Visiting Kennel du Berger Noir

September 30, 2000

After a four hour drive in beautiful weather, I arrived at the Kennel du Berger Noir, a few miles northeast of Charlottesville, VA. As soon as I began to pull into the driveway, a lot of very loud barking began; I saw one large, black dog jump about six feet into the air inside his kennel, so I figured I'd stay in the car until the kennel owners came out.

I was very soon greeted by Fred Caristo. Soon afterwards, Claude (aka Claudia) Batson emerged from the house and greeted me. They have 100 acres with an indoor/outdoor kennel, a full, fenced agility area, a jumping course (akin to a dog steeplechase) and other dog-training facilities and equipment, for Schutzhund, Search-And-Rescue, etc.

Claude and I walked to the back of the property, near the agility course, and Fred went to get a series of seven Beaucerons, some on lead and some off, the latter racing towards me and Claude. After the dogs checked me out to make sure I was not a threat, they were all either friendly, very friendly, or extremely friendly. It's quite an experience to have a 100lb., 28" black dog charge at you at full speed, veering at the last second so that all you feel is the wind created. Several of the dogs were taken through the agility course for me by Claude or Fred, and they also gave me a brief Schutzhund demonstration in which Fred waved a noisy piece of cracked bamboo and made threatening gestures while wearing a heavily padded arm sleeve; the dog then charged, clamped down on the sleeve and pulled it off Fred's arm, while Fred continued to flail at the dog (never hitting it) with the stick. The dog regarded this as great fun and carried the sleeve off.

Claude explained both the differences in conformation (in terms of the breed standard), as well as their quite different personalities. Even the one described as less able was obviously intelligent, confident, able to calm himself quickly, responsive to voice commands and extremely friendly. All the dogs made extraordinary eye contact; my impression was that this was not (simply) a dominance gesture. Like our Beagle, Snickers, they are double-coated, with coat texture ranging from a bit softer than Snickers's, to slightly rougher. They all appear to have very large capacity bladders.

Fred and Claude were very forthcoming about the advantages and disadvantages of various of these dog's physical and personality characteristics for different types of potential owners. Several of their current complement are dogs taken as rescues from owners who were or became unable to handle the dog. [One of them had been tried as a cattle-herding dog for a year in the Midwest, but wasn't "mean" (or perhaps fearful) enough to herd the cattle. When cattle would charge him, he'd simply step aside at the last moment and then sit down again. As I said, they are highly intelligent dogs.]

Lex, the father of the forthcoming litter, is the top-ranked Beauceron in the US. Lex and Magali live in the house with Fred and Claude. Magali was recently ranked fourth in the French national competition in Marseilles, and would have been ranked second had her eye color not been just a bit too light for the judge's taste (as he later explained). This was her first dog show anywhere. Lex has been as successful in past years.

Hakane, the mom, was about four weeks into her 63 day pregnancy and was still able to do agility and jumping. Her puppies will be eight weeks old and ready to leave home in mid-December.

We went into the house so that we could sit down and Claude could show me more pictures of puppies produced by Lex. Lex and Magali eventually joined us. Like most dogs, Lex enjoyed it a lot when I scratched at the base of his tail, and if I stopped he would immediately back into me. At 100 lbs. and 28" - he's considered a large Beauceron - his gesture was very effective. If Magali tried to get some petting, too, he would insert himself in between her and me - she's only 80 lbs. and 26" - to make sure he got what he deserved. I tried to be fair.

Both dogs were put on the front porch for a while so that we could more easily look at photos of Lex's children and Hakan's children from breedings with other Beaucerons. Claude explained that they had to lock the door from the inside since Lex had figured out within minutes after he was put there the first time how to open the door from the outside. (She didn't say whether he used a key or a lock-pick.)

Lex was put out first; Magali hung back, peering around the corner, until Claude turned her back, pretending to be done, and then Magali came out to indicate that she was at last ready to join Lex.

