Montgomery Best in Show Judge Through History

Montgomery Best in Show Judge

Montgomery Best in Show Judge Through History

JAMES G. REYNOLDS

1978 & 1996 MONTGOMERY BEST IN SHOW JUDGE

The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely considered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem?

Montgomery County grew out of the heydays of the Terrier world and was greatly benefitted by having the patronage of many of the wealthiest in the East Coast of the US as well as many of the most dedicated of the breeder-exhibitors. It is this combination of benefits that provided the basis of the show, and then there was the dedicated group who protected and advanced it over the years. In my time, it was the Marvins, Dr. Deubler, the Wears, Walter Goodman, Mrs. Wimer, and many others with the support of the Terrier handlers, breeders, owners, etc., who helped it grow, as many of the national specialties gravitated to the shows on the Frazier estate, then Temple University, and on to the show grounds of today. It became a cult of the Terrier people, and as word spread, people throughout North America (and later, internationally) came to see this show as the Mecca for Terrier people; acknowledged as the place to see the very best. It began as a Group show, but the addition of so many national specialties made it “THE GROUP SHOW.”

What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment?

It is a great honor to be invited to do Best in Show, something I did in both 1978 and 1996. I think, as a Terrier person, it is particularly gratifying, and if you think about it, a little terrifying to know that you are being observed, and in some ways, judged by the best Terrier people in the world. Interestingly enough, I felt much the same when I did BIS at Westminster. But once you are actually in the ring, the only thing you focus on is the dogs and what you think best meets the standard. This is why the crowds, etc., are extraneous.

The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgomery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties?

I always consider the invitation to judge a national specialty the greatest vote of confidence from the breeders, and over the years, I have judged over 70 national breed specialties in the US, including six Terrier nationals at Montgomery as well as some in other locations in the US.

Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group?

Interestingly enough, my winner in 1978 was Copper Boots Wee Blaste, and in 1996, it was Anasazi Billy The Kid, both of whom are Welsh Terriers. I always feel that it is unwise to use hindsight in critiquing dogs, as I have heard too many critiques today—and found many discrepancies—of animals in the past that I was privileged to judge. I will, however, say that in 1978, my choice was between the Scottie, Democrat, and the Welsh bitch. And as a Scottie breeder, I found it difficult.

Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show?

I am not certain if these memories are iconic, but they certainly stayed with me. In 1978, I wasn’t allowed to go to the show until late afternoon. It was a bitterly cold day and people had been buying thermal blankets. When I got there, one of the sweeps judges was two hours late. When I got to go into the ring around 6 p.m., it was dark and cold, and for my moment in the spotlight, the show chair said, “For God’s sake, be quick or we will have to bring cars with headlights.” It was so cold that I could barely use the pen.

In 1996, I was allowed to go to the show, and midway through the day, a young lady from Canada (Jody Garcini) came up to me and said that it must be so exciting to do Best in Show. I told her that it was and that I had done it before in 1978. Her response, “Oh, Mr. Reynolds, I wasn’t even born then.”

HON. DAVID C. MERRIAM

1982 & 1999 MONTGOMERY BEST IN SHOW JUDGE

The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely considered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem?

The strength of Montgomery has been in the quality of its leaders (especially Dr. Jo Deubler who was show chair for so many years), the decision of so many parent clubs to hold their national specialties at MCKC (choosing their own judges), and the realization of the Terrier breeders and owners that this is the showcase show of the year.

What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment?

Of course, it is an honor to be invited to judge BIS at Montgomery and to enjoy the privilege to judge a ring full of splendid Terriers. I never felt any special pressure other than the usual obligation to do your very best.

The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgomery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties?

Over the years, I’ve probably judged eight or ten breed specialties there. I also won at least one Bull Terrier specialty.

Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group?

I judged BIS at Montgomery in 1982 and in 1999. In 1982, I awarded BIS to Jamboree Jubilea, a Lakeland Terrier, owned and handled by Eddie Boyes. In 1999, the BIS winner was Ch. The Duke of Copperplate, a Norfolk Terrier. He was owned by Jim and Marjorie McTernan and Michael Labrie, and handled by Larry Cornelius. Too many years have passed to allow me to give an accurate critique of the winners now. In the photo above, Dr. Jo Deubler and Mr. Walter Goodman are presenting.

Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show?

