranged to meet at the 2000 National…           

          Across the hotel grounds I saw a Briard that made me stop in my tracks; what beauty and how proud he was!  When he and his human came closer I realized that this was Olga with her now infamous Henry.  He was almost two years old and he stood before me watching everything with dignity and poise that is rarely seen in a dog so young, especially one who had never been exposed to the “show scene”.  Olga was beaming and I was trying not to show her my reaction. I knew that if she, even for a minute, realized that I was really impressed, I would never hear the end of it. A few of my friends came out to look at him and we exchanged knowing glances while Olga was watching us like a hawk. From time to time she asked me “Well, now do you see what I mean?!!!” I did see and I was seriously beginning to sway……however, old habits die hard, and I still felt it was my responsibility to again explain that “this was not done”..

             The Rass was over and the regular show was about to begin when we walked past the French Rass judges…they both stopped and immediately asked me about this young male.  I invited them to go over him. Partially, I was curious myself and partially I thought this was a good opportunity to have some professional help explaining rules to Olga… They both immediately began their exam.  Henry, who had never had a judge “go over” him, stood patiently and let them check him from nose to tail. Finally came the dreaded dew claw check…both Judges stood there and lamented the absence of the dewclaw.  Olga asked them if they would breed him anyway. To her, these rules made no sense and she told the judges so! They both, hiding smiles, explained to her that although it was not a health concern, in France it would not be allowed. It was a shame, they said, because this was a magnificent dog.  Olga, by this time beaming, turned to me and said…“See? We can breed Henry, because we are not in France”…I explained again that “we” don’t do that either.  At this point I began to really wonder…”What if?” I told Olga that I will ask a few more Breeders and see what kind of a reaction we would get. With that we went into the hotel and began asking. Reactions were mixed. Some said they would risk it, some said they would not. We were almost right where we started when we ran into another respected, long time breeder who immediately noticed Henry.  She went over him, noticed the lack of a dewclaw and thoughtfully asked “Who is he?”  Olga, who now was clearly on a mission, immediately demanded this breeder’s opinion about breeding this male….the answer came not as I expected it: “A dog of this quality? I would absolutely do it. It is not a health concern. It is only a missing dewclaw”

            By that time, my resolve to hold Olga back has weakened considerably anyway, and this Breeder’s opinion was the final straw. I knew right then that I would be looking more seriously into this issue.   

           Several years went by. During that time I have consulted numerous genetic specialists and breeders on the issues of dewclaws, Henry passed all the necessary health clearances and the decision was made. We began to look for the right bride. Enter Kay and Don Kline.  Kay called me one fall day and said she was looking for a possible mate for her Shaka daughter, (Ch Petit Chou de Brushy et Lindeau)…What did I think?  I mentally went over the pedigree, everything clicked into place, and I broached the subject.  We discussed at length the “special circumstances” and both came to the conclusion that Kay and Don needed to meet “The Troublemaker” Henry. Once Kay and Don met Henry, they too fell in love with this powerful, gentle soul and the deal was struck.  Kay and Don agreed that Olga would raise the litter, I would come in and whelp it and then return again to evaluate it at 7-8 weeks.  Olga and Kay would be the breeders. 

              They both then approached me and asked if I would come on as a co-breeder… I said “yes” with pleasure and will be forever grateful to these two generous ladies for this offer. The breeding took place and the whelping day was coming. Rick and I flew out to Boston to whelp the Petit Chou/Henry litter. The first puppy born into my hands was a male. Like his father, he filled my eye!   I was afraid to look at his dews. A few seconds later, after I did look, I was ready to yelp with joy. This perfect little male had perfect little dewclaws! As each next puppy was born, before we even checked the puppy’s sex, we went to look for ...yep, you guessed it, those pesky dew claws…All were present and accounted for in all the puppies and we opened a bottle of Champagne. We toasted to the health and long life of this so much loved and created against all the odds litter, and we wished for them to grow up to be wonderful, happy and much loved Briards, just like their parents.

Little did we know on that day in March that one of them, the first born male, would become the 2005 National  Specialty winner and another, a little firecracker of a female,  - the 2006 French National winner. We also did not know that both of these puppies would also help their mom Ch Petit Chou de Brushy et Lindeau, Rass Select win the Brood Bitch competition at the 2004 National Specialty.   To date, this litter of seven pups has three American Rass and one French Rass selects (they got selected in the US in 2004, as did their mom Petit Chou, and one got her French selection in 2006) and American Champions – Boston, Anka and Monty.  Henry was bred one more time. His second bride was our Annie, Ch Briardale’s Shur Shot of Sendero, 2004 US Rass Select ). Again, the breeding produced more beautiful puppies, all with the required dew claws. We are proud to say that ALL the puppies that “The Troublemaker” has sired were born with double dew claws.  At the 2006 US Rassamblement more of his puppies distinguished themselves; one puppy from his litter with Annie went Select and two others went Pre-Select.  Later in the year, another one of those puppies received his American Championship, finishing with 4 majors. To date, Henry is a proud father of 4 American Champions, and already a grandfather of one American Champion (see Margo’s page). He is living a wonderful life with his Massachusetts Briardale family, chasing his Jolly ball around the yard and telling his daughter Anka how to live her life…. (see Anka’s page)


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Anka's Story

Am. Fr. Ch Briardale Une Singe De Terroir

For some reason also known in Europe as

Briardale Un Singe En Hiver


Anka is a product of our first “Henry litter” and basically my first “homemade” puppy. She certainly made it very simple for me. She fulfilled all my dog show ambitions so fast, that I really stopped having them. Yes, I still show dogs and I will most likely continue to show dogs, but I honestly don't know if I'll ever experience the kind of thrill with any other of my dogs that I experienced showing my first Briard girl.

