Purebred Airedale Terriers Breeders Todd and April Clyde – Longvue Airedale Terriers
Where did each of you grow up?
Todd and April Clyde: Todd was born and raised on Long Island, New York, and April was born in Rantol, Illinois, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Do you come from doggy families? And if not, how did the interest in breeding and showing purebred dogs begin?
Todd – I was born into a dog family. My father (Bob Clyde) was a professional handler specializing in Terriers. We also managed breeding programs for several clients and whelped their litters. All the children in our family worked in the kennel, and helped to raise and socialize litters in the house.
April – My parents both loved dogs and we always had a purebred family pet. When I was born, the dog was a Cocker Spaniel. When I was about seven, we got a Kerry Blue Terrier because it was the closest thing to a Poodle that my parents could afford at the pet store. While my mom and I loved Tony, my dad was not a Terrier man! Soon, Tony went to live on a farm and was replaced by a Miniature Poodle named Gigi. As an only child, I considered Gigi my best friend and confidant. After I grew up and married, I lobbied my non-doggy husband for a dog. Since my husband had heard of Airedale Terriers, and I didn’t have a preference, we purchased an Airedale Terrier from a localbackyard breeder. To get some control over the wild Airedale, I attended a local obedience class. They recommended that we all attend the local dog show (Kennel Club of Philadelphia) and there, I was bitten by the show bug. Returning to Pittsburgh, we purchased a second dog from Sarah Macklin for me to show.
Who were your mentors in the sport? Please elaborate on their influence.
Todd – I was lucky to grow up going to dog shows in the 1970s in the Northeast. Every weekend, I got to watch my father, Peter Green, Guenther Behr, Cliff Hallmark, and Bobby Fisher battle it out all day long. Then in the early ‘80s, I went to California to work for Woody Wornall where I learned so much about the presentation and showing of Terriers—especially Airedale Terriers. We showed many beautiful Airedales for top Airedale breeders and I couldn’t help falling in love with this wonderful breed.
April – Starting from the ground floor, I had much to learn about show dogs and breeding. When I purchased my first show dog from Sarah Mackin, she introduced me to the local club—the Steel Valley Airedale Terrier Association. There, I met dedicated breeders and owner-handlers. Some of the most influential were Sarah, Dee and Dave Leahy, and Mike Dolmayer. They taught me about trimming, basic show handling, whelping, puppy care, and giving back to the sport through club work. Later, mymentors changed as I got more successful as a breeder/owner-handler, and included Trevor Evans, Rhonda Davis, Philip Fitzpatrick, and Diane Schlicht. As an avid student, I read everything related to dogs that I could find and studied pedigrees endlessly. I also attended multiple handling classes and seminars. Of course, when I married Todd in 2003, I had in-house instruction.
Your Airedales are widely known, highly successful and well respected. What breeding philosophies do you adhere to?
Todd and April Clyde: Early on in our breeding program, we identified breeding priorities. Type, temperament, and health are our priorities when planning a breeding. Because Airedale Terriers typically have large litters (average seven to eight pups), we plan from the beginning to produce pups that are not only competitive in the show ring but are also wonderful household companions and willing workers in the performance ring. Thus, proper temperament is required foundation for Longvue Airedale Terriers. All dogs used in our program must demonstrate outgoing, intelligent temperaments blended with Terrier tenacity and a touch of sweet silliness. They do not require more “socialization and temperament conditioning” than the average family can give. They are pretty much born with great temperaments.
We also strive for healthy dogs, and every dog we breed is CHIC certified. Following the advice of early mentors, we only use females from mothers that get pregnant easily, whelp naturally, and take good care of their pups. We only keep stud dogs that breed naturally, and the great majority of our breedings are natural.
We want dogs with breed type, and we are confident and in agreement in our vision of Airedale type. We have found that linebreeding works best to produce the type we seek. Most of the pups that we breed and show have multiple ties back to our foundation. We also use outcrossing carefully to improve areas that we identify as weak. Over the past 10 years, we have performed several successful outcrosses. In addition, because we continue to selectively acquire Airedales from other breeders, we often can do an outcross using a dog in our own kennel. This is a great convenience.
