TERRIER JUDGE Q&A
similar mystique to Westminster because of its high-level of compe- tition and the international flavor. I showed there twice while I was showing the Schnauzer boys, and I’ve attended a few more times to study. Truly wonderful! Is there a funny story I can share about my experiences judging the Terrier breeds? Not from judging, but I will share one from showing the Schnauzers. After I finished the puppy I’d raised, I had two really nice champions who were quite similar. So, I decided to try Brace competition with them. I had a teen son at the time who was interested and traveled to shows with me. He showed one in Breed, and I showed the other. When we got done with Breed, I had to put the two of them into their special Brace lead. They were both “Tough Terriers” in the Breed ring, so they would give me a hard time as I was putting them together. I used to have to grab both by their beards and give them a talking to before we went back in the ring. They showed great then, but it was pretty embarrassing! I only tried it three or four times. TROY CLIFFORD DARGIN, PHD, JD, LLM, MBA, CCC-SL P
years as a judge. I judge all Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herd- ing breeds, plus Basset Hounds and Best in Show. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Yes, I have a lifelong interest in photography, again since my ear- ly teens. I am also a Partner in a business called Forever Faith, with my son-by-choice, Abe Cruz. We produce athletic cloth- ing and accessories, and Abe is also an Author, Actor, Fitness Personality, and Motivational Speaker. You can check us out at www.ForeverFaith.com . Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? Terriers were the last Group that I studied and applied for, and I had never prepared or showed any. So, I wanted to learn what stripping coat was all about, and the work involved. I was fortunate to live close to Susie Atherton of Miniature Schnauzer fame. She took me on and men- tored me, and turned over a couple of Schnauzers to me; a cham- pion male whom I completely fell in love with (Bandit), the dog that she taught me how to strip. Then she had a couple litters of puppies that we evaluated, and she let me take one of the pick-males (Max). I raised him, trained him, did all the grooming, and showed him to his championship myself in tough competition, back in about 1982- 83. I set up with Suzie at the shows and met lots of knowledgeable Terrier people, both breeders and handlers. They were wonderful to me, and gave me a real inside education. Have I bred any influential Terriers or shown any notable winners? No. Can I speak a bit about breed-specific presentation and coat con- ditioning in the Terrier breeds? Next to Poodles, which I was famil- iar with from my youth, I believe the hard-coated Terriers are the most work of any show dogs. And from my work with the Schnau- zers, I have a healthy respect for what it takes to get most Terriers conditioned and ready for the show ring. I believe coat condition and preparation makes or breaks a good Terrier, and can definitely separate the cream of the crop in Group competition. What about breed character? Can I share my thoughts on spar- ring in the ring? Breeds that spar can be truly stunning when they are at full attention in a controlled spar. I use it very selectively, and only when I have two final favorites that I want to compare in that way. Sparring is done wrong in many cases, both by the handlers and by the judges. I don’t want it to degenerate into an out of control growling and snapping situation, so I always ask for some distance and control. I remember the last time I used it was in a strong Terrier Group where my two favorites were a Wire and a Lakeland. I pulled them out at the end, and asked the experienced handlers for a controlled spar. It was beautiful, and I made my final decision for first and second right there, and then picked out my third and fourth from the others. It was interesting that afterwards many of the true Terrier people thanked me, though a few of the other judges were upset with me for taking the time—the people who are only interested in getting done as soon as possible, and get- ting back to the hotel for dinner! Many Terrier breeds are known for their singular expression. Can I offer a few examples? The breed that jumps into my mind first is the Border Terrier, with its Otter Head. That’s an extremely important feature for me, and the deciding factor when I’m down to my favorites. Following those, I will mention a few with really unique and important head traits, including all the Bull Terriers and the Staffie Bulls. In my opinion, what makes a Terrier the ideal companion? I wouldn’t agree that this is true, unless you live on some property and need help with vermin control. For me, most Terrier breeds can be a bit difficult with their working instincts, desire, and high energy. They are probably noisier and harder to control than most people will want for an “ideal companion.” Why is “Montgomery” a significant show for so many breed- ers/exhibitors outside of Terriers? Montgomery is magical. It has a
I hold an eclectic array of experiences and degrees, framing my interest with cross departmental work. My undergradu- ate degrees are in theatre performance and vocal music education K-12, master’s degrees in music, speech-language pathol- ogy, political science and finance, and a PhD in Speech Language Pathology with a
focus on habilitation of the professional voice. I have taught junior high music in the public school system and have performed profes- sionally in theatre, most specifically in a travelling children’s theatre troupe, before turning to academia. I am a certified practitioner in the Arthur Lessac Voice/Body technique and hold a certificate in Vocology from the National Center for Voice and Speech. I main- tain professional service through offering continuing education to SLPs through my “Visions in Voice” company, where I combine my academic and entrepreneurial business interests. I continue to be active in the music community by judging state and regional vocal music contests. My professional affiliations include: Pan-American Vocology Association (PAVA); NSSLHA, and Phi Mu Alpha Sin- fonia—a professional men’s music fraternity. Throughout all of my interests, I remain constant with my desire to mentor students. Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many as a judge? I was born in Germany. I grew up in Iowa and have lived in the NYC/Philadelphia area for the past six years. I’ve been in dogs most of my life, since I was a child (I think, maybe, since age seven?). I’m now 44. I’ve been judging for 21 years now. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Yes, I sing and act. I love reading and traveling. Right now, I’m enjoying building new educational programs around art and sci- ence, especially speech-language pathology graduate programs at universities. Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? Since I was a boy, I would rent the AKC videos about Terriers (and all the other Groups) and soak up all the information I could about the breeds. I even created spreadsheets of certain breed traits; measured dogs, recorded measurements, etc. I was very serious about conforma- tion—it was my life, even as a child. (I traveled to shows with some Miniature Schnauzer breeder/handlers when I was younger.) I also assisted a professional handler in California who specialized in drop-coat breeds, but I was able to have a holistic handling experi- ence by helping his friends at ringside, etc.
178 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021
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