Interview with Montgomery County Kennel Club Breed Judge (Russell Terrier), Simon Mills
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?
Simon Mills: As a Terrier owner/breeder/handler, it was indeed an honor to be asked to judge at Montgomery. I am an all-breed judge and have judged in many parts of the world, but this was the first appointment in the USA. Montgomery was a highlight of my judging career; it was one of those “pinch me” moments.
Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share about your Breed assignment(s) this year? Please be specific.
Simon Mills: I would like the to thank the American Russell Terrier Club for the honor to judge your breed at Montgomery. I found the breed to be of excellent quality and they were some of the best dogs I have judged in the world. I feel, with the dogs I judged on the day, the breed is in a good place. “USA breeders, you have got the basics right.” It is clearly evident that breeders have overall balance of the Russell in mind when breeding, and the dog is still fit for a function and purpose.
If I may, I will comment on my final placings and give an overall summary of the Russell Terriers. These my thoughts and my opinions only.
Best of Breed
Simon Mills: WOW, what a cracking bitch!! This bitch was an outstanding example of the breed and excelled in breed type.
She was a strong female of excellent bone and substance and feet, but remaining feminine. She had pleasing expression with correct dark eye color, flat skull and balanced planes, and strong muzzle with width of jaw. A balanced outline with correct height-to-length ratio, well-ribbed back, level topline, and correct tail-set. Her front angulation displayed correct return of her upper arm; front and rear were balanced. She was spannable with a straight front. Strong coat texture and presentation. Strong level topline when stationary or moving. Moved with good extension and drive from behind. She displayed correct foot placement and moved in a flowing motion! My final decision as to why she won on the day was her overall balanced proportions and wonderful attitude, and her excellent ground-covering movement. This is a functional bitch!
Best of Winners
A lot to like about this lovely young female: pleasing head with classical expression due to a dark eye, correct ear placement and size. Correct bone, correct body and length proportions, and a balanced level topline and correct tail-set. She really impressed with her sound movement and foot placement. I believe her attitude and disposition is so true of this breed. She displayed correct breed type.
Best of Opposite Sex
Another WOW! An excellent representative of the breed; excellent breed type. A strong, masculine male with excellent bone, substance, and correct feet. Excellent, strong male head that displayed strength of muzzle and width and a flat skull. Excellent, strong male expression and acceptable eye and correct ears. Spannable with a straight front, well-ribbed back with level topline, and well-set-on tail. This male displayed a strong attitude so typical of the breed. The handler got a lot out of this dog as the judging progressed; he never let the handler down. A powerful mover, excellent side gait, though he was not as free-flowing as the bitch! That’s what my final decision was based upon between the dog and bitch.
Another strong dog that took my breath away; his presentation was the best on the day. What a wonderful coat jacket—and the ultimate showman. A top of the standard dog but spannable. Excellent body proportions, pleasing head, and dark eye giving a pleasing expression. Strong topline and tail-set. I’d prefer this dog to have more angle in his upper arm, although acceptable; it’s what separated him today from the Best of Opposite Sex dog. A very eye-catching dog that showed excellent breed type and breed attitude. The handler got the best out of him!
I would call this a very functional bitch and she was in hard condition. I found this bitch very much to my liking. A lovely feminine head, but with strength. Pleasing expression and a dark eye. Correct angulation with correct body ratio. Correct bone and excellent substance. Very sound mover with correct side gait. She had a level topline and correct tail-set. This bitch had excellent coat texture!
Awards of Merit
These were all male dogs and, to be honest, little separated the top five male dogs on the day. They all excelled in breed type. The three Awards of Merit I awarded are world-class dogs, and on any given day are your winners. I had to work hard, but it was a joy to try and separate them. To judge dogs on their numerous virtues is a judge’s dream; all were shown to perfection by their handlers.
The dogs also rose to the occasion, and watching the video after judging it was clearly evident that I had my hands full as I worked these males a lot. It came down to the overall balance and angulation of these dogs, even tail-sets at one stage. There was little that separated them. Overall, they were masculine dogs with substance and bone, strong heads and pleasing expressions. Excellent height and length proportions with sound movement, though some covered ground better than others. These dogs should be the future in breeding programs as they are excellent representatives of the breed.
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?
Simon Mills: The gathering of the Terrier clan, so to speak, offers so many positives to the breeds, breeding programs, judges education, and the camaraderie of Terrier folk. The depth of quality of the dogs and the large breed numbers offer breeders the chance to evaluate their stock against other kennels throughout the country/world. This, in turn, maintains type and function, so important in maintaining the various Terrier breeds. As an educational tool, sitting and watching ringside and talking to breeders and exhibitors cements “breed type” in the trainee judge’s mind.
The opportunity the Montgomery Cluster offers is an invaluable learning weekend. It is “a must” for the budding Terrier judge! To witness these wonderful dogs and meet so many respected breeders and handlers, who are devoted to their breeds, in a social atmosphere is a wonderful experience. The buzz and excitement for the Montgomery weekend has to be experienced. It’s addictive, to say the least. The Greatest Terrier Show on Earth!