- Where do you live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
- Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs?
- Can you talk about your introduction to Terriers?
- What makes a Terrier a Terrier?
- Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand?
- How important is presentation in the Terrier ring? Conditioning? Expression?
- What are your thoughts re: bites (scissors vs. level) among the Terrier breeds.
- How important is (a natural) ear carriage in the Terrier breeds?
- How do you evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds?
- Can you offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring?
- Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds?
- Have you attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? If so, how have these events informed your judging?
- Would you advocate dividing the Terrier Group? If so, what recommendations would you make?
- Can you name one or two of your all-time favorite Terriers? What makes these dogs so memorable?
- What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions?
- Is there a funny story you’d like to share about your experiences judging Terriers?
I moved to Sarasota, Florida, 48 years ago.
That began my love for Terriers. Our first job was to find a Wire Fox Terrier. After consulting with breeders, we got our first, a boy named “Doc.” When Doc was six months old, we took him to an Earthdog trial where he became a Ch. Earthdog (CG). I met the judge who was a Welsh Terrier breeder. When I went home, I told my husband we are getting a Welsh. He replied, “We are already getting a female Wire Fox!” I said, “Well, we will have three to begin our breeding and showing.” This we did for 40 years.
We had top-winning honors; BIS, Top in Breed, you name it, and we had too many to list any names. Here are some tips on showing and judging:
- Learn your breed standards over and over.
- Low entry breeds are a must to learn.
- If sparring in breed, remember it is to see expressions, and not to become a fight.
- There are not many perfect dogs, so when going over the dogs you will have to decide which faults you will excuse to find your winner.Okay, you’d like to know how you can live with a Terrier?
- First of all, have fun; do earthdog, barn hunt, obedience, agility, trick dogs, scent dogs, etc.
- Begin with one or two (opposite sexes).
- They are loving and spirited.
- On the tiptoe of expectation.
Now, you wouldn’t have anything else.
I have been an AKC judge for 32 years now. And I LOVE IT!
When asked if I have any other interests or hobbies, my answer is: “No, dogs are my life.”
I live in the Austin, Texas, area. I’ve been in dogs 40 years; judging since 2000.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I am a big fan of Baylor sports and the Houston Astros. I am also a fan of horse racing. I would say I’m a news hound and follow
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? I can say the one good thing my stepmother brought into my life was her Welsh Terrier. He was my first Terrier, followed by a Wire in high school. I got my first Airedale when I was in graduate school at Baylor.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? Its prey drive, attitude, coat.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? Most all of them! Type is lost on many judges from outside the Terrier group. The importance of outline, head, ears, and expression is often overlooked by people who did not grow up in Terriers. The importance of attitude and presentation (grooming and trimming) is not paid close enough attention. And too much emphasis—to the exclusion of breed type—is placed on movement. Movement is certainly important but, at least in the long-legged Terriers, does not help to define breed type, in my opinion; unlike, say, a Scottie whose unique construction creates his distinct movement. Min Pins and Pekes are other examples where movement is unique to the breed and helps define type.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Paramount! Head, ears, and expression help make the dog and define type. Conditioning and trim are very important.
How important is (a natural) ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Very important, unless the standard calls for cropped ears OR the breed is traditionally cropped.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? I find undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds very offensive. I think the Miniature Schnauzer standard says it best in regards to this subject (in the context of this question): “A properly presented Miniature Schnauzer will have a docked tail as described; all others should be severely penalized.”
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Don’t be afraid to spar breeds that should be sparred. Take out only two at a time to look at one another, and tell the handlers to keep three feet or so apart.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? It is hard to get perspective on breed type in low entry breeds because you so seldom have dogs to compare and contrast.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? I compete in Barn Hunt with several of my Airedales. It is nice to see dogs with instincts intact!
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? I loved the Kerry Blue, Mick, and the lovely Airedale bitch, Splenda.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? They aren’t for everyone. Careful screening of prospective buyers is a must.
I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I bought my first show dog in 1974, so 46 years in dogs. Oh my, how can that be? I applied for my judging license in 1996.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Yes, my family, sports (Packer football, to be specific), gardening.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? While showing my OES, I became friends with a gal who had Welsh Terriers. That was my first intro into Terriers. In 1977, I began an apprenticeship with George Ward. I became a convert, a Terrier snob.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? So many things (and too many to get into here), but two things are attitude and coat presentation. We are a clique unto ourselves, a very specialized group, for sure. Maybe that is the Terrier snob in me talking.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? Probably. Living with any breed gives you a much better understanding of breed-specific characteristics. Seeing any breed do its job also helps develop one’s understanding of the differences in certain breeds, along with the terrain they
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Extremely, both are a big part of the Terriers’ type.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? Bite is important as it is functional for their jobs. Scissors is the ideal, but many standards accept level.
How important is a natural ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Do you mean natural as opposed to cropped? Don’t think it has any influence.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? While I prefer a docked tail, I don’t think an undocked tail is a deal breaker as it doesn’t affect what happens in the whelping box. Tail set and tail carriage are two separate, but related, issues. I check the set first. As Annie Clark said, “There are functional faults and aesthetic faults.”
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Yes, please check out the presentation the Terrier Club of Michigan did on sparring. It is available on YouTube as well as through the TCM: “The Art of Sparring Terriers.”
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? Not really.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? Yes, we used to host earthdog tests on our property. I think it is extremely important to see a dog doing its original job. I’ve attended herding trials and field trials as well. We’ve done some barn hunt training with our Bull Terriers, but didn’t pursue it further. We often saw our Cairns at work with a couple cats we had, catching mice in
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No. With so many shows, the Terrier entry is often pretty small, so I see no reason to divide it.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some truly great ones. The Sealyham, Ch. Roderick of Jenmist, the Kerry, Mick, and the Colored Bull, Rufus, are three that I had no relationship with that jump to my mind immediately. What makes these dogs so memorable? I really feel they were as close to the perfect example of their standards as possible.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? They make wonderful family dogs; minimal shedding with many of the breeds, smart, clever, entertaining, and good with children as long as the children are good with them. How to promote them is a tough one. I think education through the televised shows can help. At this point, we need to start promoting purebred dogs, period. I think we are losing that fight with the AR, Poodle mixes, and for-profit rescue groups.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? I’m sure there are many, but nothing is coming to my mind at the moment.
I live near a small town in Northwestern Georgia called Ball Ground. I started in purebred dogs in 1968 and have been active in showing and breeding since about 1978. I began judging in 2006, so have been judging for about 14 years.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I collect both vintage and contemporary dishes, mostly Fiesta and other USA ware made by Homer Laughlin China Company (now Fiesta Tableware Company).
