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THE OTTER HEAD HALLMARK OF THE BORDER TERRIER
BY BTCA & D'ARCY DOWNS-VOLLBRACHT
T he look and shape of the head distin- guishes the Border from other Ter- riers and is a hallmark of the breed. Specifically, the breed standard twice references the otter head and devotes considerable detail to the fea- tures of the head as they embody the look of an otter. In fact, while the Border is most decidedly a working Terrier, the scale of points in the official breed standard allots a full twenty (20) out of a pos- sible one hundred (100) points to the “ head, ears, neck and teeth.” “Eyes and expression” are valued at another ten (10) points. Collec- tively, this ascribes a full thirty (30) points to the head of a Border out of one hundred (100) points. This equates to a 30% empha- sis on the distinctive otter-like head and expression in the breed
standard’s judging scale. The Border Terrier is, in all things, a moderate breed. While definitely not considered a “head” breed by breeders, the distinguishing features of the head are critical to maintaining breed type. The characteristic otter head, with its keen eye (combined with a body poise that is “at the alert”), gives a look of fearless and implacable determination that is characteristic of the breed and is highly valued by breeders.
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THE OTTER HEAD – HALLMARK OF THE BORDER TERRIER
pictured left: Lutra lutra , the River Otter. Photo courtesy of Graham William Hughes. (Special thank you to Dawn Bladen.) pictured below: GCHP Meadowlake Dark Side of The Moon, winner of 2015, 2016, 2017, & 2018 National Specialty Best Otter Head awards and numerous regional club specialty show Best Otter Head awards. Photo courtesy of Christina Freitag. (Special thank you to Karen Fitzpatrick &
SCALE OF POINTS The Border Terrier Club of America (BTCA) offers a Best Otter Head class at each national specialty, and many regional clubs at hosted specialties follow suit. Although a non-regular class, it is a fiercely competitive one for breeders and owners. To win Best Otter Head is, indeed, cause for celebration. At the national specialty, the award initially known as the Dandy- how Quaich Best Otter Head Trophy was first offered in 1993. Upon completion of regular conformation judging, an always large entry of dogs graces the ring where breeders proudly hold their dogs up as the judge walks round, examining each head, looking for the flat planes, well-set eyes, moderate stop, and keen expression that is most like that of an otter. The ring is always full and, as the judge makes cut after cut, finally, the dog with the head most “ like that of an otter” is chosen. You can hear a pin drop. When a winner is named, the rousing cheers and congratulations often inspire Terriers throughout the venue to give voice to the occasion. It is a unique class that highlights the value that breeders place on that characteristic otter-like head. When judging a Border head in profile or from the front, you should be able to see that it is not excessively broad or coarse. The breed standard states that the skull is “moderately broad and flat in skull with plenty of width between the eyes and ears.” In terms of proportion, the Border head should be 2/3 from the occiput to the stop, and 1/3 from the stop to the nose. These proportions allow all of the features of the head, from eyes to teeth, to be properly placed to ensure that “ottery” look. If the proportions go off, then the head starts to look less like an otter and more gener- ic. The head of a Border isn’t to be cute, round, houndy or even doggy. It must, instead, invoke the image of an otter. To attain a head that is more similar to the head of another species than it is to the head of any other dog, the width and breadth of the skull should carry through below the eyes, making room for large, punishing, and effective teeth that meet in a scissors bite. The cheeks should be slight- ly full and flow smoothly into a short, well- filled muzzle. The muzzle itself should be strong and in proportion to the overall head. The mouth of a Border is a formida- ble weapon and the teeth are large in pro- portion to the size of the dog. The stop on a Border should always be moderate, with little drop-off. There should not be a pro- nounced stop or room for a “thumbprint,” nor should there be zero stop or the flat
Simon Simaan.) pictured bottom:
Dandyhow Quaich Best Otter Head Trophy. CH Kevrah Star Gazer. Best Otter Head 2010 National Specialty. Photographer Kenneth Reed. (Special thank you to Deborah Lawton.)
plane seen in some other Terriers. The overall look of a Border is always that of moderation, and each feature flows smoothly and without sharp angles into the next. Ears are V-shaped and drop close to the cheeks to protect the inner ear when the dog is working. They should not be set-on too high or break above the line of the skull. Thin-leathered, fly-away ears or round and heavy, hound-like ears are incorrect. The entire picture should project the look of an otter with no exaggeration of proportions. The eyes should be dark hazel, full of fire and intelligence, and not bulging or prominent, or small and beady. The black nose is of good size in proportion to the dog.
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THE OTTER HEAD – HALLMARK OF THE BORDER TERRIER
pictured top left: CH Kevrah Star Gazer. Best Otter Head 2010 National Specialty. Photographer Kenneth Reed. (Special thank you to Deborah Lawton.) pictured top right: The Border Terrier Illustrated Standard, The Border Terrier Club of America, Inc., 2002, with author emphasis added to show the 1/3 to 2/3 ratio of skull to muzzle. pictured right: Esteemed UK Breeder-Judge Ronnie Irving awarding Best Otter Head at the 2011 National Specialty to CH. Foxbolt Blue Bayou and Lyn Stahl Bolt.