The memories I have of Montgomery are the great anticipation of the show, helping to set up on Saturday as a club member, the excitement of arriving in the dark at the showgrounds early on Sunday morning, and then the pure luxury of moving from ring to ring to see the best Terriers in the country in top competition.

ANNE KATONA

2002 MONTGOMERY BEST IN SHOW JUDGE

The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely considered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem?

Duunnn, duunnn… (Think “JAWS” music.) Goose bumps, nerves, can’t stand still, sensory overload, can’t wait to search for “That OUTFIT!” and many, many more exciting thoughts, trials, and tribulations take over for the Terrier breeder, owner and/or handler as October approaches. Watch out. October is here before one can blink!

Most TERRIER people know about MONTGOMERY. If one has not been, it is Westminster KC, AKC Orlando, Crufts, Santa Barbara (the old SBKC), all rolled together into one day—one show—of only TERRIERS! Many well-respected Terrier breeders “hold back” a Bred-By Exhibitor pup to be shown on that one day for the world of Terrier breeders to see. They choose to experience the awesomeness of knowing that that pup will compete against only the best of the best of that breed on one day of the year—MONTGOMERY DAY in Pennsylvania, USA!

ALL Terrier Breeders worship this day in October. It is an international “holiday” for us, considering the Terrier aficionados who attend from around the world!

A word to those prospective non-Terrier judges: This is where the cream of the crop is being shown! This is probably where the next BIG-winning Terrier will be seen. Remember the Kerry Blue Terrier, “Mick,” with Bill Mcfadden? Mick finished his AKC championship at the Morris & Essex show, took a Terrier Group 1, and then, BIS that day! Wow, is that a way to finish? The rest of his story is history!

Mick is not the only Terrier to accomplish such greatness. There have been others over the years. I only mention Mick because I was lucky enough to be judging the breed that day. It was a thrill to point to him for Best of Breed from the classes, then watch him continue the day to BIS!

What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment?

Sunday, October 6, 2002, is forever engraved in my memory! It was my turn to judge Montgomery County Kennel Club’s Best in Show.

For me, the pressure was studying the breed standards. (I wanted to know those standards so completely that I could quote the standard if necessary!) Don’t be fooled, judges DO read the standards, usually the night before, for the breeds they will be judging. In this case, it just happens to be one representative of each breed in the Group!

Integrity: I believe the committee that appoints the person to judge BIS at MCKC has total faith that the judge selected will have the integrity to “judge the dogs according to their breed standard” and nothing else.

Being a Terrier Person: Being asked to judge Best in Show at Montgomery County Kennel Club has been the highlight of my judging career. Thank you, Dr. Josephine Deubler, Walter Goodman, James McTernan, and all the Montgomery members.

The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgomery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties?

I have had the opportunity to judge some very nice National Specialties at MCKC.

I judged the first National Specialty for the Glen of Imaal held at MCKC. I have enjoyed judging the Cesky Terrier, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, the Scottish Terrier, and the Kerry Blue Terrier (the second time at MCKC in October 2021). One of my most challenging assignments at MCKC was the year I judged Junior Showmanship. The young handlers take handling a Terrier correctly for their breed seriously!

Yes, Tyrella Kerry Blue Terriers have won at MCKC and at regional specialties and all-breed BIS around the country. I am forever grateful that the Kerry Blue Terrier was my original breed. I had to learn to groom to hide faults, but I also had to know what the fault was in order to correct it by grooming. So, I learned structure first. I do, however, come from a horse background. Oftentimes, when I watch a dog gait, my thought might be, “I am glad I do not have to ride that one or my side would ache!” Or, I think, “That one’s a good walker or has great foot timing.” All these things count when observing breeding stock. Go to a horse show and watch the rider: Does she/he bounce? Why or why not?

Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group?

My Best in Show winner was the Airedale Terrier, Ch. Tartan Scottshire Ultra Glide. Breeders: Carol Scott & E. Forbes Gordon & J. W. Clark. Owners: I. V. Buunavro & E. F. Gordon & C Scott. Breed Judge: Charles J. Foley. Shown by Sharon Boyd (well-known Soft Coated Wheaten breeder/handler).

This Airedale was an outstanding example of the breed standard. He was sturdy, well-muscled, well-boned, and equal in proportion (balanced). He was full of Terrier expression, with keenness and intelligence. His headpiece was long, not too broad (nor too narrow). His body was short, with loin muscular and of good width, and short. His topline level, his chest deep to elbow and well sprung. His tail was well set up, on thick hindquarters when looking from behind or from the side. He had great legs and feet, and moved with power and confidence in addition to having tremendous showmanship. His coat was dense, hard, and wiry, straight and close. On that day, he was King of the Terriers!