Anka was one of seven puppies, and I wish I could say that I kept her because I knew what a spectacular Briard she will grow up to be. The reality was - I was not making any serious plans for the future.  This was my first breeding and all I could think about was - I finally got my wish! I was not only having my Henry “used” but was able to have the litter raised at my home. 


Petit Chou came here (thank you Kay and Don!), conceived under my roof, and her babies were born here.  This was more than I ever dreamt possible. I had puppies by Henry and of course I wanted to keep one just like him. I wanted a show boy!

As it happened, I actually kept Anka mostly by default. My favorite show candidate from that litter (Boston) was going to Liz by mutual agreement, and while I was thinking about the other boys, we also had to consider how to place our girls. Liz kept saying that I needed to keep a girl as daddy Henry would much prefer to keep a daughter. All the puppies in the litter had wonderfully pleasant temperaments. One girl, however, presented an especially interesting character: she was fresh, too active, very annoying and she constantly tried to climb on the top of my head.  Liz called her a “Pixie”, and kept trying to convince me that the little devil was the pick of the litter.  I thought she was just trying to make me feel better because she knew that that puppy was destined to be mine. I called her my "Monkey" and ended up doing the “responsible” thing. I kept her because I really did not think it was fare to hoist that little vertigo of a dog on someone else.  And so she stayed….



While I loved all of Henry’s kids, I was a little disappointed with the one that I kept. I prefer calm, steady and powerful dogs. She was too small and too squirmy. I kept complaining to Liz that I'll never get used to this busy "pip squeak" with a small head.  Liz kept saying: “She is not a pip squeak and she will have a beautiful head.”  Well, Liz was right and Anka certainly showed me! Not only did she grow into a gorgeously proportioned female with an absolutely gorgeous headpiece, she channeled all of her exuberant energy into a powerful presence, akin to her grandfather Shaka.

Anka became my loyal and patient companion, whom I can always trust with any human, large or small. She also became the "show machine" one could only dream about. When I first began showing Anka, I knew next to nothing about showing dogs. I asked Liz how to go about it, and she said: "Ask Marsha. She will help you". What great advice that turned out to be! Marsha Clamp (Snoaire Briards) knew everything there was to know about showing a Briard and she has graciously agreed to "show me the ropes". Thank you, Marsha! She showed me how to run and how to stack, how to free-bait and how not to fuss. (Although that last one took forever to actually learn not to do, and I'm not sure I ever really mastered it...Liz says I still haven’t). It was Marsha actually, who once laughingly reported to Liz about us: “Anka will take those ribbons right out of judge’s hands in spite of Olga’s handling abilities”. Marsha was right.



I began showing Anka when she was 9 months old. When she won her first major at our first show, I did not even understand what it was that she had won. Someone had to explain to me that that purple ribbon meant points and that Anka just got 3 of those. The other 4 majors came just as fast. Anka became a Champion at 12 months, finishing with 5 majors, all owner handled. After that I was hooked. In 2004, I brought Anka to the Rass and the Nationals in our Sturbridge Village. She and her two brothers went select there at just under 18 months old. Then, showing off with her brother Boston, she helped her mom TiChou win the title of "Brood Bitch" for 2004. OK, now I was really starting to love this “showing” stuff.

I decided that I eventually wanted to show her as a "Special" and I began looking for a handler. Liz and I spent countless hours discussing possibilities. Eventually she said “go with your gut and you will know the right handler when you see one”. At one of the shows I saw Stacy Snyder handling a dog in a sporting group. I loved the way she did everything. My choice was made, Anka was headed for the show ring, and this time it was with a pro. 


I then approached Liz and asked if she would want to co-own Anka with me. At first I don’t think she thought I was serious and I had to ask again.  Her words to me were “I would be honored, but you don’t need me to Special her.”  I patiently explained that she had trusted me with Henry, took the time to mentor me and had the patience for my endless questions.  She was always a big part of Anka’s life and her future and I wanted to make it official.  Liz said yes.  Stacy took Anka to try her out in July of 2006. They became a fantastic team very fast. By the end of August, less than 8 weekends later, Anka was listed as one of the top 10 Briards in the country. This was done without any advertising, purely on the merit of this wonderful handler/dog combination. Anka and her brother Boston (who by then was in the top 3) were making their presence known in the AKC ring.