Each of these components are grounded in a functional purpose. The smooth planes and eye set are protective and useful underground in the pursuit of quarry. The muzzle and skull, which accommodate those large teeth, have the sub- stance to get the job done. Too much of any one component and the functionality of the head at work is compromised. A too short muzzle with pronounced stop will not afford space for proper dentition, nor will it provide the leverage to per- form against formidable quarry or permit optimal subterra- nean breathing. A too long muzzle can result in less cheek and jaw power, weaker backskull and, potentially, a higher ear set, which results in less efficiency and protection for the dog. Both examples, or any extreme for that matter, lessen the function- ality of a Border. Despite the emphasis on the otter-like look, it is far more than appearance for the sake of aesthetics. Each individual attribute has a purpose and use underground or in the field, and when those individual parts come together in the right proportions and in moderation, the head truly does resemble that of an otter.
While breeders the world over engage in animated discussions about the historical connection to the river otter, Lutra lutra , found in the rivers and streams in the region of origin, the variety of otter is not specified in the standard. Fortunately, this oversight does not require one to possess a license in otter judging in order to properly evaluate a Border head. Although there are, undoubtedly, differences between the varieties of otters, all otters have a moderately broad, flat skull with good width between the eyes. They look “varminty” and, when swim- ming with their head breaking the surface of the water, the heads of all otters bear a striking resemblance to one another. Thus too, the head of a correct Border possesses the proportions, planes, angles, fill, ears, moderate stop, and keen eyes that make one immediately think of an otter. A dog show judge must be able to recognize these unique features when evaluating the Border Terrier. With the head of a different species as a reference point versus that of another breed of dog, it is important to reward the qualities that define an otter-like head when evaluating the Border Terrier. In doing so, you will earn the respect of Border Ter- rier breeders and show a true understanding of the standard.
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SUBMITTED BY BTCA & D’ARCY DOWNS-VOLLBRACHT
the ribcage, and the actual physical capacity for going- to-ground. Just as the wicket or scales require proper procedure and use, so does this all-important evalua- tion of the Border Terrier. Spanning is less specific or finite than a strict height or weight assessment, but it affords the opportunity to determine overall size in combination with the flexibility of rib needed to work underground quarry. The official Parson Russell Terrier breed standard provides an excellent description of how to span a working Terrier: “To measure a terrier’s chest, span from behind, raising only the front feet from the ground, and compress gently. Directly behind the elbows is the smaller, firm part of the chest. The central part is usually larger but should feel rather elastic. Span with hands tightly behind the elbows on the forward portion of the chest. The chest must be easily spanned by average size hands. Thumbs should meet at the spine and fingers should meet under the chest. This is a significant factor and a critical part of the judging process. The dog cannot be correctly judged without this procedure.” The Border Terrier Club of America strongly endorses this method of spanning as it is both well- described and correct. Not only is it effective, it avoids many of the glaring errors seen when spanning is done improperly; leaning over the dog, approaching the dog from the front, not lifting the dog at all (but merely placing the hands around the general area), lifting the whole dog with all four feet off the table, and the worst possible scenario, which is not bother- ing to make any effort to span the dog at all. Each of these examples will make true Terrier-men, Terrier- women, and breeders cringe. TIPS FOR SPANNING When judging at an event, the dog must be stand- ing on the table. Breeders will often span their dogs on the ground, but at an AKC event you should conduct your exam on the table and in the same manner with each and every dog.
T he Border Terrier is a working Terrier. One of the primary means of evaluat- ing whether the individual is capable of working as intended is by span- ning. Spanning is the traditional method used by huntsman to see if the Terrier is capable of going- to-ground, and it is how you evaluate the shape, size, and elasticity of the ribcage. In truth, the dog cannot be judged without benefit of having been spanned. If there is one thing that we could convey to judges about spanning, it would be that it must be done as part of your exam. Please don’t leave it out because, when you initially look at the dogs, you “think” they look like they could fit in a fox den. Spanning is a tactile exam that will provide you with a range of information about each dog in your ring. Every dog must be spanned for you to properly evaluate the shape, size, and elasticity of
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SPANNING THE BORDER TERRIER
Step 1. Placing Hands on Dog for Spanning
Step 2. Hands in Position for Spanning.