I asked if it was possible to reserve a puppy and they said that they did not take money for that since they could not guarantee a suitable puppy, the number, sexes and temperaments being unknown now, but would add me to their list of people whom they keep up to date about the litter. They recommended that I get a relatively calm, pet quality female and invited me to visit again after the puppies are born. Beauceron litters can often produce twelve puppies, though Hakane has before produced smaller litters.*

So I can hope.

By the way, this is an "R" year for Beaucerons - all the registration names must begin with the letter "R." The name need not be French. And one needn't call the dog by its registration name (e.g., "Roxanne du Berger Noir"). But Claude and Fred said that if I had a preferred R-name to let them know and they'd be glad to call the puppy by that name.

The family favorite turned out to be "Roxanne," with "Ravan," and "Rhiannon," in second and third places.

Updates:

October 23: *Right on schedule, Hakane gave birth to five puppies; three were males and two were females.

December 7: Roxanne now weighs over twelve pounds.

December 28: Roxanne moves to her new home.

This page was last revised on Sunday, June 17, 2001


If anyone's looking, here are a few other R-name possibilities that we also considered:

Ra, Ra' Keisha, Raakel, Raanana, Rab, Rabbe, Rabbie, Rabble, Rabea, Rabeea, Rabi, Rabia, Rabi'ah, Rabin, Rachael, Rachav, Racheal, Rachel, Rachele, Racheline, Rachelle, Rachmaninoff, Rachna, Racho, Rackett, Rackshasamardini, Rad, Rada, Radar, Radcliff, Radcliffe, Radclyf, Radclyffe, Rade, Radegonde, Radegund, Radeken, Radella, Radenko, Radford, Radha, Radhika, Radhiya, Radiesha, Radim, Radinka, Radislav, Radley, Radlia, Radman, Radmila, Radmilla, Radnor, Radomil, Radomira, Radoslav, Radoslava, Radovan, Radulf, Radulph, Radulphus, Rae, Raeanna, Raeanne, Raegan, Raegen, Raeleen, Raelene, Raelin, Raelle, Raelyn, Rafael, Rafaela, Rafaello, Rafal, Rafalek, Rafayil, Rafe, Raff, Raffael, Raffaello, Raffe, Rafferty, Rafi, Rafidah, Rafiq, Rafiuddin, Rafn, Rafya, Rag, Ragan, Ragana, Rage, Raghda, Raghnall, Raghukumara, Ragna, Ragnachar, Ragnar, Ragnborg, Ragnell, Ragnheidur, Ragnhild, Ragnhildur, Ragnhold, Ragni, Ragnil, Ragnor, Rags, Ragtime, Ragu, Raheem, Rahel, Rahela, Rahim, Rahime, Rahman, Rahmet, Rahmon, Rahni, Rahul, Rai, Raia, Raicheal, Ra'Idah, Raiden, Raider, Raidon, Raija, Raikas, Raikko, Raiko, Raila, Raili, Raime, Raimi, Raimo, Raimond, Raimonda, Raimondo, Raimonds, Raimont, Raimund, Raimund, Raimundo, Rain, Raina, Raincoat, Raindrop, Raine, Raineld, Rainer, Rainey, Rainger, Rainhard, Raini, Rainier, Rainy, Raisa, Raissa, Raita, Raito, Raivis, Raivo, Raizel, Raj, Raja, Rajah, Rajalakshmi, Rajan, Rajani, Rajata, Rajatanabhi, Rajeevalochana, Rajendra, Rajene, Rajesh, Raji, Rajib, Rajinder, Rajinipati, Rajiv, Rajnandini, Rajya, Rakel, Rakhi, Rakie, Rakshan, Raku, Raldan, Raleigh, Ralf, Ralph, Ralphael, Ralphie, Ralston, Ralyn, RAM, Ram