After many years of showing American Saddlebred horses since she was seven years old, Denise began to show dogs. In 1968, Denise purchased her first show dog, Bruno, a St. Bernard (photo above). She showed and raised St. Bernards until 1974 when she went to visit a St. Bernard kennel in Eastern Pennsylvania and fell in love with the Briards that had been recently taken in as rescues at that kennel. It was love at first sight! She then attended the first American Rassemblement in 1974, in Columbus, Ohio where she met and fell in love with her first Briard puppy. The photo (left) is of Denise and her first Briard, CH. Calumets Joharah J., purchased from Fran Volkman and Pat Long.
Since 1974, Denise and Peter Simenauer have always had a Briard filling their home with love and humor. Briards have been an integral part of their life and were an important element in raising their five children. Now the Dior Briards share an equally important role in spending time with the Simenauers’ grandchildren. Denise is a retired elementary school principal and Peter is a retired mechanical engineer and consultant. They live with all their dogs in Cape Coral, Florida. They usually spend a month or two living in their motorhome while visiting friends and family in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They also spend time traveling to dog shows throughout the country in their motorhome. Otherwise they are with their Briards at their condo on Fort Myers Beach, Florida, enjoying daily walks on the beach and swims in the gulf.
Peter was born in Berlin, Germany and he moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil when he was fours years old. Peter speaks English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Denise was born in Toledo, Ohio and lived there most of her life. She met Peter in Toledo, they were married, and raised their five children there. They moved to Kalamazoo, MI in 1991. Denise speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Both Denise and Peter are active members of the Briard Club of America. Denise has served multiple terms on the BCA board, is past Archives Chair is a BCA Mentor-Tutor and serves on the BCA Breed Education Committee which educates judges and the public about Briards. Denise was Co Chair for the USACTC AKC standard committee and also served as a board member.
Peter was Show Chair of the 2007 BCA National Specialty. Denise served as Show Chair of the annual Kalamazoo Kennel Club show at the Apple Blossom Cluster in Kalamazoo in May (Memorial Day weekend) and was 2012 Briard Club of America National Specialty Chair Both are active members of the Greater Fort Myers Dog Club and Denise is 2016 Show Chair for the GFMDC shows at the Strawberry Cluster in Lakeland, Florida. Denise is an AKC judge for Briards, Bouvier des Flandres, Cotons de Tulear and Junior Showmanship and a UKC judge for all breeds and Junior Showmanship. She was the judge for Sweepstakes at the 2008 BCA National Specialty and judge for Cotons at the 2010 USACTC National Specialty Show 1. She also coordinated handling classes at the Kalamazoo Kennel Club.
Peter and Denise began their love affair with the Coton de Tulear in 2003 when they showed their first Coton, Paris – CH. Rock-A-Byes Paradise. Since then, they bred and own the first Coton to receive the AKC Certificate Of Merit, many top Cotons and bred and own the #1 Coton de Tulear in AKC for 2012. They enjoy many activities with their Briards and Cotons which include training and competing in obedience and agility, and most especially they take great pride in their breeder-owner-handler accomplishments in the conformation ring.
They have bred, owned and finished numerous American, Canadian, International and United Champions. Some of their most recent accomplishments are breeding and owning Pele, the 2005 World Champion Briard winning Best of Breed at the World Dog Show in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Pele was also AKC 2005 Number 1 Briard dog and 2005 Westminster Kennel Club Best of Breed Briard. At the 2009 BCA National Specialty, Dior Don’t Think Twice, co-owned and bred by them, was BOS in Sweepstakes. Since Denise judged at the 2008 BCA National Specialty, none of their dogs could be shown. At the 2006 BCA National Specialty, their dog “Bailey”, CH. Dior Boyz Strutt Your Stuff, was AOM; “Ollie”, CH. Dior Rainbeard Over Easy won the Stud dog class; “Michael”, Ch. Dior Aigner Made To Order, CD was BOS Veteran in Sweepstakes, and “Johnny” Dior A Man In Black was puppy SELECT in the Rassemblement. Also the puppy “Russet” that was BOW was sired by their dog “Sully” and grandsired by their dog, “Michael”. They own and their dog sired the 2005 BCA National Specialty First Award of Merit, bred and own the 2002 Briard Club of America National Specialty Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Bitch, own and show the 2004 Briard Club of America National Specialty Winners Bitch & Award Of Merit, breeder-owner handled of the #1 Briard dog in Canada in 1999 and 2000 and #5 Briard in 2001 in the U.S. They bred and own the first ever Briard to become a UKC Grand Champion, bred and own the #1 UKC Briard 2000 thru 2004 and 2006, bred and own the #1 Briard Stud Dog in 2002 and 2005 and own the #1 Brood Bitch in 2002. Their “Pele” has the record for the highest number of champions per litter average for all times (7). Additionally, Briards they have bred and/or owned have been SELECT and Pre-select by French judges both in the U.S. and in Canada. They have bred not only champions but also many Briards that have gone on to get advanced performance titles. They have competed and won numerous times at the Eukanuba Invitational Show.
Cotons that they bred and own have won BISS (Besito) and BOS (Allie) at the USACTC National Specialties as well as REGIONAL Specialties (Sante). They own and bred the first AKC Group 1 winning Coton (Sante) as well as numerous group placements. They own and bred the Lopatin award winning Coton for the USACTC #1 Coton in the USA (Sante).
The Simenauers believe that their Briards and Cotons should contribute to the community. They serve as Therapy dogs for Read programs at schools and make weekly visits to Hospice Care facilities. Sully played the role of “Sandy” in a local production of Annie.
Important to the Simenauers is that each Briard and Coton they breed and show adheres very closely to the AKC/FCI standard and exemplifies all of the hallmarks of the breed. In Briards, some of these features are beautiful, long tails with the crochet, large typey heads that are at least 40% of the dog’s height with muzzles that are 50% of the head length, quicksilver movement, classic proportions and low set, functioning, rear double dewclaws. In Cotons, some of these features are beautiful dark eye and pigment, classic proportions for head and body, sturdy construction, correct front and shoulder assembly, fluid, graceful movement and temperaments that are friendly, outgoing and well-adapted.
Most important to the Simenauers is that each Dior Briard and Coton is loved as a cherished family member in a healthy, loving and caring home environment.