Interview with Denny Mounce, Terrier Group AKC Judge
I am a Native Texan who has been involved in dogs and horses all my life. I currently live in Round Top, Texas, at Pecan Grove Farm where I breed and show miniature horses, many of which have become National and World Champions. My farm is also home to Auracana chickens, a cat, and three miniature donkeys.
I managed the show career of many top-winning dogs, and guided successful breeding programs for many of my clients. I also owned and managed a very large, full-service boarding and grooming kennel.
In my lengthy career as a dog handler, I was the Iams/Kennel Review Female Handler of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1992. With my 1992 win, I was inducted into the Iams Kennel Review Hall of Fame, the only handler to have done so. I was a member of the Dog Handlers Guild and the Professional Dog Handler Association, and a member of the first class of inductees in the AKC Certified Professional Handlers Program.
I have conducted handling seminars throughout the continental US, Mexico, and Hawaii. Serving as a mentor for many of the breeds the AKC recognizes, I have made friends all across the sport.
Among my accomplishments, I showed five Best in Show winning Skye Terriers, the Beagle of the Year three years in a row, bred and/or handled nine Number One Dachshunds, including my favorite, the famous Miniature Wire, Fannie Farkle. “Fannie” still holds the all-time Best in Show record for a Dachshund bitch. I’ve piloted Best in Show winning dogs in six Groups.
In 1996, I began my judging career with a variety of breeds from all seven Groups. I am currently approved for the Sporting, Terrier, Hound, Toy, and Non-Sporting Groups, Samoyeds, Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis, Pumik, Pulik, Miniature American Shepherds, and Norwegian Buhunds.
My judging has taken me to a wide variety of places all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico. I have been welcomed by the international dog community with invitations to judge in Japan, China, Argentina, Hong Kong, Brazil, Thailand, and Australia, as well as the prestigious AKC Championship.
Do I have any hobbies or interests outside of purebred dogs?
Denny Mounce: The horses, of course, as well as football and bull riding.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
Denny Mounce: My first breed was the German Shorthaired Pointer; later, Dachshunds, Beagles, and then my loves, Smooth Fox Terriers.
Have I judged any Terrier Breed/Group Specialties?
Denny Mounce: Oh, yes, too many to count.
Do I have any thoughts on the status of so many Terriers as “low entry” breeds?
Denny Mounce: The problem is grooming. The way that they are presented today requires a great deal of grooming to present them well. There’s a lot of preparation. People are not able to do the work or just don’t want to.
What about the overall quality of Terriers at all-breed shows? Do low entries mean low quality?
Denny Mounce: Low entries can mean the one entered is the best you have ever seen. Numbers have nothing to do with quality.
Are there areas of the country where Terriers are particularly strong? Any areas where they are in trouble?
Denny Mounce: The East Coast, Texas, and West Coast are the toughest. I don’t think you can say that any one area is in trouble. There is so much travel going on.
Do Terriers provide a challenge for judges who come from breeds in the other Groups?
Denny Mounce: Absolutely.
Have there been judges who have influenced my decision to judge? Influenced my manner of judging?
Denny Mounce: There have been several: Ric Chashoudian, Anne Clark, Mike Billings, and Frank Sabella.
If I could share my life with only one Terrier breed, which breed would it be and why?
Denny Mounce: The Smooth Fox. They are the greatest pets ever, but just have one. They are the right size, smart, loving, and loyal. The Best. Pet. Ever.
Do I have a “Montgomery Memory” that best summarizes my feelings about Terriers in general?
Denny Mounce: You have to be tough to do Montgomery. It was so cold and rainy the year Peggy and I watched Smooths from the handicap port-o-can. We were out of the rain and the wind, but we weren’t going to miss a thing!
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Terrier Group?
Denny Mounce: Too many to list. I have loved them all.