Ralai, Rama, Ramaa, Ramadan, Ramadhuta, Ramakeele, Ramana, Ramanda, Ramari, Ramazan, Rambaldo, Ramble, Rambo, Ramburga, Rameo, Ramesh, Rami, Ramin, Ramiro, Ramiz, Ramla, Ramman, Ramon, Ramona, Ramonda, Ramone, Ramos, Ramsay, Ramsden, Ramses, Ramsey, Ramsija, Ramund, Ramy, Ramya, Ramzee, Ran, Rana, Ranadeva, Ranae, Rance, Rand, Randa, Randal, Randall, Randel, Randell, Randelle, Randey, Randi, Randie, Randle, Randolf, Randolph, random, Randon, Randulph, Randulphus, Randy, Rane, Ranee, Ranelle, Ranen, Raner, Rangal, Ranger, Rangi, Rani, Rania, Ranielle, Ranit, Ranita, Raniya, Ranja, Ranjana, Ranna, Rannveig, Ranon, Ranssiina, Ranta, Ranya, Raoghnailt, Raonaid, Raoul, Raphael, Raphaela, Raphaelle, Rapier, rapport, Rapscallion, Rapunzel, Raqib, Raquel, Rasa, Rascal, Rasenna, Rasha, Rashad, Rashadi, Rasheda, Rasheed, Rashid, Rashida, Rashmi, Rasia, Rasine, Raskolnikov, Rasmine, Rasmus, Rasta, Rastus, Rasul, Rasula, Rasulite, Rathar, Rathnait, Rathtyen, Rati, Ratiba, Ratimir, Ratimira, Ratish, Ratko, Ratne, Ratri, Ratri, Rattlesnake, Raudna, Rauf, Rauff, Rauffe, Rauha, Raul, Raulf, Raulfe, Rauli, Raulin, Raulio, Raulo, Rauna, Rauni, Rauno, Rautia, Ravalnath, Ravan, Ravdna, Ravel, Raven, Ravenna, Ravi, Ravid, Ravija, Raviv, Rawdon, Rawhide, Rawiya, Rawley, Rawni, Rawnie, Ray, Raya, Rayah, Rayane, Rayanne, Rayburn, Rayell, Rayfield, Rayford, Rayke, Rayleigh, Raylene, Raymond, Raymonde, Rayna, Raynae, Raynald, Raynaldus, Rayne, Raynier, Raynold, Raynor, Rayon, Rayoni, Rayya, Rayzel, Raza, Razel, Razelle, Razi, Raziah, Raziela, Razilee, Razili, Raziya, Razna, Razz, Rea, Reace, Read, Readawn, Reade, Reader, Ready, Reagan, Reah, Reaka, Reaksa, Realda, Realtan, Realtin, Réamonn, Reana, Reandra, Reanna, reaper, Reason, Reatha, Reava, Reave, Reba, rebate, Rebeca, Rebecca, Rebecka, Rebeka, Rebekah, Rebekka, Rebekke, Rebel, Rebelle, Rebeque, rebus, rebut, Reccared, recherché, reckoner, rectifier, rector, Red, red