Second Place was the Welsh Terrier, Ch. Bruhil’s Sea-Aire Carsey. (Breeder: Betsy & Leigh Dale & Valerie Padgett; Owner: Bruce Schwartz; Handler: Wood Wornall; Breed Judge: Richard William Powell.) This Welsh bitch was in beautiful condition. Her rectangular head had a confident and alert expression. Her muzzle was strong and powerful, her nose, black. She had a slight arch of neck, a level topline, chest and ribcage were well-ribbed with moderate width, and a strong, short loin. She was a good walker, down and back, and extremely sound (good reach and drive) on the go-around. Her awesome, close-fitting jacket was hard-wiry-dense.

Third place was the Miniature Schnauzer, Ch. Regency’s Twist Of Fate. (Breeders: Beverly J. Verna & Gwen Mulheron; Owners: Beverly J. Verne & David and Kim Potts; Handler/Breeder/Owner: Beverly J. Verna; Breed Judge: Maxine V. Beam.) He was of perfect size and silhouette with an outstanding head and expression. He “went places” when he moved, with perfect foot timing.

This lady handler reminded me of the Terrier handlers of days gone by—the ones who could truly put down a Terrier; condition and show it to its very best advantage and yet never be seen—a flashback to the Master Handlers of Terriers!

Fourth place was the Norwich Terrier, (English Import) Ch. Cracknor Cause Celebre. (Breeder: Miss M. H. E. Matell; Owner: Mr. & Mrs. J. Beale & Miss M. H. E. Matell; Handler: Peter J. Green; Breed Judge: Kenneth McDermott.) This bitch had beautiful breed type, proper bone, and a beautiful head and expression. She was a great mover and held a solid topline. She completed her AKC championship that weekend.

There is also a Terrier Brace Group at MCKC, and it is amazing that exhibitors can get TWO Terriers in a brace. I give them credit for patience!

First Place: Smooth Fox Terrier Brace, Ch. Tunnel Hill Just the Ticket/Ch. Tunnel Hill Tickety Boo. (Owners: Lynn E. Reams DMD & Robert Shelburne & Craig Snethen.)

Second Place: Skye Terrier Brace, Ch. Cragsmoor Good As Can Be/Ch. Of Skyline Amulette. (Owners: Eugene Zaphiris & Mathew Stander.)

Third Place: West Highland White Terrier Brace, Ch. Camcrest-Rime Q’d Up For Trouble NA NAJ TD/Ch. Camcrest Andsurly Trouble NA NAJ TD. (Owners: William Sanders and Sandy Campbell.)

Fourth Place: Irish Terrier Brace, Corkadoon’s Pride and Joy/Ch. Corkadoon’s Sweet Memories. (Owners: David and Glenda Carscadden.)

Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show?

This relates to the handler of the Airedale: The next day, I was thinking back on the wonderful time I had judging Best in Show. Then it hit my brain waves that when this Airedale was going down and back, then around the ring, I NEVER noticed the handler. The dog was always seen at the end of the lead, under control at all times. This lady handler reminded me of the Terrier handlers of days gone by—the ones who could truly put down a Terrier; condition and show it to its very best advantage and yet never be seen—a flashback to the Master Handlers of Terriers! She was breathtaking because she was almost invisible.

I do have one great memory of when I was judging the Kerry Blues one year at MCKC, and the weather gods were not really good to us humans. (The dogs could have cared less that it was raining—not raining, but RAINING!) The rain had puddled just in front of me (the judge) when Michael Kemp was showing a young dog in the Best of Breed class. As Mr. Kemp was returning from the down and back, he lost his footing and slid into “home plate” on his rear end as the dog stood in a perfect free-stack, looking at him like his handler was crazy! So, I yelled out as loud as possible, “SAFE!” This was the year that I’d purchased a very nice dress for the day (we all do), only the dress was dry clean only and not washable! Why did that matter? Well, as the dress got wetter and wetter, the long sleeves shrunk. By the time judging was over, my long sleeves were near my elbows! Yeah, I threw that dress in the trash. (But it is a funny memory!)

