Terrier Tenacity – Montgomery County Kennel Club
As autumn temperatures cool across Eastern Pennsylvania’s small hamlets and fertile fields, the competition only heats up in the show rings as the 32 recognized breeds and varieties that comprise the AKC Terrier Group gather to draw new battle lines and settle old scores. “Montgomery” welcomes visitors and their dogs from across the US and around the world who’ve come together to cheer on their favorites among Breed entries that would be the envy of any show-giving club anywhere these days.
The entries of the Terrier breeds at many all-breed shows today are frequently half the total for breeds in the other Groups. However, one show weekend reliably proves to be the exception to the rule. Montgomery County Kennel Club and its companion shows, Hatboro Dog Club and Devon Dog Show Association, regularly see entries in Airedales and Australians, Norfolk and Norwich, Westies and Wire Fox in double (and triple) digits. These impressive totals result in exceptional competition that is not often seen today in the Breed ring, and they demonstrate the tenacity of the men and women who are dedicated to breeding, training, grooming, and presenting the most tenacious of purebred dogs—the Terriers.
The Breed entries at Montgomery are the real reason this one-day, limited breed show is so highly regarded among the sport’s old guard and new blood alike. With the majority of breeds holding their parent club’s National Specialty Show at this event, every ring features the best of the best in every breed, exhibited to perfection and cheered on by crowds that include AKC brass and breeders from as far away as Germany, Japan, and just about anywhere breeders remain serious about exhibiting their stock at the highest levels and in the stiffest of competition.
In many ways, the breeds of the Terrier Group provide an interesting case study on the state of purebred dogs and dog shows today. For the most part, entries in these breeds are generally less than they were 10 years ago (Montgomery’s 2013 entry was 1,962) and registrations among these breeds are typically less than they used to be. AKC’s 2023 Low Entry Breeds List includes 17 of 32 recognized Terrier Breeds, including the Airedale and Wire Fox which were once popular in America as housepets and show dogs. Yet, despite the lower entries and lowering registrations, breeders, exhibitors, handlers, and spectators who attend shows like Montgomery continue to demonstrate a strong desire to preserve—and persevere—no matter the current trends in entries, registrations, or breed popularity. Interest still remains strong among the many die-hards who wouldn’t miss this show for the world.