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? My first Terrier was a young Smooth Fox Terrier bitch I fell in love with back around 1989 or so, followed by a Staffy Bull in 1991. I had both breeds for a number of years, and was a breeder for a few litters of SFTs. As I began doing judge’s education on Terriers, I fell in love with the character of the Irish Terrier, and now have three adults and a litter of two puppies.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? That is a loaded question! For the Group overall, it tends to be attitude. Terriers are interested in most everything, and not afraid to investigate the world. They work pretty independently for the most part, though there are some, like the Cesky, that are bred to work in a pack. They are active, tenacious, and are thinkers.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? I think most of the breed characteristics of Terriers are present in some of the breeds in other Groups; and this includes the hard coats and grooming for those coats, as you see this in many breeds in other Groups. So, no, I do not think they are truly difficult to understand if one is willing to do the work to learn about the different breeds. The hardest thing is getting to see and examine enough of the low entry breeds to be comfortable with the level of knowledge.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Training and conditioning are essential. Once trained appropriately, the dog will show itself in the ring. The handler MUST know the dog and know any eccentricities to prevent incidents. Expression varies by breed, but many should have that “keen Terrier expression.” Any grown Terrier that looks fearful or is aggressive toward humans does not have appropriate Terrier temperament.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? Each breed standard describes which bite is appropriate for that breed. Terriers have different jobs, but most need to be able to bite and/or hold, so large, strong teeth with a bite as described in the standard is very important.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? We all love a natural ear carriage.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? If the Standard has a description of the natural tail, as some do, or if the Parent Club has formally communicated a description of a natural tail, those descriptions should be used. If the Parent Club has formally communicated that docked tails are an essential part of the breed, that MUST be taken into consideration in evaluating the class in which the dog is presented. If there is no description or communication, a judge can assess the position of the part of the tail that would ordinarily still be present after the tail is docked.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Sparring can give you a chance to see the breeds that are sparring breeds at their absolute best. A novice judge should get some training on sparring and try to get some practice with someone who can help to demonstrate the process—and when to intervene. Control of the ring is extremely important. Start with no more than two dogs in a spar.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? The biggest challenge is getting to see enough of them to know the good, the bad and the ugly that exists within every breed. If you only see the good, you have a lot to learn about the breeders’ struggles and, if you only see the bad, it is just too easy to develop assumptions about the breed that may not be true.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? I have attended a few. It is a good thing to see how the dogs do their work.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? Given that there are shows where there are only five or so Terriers in the Group competition, I find it difficult to advocate dividing the Group for all shows. It would be nice if there could be a method for dividing the Group at some of the premier shows where there are large entries in most or all of the Terrier Breeds, but working that out would be quite the nightmare, I’d expect.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? There have been so many! It is difficult to name just one or two. In Staffy Bulls, I think Phil Briasco’s dog Quinn, Ch Prada Classic Aran Isle at Donnellas, was probably the most correct Staffy I ever saw; so much type, with beautiful structure and movement, and a very handsome headpiece.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? Lots of education and making sure that the family is appropriate for a Terrier.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? Nothing comes to mind.
Mary Jane Carberry
I live now in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Originally from New Jersey.) I’ve been active in dogs as an exhibitor, breeder, and handler since 1972; judging for 15 years.
Aside from dogs, I enjoy going to the theatre, reading, and sports: bike riding and swimming.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? I grew up with Terriers, Wire Fox. I attended dog shows with my father since I was eight years old. Later, I got my first Airedale in 1972.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? A Terrier should be able to do the job it was bred to do. For example: Hunting and retrieving for Airedales, Kerries, and Irish. Earthdog for small Terriers.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? Yes. Terriers should not stand in the ring like a statue. They should be interested in what’s going on, showing spirit and animation.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Presentation and conditioning are very important for all Terrier breeds. They should not be shown like “robots.” They should demonstrate true Terrier temperament.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? Bites should adhere to the standard for the breed. Generally, for Terriers, this means large, strong teeth and a level or scissors bites.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Ear carriage is important to show the natural Terrier expression.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? We are starting to see a lot of natural tails in traditionally docked breeds. When judging, I am much more concerned that the exhibit has the proper tail set and carriage, rather than the length. We are supposed to be judging the overall dog, not just one aspect—like the tail length, which is a “man-made decision.”
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Sparring is extremely important in many of the Terrier breeds. Novice judges should attend national specialties, where a true breed expert is judging, and watch to see how sparring is done properly. Also, judges who are planning to judge Terriers need to be aware of the Terriers that are non-sparring breeds!
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? Main “challenge” of the low-entry breeds is that we don’t get to see many in the ring.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? Anyone who judges Terriers should try to attend Earthdog Tests. You get to see the dogs doing the work they were bred to do. I do attend Earthdog whenever I can. (My Parson Russell bitch is a Master Earthdog.) Tests are all about the dog (pass/fail). There are no points or placements, and exhibitors are very encouraging and helpful toward one another.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No. The Terrier Group does not need to be divided.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? My all-time favorite Terrier was “Coco,” the wonderful Norfolk shown by Beth Sweigart. She was the epitome of the Norfolk Terrier.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? I think that no matter which breed is being considered for a “family companion,” research is the key to making the proper decision.
I live in Holland, Pennsylvania. Forty-five years in dogs, thirteen years as a judge.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Local Town Committee/Politics and Computer Gaming.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? Mom decided we needed a pup and remembered a black Terrier dog from her childhood. After looking at various Terriers, she realized it was a Scottie. The breeders wanted him shown. We went to our first match and got hooked when he won Best Terrier pup. We had the great fortune to be mentored by some of the best in Terriers on the East Coast.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? Attitude—nothing thinks more of itself than a Terrier!
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? I think the hardest thing some non-Terrier judges have trouble with is learning to look under the sculpted grooming of the coated Terriers. I also think some are not as able to find quality in the non-coated Terriers because they get led astray by the glamour of the “groom.” I also see where showmanship is overly rewarded, and the best dog sometimes becomes lost because expectations are that Terriers must always be “on.” In judging, they should always be the best sum of all parts.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Presentation is as important as the standard makes it. It is one part of many. No Terrier should be rewarded solely on their attitude and/or great haircut. As with all breeds, form should follow function. Condition includes good muscle tone, clean hair, and even clean teeth. Good grooming alone is not conditioning. Expression is relative to the standard and should be weighed accordingly. You can have a great piercing eye on a Scottie, but if it is tall and leggy it fails on the remainder of the standard. By the same token, a round or soft eye would not be wanted, but if that were the only fault then you put the dog up.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? Bites are listed as they are preferred for each breed. They are an important part of Terriers being able to do their work. Scissors vs. level can be argued, as the jaws are still in alignment, and they should still be able to perform their job, [though] maybe not as well. It is a fault as are other faults, and each breed needs to be weighed accordingly by its standard. However, when you start getting into severely undershot or overshot, you are looking at jaw structure and that becomes much more serious; not only for the potential health issues, but it can affect the whole dynamic of the shape and power of the head. What is the value to a breeding program at that point?