BIO

Anne Katona is currently approved to judge five of the seven AKC-recognized Groups, along with eight Working breeds and three Herding breeds. Her judging career has taken her to wonderful foreign assignments, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland, Thailand, China, Korea, Brazil, Taiwan, Colombia, Denmark, Norway, Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, and recently, Holland. She has written many articles for numerous dog magazines here in the United States and overseas.

In 2002, Anne had the privilege of judging Best in Show at Montgomery County Kennel Club—the largest All-Terrier show in the world. She It has also been a thrill for her to have judged at Westminster Kennel Club in New York City several times. From 2005 thru 2010, she was employed by the American Kennel Club as a West Coast Executive Field Representative. Anne is a Kerry Blue Terrier enthusiast whose dogs have won multiple Bests in Show and Specialty awards throughout the United States and Canada. Though the Kerry Blue will always be her “heart dog,” she stopped breeding dogs once she was approved to judge the Terrier Group. At present, Anne and her husband, Jack, are owned by a Maine Coon Cat named Stiller (after the Pittsburgh Steelers).

I appreciate being asking to participate in the SHOWSIGHT 2021 MCKC Judges Interview, The ‘Best’ of Montgomery.

MICHAEL J. DOUGHERTY

2007 MONTGOMERY BEST IN SHOW JUDGE

The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely considered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem?

It is without question the most important Terrier show in the world, and quite frankly, one of the most significant dog shows—all breed or otherwise—worldwide. It has been so for many, many decades. The events are always impeccably laid out and managed; beautiful sites, great dogs from the classes on up, and well thought out judging panels.

What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment?

It is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Focus and enjoy it… nothing matters but the 28 [in 2007] entries in front of you. Presented with an embarrassment of riches in dog flesh, the task will be a joy, memorable on every level!

The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgomery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties?

I had the honor, in 2015, of judging the National Specialty for my family’s original breed—Miniature Schnauzers. I have also judged the Parson Russell National Specialty (2011) at Montgomery, as well as a number of supported entries and Junior Showmanship (2004).

Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group?

My BIS lineup in 2007 was stellar from top to bottom—all 28 breeds/varieties. The breed judges before me all did a fantastic job in sorting through their assignments. As I recall, I made a cut of about 11, maybe 12, from which I chose my four. I couldn’t have been more pleased with my finalists… winner through fourth.

Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show?

Mostly, other than last year, the show will go on… rain, frigid temperatures, winds or high heat, the show will carry on with aplomb. The officers, members, staff, and exhibitors wouldn’t have it any other way. (It is Montgomery, after all.)

KEITH L. LOVELL

2011 MONTGOMERY BEST IN SHOW JUDGE

The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely considered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem?

I am not sure when I first became aware of Montgomery County Kennel Club and the great prestige that it held among Terrier lovers. However, when in 1978 I was awarded an International Teaching Fellowship to spend a year with Montgomery County Schools, I was elated. It was not until a short time after I’d arrived in the US that I learned that while Montgomery County, Maryland, was close, I was not where I thought.

Probably, visits to my home in Melbourne (Australia) by Peter and Gaynor Green and Ric Chashoudian helped, as we talked so very much. I know Peter spoke so fondly of Dr. Deubler.

During 1979 in the US, together with my wife, Trish, I was able to borrow an Airedale. I groomed and handled her to third placings in both the sweepstakes and classes at Montgomery. A fair placement, we thought. It took but a few moments at the show to realize how significant this even was. The quality of the dogs, the presentation, and the handling was more than a joy to behold. The mix of enthusiasts from too many countries to mention and the welcome given by MCKC and its volunteers through the International Visitor Hospitality Marquee was heart-warming and breathtaking, and just plain wonderful. The Airedale Terrier Club of America was equally welcoming. Having been to Montgomery gave me an “international family,” and wherever I judged after that year, we Terrier Folk had a common language; a common experience.

I must emphasize too that most of my comments above are the fringe benefits. The real deal was the quality of dogs and the depth of that quality. Large numbers of Terriers (and in this case, amazingly good Terriers), is a rarity anywhere in the world. At MCKC, it is a given. From a Terrier breeder’s, exhibitor’s, and judge’s point of view, the mentoring and learning available, and generally, so willingly given, has been of lifelong value. People like Wood Wornall, Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine, Charles Foley, Bruce Swartz, David Merriam, Anne Katona, and so many others will know that they have influenced me out of their love for Terriers and through their personal generosity. I have considerable regard for two members of the Event Committee, Marcy Zingler and Dr. Suzanne Hampton, to whom I owe so much in my relationship with Montgomery County Kennel Club. You will always find them in Hospitality or Breeder Education, and announcing at the show. I urge readers of my notes to look them up.

