Showsight September 2021


participation in local wine events. California is great in this regard, and I live very close to the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County. My travels have taken me to over 50 countries and I have judged in 20 of them. Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? Growing up, our family always had a dog, and I was particularly taken with a Scottie we had, which was my first exposure to Terriers. I used to babysit a Bull Terrier for friends of mine in Toronto (we emigrated to Canada at the same time), and that started my love affair with the breed that continues to this day. I have always been attracted to the indepen- dence, feistiness, and intelligence of the Terriers, in particular, the Bull breeds. Have I bred any influential Terriers? Have I shown any nota- ble winners? We had a small, successful breeding program known particularly for good health and great temperaments. But our dogs were never widely used. We bred 16 ROM champions and did have some successes on a national level at Silverwood. CH Brigadoon Black Pepper ROM was BOV three years in a row, a record that has not been equaled. CH Brigadoon Walk-A-Bout ROM was a runner- up and BOS, and CH Brigadoon GoGo Boots a BOV. So, we came close without attaining the ultimate prize. It was particularly gall- ing to miss out with Black Pepper who was really a bitch ahead of her time. Incidentally, both Walk-A-Bout and GoGo Boots won the Bronze Trophy, Canada’s equivalent to the Silverwood competition here in the US. Can I speak a bit about breed-specific presentation and coat conditioning in Terriers breeds? Having bred Bull Terriers, a “wash and wear” breed, I will defer to others to comment on the prepara- tion for show of the coated Terriers. Aside from a good bath, our preparation consisted of trimming the under part of the BT tail, the whiskers, and the rear line of the thighs, all of which was aimed at enhancing the smooth outline we love in a quality BT. BT necks are supposed to be tight-skinned, so any wrinkle there can be subject to a thinning of the coat. So much for preparing the dog ahead of the ring. As for in-ring presentation, it is most important to allow the Terriers to be Terriers. For example, our breed is supposed to be ani- mated and full of vigor, so statues they are not. This is not an excuse for a lack of training or lack of control, but judges should cut them some slack here. In-ring presentation should allow breed character to be expressed as much as possible (see next item). What about breed character? Can I share my thoughts on spar- ring in the ring? There are several traits that are endearing to Terrier fanciers. We love their inquisitiveness, intelligence, independence, self-confidence, perseverance, and in some cases, their feistiness. I love the way they exude an attitude of self -belief, the “don’t mess with me or you’ll be sorry” kind of posture. This exhibits itself to different degrees across the breeds; highest in Scotties, Irish, and Westies, to mention a few, and lower in others that traditionally have run in packs. This is why we spar some of the breeds. Unfortu- nately, the required “spark” is disappearing, and it is rare these days to get the desired response when using this component of judging. I will spar the dogs at breed level, but never in the Group. Why? Because not all Terriers should be sparred, and it is my opinion that allowing breeds to spar in the Group gives an advantage to those breeds to show themselves off more. An unfair advantage, IMHO. Many Terriers are known for their singular expression. Can I offer a few examples? Let’s start with my own breed. We label the desired expression “varminty.” This term encapsulates both the physical aspects of the head as well as a manifestation of charac- ter. Eye shape and set are critical to this and, combined with the correctly set and sized erect ears, epitomize the self-confidence and trickiness that we so desire. Hence, varminty. This type of thing is evident in several other Terriers—the “down the nose” inten- sity of the Scottie or Miniature Schnauzer, the look of eagles of

natures as they do. What makes Terriers special to their people? Of course, it is their unique appearance and coats, but I believe it is mostly about their spirit; the Terrier determination to do something fun and worthwhile. Terriers want to be a true family member and will do things and be active WITH their people. Is there a funny story I can share about my experiences judging the Terrier breeds? While I can’t think of any particularly funny stories at the moment, may I simply say that I have learned many lessons from my Terrier friends. Decades ago, when we visited White Waltham (Raymond Oppenheimer’s estate), we asked to see Ch. Badlesmere Bonaparte of Souperlative. We were taken into the kennels to meet him. We were very lucky. Others with credentials and introductions were mostly allowed to see selected dogs as they were brought out into a courtyard for viewing, but we got to go into the kennels too. When I asked to take a photo of Bonaparte, I was told, “No, his best photos have been taken.” The lesson: Always use your best photos… and if not the best, be ready to say, “The best photos have already been taken.” Note: They allowed me to take photos of others, including the famous Ch. Souperlative Jackadan- dy of Ormandy. Almost anyone who met Jackadandy was taken by his grand stature and his ability to look into your soul. He mesmer- ized judges in his day and was enormously successful! On one of our trips to UK (we owned a home in Scotland and always had family to visit, so we usually went every year and tried to time the trips to coincide with specialties and shows), we visited with Violet Drummond Dick. David’s father (who had a Soft Coat- ed Wheaten) asked, “What is most important to know about a Ter- rier… a Bull Terrier?” She replied, “Temperament, Temperament, and Temperament.” She continued by saying that if one doesn’t have a reliable dog they can live and work with, they’ve already lost. Let me close by saying that we have been fortunate to judge in many countries, including Terriers in Germany, France, Italy, UK, Australia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Finland, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, etc. But on many judging trips to China, we have noted few Terriers anywhere in that coun- try. Thanks to the efforts of several US breeders, quality Miniature Schnauzers were establishing a toehold in China about a decade ago. Chinese canine enthusiasts established grooming schools and brought over groomers and breeders to teach classes. When COV- ID passes, we hope we will find some beautiful Terriers there. While we do not plan to be at Montgomery this year, we wish everyone well and hope that it goes beautifully! We have wonder- ful memories of those times when we exhibited there and when we judged there. As for me at this point in my life, I enjoy every moment I can with my dog friends, with club/dog activities, and keeping com- pany with David and Georgy (our 11-year-old BT). Thinking of the future, I’m siding with one of my favorite writers: “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.” —Will Rogers DAVID ALEXANDER

Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many as a judge? I live in the country between Salinas and Monterey, in California. I have been in dogs for over 40 years now, and 2021 was my 25th in judging. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I play golf (less frequently these days), work out at the

country club I belong to, and follow sports (particularly soccer from UK where I grew up), golf, and NFL (SF 49ers). I have interests in travel (pre-COVID) and in good wine, which I maintain through


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