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? There is a reason each breed was developed to have specific ear placement; it contributes to the performance of their work. Farmers were not worried about how pretty but, rather, what would aid the dog best. Each type of ear, from prick to drop, serves a purpose in each breed. Even cropped ears aided dogs such as the Mini Schnauzer from not having torn or bloody parts as they rummaged through the docks killing rats and any other vermin they could.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? I go by what the standard states. If it is described, then it should meet that description. A bad natural tail should not be forgiven just because it is natural. If it is penalized by the standard, then you must weigh that penalty as the standard states. In that case, all things being equal, you would award the docked tail if that is what is being asked for by the standard.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? A novice judge should not spar unless they have been given instruction by an experienced judge, mentor, or seminar. Even then they should seek out some Terrier people to maybe practice how they should approach it. If they do, then they should never bring more than two dogs out, and they should be clear in their instruction that the dogs are not to get close enough to touch. If they do, they should immediately back them away from each other. Sparring is not to see a fight; it is to see challenge and attitude. You want to see the dogs draw a line in the dirt and dare each other to cross it without ever needing to do so. When done correctly, it is impressive.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? Sometimes lack of quality. Do you still award points? Do you advance them to the Group? I do not think lack of quality should be forgiven just because a breed is low entry. In the long run, it does not help the breed.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? Yes, and I enjoyed both. It is great to see our dogs doing their work. My Scotties loved to catch mice when they could, so I was already “informed.” They were immensely proud when they did, and it was usually so fast you did not see it—only heard and found a dead mouse. We used to have demos at shows when I was growing up, including these, herding and others. I think it would be great to see this again at all-breed shows. It all plays to form and function.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No, never. We are one Group that all function in the same manner, in one sort or another. To break the Group up would deflate that kinship that all Terrier people share. Just come to Montgomery County or any Terrier Group show and you will see what I mean. The Terrier people whom I know would not advocate for it.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? CH Fraja EC Winning Ticket; I had the great pleasure to see and show against her and John. She set the standard for me for that breed [American Staffordshire Terrier—ed.]. She was athletic and an incredible personality. She was a total package for a show dog—and that does not always come around. It was easy to be impressed by so many of the other coated Terriers (and there were many great ones I could recall), but she demanded you look at her. She made it easier for judges going forward to be able to reward this breed and other bull-types.
Ch. Jo Ni’s Red Baron of Crofton [Lakeland Terrier—ed.]; I got to see him at one of my very early trips to the Garden. I was impressed with how he handled himself in the “big” ring. Not only did it make me want to be able to present and groom a dog in that fashion, but to have a dog respond to me the way he responded to Ric. All the hard work was made to look natural and easy. I would say it helped form my choice to eventually become a professional handler.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? Educate the public, educate your puppy buyers on training and what they really are like to live with. Honesty about your breed helps. Not all breeds are good for all people. It has to be the right match for the family as well as the dog. In all our years breeding Scotties this was never an issue because we did that.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? Don’t know if it is funny, but odd. I went to examine the bite on a Terrier in the classes and found half the bottom jaw missing. The woman’s response was that the vet said it was ok she had all her teeth before the fight.
I live in Sonoma, California. My family always had dogs; my first dog in my memory was a Norwich Terrier named Maggie. I have been judging since 2009.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? So many hobbies and interests; gardening, horses, home improvement, and sheep, for a few.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? As I said, my family always had dogs, so my first introduction would be my first dog. When I became interested in breeding and showing, my first breed was Miniature Schnauzers. I quickly began showing Kerrys for friends and it blossomed into a love affair with the entire Group.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? Form follows function. Most of the Terriers were bred to go-to-ground and dispatch vermin. So, in order to do that job, they must have good teeth and be game and quick, ready to catch that rat.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? I have always thought that in order to
evaluate good coat, a judge should “try” to put one in coat. I am not saying they need to master it, but it’s hard to understand how important coat quality is unless you have gotten your hands into it. I also think many non-Terrier people confuse gameness with viciousness. They are not the same at all.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Presentation is very important; first impression is huge. That said, I often struggle with an exhibit that is superior in structure, but not in optimum condition. Which will produce better puppies, the lesser dog in great condition or the better dog out of shape? The caveat there is whether the coat looks poor because the grooming is not up to par, or because the coat is of poor quality and texture?
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? The standards are the final word on whether a scissors or level bite is allowed. This is not open for interpretation. Much more important to the function of a Terrier is the size and strength of the teeth.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Ears on most Terrier breeds are a critical part of the expression. Ears are just one fault, but they are difficult to overlook when they are front and center every time you look at their face.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? I prefer docked tails. Not docking in a breed that calls for a docked tail is a fault. In my opinion, it’s a minor fault as it’s a man-made fault that will not breed true. I look at the tail set, and the carriage up to the length it would be docked, and judge accordingly.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? When it comes to sparring, make sure you have room. There must be sufficient room for each dog to back away from one that’s lunging at him without backing into another dog. It’s a good idea to watch someone who’s experienced and also evaluate your exhibitors; you don’t want to throw a person who really doesn’t have their dog under control to start with into a situation where they’re going to have to control it even better. Also, remember that some breeds are NOT to be sparred, so read your standards.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? The challenge is learning low entry breeds, not judging them. If you can recognize an excellent specimen he is excellent whether there are 30 dogs in the ring or just him. If you have an image in your mind of that breed as described in the standard, when he pops up in front of you it’s the stuff that makes your heart beat faster. Now, learning requires effort to attend specialties and larger entries far and wide. It is difficult to hone your eye when looking at three or four dogs, particularly from a single breeder. You will need to expend some effort to “get it.”
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? I have attended Earthdog Tests and Barn Hunt. It’s fun, fast, but not as fast as a loose Terrier in a field full of ground squirrels or a barn full of rats. I have seen the real hunt and kill, and understand well what it means to be a game hunter.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? I don’t have a strong opinion regarding division of the Terrier Group. It has grown quite large, but I don’t see an obvious split that will yield two more equal pieces: short-legged, long-legged? Bully breeds and others?
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? Mick, the British Invasion Kerry Blue Terrier: His conformation was excellent, he had the typical coat, color, and texture of the breed, and walked in the ring breathing fire. He could take your breath away.
Ch Thrumpton’s Lord Brady, the Norwich: I may be mistaken, but to my knowledge he lost Breed only two times in his career—both times under the same judge. The rest of the time he generally went Best in Show. He was cobby and sturdy and sound and showy and sported a great jacket, and he had a face to die for.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? Terriers promote themselves as great family companions. What’s needed is exposure, so people can see what delightful dogs they are.
I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I have been in dogs all my life; my parents raised and showed Scottish Terriers. I started judging in 1999.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I am interested in art and photography, and I love to read. I used to be involved with horses, and we currently have sheep that function as the acreage lawnmowers.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? As I said, my parents raised Scottish Terriers, and as a junior I had the opportunity to be mentored by some of the old timers. I worked for a handler in my teens and developed a few of my own clients before taking off for university. I came back to the sport after I married and I’ve been involved ever since.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? Well, first it’s that crazy attitude; smart, active, curious, ready-to-go, courageous, and just plain “full of it.” Then it’s the coats and…
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? Yes, there are. Fronts are critical to type in Terriers. You have to understand the digging fronts, their function, and the structural differences that make them unique. It’s important to know which breeds within the Group have these fronts and which breeds don’t; particularly in the case of the “straight Terrier front,” which is specific to the Terrier Group and confined to only a few breeds within the Group.
The Terrier Group developed, for the most part, in Great Britain, and several of the breeds are separated by subtle differences. It becomes important in this situation to understand the subtleties: The fold of an ear—or where its tip points—matters; the set and carriage of tail; coats and colors.
Coats are critical, We have breeds that describe the coat/the color in the name; Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Wire (Haired) Fox Terrier.
To understand this Group, you have to understand coats (particularly wire coats), the transitions they go through, what is a good coat, and what is a poor coat full of product. Can you recognize a coat out of condition or one that will never be correct?