What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment?

The real pressure was, and continues to be, keeping my ego under control and not bursting my swollen head. Just imagine the Dog World Celebrities I’ve joined as a Best in Show Judge at Montgomery: Only two other Australians, the late David Roche and late Peter Luyten, place me in mind-blowing company here in Australia; many great American Terrier men and women (some of whom I have already mentioned above); and some amazing dog world identities, like the late Hans Lehtinen, Ferelith Somerfield, Kari Jarvinen, and Harry O’Donoghue.

There was some pressure in choosing the right tie for so prestigious an occasion, and my delightful daughter, who had attended two previous Montgomerys with me (1979 as a five-year-old and 1986 at age 12) gifted me one for the occasion.

Your question refers to “heading a panel.” In truth, I have always believed that the important and most challenging judging is done at the BREED level. While there may be exceptions, there can be no exception at Montgomery where the breeds are strong and the quality is deep. In most cases, too, the judges are chosen by the breed clubs who will wisely choose only the best. A good example in my own breed, Airedales, is Rhonda Davis, judging 98 Airedales.
Some others include Beth Sweigart (110 Norwich), Geoff Corish (23 Sealyhams), Bob Black (33 Lakelands), Peter Green (37 Wire Fox Terriers), Lydia Hutchinson (77 Australian Terriers), Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine (139 Westies), and so many more clearly make my point. The exhibits sent through by the Specialty Judges made my job more joy than pressure.

The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgomery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties?

I have a record in Australia of breeding and handling many successes at Airedale Specialties. While Australia’s numbers in recent years have been quite disappointing, our 1976 Club Specialty (The Airedale Terrier Club of Victoria) enjoyed an entry of 176. The judge was English breeder Arthur Lodge, who once sent CH Optimist of Mynair to the US after he’d won Crufts. Our homebred Champion Tjuringa Hurrah won Best in Show. An interesting aside that relates to Montgomery is that her father, CH Bengal Valley Forge, gained his name as he was due to come to Barbara Streibeigh and Adele Abbe at Birch Run. He was considered by the breeder to be too big for the US. The “big” thing was the very big mistake; as he was magnificent.

At Montgomery, I judged the Airedale Club of America Specialty in 1986. Up until that time and possibly even now, I regard that as my most important and privileged appointment. The entry was about 140 and I judged some wonderful Airedales. To this day, CH Finlair Isis holds the top spot among Airedale bitches, and as I recall, her close rival that day was Tartan’s Oil Patch Star—about a “toenail” behind her.

Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group?

GCH Efbe’s Goodspice Easy Money captured my attention right from the start. Sometimes this is the edge that a dog needs to win in magnificent company. When she moved, it was obvious to me that I was enjoying seeing a real champion. Not only did she display all of the hallmarks of the breed (alert, powerful, “extraordinary substance,” and agile), she showed them with an abundance of quality. If critiquing her point-by-point in the standard, I would state no weaknesses. It would be more about the demonstrations of all that quality. Topping her off was the amazing grooming, accentuating her quality.

GCH Steele Your Heart, Wire Fox Terrier; GCH Perrisblu Kennislain’s Chelsey, Kerry Blue Terrier; and GCH. Brisline’s Goforit Energizer Bunny, Airedale Terrier: On any other day or with any other judge, these exhibits may have been placed differently as, indeed, a number of others behind them would have also made deserving winners. After ensuring the balance, type, and soundness, as well as the important detail of the standards, and after deciding what may be forgiven (the latter not relevant in these four, in my opinion), I tend to reward the display: Attitude, Eagerness, Sparkle, and probably, Arrogance in a Terrier.

I enjoy looking at pictures of these dogs, even today, 10 years later. In my own breed, I have been delighted to see the impact made by the Brisline Airedale as a brood bitch. She has influence in both the UK and Australia, and probably elsewhere.

Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show?

In 1986, when I was to judge the Airedales, it was pretty clear to me that I was expected to miss the many events that a visitor might normally expect to enjoy. My wife, Trish, got to go to the Hatboro Shows. A wonderful Airedale man and friend, the late Ben McCarthy, took our daughters, Belinda and Louise, into Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and every other thing he deemed important, and on the Devon day, he drove us all on a tour of the local Amish areas. Wonderful!

