About Cleo

Hi! I’ve owned Bull Terriers since 1970 when I bought my first pet Bullie, Hylo’s Bounty of Melrose, aka “Laura” from Douglas Rose, then President of the Bull Terrier Club of America. I showed Laura in Junior Showmanship and in conformation and she ended her show career with a grand total of 3 points; I ended my Juniors career with my only class win the day before I aged out of the competition. It’s not an easy breed for Juniors and I salute anyone dedicated enough to try it!

The Roses invited me to attend the Silverwood Competition for Best North American Bred Bull Terrier in Chicago in 1972, and I haven’t missed one since. I’ve had the privilege of being co-chair of the Silverwood host club committee three times, in 1984, 1989, and 1998. I’ve also written a handbook for Silverwood host clubs. I served as the chairman of the Bull Terrier Club of America Special Awards Committee from 1999 through mid-year 2007. It was a very interesting position where I learned a lot about dogs, pedigrees and the characteristics of shows all over the US and Canada. The amount of detail and reporting got to be more than I wanted to do every year, so I decided at the end of 2006 it was time for a break. I have since served on two committees to review the ROM system, and am not planning on accepting that assignment again!

I live in Livonia, Michigan (a west-side suburb of Detroit) with my husband, Mike Briggs. We met in 2000 through one of my college friends who is married to Mike’s sister Cindy. He had little interest in dogs when we met, but has slowly but surely been won over by the Bully charm and is a great help with puppies and occasionally accompanies me to dog shows, including most Silverwood weekends. He loves to take pictures and is responsible for most of the puppy and other at-home photos on this site.

In 2007 I decided to join Toastmasters during a period of unemployment, Mike decided to join too and we had a great time as part of the exceptional Dearborn Dynamic Toastmasters club. I have to say the skills I learned there made a big difference for my 2008 Detroit Kennel Club Meet the Breed – Detroit Kennel Club 2008 presentation. We took a break for a few years and returned to Toastmasters, joining and at times serving as officers in the Oak Park Toastmasters club.

I’ve been very active in the Bull Terrier Club of Metro Detroit and its predecessor, the Bull Terrier Club of Southeastern Michigan. I’ve been secretary of the BTCMD since its inception, with a one year break in 2006. We are one of the few regional AKC licensed Bull Terrier clubs that has superintended most of their own independent specialty shows and we’re very proud of the quality of the events we put on, especially in terms of our show sites, trophies, and hospitality, all of which contribute to consistently high entries. I also do all breed stewarding on a regular basis and belong to one all breed club, the Progressive Dog Club of Wayne County.

My first show quality Bull Terrier was Am. Ch. Westbrook Walking Song, C.D., ROM, TT, aka “Rachel”. That Companion Dog degree was one of my proudest (and most difficult) achievements in dogs, right up there with handling her to a Group I and showing her grandson, Ch. Nuance Nominee, to Reserve White Dog at Silverwood in 1995. All those accomplishments were topped in 2008 when I won the ultimate award for North American bred Bull Terriers, the Silverwood Trophy with Am/Can Ch Nuance Nonsense in 2008, which also resulted her winning the Irene Mann Trophy for Best Second Generation American Born Bull Terrier and my winning the Bramblemere Gay Carolynda Trophy for breeder of the Silverwood winner.

I was honored to be the recipient of the 2023 Bar Sinister Award from the Bull Terrier Club of America. This award is given to people who have made significant contributions to the Bull Terrier breed over their lifetime.

I’ve bred or co-bred fourteen litters and have finished produced 19 American and 4 Canadian Champions since I brought “Rachel” home in 1982. Rachel passed away in fall, 1996. Currently, I live with her great-great-great-great-great granddaughter, Livi, and Livi’s daughter Amy as well as Amy’s second cousin Iris.  Two of Amy’s puppies from her second litter are currently sharing our home as well, but I am hoping to place them in their own homes.

On the performance side, I’ve owned and trained the first Bull Terriers to earn the Bull Terrier Club of America’s Versatility Award and the Do More With Your Dog  Novice Stunt Dog title. Marley was one of the first Bull Terriers to try the new dog sport of Barn Hunting, in 2014 Marley received her first Barn Hunt titles, in 2015 she made the Top 50 at the Barn Hunt Nationals, and retired in 2017 with her RATS.  I’ve also put obedience, rally, CGC and Trick Dog titles on several of my dogs. The dog I’ve put the most performance titles on is Livi, “GCH CH Nuance Naughty or Nice, ROM, BN, RE, CGCA, TKI, RATO, NSD. I am planning to pursue the new in 2023 AKC Rally Choice title with Livi as well.

Over the years I’ve been asked to judge a number of sweepstakes and matches for both Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers and in October 2018 I decided to apply to become an AKC licensed judge. I am currently licensed for both Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers. I may add some other breeds in the future.

In my professional life, I’ve worked in marketing communications in the area of research and strategic planning most of my career and most recently held the position of Marketing Analyst at Pet Supplies Plus, a pet supply retailer headquartered in Livonia, Michigan. Prior to joining PSP, my career has mostly been spent at advertising agencies, starting at Kenyon and Eckhardt which morphed into Bozell and FCB, then followed the DaimlerChrysler business to BBDO.

Post-BBDO, I’ve worked as a contractor at Chrysler, GM and Team Detroit (Ford’s family of agencies), Jumpstart Automotive Media, and as an Office Operations Supervisor at the 2010 Census. I’ve worked on accounts in a number of industries including automotive, pet supplies, video gaming, services, utilities, outdoor furniture, and quick service restaurants. I am finishing up my career by going back into higher education as a Business Intelligence Analyst with the University of Michigan, which is a role similar to one I had at the UM Dearborn campus prior to receiving my Advertising degree. I retired in early 2023, although I didn’t exactly plan the cadence of my retirement right, and am way too busy trying to raise two puppies who I would very much like to place!

One of my “pet” projects is the Dog Marketing Blog, where I blog about topics combining my interests in dogs and marketing.  This has led to some guest blogging and writing for local dog-related businesses.  I created a Nuance Blog as part of this website where I will document what I’m doing with my dogs.

Contact Cleo