Step 3. Spanning the dog
feel that lovely ribcage, and the size needed to maneuver in small apertures, dens, and between rocks and tree roots. If your hands do not meet and you feel too much spring and roundness to the chest, or the ribcage is rigid or unfor- giving, you will know that the dog will have a much harder time navigating in small spaces. If your hands clearly can- not span the dog, it will be much more difficult or even impossible for the dog to do the job for which it is bred. Please remember, the “average man’s hands” is an average and, in general, women have smaller hands. This is understood and it is at your discretion as to where your hands fall on the scale in terms of being average in size. You will develop a feel for spanning. Although, initially, it can be an awk- ward exam to fully master, once you do (and you will with enough exposure and practice) you will appreciate this prac- tical, common sense way to evaluate whether the Border Terrier can go-to- ground. If you would like more practice, reach out to a BTCA member breeder or, better yet, attend a specialty. You will be met with great enthusiasm, as Border Terrier breeders keenly appreciate the importance of spanning and want all judges to be familiar and comfortable with it. Spanning is not a hard and fast, “black letter” measurement, but it is one borne of generations of Terrier breeders and huntsmen as they evaluated their stock. The Border Terrier does not have a height or weight requirement and this, in part, is due to the fact that spanning can better determine the capacity of a dog to comfortably pursue underground quarry. Thus, the ability to span the dog must be part of your consideration.
Be gentle and don’t belabor the pro- cess, but be thorough enough to get the information you need for your evaluation. Most Border Terriers are well-accustomed to being spanned but, again, your dog sense will do wonders as you convey and signal to the dog that you are going to do the exam. It is customary to span the dog at the end of your exam, though you may do it as you go over the dog. By doing it at the end, you have gone over the dog and the handler won’t need to reset the dog, which can help to keep your ring efficient. Try to incorporate spanning into your exam so that it naturally flows and becomes almost automatic to you and doesn’t surprise the dog. This will make your exam more consistent and thorough. IN CONCLUSION Spanning, performed correctly, yields a wealth of information. The elastic- ity and “give” of the ribcage of a prop- erly structured and sized Border Terrier is evident upon spanning. The “average man’s hands” should meet, and you will
Placing hands on the dog in preparation for spanning. Photo courtesy of Star Ott.
Standing on the side of the dog or from behind the dog and to the side, you would reach your hands around the dog from the side and place your hands around the chest. Placing your thumbs over the withers, slide your hands around the chest so that your fingers meet under the chest. You should not lean over the head of the dog or approach the dog from the front. Gently lift the front legs of the dog off the table as you are holding his chest, again, with thumbs over the withers and fingers supporting his chest under the elbows.
Spanning the dog as viewed from the side; fingertips in proper position under the chest of the dog while spanning, thumbs in proper position while spanning. Photo courtesy of Dawn Bladen.
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JUDGING THE BORDER TERRIER By Robert & Ruth Ann Naun From Ruth Ann A judge of the Bor- der Terrier will stay on breed standard if they hold to the rule that form fol- lows function. Bred standard point by point, in what fol- lows here. He gives a prospective that has been previously published in this magazine. He has clearly outlined the evaluating that takes in the whole dog using this approach. Border Terriers can still do the work they were bred to do. The Border Terrier community and the breed’s parent club hold a desire to see a functioning working Border Terrier in the show ring. When those traits put a Border Terrier in the ribbons in your ring, you can safely feel a good job was done of judging this breed.
in the American standard in the early 1940s, this emphasis was in the Bor- der Terrier standard. Dr. Merritt Pope, the prime mover in working towards recognition of the breed in the US and his friend Mr. William McBain, were disturbed by changes made to the Scot- tish Terrier standard for the purpose of improving its chances for winning in the show ring. For Dr. Pope, a well-designed and functional machine was a beauti- ful thing to observe, and they wanted to apply this concept to the functional purposefulness of a terrier. He and his committee were attempting to design the perfect working terrier in a breed stan- dard. Th ey abhorred the fancy terriers they were seeing in the show ring. Th e descriptive terms they used to describe the Border Terrier are few in num- ber. Th ey wanted a head that resembled that of an otter, in particular a river otter head. Th ey wanted a dog who would be spannable by a man’s hands, a method used by old time hunters to evaluate the ability of a dog to go to ground. Th ey consistently talked about the Borders’ ability to run with horses and to get along with hounds. Given this, the Border should not spar. For working terriers, the ribs should not be over sprung. Th ey should have ribs well back with a flexible loin which would allow the terrier to turn around more easily when down the hole after the fox, this also helps to give more stamina to a dog doing a days’ work. Finally, they wanted a double-coated dog who could work under the hard condi- tions of the English/Scottish border coun- try, and not a fancy smooth coated terrier. When beginning to judge the Border Terrier in the show ring, the judge should observer the Border outline. It is on the table that the judge can begin to evalu- ate the functioning ability of the Border to work. Approaching from the front the
by working farmers in the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland in England, and the southern Scottish border country, this breed went out with hounds in this wild hilly countryside. Th erefore, the Border Terrier should be built to cover long dis- tances over an extended period on the day of hunting, in all sorts of weather. Once the fox they chase goes to ground, the Border Terrier goes in and finishes its work of the day, or flushes the fox for oth- ers to dispatch. Every breed trait judged in confirmation, still should reference this function. Exhibitors will respect the judge who attempts to evaluate entries base on this approach. Bob Naun explores the
From Robert Many judges have di ffi culty in judging the Border Terrier because of the empha- sis on function as a working terrier. Most terrier standards put more emphasis upon appearances, with the exception of the Parson Russell Terrier. In Britain in the earliest written stan- dard of the breed we have (1920), and
The general appearance of the Border Terrier.