However, the following memory may best exemplify Montgomery. As we entered the hotel, we noted an elderly lady alone in the lobby. We waved hello and, from her response, assumed that she was British. After settling in the room, and upon tripping down to the lobby, I noticed that she was still there. After introductions and ascertaining that she was tired and would love a cup of tea while she waited for whomever it was that she was sharing a room with, Trish made (and we all enjoyed) not just the tea, but also the company. As it turned out, we were going on to the UK after Montgomery, as we were travelling around the world. She invited us to visit, which we did. After accepting her advice (read: instruction) that her Airedale was an outstanding specimen and we should say nothing other than just that, we settled in. Millie Tarplee asked my daughters what they would like for dinner, and roast lamb it was. The next night, fish and chips and mushy peas purchased by Walter who took me along for the ride. A lifelong relationship was born. I can actually think of several others where the story is similar, but where my Irish friends are concerned, Bush Mills Whisky replaced the tea.

I am sure that all breed clubs do the week in similar ways. My experience has been mostly with Airedale and Welsh Terrier Clubs. The week is the memory and the memory is the week. It includes visiting Peddler’s Village during the Hatboro shows, and if it is a good year, Morris and Essex too. By visiting all four or five shows, one is able to get to see most Terrier breeds and put the whole day of Montgomery County into your own breed. During the week, the Airedale Club events center on “The Host Hotel” where friendships are made and rekindled. One also gets a chance to get up close and personal with some dogs that have only been names on pedigrees and pictures in adverts. Then there’s the organized events such as the breed sweepstakes, barn hunts, obedience and agility, the annual meeting, board meeting, breed seminar, and the continuous hospitality suite. One very special night is set-aside for the dinner and auction. That night is amazing and certainly must not be missed. The items auctioned are often quite remarkable.

In my own breed, I have been delighted to see the impact made by the Brisline Airedale as a brood bitch. She has influence in both the UK and Australia, and probably elsewhere.

After the Devon Show, the home of Adele Abbe, Birchrun, all of my visits have included an open house luncheon. So generous! That home in itself is an Airedale Museum. The morning after Montgomery is often a special breakfast, lots of hugs and goodbyes. For some of us living so far away, those goodbyes may well be the last. In my case, friends may leave for Ireland, UK, Sweden, Finland (indeed everywhere). Montgomery opens doors to lifelong friendships.

BIO

Keith was, at first, an Airedale Terrier Specialist, and although he now judges over 100 breeds, he remains a Terrier Man. His judging experience foundations include breeding Champion Airedales, Irish, Welsh, and Smooth Fox Terriers. Keith has always groomed and handled his own dogs (supported by his wife, Patricia). He has also owned and handled Rottweilers.

Montgomery Best in Show Judge

In over 50 years, the Lovell’s Tjuringa Kennel has made well over 100 Champions in the Terrier breeds mentioned. These include Australian, New Zealand, American, Swedish, and International champions. They have imported dogs or semen from the US, New Zealand, Estonia, Sweden, UK, and Romania. Keith has a very international understanding of Terriers, and in Australia, ranks among the more notable Terrier identities.

Keith has judged many times in the US. His more significant appointments have been the Hawaiian Kennel Club centenary year Best in Show; and several times each at the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills, Hatboro, and Great Western Terrier. He has judged other Bests in Show, including Catonsville and Springfield. One of the more special events for Keith was in Sweden where he judged Kerry Blue, Australian, and Bedlington Terriers at The WORLD TERRIER SHOW. It is also worth mentioning the countries where Keith has judged (in most cases more than a few times): Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, England, Ireland, US, South Africa,
and Argentina.

As an exhibitor, Keith states that his best excitement came when his homebred, presented, and handled CH Tjuringa Firecracker (BANG) became the first Airedale ever in Australia to win Best in Show at any State Capital City Royal Show.

Keith regards much of his motivation to have come from the Terrier People around him. Some whom most American Terrier folk may know of include Peter Green, Wood Wornall, Marjorie Hanson, Margaret Young, Bruce Schwartz, Dan Erickson (Sweden), Hans Lehtinen (Finland), Carl and Ingrid Borchorst (Denmark), Andras Kovacs (Hungary), Zsolt Lokadi (Romania), and Pia Lundberg (Sweden). There are others, of course, in Australia and elsewhere, but here Keith was thinking of names that the American readers of SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE may be familiar with.

