Interview with Bob Shreve, Terrier Group AKC Judge
I was raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with a Smooth Fox Terrier as my best friend. Shortly after graduating from college, a fraternity brother offered me a German Shepherd Dog puppy. In 1968, the Shreve children decided that the Shepherd was too big for doll clothes and they wanted a smaller dog. As a 10th Anniversary present to my wife, Marietta, I purchased a West Highland White Terrier. Within a year, our eldest daughter was given a Wire Fox Terrier and, for the next 25 years, Marietta and I bred Westies and Wires Foxes, and showed them throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
I was elected President of Greeley Kennel Club in 1971 and served as President on five occasions for a total of 21 years, and I also served six years on the Board of Directors of the West Highland White Terrier Club of America.
I was granted approval to judge Fox Terriers and West Highland White Terriers on April 14, 1978. I received approval to judge the Terrier Group on January 1, 1988, the Herding Group in 1994, the Working Group in 2002, the Sporting Group in 2010, and the Non-Sporting Group in 2014. During the past forty-plus years, I have attended 200 breed seminars and over 135 National Specialties. Currently, I judge 50 to 60 All-Breed Shows and five or six Specialty Shows a year.
Internationally, I have judged in Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Columbia, Mexico, New Zealand, and Thailand.
I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Art and Architecture and a Masters in Architecture. In 1993, I opened (and continue to work at) Robert Shreve Architects and Planners, specializing in industrial, commercial, and educational structures.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
Bob Shreve: I live in Greeley, Colorado. I have been in dogs for 55 years, judging for 42 years.
Do I have any hobbies or interests outside of purebred dogs?
Bob Shreve: Our family spent the early years in Colorado skiing, until show dogs came into our life. Now, I’m mostly an architect during the week and a dog show judge on the weekends.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
Bob Shreve: A German Shepherd raised the family, then, on our tenth wedding anniversary, a West Highland White Terrier arrived followed soon after by a Wire Fox Terrier. Our kennel name was Castlemilk.
Have I judged any Terrier Breed/Group Specialties?
Bob Shreve: I have judges many Specialties in the US and in Canada. Pre-COVID, I judged the All-Terrier Club of Alberta. This past January, I judged the Desert Empire Terrier Club of Southern California, and next year, I will be judging the Garden State All-Terrier Club and the Sun Country Terrier Club Specialties.
Do I have any thoughts on the status of so many Terriers as “low entry” breeds?
Bob Shreve: It takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to present a dog in proper coat. People seem to shy away from the breeds that required constant hand-stripping. People are just not willing to put forth that effort. Folks seem to gravitate to the breeds that we called “wash & wear.” This is not a description of a Terrier.
It takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to present a dog in proper coat. People seem to shy away from the breeds that required constant hand-stripping.
What about the overall quality of Terriers at all-breed shows? Do low entries mean low quality?
Bob Shreve: At a couple of recent shows, I could have given out four ribbons and then four more. At others, you quickly find third and fourth place but struggle to find dogs that are worthy of one and two. Low entry numbers do not equate to low quality. There are often four or five single-entry breeds that are deserving of Group placements.
Are there areas of the country where Terriers are particularly strong? Any areas where they are in trouble?
Bob Shreve: With travel today, one can find good dogs in almost any part of the country. However, there are more shows and more exhibitors in the Upper Midwest and on both coasts, hence, more Terriers and more quality. A lot depends on the number of professional Terrier handlers and Terrier breeders, and where they live.
Do Terriers provide a challenge for judges who come from breeds in the other Groups?
Bob Shreve: Our family entered the dog show world by showing Terriers. We showed against some very strong breeders and handlers. Often, the competition was intense. I think that the transition from exhibiting to judging was less intimidating for me than for people coming from the other Groups.
Have there been judges who have influenced my decision to judge? Influenced my manner of judging?
Bob Shreve: When we started showing, there was only one Terrier judge for 500 hundred miles, Vern Gangwish. He was a Bedlington breeder. We saw Terrier judges occasionally, and most were the likes of Louie Muir and Joe Faigel. I think I was more influenced by the handlers who regularly exhibited in Colorado. I learned a lot from Ray Bay, Dee Hanna, Joe Waterman, Eddie Boyes, Woody Wornall, and Dennis Springer.
If I could share my life with only one Terrier breed, which breed would it be and why?
Bob Shreve: I would stay with Westies. Our last Westie passed this past August, and my wife and I are afraid that if we had another it would out live us. The Westie’s personality is hard to beat and they are eye-catching when all trimmed up.
Do I have a “Montgomery Memory” that best summarizes my feelings about Terriers in general?
Bob Shreve: I was privileged to judge the Roving Westie National three times, but the Montgomery National was by far the most exciting for me—great dogs and wonderful exhibitors.
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Terrier Group?
Bob Shreve: My favorite story is only partially about Terriers, but I think it fits. I was judging the Terrier Group in Long Beach at Christmastime. The Groups were to be formal, so I brought my tuxedo and planned to change after the breed judging. There were no changing rooms, so I went to the men’s restroom to change. Arley Hussin was also on the panel. However, he had been asked to stay over for a couple of days to pick up an assignment of a judge who had become ill and could not finish his assignment. He was not aware that tuxedos were the preferred dress for the Groups. He wasn’t sure what to do.
I said, “Arley, we are about the same size. My Group is second and yours is fourth. After I finish my Group, I’ll meet you in the restroom and I’ll hand you my tux over the partition.” So, after my Group, we met in the restroom. I stripped down to my briefs, handed my tux over the partition, and Arley judged his Group in my tux while I waited in my briefs.