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“THE BORDER IS THE ONLY TERRIER THAT has a loose and thick fitting skin...”
judge should be looking for shoulders that are smooth and relatively narrow. Th e space between the legs should not be narrower than that of the Fox Terrier— “approximately 3" or 3 fingers” and no larger than 4" (approximately four fingers). Th e Border’s legs should be straight and not turned in or out. He should not be loaded in shoulders which would interferes with is going to ground. Looking at the head itself, there should be very little stop with proportions of 2 to 1 from the occiput to stop with the muz- zle one-third to tip. It is moderately broad and flat with plenty of width between the eyes and the ears. A slight, moder- ately broad slope at the stop rather than a pronounce indentation. Th e muzzle is short and well filled. Th e ears should be in proportion to the head, v-shaped and moderately thick with dark ears preferred. (Some judges cover the ears when exam- ining the head to get a better view of an otter like head.) Th e ear breaks below the level of skull and should be in proportion to the head. Th e Border’s eyes are dark and mod- erate in size with fill under the eyes. Its strong masseter muscles gave the Border a cheeky appearance. Too short a muzzle will produce bulging eye, á la the Brussels Gri ff on. Th e Border’s nose is black and of a good size. Th e Border’s teeth have a scis- sors bite with no deviation allowed, large for the size of the dog. Th e Border Terrier neck is well set on and long enough to allow the freedom of head movement. Th e Border Terrier shoulder blades are long and well laid back with the length of the shoulder blade and upper arm being approximately equal and converging at the withers. Th e space between the forelegs is equal at the elbows and at the feet. Th e length and angulation of the shoulder and upper arm results in the legs being set further back and under the withers rather than as in the Fox Terrier—giving the Border a somewhat chesty look when viewed from
the side. Unlike the Fox Terrier and other fancy terrier breeds, the Border has a somewhat strait underline. To properly evaluate terrier’ ability to go to ground, it must be spannable. To span a terrier a judge must place his hands behind the elbows, raising only the front from the table, compressing the chest gently. Ideally, his thumbs should meet at the spine and his fingers should meet under the terrier. Dr. Pope called the Border the “the smallest tall, long-legged terrier”. Th is was necessary for his working in the border between England and Scotland in order to be able to keep up with the horse and the hounds over rough ground. A short- legged, over-sprung, wide, deep chested Border would not be able to do the work he was bred to do. Border dogs should weigh 13-15 ½ pounds, bitches, 11 ½ -14 pounds in hardworking condition. It is rare now, in the era of couch potatoes and expensive dog foods, to find a Border in the hard working condition previously seen in the working terriers in the Border country. Proportions should be the height at the withers is slightly greater than the distance from the withers to the base of the tail, by about 1"-1 ½ ". Th e same rough terrain and climate requires a double coat for protection on the job. Th e tweedy broken coat is preferred. A lack of undercoat must be faulted. Th e coat should be hard and wiry. Th ere must be evidence of a double coat. If there is no evi- dence, it must be assumed it does not exist. Borders should never be overly trimmed to resemble other breeds. Excessive grooming should be penalized. A useful tool for the working Border is his tail, shaped like a carrot, thick at base and tapering to a point. It is often used by the huntsman to pull the Border out of the fox- hole. Ideally it comes o ff the back at a forty- five degree angle, but upright, or level carriage, is also acceptable, but never over the back. Th e topline of the Border is not men- tioned in the standard. Th e original drafts of the standard spoke about a slight rise
over the loin. Th e drafters, fearing that judges would exaggerate this phrase. Th e prohibition of a dip behind the withers was the only comment put in the standard about the topline. Th e Border is the only terrier that has a loose and thick fitting skin (hide or pelt). Th is is crucial because it protects the dog from injury inflicted by his quarry, other dogs or underbrush. Th e judge should not hesitate to grasp a handful of skin in back of the shoulders and lift it. Th e Border’s rear is muscular, thighs long, stifles well bent and hocks well let down. Rear angulation should be compli- mentary to that of the front. Th e Border Terrier coat can come in red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan and wheaten. None are preferred as function is not a ff ected, however altering coat color and trimming with scissors are not appro- priate for a working terrier. BIOS Ruth Ann Naun is a specialist judge of Border Terriers since 1992. She has judged the national specialty twice and the breed at CC level in Britain twice as well. She is the long time delegate of the Border Terrier Club of America to the AKC. Bob Naun, her husband, died in late 2011, was a Terrier Group judge, and had held posts in the parent club includ- ing president for fifteen years, and club historian. He had also judged the breed national twice and was the first American to award CCs in their breed in Britain. Th eir Oldstone prefix has been a presence in the breed since the early 1970s.