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Presentation in the Terriers is an art form. The masters are truly skillful and raise the level for all who participate. The dogs have to show; he has to have attitude and expression. Several standards specifically require it. The conditioning and presentation in the coats are defining features.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds. I think this question brings up the question of standards across the world. Obviously, we have to judge by the standard, but this is one of the points that varies a lot in Terrier standards around the world. While the US may accept a level bite in a breed, the Europeans, the Brits or the Australians don’t. It then becomes important to know the standard of the country in which you are judging. I think any other viewpoint is a personal opinion and irrelevant to judging.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? I think it’s important to know what the correct ear carriage is for each breed. As I stated previously, it’s one of those subtle differences that defines a breed. I don’t believe most judges will be able to tell the difference between a natural or an unnatural ear carriage in today’s show ring.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? I’ve judged a lot of dogs in countries that don’t allow docking. I’ve found that my eye has become very used to the undocked look. I focus on the outline and the tail set. Unless I’m specifically instructed by a standard to pay attention to it, it has become a non-issue for me.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Well, first understand the purpose. It’s about seeing the dogs standing fully focused, pulled up over themselves, looking the best they possibly can. You want to see them confident, full of themselves, not willing to back down. But the moment it explodes, the dogs lose their outline, you’ve lost the picture. You don’t want them gnashing teeth and flying through the air. You are the judge, you have to control the ring. To begin with, just bring two out to the center and have them walk towards each other. Tell them where you want them and stop them if they get too close. Don’t feel that you have to spar every dog. A class of 12-18 males that already are almost out of control don’t need to be sparred, you can see everything you need to see. I think it’s a very useful tool if you have dog you like, but he doesn’t want to be up that day. (If he comes out and spars it can bring him up and allow you to use him.) Just remember, the one cardinal rule of sparring: If you spar a dog and he fails the test, puts his tail down and/or backs off, you can’t use him. Do not point at that dog no matter how much you liked him.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? One of the issues is getting to see enough good examples to develop a strong eye for the breed. In many cases, the clubs are not large and the first seminars they produce can be a little lacking in depth. I feel privileged to have judged a lot of Terriers around the world and have had some large entries in some of these breeds in other countries
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? Yes, I have both attended and tried them out. It makes one very aware of why breeds are spanned and why breeds need the digging fronts. The job requires these attributes in order for the dog to be able to function.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No, I don’t think it’s necessary to divide the Terriers.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? Ch Bardene Bingo; he was a turning point for the breed. His type, his head, and his outline define the modern Scottie. Almost all modern Scottish Terrier pedigrees go back to him. Similarly, The Brat in Smooth Fox Terriers did the same for his breed.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? The best coats are easy care; if we focused on good coats it would make them easier to care for. Experienced breeders breed for solid temperaments and, in general, Terriers tend to be happy, healthy, and sturdy dogs that make great family pets.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? This is not a story I was involved in, but one I witnessed. Many years ago, a friend had campaigned a Scottie bitch for a couple of years. She had been very successful and was a top Terrier. The owner decided to retire her, and she put her in obedience to give her something to do. So, they were showing in the obedience ring, doing a heel off-leash when the Terrier Group got called into the ring next door. The bitch looks at the Terrier Group, looks up at the owner, looks back at the Terrier Group and takes off running, putting herself into the Group right behind the Miniature Schnauzer. She went around that ring just as if there was a handler walking beside her.
I live in Reno, Nevada, the land of the Wild Mustangs (and yes, they are beautiful to watch). I started showing a Kerry Blue Terrier in the mid-1960s. I bred my first litter in the early 1970s. My judging career began in 1985, starting with one breed—KBT’s.
Hobbies outside of dogs? Reading, all kinds of material. If I don’t have a book in progress, I will read the back of the Wheaties box! Hiking—California and Nevada have beautiful hiking areas, when the areas are not on fire. (This seems to be yearly lately.) Snowshoeing—the kind for old people now!
I was introduced to Terriers through the Kerry Blue Terrier. A family friend owned a KBT that she had trained to do many tricks. The KBT became the dog of choice after meeting Maxine.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? In my opinion: A Presence, powerful and unforgettable; up-standing and alert, ready for action; personal bonding with their owners; and, above all, Breed Type. Expression is extremely important in Terrier breed type, combined with encompassing head shape.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? Yes, there are breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand. My first thought pattern for this question was Terrier Coats! Coats in Terriers vary in many ways. I am no longer surprised at the number of non-Terrier judges who have asked over the years, “How often does a KBT need to be stripped?” Many breeds are partially stripped, and judges from stripped breeds seem to pick-up on the Terrier coats much easier. Affenpinscher and Brussels Griffon breeder-judges are usually great with Terrier coats. Since KBT’s are a soft, silky, scissored breed, I purchased a Norwich Terrier to train my eye to 10 inches and to learn the hard-coated coat; how to “roll” a Terrier coat. Hand-stripping is an art!
If a new judge needs help with Terrier coats, PLEASE do not be bashful; ASK for help. Not one true Terrier person will look down on you for asking for help—truly!
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Presentation is extremely important! While judging, I will overlook grooming IF the structure of the less-groomed is a better breed representation. For example, there was a Terrier breeder in California who would enter a complete litter in a show to, hopefully, finish a championship on one. The breeder would only groom the one dog that was supposed to take the points that day. Oftentimes the groomed one did win, but sometimes that one did not win because a judge liked (or thought) a different one was better in breed representative structure!
Conditioning is also important not only in Terriers, but in all dogs being shown. Muscles are used to walk to the food and/or water bowls too!
Terriers should have muscle on the inside of the thigh as well as muscling on the outside of their thigh. This helps to push the body forward on the move.
The importance of correct Terrier Expression: All nuances that define the correct expression can be summed into in phase, thanks to Richard Beauchamp: “Correct expressions are one of those things in life that are simple because they are.” (Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type, Page 147.)
Nothing can touch the wonderful expression of a Terrier watching the world go by with that intensity of the dark, almond-shaped eye and a cocked head with the questioning look that asks, “Did you see that?”
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? The bite of a Terrier is another part of being a Terrier. Most of the Terriers have that punishing, crushing bite that can kill a
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Most Terriers have an ear carriage that makes it necessary for that breed. (For example, does it go to ground? Does it fight to the finish—hopefully not presently?)
The job usually dictates which ear carriage is needed so, yes, ear carriage is an important part of the Terrier. Judges should research and know each Terrier’s job.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? Undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds; this will be something that the next generation of judges will really face. Imported breeds from countries that will no longer permit docking will be faced more and more.
I have seen several Terrier breeds in the last few years with undocked tails.
First, a judge must know how the AKC breed standard reads concerning tails. (For example, the tail MUST be docked versus the tail MAY be docked, versus the tail IS docked.) Follow the standard, if possible. If the breed standard does not mention the tail then I judge on where the tail sits on the body, not on the length of the tail. Where it sits on the body is breeding!
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Because I was an AKC Representative for a few years on the West Coast, and I interviewed judges for Terrier breeds, I have possibly a different view of the sparring of Terriers. First, in the Rules, Policies and Guidelines for Conformation Dog Show Judges, published by the AKC (referred to as the Red Booklet) Section: Judging the Dogs: Sparring it states, “It is important that sparring be a controlled demonstration of ‘Terrier Attitude.’ This does not mean that handlers use other dogs as bait. The dogs should be very alert, up on their toes, looking for whatever is going on.” When I spar Terriers while judging, I am looking for that “Terrier Attitude” and, as a judge, you need to keep an eye on all the dogs at the same time—which one acknowledges the other first is the winner. To me, it is a win or lose attitude.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? I don’t know if there are specific challenges to judging a low entry breed. I come from a low entry breed (as do almost all Terrier breeders at present). I believe the low entry breed deserves to be judged to the best of the judge’s ability; know the breed standard, and judge the entry to the standard with integrity.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? NO, I do not advocate or support in any way dividing the Terrier Group. Most of the dog shows today do not have a complete Terrier Group entered.
