Page 60 - 2013 Le Mag 4th Qtr
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Another large Briard kennel established early on in added some much needed genetic variety to the early
the United States was by Mrs. George Jacobs in Pennsylva- American breeding. The Montjoye and Fief Royal dogs
nia. Basically, she purchased some of the dogs Macmon- were fairly line bred, in some cases inbred but this is es-
nies was selling including Maxown Mademoiselle. She also sentially the beginning of modern briardom, which “fixed”
had a dog named Timothy Jacobs who was born in the first early type and this is the “bottom line” of our American
litter registered with AKC in 1922. Timothy is the first of bred lineage today, descendants from this auspicious be-
what I refer to as our ‘illegitimate Briards’ (meaning their ginning.
registration acceptance was a little loose under AKC rules). It is remarkable that with a handful of dogs of fairly
His parents lived in the USA but were never registered close lineage, today, 80-85 years later our dogs have few se-
when they were brought over from France. In fact, we have rious genetic issues in comparison with other breeds with a
no pedigree for Timothy other than his parents. His sire small number foundation stock. It’s one of the things that
was a Montjoye dog but no one knows what his mother’s has amazed me and prompted several conversations with
lineage was. Timothy is the only pup in that litter that was others who’ve been involved with Briards for many years.
registered and he was 9 years old at the time. Of course, he Yes, we have some genetic health issues, most of which are
was registered because Mrs. Jacobs was using him at stud in common with many other breeds (HD, bloat, cardiac,
so she needed to register her puppies. She appropriated etc.) but we have only one genetic health concern that is
the Montjoye kennel name for her own use in America. fairly unique to Briards and that is Congenital Stationary
This has caused a bit of pedigree confusion, people think- Night Blindness. There are a few theories on the time line
ing that her dogs were imports when they were not. She of when the RPED 65 gene mutated from normal night
did import Nick du Fief Royal from Kremer & Werner vision to one that caused night blindness. A common
then finished his Championship here. Nick was bred a one points to the first major genetic bottleneck in Bri-
lot and he was bred to many of his daughters as well. This ards—post World War I and the second genetic bottleneck
was not a well thought out breeding program and using at the end of World War II. A genetic bottleneck occurs
Timothy may have helped sort it out a little bit in terms of when something causes a large reduction in the number of
“genetic space” although with the lack of knowledge of his breeding animals in a breed or species. In France, normal
ancestors that may be wishful thinking. One of the nicest life was dramatically curtailed during both wars so food
dogs she bred was Josephine of Sydney Farms (Mrs. Jacobs and medicine was scarce for humans with little left over
eventually began using her own kennel name on her dogs). to feed or use in a large kennel of dogs. Thus many French
Josephine was acquired by none other than Gerald White dogs died from malnutrition, rabies and other diseases,
of Westlawn Kennels. Josephine and Bastile puppies are the as well as being shot by the enemy since with Briards and
main trunk line of the early Briards traversing the decades, other working breeds, the dogs were pressed into ser-
to many of today’s Briards. vice with the French Medic services and as military dogs.
Mlle. Marguerite Denys didn’t import her Briards They were exceptionally good at this work so it was to the
from France; she brought them with her when she im- enemy’s advantage to eliminate those on the battlefield
migrated to the United States. Falco (de la Pommeraie), that they came across. The result was the gene pool artifi-
and Sita de Saint Epain came along on the boat with her. cially shrunk considerably twice during a 26 year period.
Once settled in upstate New York, she bred the pair, pro- Thus, it is logical to think that sometime in that period
ducing two litters -- in 1929 and 1932. Falco was a Jarnac the mutation took place and with the lowered number of
grandson out of Pegase (who was bred in France prior to dogs to use to regenerate after each bottleneck occurred, it
export). Falco was bred to the Obers’ Dauphine producing increased the odds of passing along that mutated gene. In
Dauphine’s Cocoa, who became a stud dog when he grew the beginning it would have been unnoticed or minimal in
up. Cocoa was also the Obers personal pet, who enjoyed its effect, but as time moved forward, the chances increased
romping with their two sons on their large property in that more carriers of the mutation would be crossed. In the
upstate New York. Another of Falco and Sita’s sons was United States, the first known carrier was from a litter of
named Jarnac in honor of his great grandsire. The Presi- Irish origins based on French dogs that became established
dent of AKC at the time, J.E. de Mund, purchased this pup in the United States in the 1960s. One of the dogs moved
who ran with his Borzoi dogs until de Mund’s death, then to the UK with its owner and was bred to a lovely British
moved on to Ms. A.C. Turner’s ownership. Briard bitch. Some of its offspring were sent to Sweden.
Mlle. Denys’ Sita was mostly Montjoye breeding, So tracking this one dog was fairly straightforward, when
especially on her sire’s side, but on her dam’s site she had CSNB affected puppies began showing up in Swedish litters
Fief Royal and de la Brie, in a rather open pedigree. This bred from the British imports. And a case could be made

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