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PHIL FREILICH I worked for 35 years in the horti- cultural industry. I have been actively retired for the past 8 years. I am a mem- ber of the Contra Costa County Kennel Club have been the Show Chairman for Woofstock Cluster since the Clus- ters’ beginning in 2008. I currently judge the Terrier group, completing the Working Group and a few Herding breeds. I live in Martinez, CA, which is located in the East Bay about 45 minutes from downtown San Francisco. Outside of dogs my wife Sharon and I breed and show full blood Dorper Sheep (100% of gene pool originates from African stock). As with our dogs our aim is to raise the best quality of Dorper Sheep possible. Our sheep are sold at auction to ranchers and farmers to use as breeding stock to improve their flocks. Under our flock name, Freilance Dorpers we have 20 Dor- per ewes on 65 acres we lease near our home. I also main- tain a year-round vegetable garden with many spring and fall crops. My wife and I enjoy traveling and we like to take an international trip once a year. Growing up, we had Miniature Schnauzers as our family dog. I became involved with Border Terriers in 1988 when my wife and I decided we needed a dog that would follow our horse when we went trail riding. We started showing in 1989 shortly after joining the Border Terrier Club of the Redwoods. Our first show was the bench show at Golden Gate KC. I applied to judge Border Terriers in 1999 and have been judging for 17 years.
RONNIE IRVING Although my family originally came from the Scottish side of the border district between England and Scotland, we now live in England in Oxfordshire. Now retired, I was origi- nally a CPA but worked most of my life in the refrigerated warehousing busi- ness, partly in the US. I have been in the dog world all my life as I am a third generation Border Terrier person my grandfather having first had the breed three years after it was recognized by the UK Kennel Club in 1920. Showing? Over fifty years. Judging? Since 1967. RUTH ANN NAUN I am a long-time resident of metropolitan New York City, and “outside” of dogs I am a retired educator. With my hus- band, Bob, we got our first Border Terrier in 1972. I began judging the breed in the early 1990s. MARG POUGH
I live in Ithaca, NY. I spend my time mostly with various dog activities— conformation, obedience, Earthdog, tracking, teaching 4-H Grooming and Handling and Pet Therapy at Hospicare, our Exception Education school and the library. I come from a large family and family is important. I grew up with fam- ily dogs, a Springer, a GSD, a mix and an
I live in Great Pond, Maine; my wife Jill and I run a small sheep farm. I have worked with dogs professionally since my late teens, working in several ken- nels, managing a Massachusetts SPCA shelter for several years and becom- ing a Kennel-Huntsman, maintaining a kennel of 25 to 30 couple of Fox- hounds for several years. My first Bor- der came in the late 70s; I started to show at about that time and have been judging for about 10 years.
“amateur Boxer”. I was the dog nut in the family and did the home training of our GSD. I made my mother drive me to local shows (Bryn Mawr KC, then held in Devon.) And one year I took the train to spend a day at Westminster when it was on a school holiday. I got my first Border Terrier in 1963, and bred my first litter in 1965. (I was working in NYC and showed my first home- bred Border at Westminster in 1967 and still have her WB rosette.) I started judging in 1995. I judge Border Terriers, Otterhounds, Junior Showmanship and Earthdog.
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WITH PHIL FREILICH, PATRICK GLOVER, RONNIE IRVING, RUTH ANN NAUN & MARG POUGH border terrier Q&A
1. What makes the Border an outstanding show dog? What makes him a great pet? PF: Most Border Terriers are not natural show dogs. Exhibi- tors and handlers have to work at training a Border Terrier to be a good to outstanding show dog. The Border Terrier is a friendly, active dog with an excellent tempera- ment that fits most families life styles. Borders love to be part of any family activity. They are a medium to small size dog with relatively few major health problems. PG: I do not think the Border is an outstanding show dog. A Border is an extremely attractive, functional animal. An outgoing, friendly demeanor completes the picture. When I think of an outstanding show dog, I think of a very stylish, flashy breed—of which a Border is neither. A Border’s beauty stems from all the ingredients that make it “essentially a working terrier” and its calm, pleasant nature—when not at work—complete the picture. What makes him a great pet is that very same nature, his ability to get along well with other dogs. The fact that he can keep up with you, no matter what your pursuits, then curl up with you and read a book if that’s what you are doing next, is what is attractive to me. This is not a Terrier that needs to go all the time. RI: I’m not sure that Borders are outstanding show dogs. There are many breeds such as Wire Fox Terriers etc., that are far more flashy and spectacular and are rather easier to persuade to show with enthusiasm. What makes him a great pet? Easy to look after and groom, steady in temperament and not generally subject to many health problems. The pet dogs that you meet in the street often look like the ones you see in the show ring. There are not many Terrier breeds that could claim that! RN: Both questions can be answered by directing focus back to the breed standard. Bred to live within farm families in the Border country between Scotland and England, to run out with hound packs after fox and then to go to ground after the fox when the fox does to earth, the form of the Border Terrier follows its function. They are intel- ligent, agreeable, hearty, sound and sensible. MP: Borders are the Terrier that can do it all—anything from showing to obedience, Earthdog, agility, hunting, or just hanging out. It is primarily an owner-handled breed and those dogs go home to family after the shows. 2. What is the most prevalent fault you see today? PF: Poor shoulders seem to be a universal problem for most breeds. There are the exceptions, but very few breeds have adequate to good shoulders. PG: It would have to be fronts, and incorrect shoulder assembly. Your hopes are dashed so many times when you are looking at a very attractive Border, but it moves improperly due to some issue in the front. RI: Poor fronts both for construction and movement, and not enough Border Terriers with enough harsh double coat. RN: In my view, the most prevalent fault today is poor fronts, shoulders and movement. MP: Showing in too short a coat, so that you cannot evaluate if it is a working coat with both correct under
coat and harsh topcoat. Lack of thick hide. Lack of cor- rect length of rib. Inadequate shoulder layback leading to restricted movement.