Some shows are supported more than others and will get a good entry of Terriers. These shows are so few and far between anymore that usually it does not take any longer to judge a Terrier Group than any other Group entered at the show.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? Sure, I can name an all-time favorite Terrier: Kerry Blue Terrier, Eng. Am. Ch. Torums Scarf Michael, call name “Mick”; Scottish Terrier, Ch. Braeburn’s Close Encounter, call name “Shannon”; Kerry Blue Terrier, Ch. Melbee’s Chances Are, call name “Tommy”; Sealyham Terrier, Ch. Dersade Bobby’s Girl, just to name a few—and LOTS of others.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? I am not sure that many Terriers need to be promoted as family companions because most Terriers are “head-strong!” A Terrier wants to be part of the family, which requires someone in the family to give them some daily attention. Today, most families need both parents to work, leaving the children to be “latch key kids.” Sad, but true. Most families do not have the time to spend with a breed that needs grooming and training. For some reason, pet people believe a dog is born knowing how to behave in a home lifestyle. They, maybe, feel that they have to train a child, but it is too much trouble to train a dog too. Sad, but this seems to be the lifestyle of this century.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? No funny stories, but I have many favorite judging memories of judging Terriers all over the world; memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you, Terriers, Terrier breeders, Terrier owners, and Terrier friends for making my life such a great one!
My husband, Joe, and I live in a small village in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, and have been involved in dogs for the past 45 years. I have been judging since 1997.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Since retiring, I have had more time to enjoy the adventures and opportunities of world travel that have come from our involvement in dogs as judges. I also enjoy antiquing, and the history associated with any finds and acquisitions. My role as a grandparent can provide lots of enjoyment as well.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? Even though our early involvement was mainly focused on Working and Herding breeds, I always found myself attracted to those “little stallions” in the Terrier ring. I loved the look, action and character of the Smooth Fox. I can’t envision my life without one.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? It’s all in that character we talk about. The expression, the attitude and tenacity they often possess. Many appear to strut around with such purpose.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? I suspect some of the front assemblies, gait differences, and the various coat requirements could cause some questioning. But if you’ve put a real effort into learning about the breeds, and continue to do so, the answers will make sense. There are many different breed nuances within this Group. That makes for interesting discussions.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? It’s all important and I think it’s the combination of all of it that attracts me to them. Many Terriers present themselves with “all that attitude” and can easily draw your attention. You learn to appreciate and value the grooming/conditioning that is involved to make them “ring ready.”
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? Mouths are important when you consider the jobs they would have had. Correct tooth size, placement and bite provide that desired underjaw and strength of foreface I want to see.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Ideally “natural,” correctly-shaped and placed is what we strive for. Ears can make or break an overall pleasing expression. When it comes to ears, my husband has a saying: “If you think the ear placement on a dog isn’t where Mother Nature would normally put them, then she probably didn’t.”
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? I am not bothered by an undocked tail unless the “set-on” makes it a distraction.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? If you are not comfortable with it then don’t do it. I will use it in a controlled situation to help to finalize placements, if required. I find character and expression can often be seen while the entries are in the lineups. Most Terriers look their best just standing on their own, displaying their attitudes and individuality. They like to make their presence known. I love this about them.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? It would be challenging if you are not prepared. Seek out these breeds, study and start to develop your template. This is why events like Montgomery and specialties are a must for anyone who judges.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? On occasion with our own pups, but most of these and similar activities have been viewed on video clips and historical data regarding breeds. I find observing and studying our own dogs’ behavior and capabilities in and around our home has had its benefits as well. Watching my Smooth Fox maneuver under my furniture and yard obstacles in pursuit of that all-important ball can tell you a lot about the “why and where” in regard to body structure.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No. I love the diversity in this Group.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? There have been more than a few over the years in many of the Terrier breeds. Some that are well-known and often talked about, and some that simply “ticked all the boxes” in my mind’s eye. When there has been so much hype and talk about a particular specimen, and then you have it in front of you and you are not disappointed…Like a Kerry called “Mick”—a package of structure, movement and character.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? Be prepared for an interesting, long and active puppyhood. Maintain patience and firmness when required. Be as active as they are. Enjoy a wonderful and entertaining companion thru adulthood.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? I wasn’t judging, but observing on Montgomery weekend a few years back. Watching Airedale specials near the end of judging. The top contenders of the year were getting sparred. The first two males put on a real show. When the next pair was getting a turn in the middle, the “notable” dog from the first pairing pushed his way toward the center again, then turned his back and started to kick back turf and dirt in their faces. Talk about “commanding” the ring; one of those “stand-up hair moments” for me.
I have always lived in the Louisville area, except for my two years in Durham, North Carolina, for Nurse Anesthesia School. I was first introduced to the West Highland White Terrier in 1972 when I moved back home. It was love at first sight, and it only took that first blue ribbon to get me hooked on dog shows. I jumped in with both feet, becoming active in the Louisville Kennel Club and showing my dogs for the next 20 years. In 1993, I decided to challenge myself by expanding my horizons to the judging arena. Aside from dogs, my other interests have included competing for 30 years with a Sweet Adelines Chorus, a passion for travel—and scrapbooking these adventures, plus, I love to play bridge.
Growing up, my family always had dogs. But my introduction to Terriers wasn’t until I got my first Westie in 1972; I’d found my true fit. You ask, “What makes a Terrier a Terrier?” Well, while a Terrier can be a bit stubborn at times, for the most part they are confident, spunky, and basically have huge personalities. Despite their relatively small stature, in their minds they are “large and in charge” of their surroundings.
What breed characteristics are difficult for Non-Terrier judges to understand? In talking to other judges, they often tell me they are intimidated by the various coats. As with most coated breeds, a multitude of faults or shortcomings can be hidden by clever grooming and sculpting. For this reason, I tell judges in my seminars to be brave, get in there with your hands to actually feel the basic structure beneath all the coat. Another misnomer is the term “Terrier Front,” which is mistakenly applied to a broad spectrum of Terriers. There is a world of difference between many of these Terriers and, therefore, they can’t be lumped into the same category. One cannot equate a Bedlington Terrier front, a Fox Terrier front or a Scottie front as remotely comparable. For this reason, it’s important to understand their skeletal structure as it applies to the job they were meant to do.
I’d have to say that the most intimidating factor for the novice judge might be sparring. It’s best not to pull out more than two or three dogs at a time to spar. What I do is to ask them to go to separate corners, turn and slowly walk toward each other while not getting too close. What I’m looking for is that typical Terrier attitude; alert, up on their toes, neck arched, tail quivering and at the ready, without any unruly behavior or a fight. I’ll never forget the first time I saw this demonstrated at Montgomery County; it was a beautiful sight and literally took my breath away. A word of caution, however: Be sure you know which Terriers are acceptable to spar and which are never to be sparred. Observing Barn Hunt, Earthdog Tests and such can provide additional insight into the Terrier personality as well and why it’s important to remember the specific purpose of a breed. This combined information will help weigh into your final decision.
