Terrier Group Judge Edd E. Bivin
Group One: GCHS Hampton Ct Broxden Dropthe Mic (Smooth Fox Terrier)
Group Two: GCHS Irvonhill Voignier (Wire Fox Terrier)
Group Three: CH Monaline Unit (Welsh Terrier)
Group Four: GCHS King’s Mtn. Henry Higgins
- Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Terrier Group at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?
Edd Bivin: I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and judging a Group at the AKC National Championship is always an exciting and exhilarating experience—especially after three years of not participating due to COVID and all those things.
- What does it mean to judge a Group at the only all-breed show organized directly by the American Kennel Club?
Edd Bivin: I remember when it started, there were those who were not in favor of the AKC having a dog show. But I think that attitude has changed. The show is now recognized by some as being an excellent branding opportunity for the AKC, and I think the show speaks well for the quality of the brand.
- In your opinion, how does this show differ from other AKC events?
Edd Bivin: This was the first time I’d judged in three years, and I was conserving my energy for the ring as a judge. So, I did not get a chance to explore the show. However, I do consider this show to be an opportunity for (conformation and performance) people to exhibit, be competitive, and have fun. That’s what we want the dog show to be. The sport should be fun for people.
- What were you thinking or feeling moments before you stepped into the center of the TerrierGroup ring?
Edd Bivin: You get excited about it… you have to keep in mind that this is the evaluation of animals. The value of judging and the value of the process of evaluating animals for breeding stock was driven home when the first dog walked in the ring.
- Was there a heightened energy coming from the dog and handler teams? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?
Edd Bivin: Terriers are exciting. They’re exuberant with a lot of energy and a competitive nature. That energy sometimes goes up the lead instead of down the lead, making some of that competitiveness hard to control on the part of the exhibitors as well.
- How challenging was this assignment? Can you share your selection process?
Edd Bivin: Judging is always a challenge. You stand out there and look at a group of dogs, and… I try my best to elevate that about which I feel positive. (People told me that I judged just like I always have.) Judging is an opportunity to learn, and I try to learn something every time I judge.
- Do you have a word or two about your Group winner? About the dogs that placed?
Edd Bivin: I think a lot of people don’t understand that Terriers require a tremendous amount of work to get them in condition (coat and otherwise) and their preparation is a little different than in some of the other Groups. There were several animals in the Group that I would like to have had an award of recognition possibility for that I didn’t have. The four placements, however, were all quality, though none were perfect—because dogs aren’t perfect any more than humans are perfect.
In my humble opinion, I thought the Smooth dog “had a moment” and had a time when he was really “turned-on”—it was beautifully presented. He’s an interesting dog. He fits together at both ends beautifully, with a good, short back and a good tail. He has a lovely outline when you stand and look at him that fits your image… I could go on forever about the image factor, but he fits my image as being a complete dog in a complete package. The Wire dog was not quite as exhilarating for me at that time, but he is a recognized quality dog of breeding stock. The Welsh bitch is young and really pretty. I think she needs a little more time. She has good quality… meeting the conditions in the standard for her breed—type. The Dandie dog was really pleasing for me. Dandie Dinmonts are a breed of exaggerations; they have an exaggerated topline and an exaggerated head. That dog has a tremendous quality that is missing in so many; that is the strength of the head, the fill under the eyes, the size of the head, and the length of the muzzle—the whole thing.
- A dog show of this magnitude is a monumental undertaking. Is there anything you’d like to say on behalf of the AKC and the show’s sponsors?
Edd Bivin: I want to give the AKC credit. I think that Michael Canalizo works his butt off, as do the officers and the members of the board. If you look, today there are more dog activities for more people, and more people who have different interests in the dogs by their side. Dog shows give you an opportunity to expand upon the relationship between man and dog. I will tell you a story… I was at a dog show three years ago or more, and I looked over against the wall where a man was sitting on the floor with his German Shepherd. I thought, “Damn, that’s what dog shows are about.”
- Are there specific ways in which this show furthers the cause of purebred dogs?
Edd Bivin: Let’s consider the purpose of dog shows, which is the evaluation of breeding stock and the quality of the stock that is produced. If you keep that in mind, the changes that go on outside of the sport become superfluous.
Let’s also consider another thing: There are a lot of people who go to a dog show who do so at the expense of energy, resources, money, time, and family activity. Not everybody just picks up their dog and goes to a dog show. It’s more effort for some.
I will tell you another story… Many years ago, I had a woman who went BOW in her breed and she said, “Gosh, I’m glad I did this.” I asked her what she meant and she said, “My husband was very opposed to my coming to the dog show.” I told her that I’d driven a long way to get there and she said, “You have rewarded my faith in your liking this kind of dog.” People sacrificed to get to the AKC National Championship, and in doing so they deserved myfull attention.
- Now that it’s over, what are your thoughts on the 2021 show year? What about the year ahead?
Edd Bivin: My wife and I have spent almost three years in isolation, and we just celebrated our third wedding anniversary in October. The isolation gave us an opportunity to learn more about “spouse.” We used that time as an opportunity to expand our world, and not to be dependent upon any other factor expanding it for us.
The 2021 AKC National Championship was the first time I’d flown in an airplane in three years. I would have flown a few months ago, but the doctor wouldn’t let me fly. So, I had to miss the Poodle National, which I’ve done many times and I love it every time. I would have done the Shar-Pei National too, and I would have done the Giant Schnauzer National, and…
We have to remember that the year ahead is twelve months, and a whole lot can happen in twelve months. I will tell you that when it comes to 2022, I don’t know what the hell is going to happen!
Terrier Group Judge Edd E. Bivin interview by Showsight.