As before, Anka advanced much further and much faster than I had anticipated and I was faced with a dilemma.

My husband and I had tickets to go to France in September. All of that summer I was entertaining the idea of bringing Anka to the 2006 French Nationals, and although I even registered her for that show, I was not really sure I was truly up for this kind of adventure. Dragging my Anka on her first flight all the way to France seemed really a bit much. Besides, my husband was not happy about the idea. He wanted a real vacation and that did not include my dog stuff….

On the other hand, Anka was doing so incredibly well at the shows here, that I could not help but think, what if….. After all I knew that, at the very least, her getting selected in France was not completely out of the realm of possibilities since Anka's grandmother Layla did just that and more. 

Layla made the trip to France more than once and became the first and, at the time, the only American-born French Champion. Besides, Liz kept cheering me on...... and kept telling me that Anka definitely is a good candidate to try.

In the end, my curiosity won over my fears, and my poor husband agreed to spare a few days of his long planned French trip for a dog show.  My hope for that trip was to get Anka selected in France. My little "Monkey" of course went well ahead of my hopes and dreams and ended up winning the whole thing!

To say that it was a trip of a lifetime would not be a fitting description. This was Anka’s first ever “Best In Show”, and what a Best In Show it was! She was handled in France by Annie Tabutaud who kindly offered us her help and talent. What a magnificent pair they made there! Annie is not only a wonderful person and a fabulous Briard breeder, but she is also a spectacular handler. I am very grateful for meeting Annie and to Annie for the generosity that she so kindly bestowed upon us. Thank you, Annie! Anka and I and Liz are forever grateful.

A few months later, Anka and I returned to France again. This time I was specifically bringing her to compete at a Regional specialty. I was hoping for a CACS certificate in order to collect more points towards her French Championship title. She recieved the CACS, but she also won the Specialty, handled again by Annie. By the time the show was over, I was completely numb. I knew that Anka now needed only one more CACS certificate to become a French Champion.



And here is the rest of Anka's French Championship story: On July 1st of 2007 Anka was shown in La Rochelle in the last required all breed show.

The entry was very small (it is normally a small show). Anka was the only female in her class. There was only one male in his class. There were a few other dogs shown in other classes. One of them was Annie's own Viva Rosa (the recent Champion). She was shown in the Breed competition by Annie. The second was Tendress Blonde De La Tour Saint Genin. This girl was also shown in the classes by Annie, but was shown by her owner in the Breed competition. But I'm getting ahead of the story...

Anka was the first dog to be shown by Annie and the judge (M. S. Gianonne) had to judge her based on the standard - there was no bitch in her class to compete with. Based on that judgment, he issued her the last required certificate and she was finished. Just like that...

Annie gave me Anka's lead with a huge grin and told me that now I will have to show her at the end in the Breed. Annie has a great sense of humor. Not only I'm not a very experienced handler, but I also don't speak French and don't really understand what the judge expects of me in the ring, as it is very different from here. However, there was nothing more I really wanted to do in that show, so playing "handler" with Anka in the French ring was actually quite a treat for me. I grabbed her lead with a grin that was even bigger than Annie's and went to wait for our turn.

 When our turn actually came and we went into the ring, it was a hysterical experience. My husband was hiding his face in his hands, so that I won't see his laughter. As soon as we walked in, the Judge said something very fast to all of us and I completely missed whatever it was he said. Everyone was looking at me expecting me to do something and I said in English that I have no idea what he wants me to do.

He showed me with his hand that he wants us to run. I was the first in line, so everyone, including a very happy Annie, was waiting for me to move....

I did and after making one circle, out of habit, I was planning to stop. They yelled and motioned to me to continue. I did, for 3 or more circles, but I managed to ruin everyone's rhythm in the process. Even Anka gave me this "What is wrong with you?!" look over her shoulder.

 After we stopped, I had to let Anka kind of free stack next to me, but I had no idea how to do that either. Well, after a lot of laughter and pointing fingers at me, accompanied by rapid French - the judge picked Tendress as his winner, told something to all of us about all of our dogs and the show was over. After the show I asked Annie what was it that the judge said to me about Anka.....

 She told me with (if it was at all possible) an even bigger grin - "Good dog, Bad Presentation". I hugged her and laughed all the way home.


Anka has completed her road to the French Championship. She is now the second American-born French Champion. She made all of us very proud and we want to say:


to the judges who felt she deserves the privilege of being one of the 8 new French Champions for the year 2007.


Another BIG THANK YOU to Anka's wonderful French presenter

Annie Tabutaud.


And my personal THANK YOU to you, Anka, for being such a trooper and for making it so much fun for me!


Note from Liz:  Anka and her littermates were born out of trust. Two very generous ladies Olga, and Kay and one man (Don you got muscled out and have never complained) have allowed me to be a part of this very special litter.  To be included was a special gift…I thank you …It’s been an honor.



Here is Anka on a day trip to one of the Loir Valley castles...


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Copyright 2007. Olga Shulman at Briard Breeder. All rights preserved.