While presentation and conditioning are certainly important, it isn’t the “end all, be all” for me. Grooming is an art form, and not all of us are as proficient at it as most professional handlers. I remember giving a five-point major at a national specialty to a bitch that wasn’t the most beautifully-groomed in the ring. Structurally, however, she had the key components that were most important to me and to that of the breed. I was taught that we are judging breeding stock, rather than a beauty contest.
With regard to expression, the extreme teasing of heads we see in many cases impedes the ability to properly access this. Here again, I say, don’t be shy. Dive-in to honestly feel the head. Move the hair back so you can evaluate the eye and pigmentation. All of these things are vital to the proper expression and structure.
I have to admit, it was an adjustment for me to get accustomed to seeing dogs with natural ears and/or an undocked tail. For the most part, we have an expected image or outline fixed in our brain. When the natural variation comes into the ring, it does call for refocusing. But eventually, it becomes second nature to accept the new normal.
Where bites are concerned, scissors versus level, I probably lean more toward scissors, assuming I have two equally worthy specimen. Anne Rogers Clark once told me that she favored scissors to level because there is always the danger of bites slipping further in an undesirable direction. I don’t like to see small teeth in Terriers. A working Terrier is supposed to have a strong, punishing bite with surprisingly large teeth for the size of the dog.
Of the Terriers, there are certain ones that stand out in my mind. For the first eight to 10 years, I have to admit that I had tunnel vision, only focusing on Westies. When I did start to look around, I discovered a whole new world. [Wire Fox Terrier] Lonesome Dove and [Scottish Terrier] Shannon are two that I loved, but of the Terriers I’ve actually personally judged, [Kerry Blue Terrier] Mick was a real standout for me. These were all dogs that walked into the ring and owned their space, as if to say, “I’m here and the rest of you can go home now!”
Do I think Terriers are right for every family? No, but they can be loyal, devoted companions for the right family or anyone who likes a challenge. Evaluating family dynamics is key to matching the right breed to the right family. I personally cannot imagine my life without a Terrier, specifically a Westie. I’m always up for a challenge!
I live in beautiful sunny Southern California, two hours from the mountains, two hours from the desert, and 15-20 minutes from the ocean (depending on how fast I want to get there). How many years in dogs? All my life, some kind or the other, but I can’t remember ever not having one, two, three. How many years judging? I’m uncertain of the number of years, but I would say about 46-47 years. I did take a few years away from the sport for school, travel and family issues.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I have always loved to travel so, when I can get away, I do. I also like kayaking; nothing adventurous, just calm peaceful waters.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? I guess growing up I had Terrier-type dogs and I always appreciated their independence. My parents often joked how I was so much like them. While my actual breed is the St. Bernard, I always enjoyed the Terriers and watching them. My fascination centered at the time on the Skye Terrier. That fascination sprung to life at a show in Santa Barbara and a dog owned by Chuck Brown named Ch. Jimmy de Richelene. This later lead to meeting Mr. Brown, Dolly Stoffer, Ruth Medici, and Eleanor Griffin. I wanted one, but at the time there were none to be had. That December, fate stepped in on a trip to visit a friend, Mrs. Marlene Anderson, at her famous Beau Cheval St. Bernard Kennels. Walking out to the carriage house I found a litter of Skye puppies. I had no idea Marlene had Skyes. To make this short, in the back of this puppy area was this shy silver male puppy; a loner. We bonded throughout the rest of that visit and he came home with me; Ch. Beau Chevals Wichita Lineman.
Terriers were the first Group I had planned to apply for. Entries were slightly larger in the 1970s, but I was persuaded to wait and apply later. It’s a tough Group and, with low entries, assignments would be difficult to come by and the application process at the time was one for one. So, I waited.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? Their fearlessness, independence; their fire.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? Personally, Terriers are probably one group of dogs that have not changed much both physically and mentally. They all demand respect and, like us, they can have bad days. Understanding their purpose and why they are put together the way they are is something they have not forgotten. I think their determination and the movement might be a little bit difficult to understand. All have something unique; for example, the stance of a Bedlington.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? Very important. The standards are very specific on the expression; verminty, keen, anxious and, yes, it is important that they be in tip-top physical condition, ready to go on the hunt or down a hole. They must have the bodies and stamina to follow through with their original purpose.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? Overall, I think the scissors bite—the most gripping—would be the most effective considering what these dogs were intended to do. While some do allow for missing teeth, complete dentition, scissors or level bites, I’m sure the originators and writers of the breed standards knew what was best for the function of the breed.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? As a newbie I was, at first, somewhat uncertain. My confidence grew as I saw more dogs around the world shown naturally. Now, I am not distracted by it. A cropped ear is pretty (and cosmetic), and by any means attractive. Natural or cropped, may the best dog win.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? I normally look at the tail set and then the direction of the first two to three inches. That should give one the idea of where the docked tail would be: 11:00; 12:00; 1:00. The rest is extra appendage carrying extra weight, which might bring the tail too far over or too far off to the side.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Sparring is a beautiful thing, but don’t do it if you are unsure. For the most part, there is little trouble if caution is taken. Keep them spaced. You are not looking for aggression. You want the narcissist, the one that wants the others to know he’s there. Too little sparring is done today.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? Definitely. It’s unfortunate, but with so few entries in these breeds we find ourselves rather handicapped. Mentors and dogs are few, so education is greatly curtailed. Exposure is critical in judging; our learning and eyes are trained, but touch and seeing [is lacking] in low entry breeds. We have to work with what we have available to us—not just in Terriers, but in all breeds.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? A few Barn Hunts. It’s amazing to see the natural instincts kick in and how they find the rat.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No. I find it fine the way it is.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? The Smooth, The Brat, the Wire, King, and a Sealyham bitch owned by my friend, Fran Brown, Ch. Farday Glenby Royal Courtesan. All three made an impression on me; their carriage, style, their fire. Moving or standing, these three stood out for me.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? Education. It’s a shame that Terrier numbers have dropped so low. The Terrier is a special dog and deserves families that understand them. They can be great pets. I know a Skye certainly can be; loyal to the end and willing to take on the world if you were in harm’s way.
I was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania; been living in Virginia since 1975. I have been “in dogs” for about 55 years having starting in the PA 4-H Dog Project with a mixed Golden Retriever and then with my first purebred dog, a Sheltie. I have judged in several venues since 2000 and AKC since 2009.
Aside from purebred dogs, I enjoy our Koi as well as growing plants in the bogs associated with their ponds. Evenings are usually spent researching various topics and, in particular, the history of cities and why they originally evolved. This came about when I started judging and was able to travel to many places I had never been to; old architecture fascinates me.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? My introduction to Smooth Fox Terriers came about after the frustrations of health issues in the breeds we enjoyed; Gordon Setters, a few
English Cockers, and my sister’s English Springer Spaniels. I saw Peter Green at a show trying to contain a very naughty Smooth Fox Terrier bitch in his arms at ringside—it was love at first sight for me. Soon after, I had my first Smooth! That was in 1975.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? A Terrier should be an independent thinker that holds its ground with whatever he is presented with. His size—or the size of his foe—usually doesn’t matter. He should be a no-nonsense kind of dog, yet still biddable enough to live with his family. I always say that you don’t really train a Terrier; it’s more like a negotiating process their entire life between master and dog. In the ring, I love to see a Terrier standing on his own with four legs planted firmly, and keenly aware of his surroundings. The less his handler has to do the better, and a well-made Terrier doing this is a sight to behold. I am very much a believer in sparring when properly executed and will give my entries an opportunity to do so whenever I can. (I don’t think they should be presented as robots, and a naughty Terrier in my ring is absolutely no problem!)
