Showsight September 2021


NANCY SMITHHAFNER Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many as a judge? I was born in Indiana. I grew up in the country on a farm and I have always had dogs. When I married, I lived wherever my husband worked; from Hampton, Virginia, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Franklin Tennessee, and Nashville, Tennessee, and then in Tuscumbia, Alabama. I’ve resided in Tuscumbia for the last 34 years. Tuscumbia is in the most north- west corner of Alabama without being in Tennessee or Mississippi (being 20 miles as the crow flies). In 1997, I applied to judge my one breed of Poodles, and was approved to judge in January 1998. I judged my first assignment of Poodles, and was then elected to judge the Poodle Club of America National; the Miniature Variety in 2000. I judge the Terrier, Toy, and Non-Sporting Groups, Best in Show, and my Permit Breeds, Boxers and Mastiffs. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I love to paint in oil and watercolor, gardening, antiquing, shopping, and traveling with friends. Can I talk about my introduction to Terriers? My late mother had Airedales, from 1931 until the day she passed away at 83. So, on the farm, we needed Airedales to watch and guard the farm from the deer and groundhogs that would destroy our crops. (And we never lost one piece of farm equipment out of the farm barns with Airedales running loose.) We had one litter of Airedales Pups—19 of them, of which 18 lived healthy lives. It took some months to find proper homes for them all. Never again did we breed a litter of Aire- dales. We would just purchase the next one from a show breeder. One litter in a lifetime was enough! Have I bred any influential Terriers? Have I shown any notable winners? No, our Airedales worked the Farm. However, I have had many lifelong friends with Skye Terriers and other Terrier breeds, and I am a longtime Poodle breeder myself. Just remember, the Ter- rier folks and the Poodle folks are ALWAYS the first to arrive at dog shows, as we have lots of grooming to do before ring time. So, I’ve made many Terrier friends at the shows. Can I speak a bit about breed-specific presentation and coat con- ditioning in the Terrier breeds? In Airedales, it’s weeks before each show that coats are stripped on faces and main jackets. Each dog has its own type of coat and how that dog’s coat will grow. Each one can be just a week to 10 days difference. An Airedale that is not in the perfect timing with coat can look unready to be shown at a specialty show where every hair is to be in perfect timing of condi- tion and length. What about breed character? Can I share my thoughts on spar- ring in the ring? Sparring is always enjoyable to watch as the two or three dogs come out on their tiptoes to look their BEST, pulling themselves into the strongest pose, showing off their arch of neck and shortening up their backs, kicking off those back feet to prove that they are the Best of Breed in the ring at that moment. They could take on the World! How would I assess the overall quality of the “newer” Terrier breeds? I feel we have many dedicated breeders who have done an outstanding introduction of their breed to the Terrier World. In my opinion, what makes a Terrier the ideal companion? They are very loyal to their owners and their property. They are great protectors. Why is “Montgomery” a significant show for so many breeders/ exhibitors outside of Terriers? ONLY at Montgomery County are you exposed to all types in each breed. And at Hatboro, Devon, and

expression, whether the tail is to be at 12 o’clock or straight out behind the dog, as in a Border Terrier. A successful exhibitor knows the Standard of his/her breed and presents the dog accordingly. What about breed character? Can I share my thoughts on spar- ring in the ring? Sparring is a great way to show Terrier character, but not every Terrier breed is to be sparred. To be done correctly, the judge and the handlers must be knowledgeable and in control, lest there be a dog fight. Because there are so many novice exhibi- tors nowadays, I hesitate to spar dogs other than in my Winners or BOB classes at a Specialty—unless I am confident in the ability of the exhibitors. Many Terriers are known for their singular expression. Can I offer a few examples? Expression is an essential part of breed char- acter, and many breed standards will describe it. In Scotties, a keen, piercing, “varminty” expression defines the breed. Norwich want a foxy expression. Wheatens have a softer expression, alert and happy, exhibiting interest in their surroundings. How would I assess the overall quality of the “newer” Terrier breeds? Several of the “newer” Terriers are a work in progress. Rat Terriers have made great strides since they joined the Group around 2010; American Hairless are improving, but shyness and hackney gait still need attention. In my opinion, what makes a Terrier the ideal companion? Ter- riers are fun and funny, smart and clever, spending most of their time trying to outthink their owners. So, it’s important that owners be smarter than their dog. I tell prospective buyers that Wheatens are jumpers and that their personality is a cross between a gifted two-year-old child and a bratty fifteen year old! You have to like that personality and also know how to channel it without breaking the spirit of the dog. Why is “Montgomery” a significant show for so many breeders/ exhibitors outside of Terriers? Montgomery is the “ne plus ultra” for Terriers. It’s an opportunity to see the best of the best and for breeders to showcase their breeding stock, plan their next breeding to a dog they finally get to see in person, and to assess that of other breeders from around the country and the world. Rain or shine, hot or cold, there is nothing like Montgomery! ! Which Terriers from the past have had the greatest influence on the sport? Many years ago, my husband and I were attending the National Terrier show in England. Walking out after the show had ended, I spotted a seven-month-old Kerry puppy—way, way across the parking lot. He took my breath away and I dragged my hus- band over to see this beautiful baby. It was Mick, CH Torum’s Scarf Michael, with his breeder/owner, Ron Ramsey. I talked about that puppy for months, and much later, Mick came to the US and made his mark. I had the privilege to go over him ringside while he was on his winning streak here and I have never been more impressed with any dog—ever. He was so “of a piece”; truly unforgettable. In Fox Terriers, Nornay Saddler and TTarb the Bratt come to mind. In Norwich and Norfolk, “Willem” and “Coco,” respective- ly, and, of course, the Scottie, Bardene Bingo, to name a few. Is there a funny story I can share about my experiences judging the Terriers breeds? Many years ago, I was showing a happy, silly, seven-month-old, totally untrained Wheaten puppy that I had bred and placed with a lovely pet family that allowed me to show him. We never went to a handling class as I believe in “on the job train- ing” with Wheatens because they get bored too easily. Annie Clark was the judge. After she succeeded in going over him between his kisses and wiggly rear, I was attempting to gait him while he was jumping up and having a grand old time. As we came back to her, Annie smiled and said. “I see you’ve got a dope on a rope!” We always laughed about that, once he’d finished, and she would always ask about the “dope on a rope!”


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