Interview with Montgomery County Kennel Club Breed Judge (Airedale Terrier & Smooth Fox Terrier), Richard Powell
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?
Richard Powell: It means the world to be invited. Most Terrier breeds hold their National Specialty in conjunction with Montgomery County Kennel Club. To be voted to judge any National Specialty by the membership is a huge honor. It carries a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly. I feel so blessed, as I have been invited to judge several breed’s Specialties here, all of which were very special.
Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share about your Breed assignment(s) this year? Please be specific.
Richard Powell: This year I was invited to judge two days at Hatboro KC leading up to Montgomery County, and doing many exciting and competitive breeds. This is the largest entry of Terriers in one place in the world. Anyone who is contemplating judging Terriers should not do so without attending this weekend. With Terrier entries very small, this weekend is the only opportunity to really learn by seeing big numbers in every breed.
I was very thrilled to judge Airedales and Smooth Fox Terriers at Montgomery County. Airedales had the biggest entry for some while, and everyone was so thrilled to “get back “ after the pandemic. I worked for a very famous Airedale kennel in England as a young man, and when I came to the States I worked for Ric Chashoudian and Wood Wornall. I was around some wonderful Airedales.
I showed quite a few for other people, but did I ever consider the fact that one day I would be standing in the middle of the ring at Montgomery pointing to the winners? No. This invitation was huge and a great surprise. I was not disappointed by the entry. The breed is in great shape in this country. I was thrilled with the winners. I had judged Smooth Fox Terriers at Hatboro a few years ago and have done lots of Specialties in this breed, but I was a little giddy at receiving this invitation also.
This is a breed that has lots of clever and dedicated breeders, so one expects the quality to be good. This year the males in the classes were especially good, with some very exciting youngsters. Oddly, the bitch classes were not as strong, but I was very happy with the Winners Bitch and Reserve. For Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex, both were from Australia and were by the same dog. Both being of great quality.
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?
Richard Powell: Well, we have other shows: the Hound shows on the West Coast, and the Toy shows and Setter specialties right before The Garden which attract a great deal of excitement. And there are wonderful independent specialties like the Potomac for Labradors and Silverwood for Bull Terriers. But Montgomery is for all Terriers and it’s always a four-day weekend. There is nothing quite like the scope of this, which covers the whole Group. As I said earlier, it is “a must” for anyone to attend at least once, but especially so if there is a serious interest in judging Terriers.