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? This is where I get on my soapbox. From conversations I have had while mentoring for some Terrier breeds, judges often express the frustration of not understanding the proper “keen” Terrier expression. Their coats seem to be a complete mystery to a lot of judges. I think anybody who is going to judge, in particular, the hard-coated Terriers should be required to spend time with breeders or handlers to learn what is involved in creating (and by this I mean plucking, pulling and rolling) the coats, as well as the accepted way of putting them down for presentation in the ring on the day. It is not for the faint at heart. A lot of judges who have had no background in Terriers are astonished at the daily work involved to keep a Special’s dog in coat. Lack of understanding of the Terrier movement leaves me SO frustrated; I absolutely hate when somebody says “moves like a Terrier” in a negative way. Part of the problem is that there are so few exhibits in the ring nowadays to learn from. The issue of short upper arm and straight shoulders creates the movement that is NOT correct but, if that’s all they see in the ring, I guess I can understand them for not recognizing correct movement. My own breed (SFT) states in the standard, “Movement, or action, is the crucial test of conformation.” This is true for EVERY breed.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? I couldn’t care less how well-trained the Terrier is in my ring, as long as he is not disrupting the rest of the entry and I am able to examine/judge him in the proper manner. I DO care that he be in condition, and correct expression will be given a lot of consideration while making my decisions. Expression truly does define who they are.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? The Terriers use their mouth to do their jobs. The breed standards call for a specific bite for this reason and it is your job as a judge to make sure that this is adhered to. If you have ever seen a Terrier work you would totally understand this.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Natural ears in a Terrier are a wonderful asset to a breeding program; some have them, some don’t.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? Each breed standard describes the correct tail. If there is no provision for a tail presented to you other than described, it becomes your own personal judgment. At least one Terrier breed parent club has made a stand on undocked tails. Personally, I will keep a parent club’s directive in mind when judging breeds that have this in place.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? My best advice to new Terrier judges in reference to sparring in the ring would be that if you do not understand why it is done or how it is properly done, simply don’t do it. You must be keenly aware of the dogs you have in your ring. Sometimes sparring will not go as you would hope and leaves you with having to make difficult decisions on which animals to award after the fact. Also, be aware that an inexperienced exhibitor can easily ruin another exhibitor’s dog with the wrong move in a spar. Bottom line is to be able to “read” your ring and judge accordingly on the day. Terriers doing a proper spar will give you goosebumps!
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? The challenges in judging low entry Terrier breeds are no different than any other breed. You must remember that there is a smaller gene pool available to the rare breeds. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you do not fault judge them; find the best breed specific traits/hallmarks that you can find in your ring on the day and reward that. Do your homework on the breed, not just reading the standard. Do research and find out all you can in addition to the written standard. Remember that a lot of the exhibitors in a new AKC breed do not have a lot of background in breeding and will heavily rely on your decisions as a judge when making breeding decisions that will affect the future of their respective breeds.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? I have personally participated in both Earthdog and Barn Hunt. Even as a longtime Terrier person, I am always amazed at the different styles of hunting the various Terrier breeds have. Any aspiring Terrier judge should attend an Earthdog Test to watch the dogs and talk with the participants. This will help you to understand the absolute need for a proper front assembly and, in some breeds, the need to
be spannable. It will also help you to understand why a Border Terrier needs to be pelted while doing the table exam. These breed-specific needs can literally be the difference between life and death in the field for a Terrier. I cannot tell you how many judges I have talked to who have no clue why spanning and pelting are done, and am always keen to share information with them.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? Some Terriers I always admired are: Kerry Blue Terrier, Ch Torums Scarf Michael; Wire Fox Terrier, Ch Galsul Excellence; Colored Bull Terrier, Ch Rocky Top’s Sundance Kid.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? The Terriers can be somewhat difficult to promote as family companions. The prospective families need to do their homework and really understand the personality and prey drive of the Terriers. They are a lifestyle, and a lot of people without prior exposure/experience will find them to be a challenge that they do not wish to contend with. It is very important for the breeders to always be available for guidance and advice long after the puppy goes to his new home.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? Every Terrier assignment is an adventure.
After more than 40 years on King’s Mtn., in Woodside on the San Francisco Peninsula, we moved to the Sierra Foothills three years ago to a little gold rush town called Grass Valley. I have been in dogs all my adult life, beginning with Saint Bernards. I bred one litter of Salukis and, after discovering how difficult it was to place them in a responsible household, I turned to Dandie Dinmont Terriers, breeding under the King’s Mtn. prefix for the last 44 years.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I love classical music, good books, writing and, since COVID has curtailed my travel, I am discovering the fun of a large
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? When the late Roy Stenmark and I married, he was already judging Saint Bernards—and I was soon to be—so we looked for a breed that neither one of us would be judging for a very long time. My friend, Lorna Rindal, had an adult Dandie bitch available before my friend, June Monaghan, had an adult Border Terrier bitch available. The rest, as they say, is history. Having been in dogs for some time by then, we wanted an adult to begin our breeding program; we were not willing to take a chance with a puppy.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? Terriers have great character and can at once be independent, stubborn, affectionate, funny, and they do make wonderful companion dogs. There are currently 31 Terriers recognized by the AKC and each one is unique, and certainly none could be termed “milquetoast.”
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? The Terrier Group is not a group of dogs where you can fall back on just your basic general dog knowledge and get away with it. There are many breeds within the Group with subtleties that distinguish one from another; the Lakeland from the Welsh, the Norfolk from the Norwich from the Australian, and so on. Coats have often mystified the uninitiated, but I remember the sage words of the late Phyllis Salisbury, the “Salismore” Dandie breeder from England, and they were, “Coats come and go, but structure never does.” I remember some years ago judging a good-sized entry of Scotties at Hatboro DC on the important Montgomery County weekend and my eye was drawn to a bitch I thought I’d like. As I go over her on the table and put my hands on what I thought were her withers, I found the grooming was so good that the top of the shoulder blade was actually halfway up her neck! I felt compelled to tell the handler that I was in awe of his trimming ability.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? I have often said it’s difficult to point to an unmade bed. The Terrier Group is perhaps the one Group that is most difficult for the amateur to compete against the professional, as the level of grooming in the coated breeds reaches a level seldom seen outside of this country; difficult yes, but not impossible. I think this is one of the reasons smooth-coated Terrier breeds are more popular than the coated ones. Good muscle tone is essential and all dogs require adequate exercise to keep them mentally and physically sound.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds? I am not, what we sometimes call a judge, a tooth fairy. There is so much more to a dog than its dentition, but a poor bite is an easy excuse for a workmanlike judge to excuse an otherwise worthy dog from competition. As a breeder, I’ve learned that if you put a dog and bitch together who have similar forefaces, the risk of “off” bites is greatly reduced. As in all breeds, the upper jaw and lower jaws are independently inherited and offspring from that union can get the upper jaw from the sire and the lower jaw from the dam and, if they’re quite different, then you often have an “off” bite. I am forever incredulous of the Bull Terrier breeder who can put together a great head with a perfect scissors bite. There are so many elements that go into creating that unique head.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? The breed Standards dictate what is required, there is no simple answer to this. In my own breed, the Dandie, all ears are natural.