3. Describe the breed in three words. PF: Friendly, active and intelligent.
PG: Narrow, rugged and stoic. RI: Active, friendly and stoical. RN: Hard to do, but I would say, “natural working Terrier”. MP: “Essentially a Working Terrier” 4. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? PF: Correct otter varmint headpiece and expression, a span- nable dog that can work in the field, and a dog with thick loose hide with a hard, thick jacket. PG: Proper head, with strong muzzle, underjaw and large punishing teeth. Correct build for a working Terrier, strongly made, narrow throughout, ribs well laid back, with enough length and range. A weather-resistant dou- ble coat, and truly sound enough to follow a horse all day. RI: The head of the Border Terrier—like that of an otter—is its most distinguishing feature. Good sound movement is also an essential as is a correct mouth. Also, for the Border Terrier, a person with average sized man’s hands ought to be able to span it behind the shoulder so as to ensure it would be able to follow a fox into its lair—the job for which the breed was originally bred. But it is the totality of the dog that counts and judges should not become obsessed with any one feature. RN: Must have traits include: otter-like head, strong proper scissors bite, soundness front and rear, spannable, heavy hide and double coat. MP: Enough length of leg to run free with the Terrier man and climb the steep fells. Correct shoulder and movement. Correct rib, in shape and length and flexibility. Correct double coat with thick hide. Pleasing head without exaggeration. 5. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? PF: Breeders today are doing a good job of maintaining the integrity of the Border Terrier. It is a breed without exag- gerations. When dogs start to become too big, breeders tend to put more emphasize on size. I see many exhibits that lack substance and need more bone. It is question- able if some of the smaller bitches you see in the ring today can work and go to ground. PG: Exaggeration is something to be avoided at all costs in the Border Terrier. The word “moderate” or “moderately” appears six times in our standard. A good Border is usu- ally quite moderate in all aspects. Excessive rear angula- tion is the only consistent exaggeration I have noticed. Putting a rear out behind the dog does it quite a disservice. RI: In the UK, excessive length of body. The UK breed standard asks for the body to be “fairly long”, but some people are construing this as “long” rather than “fairly long”. The AKC breed standard says,
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WITH PHIL FREILICH, PATRICK GLOVER, RONNIE IRVING, RUTH ANN NAUN & MARG POUGH border terrier Q&A
“The height at the withers is slightly greater than the dis- tance from the withers to the tail.” In my view that’s cor- rect and gives the right balance. In the US on the other hand, there is at times a tendency to go for dogs that are over angulated behind, with too much bend of stifle. And these days, certainly in the UK, not enough people allow the dogs to show on a loose lead—too many are stacked. RN: Exaggerations in the US Borders, in my view include over grooming, foreign substances in coat and scissoring of coat. MP: Heads are in some cases become “cute” and too short in muzzle resulting in a rounder eye. Also some have too much back skull. Temperament, too much on their toes, as some are selecting for a showy dog, which may result in temperament issues. Borders are not a showy Terrier and being bored in the show ring is NOT atypical nor a fault. Borders may drop their tail when at rest. 6. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? PF: First and foremost, the Border Terrier is a working breed meant to go to ground and dispense small vermin. Your final decisions should be based on if a Border can get the job done and then consider showmanship. Many new judges are either uncomfortable or do not know how to properly span a Border Terrier. PG: When I see animals put up that are fine boned, shelly, not strongly put together, with weak fore face and jaw, I question whether a judge has an understanding of a working Terrier. Our Borders are first and foremost a working Terrier and should be judged accordingly. RI: Sometimes in the US where adjudicators are mostly multi breed judges, new people often think that the Border is so different from other Terrier breeds that they become obsessed about certain individual factors. They should instead judge the dog as a whole. In the UK, with many more specialist judges, not enough new adjudica- tors understand what makes a good front and correct front movement. RN: New judges can underestimate the commitment to form following function intended in the breed standard. Bor- der Terriers are still meant to be able to work as they did in the Cheviot Hills from which they originate. MP: Why spanning is important—understanding how to do it and what it can tell them. Spanning helps feel balance and rib flexibility. Smaller is not always better. 7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? PF: Judges should know that when we talk about a Border having an otter-like expression, we are referring to an English river otter and not a sea otter. Moderate is used 7 times in the breed standard. PG: Borders are increasingly being shown in stripped down coats, often too short to accurately assess proper coat texture. There is a strong trend away from showing them in their workmanlike tweedy jackets as they have
