Interview with Philip Freilich, Terrier Group AKC Judge
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as an AKC Judge?
Philip Freilich: I live in Amity, Oregon, with my wife, Sharon Freilich. Amity is located 60 miles southwest of Portland in the Willamette Valley and the heart of the Oregon wine country. I have been involved with purebred dogs for 34 years. I have been approved to judge since 1999.
Do I have any hobbies or interests outside of purebred dogs?
Philip Freilich: I have been an avid fisherman whenever I have had the chance. I have a small flock of 25-30 full-blood Dorper sheep on our 60-acre farm in Amity. I raise lambs for breeding stock, which I sell to other breeders at shows/auctions or through private sales.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
Philip Freilich: My original breed is the Border Terrier. When we were actively breeding, all of our puppies were registered as Freilance Border Terriers.
Have I judged any Terrier Breed/Group Specialties?
Philip Freilich: I have judged several Terrier Group shows over the years on the West Coast and in the Midwest. These include regional Border Terrier Specialties, and in 2008, I judged the Border Terrier National Specialty at Montgomery County KC.
Do I have any thoughts on the status of so many Terriers as “low entry” breeds?
Philip Freilich: Not good! It makes it difficult for new judges to complete the Group. It also makes it hard for exhibitors to find majors except at Specialties or major show weekends.
What about the overall quality of Terriers at all-breed shows? Do low entries mean a low quality?
Philip Freilich: Low entry does not equate to low quality, it all depends on if you are judging a couple of Specials or if quality breeders are exhibiting their dogs. It is the lack of competition among the breeders that is missing. Entries are down, as many exhibitors today do not want to do all the hard prep work to get many Terrier breeds ring-ready.
Are there areas of the country where Terriers are particularly strong?
Philip Freilich: Any areas where they are in trouble? I think quality moves around the country from year to year. I have had assignments in various regions of the country, not expecting a quality Terrier entry, and have been pleasantly surprised.
Do Terriers provide a challenge for judges who come from breeds in the other Groups?
Philip Freilich: Obviously, some judges from other Groups will have a difficult time at first with Terriers. Some judges adapt and figure it out and some judges never figure it out. Some judges are naturals and seem to find the right dogs “straight from the gate.”
Have there been judges who have influenced my decision to judge? Influenced my manner of judging?
Philip Freilich: At any chance I had, I always wanted to ring steward or in-ring mentor with Anne Rogers Clark. She was a wealth of knowledge. On a personal basis, my very good friend, Kimberly Meredith, has given me many tips on how to improve my judging skills and how to manage my ring. Kim has always encouraged me to go forward and apply for more breeds. I am currently approved for the Working and Terrier Groups, plus a few Herding breeds.
If I could share my life with only one Terrier breed, which breed would it be and why?
Philip Freilich: Border Terriers; a great family pet, great temperament, and loving companions.
Do I have a “Montgomery Memory” that best summarizes my feelings about Terriers in general?
Philip Freilich: My most thrilling “Montgomery Memory” was the year Ric Chashoudian judged Irish Terriers at Montgomery. This was in the early 2000s. After making his final cut, Ric started sparring 2-3 dogs in the center of the ring by calling different dogs in and out of the center of the ring one at a time. It was a hair-raising, exhilarating moment and memory. Ric was so relaxed but in total control. To this day, I have never seen another Terrier judge do such a masterful job of sparring Terriers. I was in awe!
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Terrier Group?
Philip Freilich: I believe it was my second or third Terrier Group assignment at the All-Terrier Group Show of Washington at Puyallup, Washington. I forgot to pull my Group One dog, as he was on a side of the ring all by himself. I had to call this dog back into the ring after making my initial cut, and I was more than embarrassed.