TERRIER JUDGE Q&A
Why is “Montgomery” a significant show for so many breeders/ exhibitors outside of Terriers? The reasons why Montgomery has become like the Mecca for people from all over the world are many. Importantly, it has long traditions of a seriously well-organized event, judged by, to a large extent, breed experts who know what they want and what they’re doing. Also, the numbers and level of quality with regard to the entry itself, as well as the level of profes- sional grooming, handling, and presentation, is something you can- not find anywhere else in the world. If you want to learn about Terriers, this is where you find a unique opportunity! For American breeders and handlers from all over the country, this is where you can find out if all those local “stars” really are as good as their many wins would indicate! Many have returned home to their “own territory” rather disillusioned! But this is the place to go if ambition and inspiration are on your wish list. This I know from many years of experience… Which Terriers from the past have had the greatest influence on the sport? Terriers of the Past: I could give you a never-ending list of a variety of breeds, but the two dogs on my mind are the Kerry Blue, Ch. Torums Scarf Michael, and the WFT, Ch. Galsul Excellence; two dogs that made a huge impact on myself as well as on a crowd, inside and outside the exclusive world of Terriers. Is there a funny story I can share about your experiences judg- ing the Terrier breeds? A story I have told many times: I showed an Airedale many moons ago who, when the judge bent down to look at her teeth, all of a sudden got a very intense look in her eyes. She jumped up and grabbed his wig, which she started shaking vigor- ously. I got it away from her, and the judge replaced his wig, looking rather embarrassed! But he probably didn’t realize that for the rest of the day it was worn back-to-front! The second incident does not involve a Terrier, but a Standard Poodle who had obviously been doing a lot of wining in the UK. Coming from Scandinavia, we were told that it was important to share with the exhibitors why we did what we did, but when I had finished telling this lady handler that she placed second (as I would like a better underjaw and better feet) she looked me straight in the eyes telling me, “Well, you’re not exactly an oil painting yourself, Mr. Pedersen!” It still hurts! SALLY GEORGE
awarded the “Tom Horner’s Award of Excellence” for our involve- ment in the sport. July 1, 1990 is the most memorable day of my life. One of my WFTs won Reserve Best in Show by some 10,000 dogs at the pres- tigious Windsor show. We also won Best Puppy in Show. But on THAT VERY day, six different Louline WFTs won All-Breed Bests in Show in six different countries. I was also the first to judge the International Junior Showman- ship Final at Crufts—and have done so twice. I must also add that we had similar success with our (English) Cockers, and have successfully bred (in a small way, my favorite Airedales), Norfolk Terriers, Greyhounds, and Whippets. Can you speak a bit about breed-specific presentation and coat conditioning in the Terrier breeds? Coat and presentation are huge- ly important features for any Terrier being shown. There is a tendency to “over-trim” many of the Terrier breeds. To comment on every single breed is impossible. Even the very simi- lar looking breeds like Welsh, Lakeland, and WFT require special- ized expertise to create the individual outlook and balance. But Terrier grooming is definitely an art form that takes a lot of experience to perfect. Most breed standards are listing the amount and length of coat required for various parts of the dogs. Too many dogs are, these days, shown in too short coats, which doesn’t seem to even be noticed by newer judges. What about breed character? Can I share my thoughts on spar- ring in the ring? With only a couple of exceptions, any Terrier should enter the ring as though he owns the ground he’s standing on; without help from any other dogs. Coming from a world where sparring is illegal, I still think that with capable handlers in tow, it is an important procedure for a number of breeds. However, in many cases, [sparring is] unfair, as so many top-winning bitches are not interested, which gives the males a huge advantage. But when it works, it is certainly a way to make a Terrier look its best! Many Terrier breeds are known for their singular expression. Can I offer a few examples? I don’t know what you mean by “sin- gular expression,” but each breed has its own typical and desired expression. To prove that you really know the “soul” of the breeds, you should, in my humble opinion, be able to identify each one by a “cut out” of eyes and expression. How would I assess the overall quality of the “newer” Terrier breeds? I am not certain which breeds you include in the group, “Newer” Terrier breeds! But I think most of the more recent addi- tions, some of which I have met and known in Europe decades ago, are very compatible to what we see worldwide. And they seem to be in the hands of the most enthusiastic and also, hopefully, competent people. In my opinion, what makes a Terrier the ideal companion? If you have chosen a Terrier as your pet and companion, you will never have a dull moment (at least with most of them). Given the atten- tion, time, and opportunity, they can learn a lot. But they also have their own view on what is really important. Playing and having fun are important parts. I grew up watching Fox Terriers competing successfully in obe- dience, and most of them loved water and a few became very clever divers. But it is virtually impossible to “bundle” all breeds together. A Scottish Terrier has a temperament and mentality very different from, say, a Wire Fox Terrier. A negative side for a majority of the breeds is, of course, the expense of grooming. But if done correctly, you will be blessed with a basically non-shedding pet! Never forget, however, that all the “bull” breeds make wonder- ful friends and pets, which is probably the cause of their huge popu- larity worldwide!
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many as a judge? I live in Sonoma, California, in the California Wine Country. My husband, Mark, and I were professional handlers until I retired in 2006 to support my kids in school. I applied to judge shortly after that and have been judging since.
Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? My hobbies are gardening, horses, sheep, ducks, Giants baseball, and DIY home maintenance. Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? My family owned Terriers before I can remember. There were stories of an Airedale, a Sealyham, and a pair of Kerry Blues, but the first dog I remember as a child was a Norwich. When she died, my parents chose a Standard Poodle for our family. But when I was able to buy a dog of my own, I was torn between a Miniature Schnauzer and an Irish Terrier. Even- tually, I wound up with both. Meanwhile, Mark was very involved with Scotties. So, I was dunked into that breed when we married. Have I bred any influential Terriers? Have I shown any notable winners? Most notable must be the Soft Coated Wheaten, Ch. Andover Song N Dance Man. He held the record as the top win- ner in the breed for many years, having won the Terrier Group at
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021 | 189
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