Perhaps the most important breeding philosophy that we adhere to is honest evaluation of our puppies. We work very hard to keep emotion out of our selection of “keepers.” We evaluate at eight weeks and typically run on two pups from each litter. The evaluation process continues for the next year, and any pup that develops certain faults that we identify as a “deal breaker” is immediately placed in a pet home (we always have a waiting list at hand). As we become more selective and demanding every year, the number of faults that we choose to regard as deal breakers increases. By being increasingly selective, we believe our breeding program improves. Sometimes one of us might be a little unhappy about this process, but we believe it has served us very well.
How many Airedales do you typically house? Tell us about your current facilities and how the dogs are maintained.
Todd and April Clyde: We live on 12 acres in Selbyville, Delaware, a small town near Ocean City, Maryland. We have a home, a puppy house, and a kennel on the property. Dogs live in all of these areas. Puppies are born and raised in our home until they are 8-12 weeks old. Two spare bedrooms have been converted into puppy whelping and raising rooms, and we have a separate shaded exercise area for mom and her pups. Our two “house” Airedales also live there with us. The puppy house is a heated and air-conditioned building with separate covered outside runs and shaded paddocks, and it is for “keeper” puppies aged 12 weeks to about 15 months. The kennel building is heated and air conditioned and is primarily for Airedales but does also house boarding dogs. It has indoor/outdoor runs; a crate room; a trim room; a separate room for bitches in season; a kitchen; and a breeding room. The kennel also has covered outdoor exercise areas and multiple large, tree-shaded paddocks. Because of our temperate climate, adult dogs have daily exercise in male/female pairs outside in paddocks much of the year.
April is predominantly involved with litters, baby puppies, and all puppy/dog placements. We breed about three to four litters annually and cannot keep up with the demand for pups. Todd oversees all kennel activities; trims and trains the Airedales, and personally cares for pups in the puppy house.
We typically have three to six puppies in the puppy house and about 12-15 adult Airedales in the kennel. All adult Airedales are placed in pet homes at about five years of age. This means that the dogs housed in the kennel fall into four categories: active show dogs; dogs waiting to be shown; brood bitches; or stud dogs. We almost never have a dog older than seven in the kennel.
Who were/are some of your most significant dogs, both in the whelping box and in the showring?
Todd and April Clyde: We started our Longvue journey with the two remaining Airedales from April’s “Buckshot” breeding program. We quickly realized that we needed a new foundation and, after a few less-than-successful attempts, we acquired Eng. Ch. Saredon Wheels on Fire (Patsy) in 2006. She exited the plane from England in season and, as was planned, she was immediately bred to Ch. Evermay’s High Performance (Max). This breeding yielded 10 pups—two females and eight boys. From the beginning, one male was a standout, and he became Eng. & Am. Ch. Longvue Jackpot (Jax). Some of his significant wins (all owner-handled) included WD/BW at our National Specialty out of the 12-18 Month Class; multiple Group One wins in the US, and No. 1 Airedale in England in 2010 after being shown five months with Johnny Averis. We visited to see him shown at Crufts in 2011 where Johnny handled him to BOB and Todd finished up the day by handling him to a Group Two at Crufts. Meantime, Patsy finished her American championship and returned to Judy Averis in whelp, again by Max. She produced a large litter that contained a dog (Clyde) and a bitch (Bonnie), both of which went on to finish and produce well in England.