in the past; this seems to be a march away from type. I sincerely miss seeing a class of Borders out there with proper jackets. RI: Anyone who has them should realize that many of them still have the hunting instinct for which they were origi- nally bred. They may, therefore, go off hunting if they get the chance. In the UK, the major single source of prema- ture death in the breed is as a result of them running off and being killed in a traffic accident. RN: Border Terrier exhibitors will value honest efforts to understand this breed which is a show dog that is also still a working dog. Remember we all could understand better, and have more to learn about judging. MP: The Border is “essentially a working Terrier.” I want to see enough length of leg to allow the Border to climb the steep fells, and maneuver through thick heather without tiring. I look for a body that is flexible to allow the dog to go to ground. And I reward the characteristics that make a Border a working Terrier! A Border should have a hide that is “very thick and loose fitting” and “a very wiry and somewhat broken top coat which should lie closely.” Teeth should be “strong, with a scissors bite, large in proportion to the size of the dog.” Eyes should be “moderate in size, neither prominent or small and beady.” We continue to need to strive for good shoulders and good extension on the side movement. I see dogs lacking in hide and in coat texture, and the desirable tooth size. In addition judges should not reward the cute expression with prominent or round eyes, undesirable in a working Terrier. As breeders, we need to be aware of the charac- teristics that define a Border Terrier. 8. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? RN: I watched as an excellent American judge puzzle through a class which included an unfamiliar coat color on British Border Terrier dog being shown. He was being shown by an exhibitor unknown to the judge. The exhibitor is a third generation, prominent British breeder who had recently come to reside in this country with his family and this dog. The judge took the time to come to a good decision, as a natural coat color is fully acceptable. The judge and the exhibitor established a good working relationship out of that very interesting first meeting, and all present at ringside enjoyed the show. MP: Showing in obedience many years ago when going for a CD with Ch Bandersnatch Snark CD CG, obedience rings were solid hurdles. This was an outdoor show and across the show ground there was a fence line with brush and trees, and horses on the far side running and neighing in play. “Snark” kept leaping up to see what the sound was, while maintaining heel position; but 6 feet to my left as I went down the middle of the ring. At every halt he would zip into perfect heel position or sit parallel to me, but the 6 feet away. At the end of the heel free, both the judge and I were laughing, as he said he was afraid he could not qualify that exercise. Borders are very inventive in obedi- ence and the handler must have a sense of humor.
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BRITTANYS & THE PET PEEVES OF A JEC
by DIANA KUBITZ
I am the Judge’s Education Chair for the American Brittany Club, a position I have held for several years now. My qualifications came from work both in the show ring and the field, having handled dogs to their titles in both. I believe that the Brittany is and always should be a dual dog. As the JEC, I often receive an onslaught of Monday morning notices after a long dog show weekend—the bing of a text, the beep of an email, the ringing of the phone. My biggest pet peeve is everyone thinking I can fix everything for them. I am often heard saying, “I just teach judge’s education, I can’t make them judge the way I’d like.” In the interest of education, I’d like to clear up a few of the finer points on judging this dual dog. BITE This is what our standard says about the bite, “Bite—A true scissors bite. Overshot or undershot jaw to be heav- ily penalized.” It doesn’t say full denti- tion, count teeth or the teeth should be a specific size. AKC has a really nice sheet that tells you how and what to exam in reference to bite. It’s called “Conducting Oral Exams.” This is what the first part says, “The proficient judge alters their examination technique from breed to breed based on the pri- orities as defined by the standard. It should never be identical from breed to breed to breed. To do so requires inter- pretation of the written word as to what the standard is attempting to convey to you as the judge. The manner in which a breed’s approved standard is writ- ten will define what would constitute conducting a breed specific exami- nation. Close inspection of a breed’s approved standard will determine the appropriate oral exam to conduct when judging that breed, which is an essential component of the breed spe- cific exam. Oral exams can be gen- erally divided into four categories which individually or in combination
will constitute the proper oral exam for a breed: 1. Bite—checking the front 2. Teeth—checking the fronts and sides 3. Mouth—involves opening the mouth to count teeth or check pigment. Always used in combina- tion with a “bite” or “teeth” exam depending on the breed 4. Thumb exam—used for smaller, short muzzled breeds that call for an undershot jaw.” More on the bite exam: it is proper when the standard only refers to the alignment of the bite; scissors, level and undershot or overshot, as a preference, fault or DQ. This requires the exhibitor or judge separating the front of the lips to display the meshing of the incisors and canines. Judges that is all you need
to know about judging a Brittany’s bite. Then I don’t get some of those Monday calls. I have to tell you that this is one of the biggest complaints I hear. MOVEMENT “Slow down, don’t go so fast, you aren’t off to the races!” Okay, exhibi- tors, sometimes the judge is right! With that being said, I’ve taught conforma- tion classes for years and one of the things I tell everyone, no matter what the breed, is that you need to move the dog at its best speed. A Brittany is a field dog as well as a show dog and one of the most versatile breeds. In the field, it is required to run all day hunting, 30 minutes or 60 minutes in a field trial and about 20 minutes in a hunt test. The standard says, “When at a trot the Brittany’s hind foot should
“A BRITTANY IS A FIELD DOG AS WELL AS A SHOW DOG AND ONE OF THE MOST VERSATILE BREEDS.”