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? This is not difficult to do, but the real challenge is for the breeders of breeds that were once docked who live in countries that no longer allow docked tails (as they have probably not paid attention to tail carriage). I judge Sporting dogs—and often have undocked Spaniels in my ring—and don’t really notice the tails as long as they are carried properly for the breed.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? I was gathering a series of articles together for a book on Terriers when the publishing industry went in the toilet, so to speak. One of the memorable pieces was written by Rhonda Davis, an Airedale breeder-judge in Ohio, and after every paragraph she ended it with, “Yes! We spar Airedales.” Sparring of some Terrier breeds is an integral part of judging the breed. While it shows character, it also allows the dog to self-stack and exhibit his true balance and carriage; when done properly it’s an eye-filling moment. My advice to the novice is: Before you judge a Terrier breed that is customarily sparred, you spend many hours ringside watching experienced Terrier judges and observe how it’s done. If the handlers in my ring are not in complete control of their dogs, I do not spar them.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? I think this is the time you must have a very clear picture of the breed in your mind’s eye to know whether the couple of dogs in your ring are worthy specimens or not. Is the one in the ring that looks different the right one? Students of Terriers will benefit from attending the Terrier Group shows, particularly the October Hatboro-Devon-Montgomery events, and plan to spend each day observing just two or three breeds; and do that year after year.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? I am proud to say I owned the very first Dandie that earned a Certificate of Gameness. (This was back in 1978.) It is a learning experience and points up why size matters!
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? Absolutely not.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? The incomparable Kerry Blue named Mick, widely admired, the epitome of breed type and character, and the Dandie that put the breed on the world stage, Harry. Harry never met a dog show he didn’t want to go to and, when he made it to BIS, 53 percent of the time he went Best. The late publisher of Terrier Type magazine, Dan Kiedrowski, pointed that statistic out to me; not many dogs can claim that record. Bill McFadden was lucky to have both of these dogs on his lead.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? We purebred dog fanciers must continually push the facts forward: Our dogs are screened for health and temperament, and are a much better bet than some variation of doodle. I wish the AKC would spend some of their money on public service announcements.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? Before I judged the roving Australian Terrier National Specialty some years ago, I had a dream. At that time, there’d been great controversy about Australian Terriers being shown with undocked tails. So, my dream was a class of 16 American-bred Aussies, eight with tails and eight without, and what was I going to do with them? Thankfully, I woke up!
I reside in Venice, Florida, and in Carver, Massachusetts. I have been breeding and showing dogs since 1973 and judging since 1997.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Yes, I have a Master’s Degree in Music, have performed, and also enjoy working with my private voice students.
Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? My first Norfolk, a male, was purchased in 1985 from Peter Green, and my second, a female, was purchased from Trish and Leon Lussier. She was bred to a Surrey dog and the rest is history. Smallest of the Terriers, but with a big attitude, Norfolks are great ratters and wonderful family dogs.
What makes a Terrier a Terrier? Other than being true to its breed standard, a Terrier must have a “Devil May Care” attitude.
Are there breed characteristics that are difficult for non-Terrier judges to understand? I do not believe that there are breed characteristics that are difficult to understand, but I do believe there is one misconception about fronts and a lack of concern about attitude. I often read articles or am listening to a seminar in which the “Terrier Front” is alluded to as a characteristic that a Sporting dog, for instance, would not want to have. This “Terrier Front” is an assembly where the shoulder is well laid back and long, and the upper arm is shorter than the shoulder blade. The majority of the dogs in the Terrier Group do not ask for this front assembly in their standard. Therefore, we should refrain from this blanket comment. Attitude is of great importance. Consider the work these dogs were bred to do. If they did not have a strong attitude, they would not survive, as the vermin they were bred to kill or disperse would do them in.
How important is presentation, conditioning, and expression in the Terrier ring? We are at a dog show, so grooming is important. Structure, conditioning and expression (attitude) are necessary, but are especially important as they allow a Terrier to do his job.
What are my thoughts re: bites among the Terrier breeds. I would follow the requirements of the breed standard. I do feel that Terriers work with their mouths, so they need to have big teeth, and enough jaw length (per the standard) and width to hold all their teeth.
How important is ear carriage in the Terrier breeds? Ear carriage affects expression and, in some cases, is one of the defining factors between closely-related breeds. Therefore, it is an
How do I evaluate undocked tails in traditionally docked breeds? First, I follow the breed standard. Tails affect the overall balance of the dog. Tails were docked for a particular reason that should not be discounted, especially when one considers oneself as being a preservation breeder. Unfortunately, leaving tails on breeds that have not been bred for a full tail is frequently a nightmare. They can be squirrely, too long and whip-like and, if a dog does not have excellent tail set and carriage, an undocked tail only serves to accentuate the faults. Many years ago, the AKC noticed that breeders in other countries did not have a strong enough dog lobby to prevent damaging legislation which then affected their breeding programs. At that time, the AKC opened the breed standard so the clubs could vote on the wording in their standard regarding tails. I was on the Board of Directors of the Norfolk and Norwich Terrier club during that time. We offered several options to our members and they voted to keep the standard as written. Some other clubs opted to make a change so that either the docked or the undocked tail were equal or, perhaps, one preferred but the other was fine. Point being, as judges, we need to follow the standard. Unless the standard says “must be docked,” for me, the tail not being docked is a fault and should be considered as such when one is looking at the entire dog and comparing it to the competition.
Can I offer advice to novice judges re: sparring in the ring? Be cognizant as to which breeds are sparred and be specific in your directions so as to not allow the exhibitors’ dogs to come too close to each other. Be efficient, sparring only takes seconds.
Are there specific challenges presented when judging the low entry breeds? We all learn the breed standard, but setting one’s priorities based upon the standard and the actual exhibits one views takes experience—actually judging the dogs. This is difficult with the low entry breeds.
Have I attended Earthdog Tests or Barn Hunts? Yes, these events serve to solidify the importance of attitude.
Would I advocate dividing the Terrier Group? No.
Can I name one or two of my all-time favorite Terriers? What makes these dogs so memorable? What makes a dog memorable is that it is well-made and has great spirit, which emulates its breed type. There are many that have done so.
What can be done to promote Terriers as family companions? Terriers are great family dogs. They need to be mentally stimulated, as they are bright dogs. The majority are shown by handlers who usually do not have the time to speak to spectators (currently not an issue) who want to know more about a specific breed. They also have just prepared a dog for the ring and, understandably, do not want the “do” ruined. I would suggest that the Terrier breed clubs develop landing pages with videos that show what a great family pet their breed can be. Let us not be full of our self-importance when a person calls for more information about your breed. Get back to them whether it is by phone, email or text. Thank them for inquiring. Our breeds are better than “doodles.” They have their health clearances and the purchaser knows what they are getting as far as size and temperament are concerned. We need to be better at letting the general public know what a wonderful breed we have for them.
Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences judging Terriers? I was judging Scotties and had a very spunky puppy in the ring. I asked the owner if she would like to spar her puppy. She said, “Most definitely.” This puppy was very much a “Diehard” and won the points that day. She made me smile. One might not expect this from a puppy, so it is always good to ask.