Since we didn’t personally produce a bitch from Patsy to continue the line, we acquired some of the first puppies that her son Jax sired. The two pups that we acquired were bred by Joan Clarke, Lee Steeves, and Ken Curran. One, co-owned with Joan and Bill Clarke, became GCHG Penaires Chip Leader at Longvue (Jaxson). Jaxson was No. 1 Airedale All Systems in 2012; No. 1 Airedale Dog All Systems 2013; National Specialty BOB winner 2013; Westminster BOB winner 2013; and a BIS winner. Jax’s litter sister Jessie (GCHS Penaire Cash Game at Longvue) became the No. 2 Airedale in 2014. She was a multiple RBIS winner; BOB winner at the AKC National Show in 2014; and a Group placer during the Montgomery County KC weekend.
Almost all of our top-winning Airedales trace back to Patsy via Jax, Jaxson or Jessie. For example, GCHS Longvue Up the Ante (Saylor) was a Jax son. He was owner-handled to a Top 5 ranking in 2018 and 2019, and he was a BIS winner and a multiple regional specialty winner. Lotus (GCH Longvue Limited Edition), daughter of Jaxson, was an owner-handled multiple Group One winner and producer of two Best in Show-winning sons. One of Lotus’ sons was GCHS Longvue Bonaire Daredevil withTailsUp who was No. 1 Airedale All-Systems in 2020; BOB at Westminster in 2020; and a BIS winner. The other top-winning Lotus son was GCHS Longvue Make My Day with TailsUp (Clint) who was owner-handled to No. 1 Airedale Breed System in 2021. Clint was also a BIS winner and a triple BOB winner and Group placer on the 2021 MCKC weekend.
It is amazing to trace the influence of Patsy on our breeding program and on the breeding program of other fanciers. There are show dogs in America, England, Europe, Canada, and Australia that trace back to Patsy! Through linebreeding, we hope to continue these fine lines.
Please comment positively on your breed’s present condition and what trends might bear watching.
Todd and April Clyde: Many nice Airedale Terriers are being shown in conformation and performance activities today. The strengths that we see in the breed ring include stable temperaments, good coats, good tail sets, and dogs of appropriate height. It is worth noting that Airedales are increasingly participating in performance activities, and multiple performance-titled Airedale Terriers are demonstrating the versatility of the breed.
In our opinion, priorities for the future should focus on front and rear angulation; length of loin; head planes/width; and body substance.
The sport has changed greatly since you first began as breeder-exhibitors. What are your thoughts on the state of the fancy and the declining number of breeders? How do we encourage newcomers to join us and remain in the sport?
Unfortunately, fewer Airedale Terriers are participating in conformation. We are now categorized as a “low entry” breed. One factor is the amount of coat work for a show Airedale. Most people want more instant gratification and a lot less coat work. We believe there are some things we can do to influence this trend. The first is to willingly mentor people who want to learn to trim and show Airedales. The second is for the sport to provide opportunities for newcomers to be successful. A return to local match shows would be very helpful. In addition, pros and “semi-pros” (very experienced owner-handlers) need to think about their level of participation in sweepstakes and NOHS events. These are venues where newcomers or minimally experienced exhibitors have the most opportunity for success. In our opinion, pros and semi-pros should leave the wins in these events on the table for newcomers. We believe that newcomer success in matches, sweepstakes, and NOHS plays a major part in their eventual longevity in the sport.
Where do you see your breeding program in the next decade or two?
Todd and April Clyde: This is a very interesting question! We have been wondering the same thing recently. Of course, we are not getting any younger, and trimming and showing Airedales requires a level of physical ability and stamina. We also struggle to balance our time commitments. We are very involved in breeding, judging, and club work. This affects the time we have available to competitively trim and show Airedales. It is unlikely that we will stop breeding or showing Airedales. The devil is in the details of balancing our time to meet our goals. Stay tuned!
Finally, tell us a little about Todd and April outside of dogs… your professions, your hobbies.
Todd and April Clyde: April is retired after a full career as a healthcare executive. We both love to do non-doggy things, including playing poker, traveling nationally and internationally, fishing, reading (April), gardening (Todd), and cheering on our Baltimore Ravens.
Purebred Airedale Terriers Breeders Todd and April Clyde – Longvue Airedale Terriers
Interview by Allan Reznik.