Montgomery Best in Show Judge

DAVID J. KIRKLAND

2019 MONTGOMERY BEST IN SHOW JUDGE

The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely considered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem?

I started in the dog fancy with Miniature Schnauzers and attended Montgomery County weekend yearly as an exhibitor. It was the most anticipated weekend in my dog show calendar. Montgomery itself is so rich in tradition, and I have so many fond memories of past shows. It’s the greatest Terrier show on earth; a must for any serious competitor or aspiring judge, and a place to see sizeable Terrier entries of the highest quality. In addition, it is a gathering of the “Terrier Clan” and the mecca for all like-minded enthusiasts from across the country and around the world.

What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment?

I was shocked and speechless when I received the invitation. I never imagined I would ever judge Best in Show at Montgomery. I thought of all the prior Best in Show judges, and I am humbled to be counted among them. It will always be a top highlight in my judging career and truly a dream come true. With regards to pressure, one does feel it a little more when asked to judge a high-profile dog show; however, it always dissipates the moment you enter the ring and get to the job in hand.

The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgomery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties?

Yes, to both. I have had the pleasure of judging on several occasions at Montgomery; Parson Russell Terriers, Russell Terriers, Cesky Terriers, and Bedlington Terriers are breeds that immediately come to mind. I also judged the Owner-Handled Terrier Group (the only year in which Montgomery offered it). My Schnauzers won major awards several times over Montgomery weekend, including Hatboro and Devon and, back in my day, also the Del Val MSC Specialty held on the Thursday evening before Hatboro.

Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group?

The weather was overcast and wet on the day I did BIS. The drizzling stopped as the Terrier Group began, and it held off until near the end. It was certainly a beautiful picture, seeing every Terrier breed represented in the large ring. To honor their exciting breed win, I felt it important to showcase them individually by either sparring or letting them stand on their own. I believe the exhibitors appreciated their time in the limelight, for certainly a Breed win at Montgomery is always a special memory. After making a large cut, I was pleased to award BIS to the beautiful Welsh Terrier, second to an outstanding Soft Coated Wheaten, third to a worthy Am Staff, and fourth to a typey Miniature Schnauzer.

Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show?

I mentioned earlier that Montgomery is a gathering of the Terrier fancy from far and wide. Each year, between the NY Mini Schnauzer Specialty at Westbury and the end of Montgomery County weekend, some of my non-local Schnauzer friends would stay at my home. I will always fondly remember the camaraderie, laughter, late-night dog talks, and the many wins we all shared with our special canine companions. 

BIO

Montgomery Best in Show JudgeDavid J. Kirkland of Sanford, North Carolina, attended his first dog show in 1973. Starting in Obedience, Mr. Kirkland thereafter acquired his first show dog, a Miniature Schnauzer. He bred, owned, and handled dozens to their championship titles, including Group and National Specialty winners. Since 1995, Mr. Kirkland has bred and owned Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He has also owned and bred champions in Japanese Chin, and most recently, Tibetan Spaniels. Mr. Kirkland became an AKC judge in 1995 and currently judges BIS, Junior Showmanship, the Working Group Schnauzers, some Hound breeds, and the Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding Groups. He is proud to have judged National Specialties in each of his four approved Groups, and has judged the AKC National Championship and Westminster Kennel Club shows multiple times, including the WKC Toy Group in 2018. Retired after 27 years with GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, he shares his life with his partner, Stephen, and spends his time judging dog shows, gardening, and working in the Music Ministry at his church.

  • The Montgomery Kennel Club was formed in 1956 and is a non-profit organized kennel club sanctioned by the American Kennel Club following the rules and regulations of the AKC.

  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

The Terrier Judges

Montgomery Best in Show Judge Through History | The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog ...

Norfolk Terriers Over The Years

Norfolk Terriers are curious, intelligent, problem solvers. Unlike some terrier breeds, if given good ...

The Breeders Of Montgomery Best In Show Winners

The Breeders Of Montgomery Best In Show Winners

The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show, held during the autumn season in Southeastern ...

Judging The Cesky Terrier

  Everyone judging Terriers has a breed standard to which he or she can ...

Judging the Skye terrier

From the February 2019 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe.  Photo’s courtesy of The ...