shift, Redbert, Redd, Reddy, Rede, redeemer, Redell, redemption, Redford, Redgen, Redgena, Redina, Redington, Redmond, Redmund, Redolfo, reducer, Redvers, Redwald, Reea, Reeba, Reebok, Reece, Reed, Reef, Reefe, Reem, Reema, Reena, Reer, Rees, Reese, Reet, Reeta, Reethia, Reetrikki, Reetta, Reetu, Reeve, Reeves, referee, referent, reflex, reformer, refrain, refresh, refrigerate, refugee, Reg, Regalo, Regan, Regana, Regea, Regena, Regenlind, Regent, Reges, Reggie, Reggy, Regilda, Regina, Reginald, Reginalda, Régine, Reginele, Reginmunt, Regino, Reginy, Regis, Regisse, registrar, Regita, Regnauld, Regnault, Regnetrudis, regulator, Regulo, Regulus, Rehana, Rehema, Rehitha, Rei, Reichana, Reico, Reid, Reid, Reidar, Reidun, Reija, Reijo, Reila, Reilee, Reilly, Reima, Reimar, Reimund, Rein, Reina, Reinald, Reinaldo, Reinaldos ?, Reine, Reiner, Reingard, Reinhard, Reinhart, Reinhild, Reinhold, Reini, Reinier, Reinis, Reino, Reinold, Reinoud, Reinwald, Reiss, Rejoice, rejoinder, Réka, Rekha, Reko, Relaine, relish, rem, Rémar, Remaziah, Remedia, Remedy, remembrance, Remeyn, Remi, Remigia, Remigija, Remigius, Remillion, Remington, Remmy, Remo, Remus, Remy, Rena, Rena, Renada, Renae, Renaldo, Renard, Renars, Renata, Renate, Renathe, Renato, Renaud, Renault, Renaut, Renda, Rendon, Rendor, Rendor, René, Renea, Renée, Renegade, renegade, Renenet, Reni, Renia, Renita, Renja, Renne, Rennee, Rennette, Renni, Renny, Reno, Renoir, Renouf, Renovata, Rens, Rentukka, Renuka, Renzo, Reo, Rephaela, replica, Repo, requiem, Rerun, Resa, Rescue, research, Reseda, Resham, Reshmi, Resi, Respighi, respirator, resurrectionist, Reto, retractor, Retriika, Retriikka, Retriikki, Rets, Retu, Reuben, Reubin, Reuma, Reuven, Reva, Revalee, Revati, Revaya, Reveka, Revelin, Revely, revenant, Revere, Rex, Rexana, Rexanne, Rexella, Rexford, Rexy, Rey, Reyer, Reyes, Reygan, Reyhan, Reymond, Reymundo, Reyna, Reynaldos, Reynir, Reynold, Reynolds, Reyns, Reyza, Rez, Reza, Rezso, Rhadamanthys, Rhae, Rhael, Rhamnusia, Rhan, Rhanna, Rhaspody, Rhawn, Rhayne, Rhea, Rhea Silva, Rheanna, Rheba, Rhedia, Rhedyn, Rhelynn, Rhene, Rhesa, Rhett, Rhiain, Rhiamon, Rhian, Rhianna, Rhianne, Rhiannon, Rhianwen, Rhina, Rhino, Rhoda, Rhodanthe, Rhode, Rhodes, Rhodia, Rhodri, Rhona, Rhonda, Rhone, Rhonwen, Rhoswen, Rhosyn, rhubarb, Rhule, Rhun, Rhydderch, Rhyme, Rhys, rhythm, Ria, Ria, Riagad, Rialta, Riamh, Rian, Riana, Rianamay, Rianara, Rianca, Rianda, Riandra, Riane, Rianna, Rianne, Riaracia, Riaz, Riba, Riberta, Riborg, Ric, Rica, Ricarda, Ricardo, Ricart, Riccarda, Riccardo, Riccha, Ricchar, Ricciardo, Riccilee, Ricco, Rich, Richa, Richard, Richardson, Richart, Richela, Richelda, Richelle, Richemay, Richemaya, Richerd, Richi, Richie, Richildis, Richmond, Richmonde, Richter, Rick, Rickert, Ricki, Rickie, Ricky, Rico, Ricochet, Ricordio, Ricotta, Rida, Riddhi, Rider, Ridge, Ridgley, Ridley, Riduan, Rie, Rieja, Riemann, Rien, Riesa, Rieta, Rieti, Rifke, Rifq, Riga, Riga, rigadoon, Rígan, Rigarda, Rigby, Rigel, Rigg, Rigmor, Rigobert, Rigoberta, Rigonda, Riguardatta, Rigunth, Rihana, Riia, Riida, Riik, Riika, Riikka, Riiko, Riina, Riitta, Riittaliisa, Riitu, Rija, Rijkerd, Riju, Rikard, Rikhard, Rikhart, Riki, Rikitza, Rikja, Rikka, Rikke, Rikki, Rikkie, Riko, Riks, Riku, Rikuyo, Rilee, Riley, Rilke, Rilla, Rille, Rima, Rimas, Rimbaud, Rimca, Rimington, Rimma, Rimon, Rimona, Rimone, Rimril, Rimsky, Rina, Rinae, Rinah, Rinalda, Rinaldo, Rinalds, Rinatya, Rine, Rinelt, Rinette, Ringa, Ringan, Ringo, Ringo, Ringold, Ringolds, Rinilda, Rinoa, Rintje, Rio, Riobard, Rioc, Rion, Riona, Rionach, Riordan, Riowen, Riparia, Ripkin, Ripley, riposte, Ripples, Ripsa, Riquerto, Riqui, Risa, Risana, Risha, Rishona, Risk, risqué, Rissa, Rissey, Ristiina, Risto, Ristomatti, Ristopekka, Rita, Ritchie, Rith, Ritha, Ritika, Ritma, Ritsa, Ritta, ritter, Ritu, Ritva, Ritvars, Ritzpah, Riva, Rivaldo, Rivanon, Rivardo, River, Rivere, rivet, Rivka, Rivoare, Rivqah, Riwal, Riwall, Riwallan, Riwanon, Riwas, Rixa, Rixende, Rizo, Rizwan, Rizzo, Roach, Roald, Roan, Roana, Roanda, Roanna, Roar, Rob, Robar, Robb, robber, Robbert, Robbie, Robbin, Robby, Robena, Robert, Roberta, Robertas, Robertino, Roberto, Robertson, Robeta, Robi, Robin, Robina, Robinette, Robinson, Robson, Robustus, Robyn, Robyn, Roca, Rocca, Rocco, Roch, Rochelle, Rock, Rocker, Rocket, rocket, Rockwell, Rocky, Rod, Rodalfo, Rodas, Rodasi, Rodd, Roddie, Roddy, Rode, Rodeo, Roderic, Roderica, Roderich, Roderick, Roderik, Rodgarda, Rodge, Rodger, Rodgers, Rodhlann, Rodi, Rodica, Rodie, Rodin, Rodion, Rodman, Rodney, Rodny, Rodolfo, Rodoljub, Rodolphe, Rodrego, Rodrick, Rodrigo, Roee, Roeland, Roelof, Roena, Roenda, Roentgen, Roesia, Rog, Rogan, Rogasian, Rogatien, Rogatius, Rogel, Rogelio, Roger, Rogerio, Rogero, Rogers, Rogert, Rogu, Rogue, Roguerio, Rohan, Rohana, Rohanna, Rohash, Rohelio, Rohesia, Rohin, Rohini, Rohit, Rohkima, Roi, Roine, Rois, Roisin ?, Roisin, Rojelio, Rojo, Rokeby, Roksana, Roksanna, Rokuko, Roland, Rolanda, Rolando, Roldan, Roletta, Rolf, Rolfe, Rollan, Rolland, Rolle, Rollie, Rollin, Rollins, Rollo, Rollon, Rolls, Rolly, Rolo, Rolon, Rolph, ROM, Roma, Romain, Romaine, Roman, Romana, Romance, Romane, Romanie, Romano, Romany, Romarico, Romarin, Rome, Romeliza, Romella, Romelle, Romeo, Romilda, Romilly, Romina, Romino, Romney, Romulo, Romulus, Romy, Romylee, Ron, Rona, Ronald, Ronaldo, Ronalee, Ronan, Ronana, Ronat, Ronda, Rondeau, Rondelay, Rondella, Rondo, Ronelle, Ronette, Roni, Ronica, Ronimus, Ronin, Ronit, Roniya, Ronn, Ronna, Ronnaug, Ronni, Ronnie, Ronnier, Ronny, Rony, Ronya, Roo, Roochir, Rookie, Rooney, Roopa, Roopali, Roope, Roopertti, Roopini, Roosa, Roosevelt, Roosje, Rooster, Roppon, Roque, Rörek, Rori, Rorie, Rorschach, Rory, Ros, Rosa, Rosabel, Rosabella, Rosalba, Rosaleen, Rosali, Rosalia, Rosalie, Rosaliina, Rosalil, Rosalina, Rosalind, Rosalinda, Rosalinde, Rosaline, Rosamaria, Rosamond, Rosamund, Rosana, Rosanella, Rosanna, Rosanne, Rosaria, Rosarita, Rosaura, Roschan, Roscoe, Rose, Rose Angel, Roseanne, Roseen, Roselani, Rosella, Roselle, Roselyn, Rose-Marie, Rosemary, Rosemere, Rosene, Roser, Rosetina, Rosetta, Rosette, Roshanara, Roshna, Roshni, Rosi, Rosie, Rosina, Rosine, Rosita, Roslan, Roslea, Roslyn, Rosmarie, Rosmer, Ross, Rossa, Rossalyn, Rossana, Rossella, Rossin, Rosslyn, Rostislav, Rostislava, Roswitha, Rota, Roth, Rotha, Rothin, Rothrock, Rothschild, rotifer, Rotlenda, rotor, Rotrou, Roulette, Rouslan, Rousse, Rouvin, Rover, Roverto, Rowan, Rowdy, Rowe, Rowen, Rowena, Rowland, Rowyn, Roxalina, Roxaline, Roxana, Roxana/Roksana, Roxane, Roxann, Roxanna, Roxanne, Roxie, Roxy, Roy, Royal, Royce, Royd, Roz, Roza, Rozalah, Rozalia, Rozalie, Rozalija, Rozalind, Rozalja, Roze, Rozele, Rozelle, Rozemond, Rozen, Rozene, Rozenn, Rozenwyn, Rozite, Rozka, Rozlie, Rozsa, Rozzini, Rrutu, Rua, Ruairdhri, Ruairi, Ruan, Ruana, Ruba, Rubben, Rube, Ruben, Rubens, Rubert, Ruberto, Rubetta, Rubiat, Rubina, Ruby, Ruchi, Ruchika, Ruchira, ruckus, Rudd, Ruddy, Rudegerus, Rudelle, Rudgerd, Rudha, Rudhai, Rudi, Rudiger, Rudite, Rudo, Rudolf, Rudolfina, Rudolph, Rudolpho, Rudolphus, Rudra, Rudrani, Rudrapriya, Rudro, Rudy, Rudyard, Rudyard, Rue, Rueben, Rufe, Rufeo, Ruferto, Ruff, Ruffian, Ruffina, Ruffo, Rufina, Rufino, Rufinus, Rufio, Rufo, Rufons, Rufus, Rufusina, Ruggero, Ruggiero, Rugino, Rugrat, Ruhiye, Rui, Rujelio, Rukan, Rukiya, Rukma, Rukmini, Rulf, Rumana, Rumer, Rumiko, Rumina, Rumor, Run, Rún, Runa, Runako, Runar, Rune, Runfrid, Runhilde, Runner, Runolfur, Rupa, Rupal, Rupali, Rupangi, Rupasi, Rupasri, Rupert, Ruperta, Ruperto, Rupinder, Rupo, Ruprecht, Ruqaya, Ruqayya, Rurich, Rurik, Rusalka, Rush, Rusha, Rushi, Ruska, Ruskin, Rusko, Ruslan, Russ, Russel, Russell, Russell, Russet, Russom, Rustica, Rustin, Rusty, Rut, Ruta, Rutger, Ruth, Rutherford, Rutherford, Ruthie, Rutlies, Rutty, Ruud, Ruusa, Ruusu, Ruut, Ruve, Ruvim, Ruvon, Ruvonenn, Ruwaydah, Ruy, Ruyen, Ruza, Ruzena, Rya, Ryan, Ryane, Ryann, Ryanna, Ryanne, Ryba, Rychard, Rydell, Ryder, Rye, Ryker, Rykie, Rylan, Ryland, Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie, Rynna, Ryo

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