Interview with Montgomery County Kennel Club Breed Judge (Norfolk Terrier & Sealyham Terrier), Beth Sweigart
What does it mean to be invited to judge at the Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show, the most prestigious Terrier event in the world?
Beth Sweigart: It is always an honor for any Terrier judge to be invited to be part of the judging panel for Montgomery County Kennel Club, usually held the first weekend in October.
Montgomery is quite unique because this is an all-breed dog show limited to Terriers. Also, the show is privileged to host almost every Terrier National Specialty. Because of this unique position, most of the judges are selected by their breed clubs to judge at this show and are hosted by Montgomery County. This year I had the privilege to judge both the Norfolk Terrier National Specialty and the Sealyham Terrier National Specialty, both of which were a great thrill to me.
Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share about your Breed assignment(s) this year? Please be specific.
Beth Sweigart: I have bred Norfolk Terriers since before they were Norfolks and were still considered drop-eared Norwich! So, I was very thrilled to be able to judge this breed at Montgomery County. I had a lovely entry of some very nice Norfolk, so many of which I was happy to see handled by their breeder-owners. As you might be aware, Norfolks are a limited entry breed, as are many Terrier breeds, so it is good to see people breeding and exhibiting, and be encouraged by long-term breeders. I was very pleased with my winners, both of whom I thought were excellent examples of the breed. Most of those entered were presented in lovely condition and had a very stable temperament.
The Sealyham entry was also substantial, with some very handsome specials being shown and a lovely entry of class bitches. I was particularly impressed with a Veteran Dog who I will say gave the eventual winner a good run. He thoroughly enjoyed the day, even in his advanced age. I always happy to see my winner be awarded Best Bred-By in Show and do so well in the regular Group.
What can today’s breeders and exhibitors in the other Groups learn from their Terrier counterparts? What can be learned from a show like Montgomery?
Beth Sweigart: I think anyone who has an interest in Terriers or has an aspiration to judge any Terrier breed should make a point of visiting this great Terrier extravaganza—because there is literally nowhere else where one can see so many beautiful Terriers assembled in one place or avail themselves of so much Terrier knowledge in one place at one time. You can always find someone who would be happy to help you and impart some of their knowledge on any of the breeds that are being exhibited. Even if you are not a Terrier aficionado, a visit to Montgomery County is a spectacle every dog person should enjoy.