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irving, ruth ann na un & marg pough border terrier q&a
with phil freilich, pa
trick glover, ronnie
RUTH ANN NAUN
then curl up with you and read a book if that’s what you are doing next, is what is attractive to me. This is not a Terrier that needs to go all the time. RI: I’m not sure that Borders are outstanding show dogs. There are many breeds such as Wire Fox Terriers etc., that are far more flashy and spectacular and are rather easier to persuade to show with enthusiasm. What makes him a great pet? Easy to look after and groom, steady in temperament and not generally subject to many health problems. The pet dogs that you meet in the street often look like the ones you see in the show ring. There are not many Terrier breeds that could claim that! RN: Both questions can be answered by directing focus back to the breed standard. Bred to live within farm families in the Border country between Scotland and England, to run out with hound packs after fox and then to go to ground after the fox when the fox does to earth, the form of the Border Terrier follows its function. They are intel- ligent, agreeable, hearty, sound and sensible. MP: Borders are the Terrier that can do it all—anything from showing to obedience, Earthdog, agility, hunting, or just hanging out. It is primarily an owner-handled breed and those dogs go home to family after the shows. 2. What is the most prevalent fault you see in the rings today? PF: Poor shoulders seem to be a universal problem for most breeds. There are the exceptions, but very few breeds have adequate to good shoulders. PG: It would have to be fronts, and incorrect shoulder assembly. Your hopes are dashed so many times when you are looking at a very attractive Border, but it moves improperly due to some issue in the front. RI: Poor fronts both for construction and movement, and not enough Border Terriers with enough harsh double coat. RN: In my view, the most prevalent fault today is poor fronts, shoulders and movement. MP: Showing in too short a coat, so that you cannot evaluate if it is a working coat with both correct under- coat and harsh topcoat. Lack of thick hide. Lack of cor- rect length of rib. Inadequate shoulder layback leading to restricted movement.
I am a long-time resident of metropolitan New York City, and “outside” of dogs I am a retired educator. With my hus- band, Bob, we got our first Border Terrier in 1972. I began judging the breed in the early 1990s. MARG POUGH
I live in Ithaca, NY. I spend my time mostly with various dog activities— conformation, obedience, Earthdog, tracking, teaching 4-H Grooming and Handling and Pet Therapy at Hospi- care, our Exception Education school and the library. I come from a large family and family is important. I grew up with family dogs, a Springer, a GSD,
a mix and an “amateur Boxer”. I was the dog nut in the fam- ily and did the home training of our GSD. I made my mother drive me to local shows (Bryn Mawr KC, then held in Devon.) And one year I took the train to spend a day at Westminster when it was on a school holiday and learned about Beagling with the Nantucket and Tryweryn packs. I got my first Bor- der Terrier in 1963, and bred my first litter in 1965. (I was working in NYC and showed my first homebred Border at Westminster in 1967 and still have her WB rosette.) I started judging in 1995. I judge Border Terriers, Otterhounds, Junior Showmanship and Earthdog. 1. What makes the Border an outstanding show dog? What makes him a great pet? PF: Most Border Terriers are not natural show dogs. Exhibi- tors and handlers have to work at training a Border Terrier to be a good to outstanding show dog. The Border Terrier is a friendly, active dog with an excellent tempera- ment that fits most families life styles. Borders love to be part of any family activity. They are a medium to small size dog with relatively few major health problems. PG: I do not think the Border is an outstanding show dog. A Border is an extremely attractive, functional animal. An outgoing, friendly demeanor completes the picture. When I think of an outstanding show dog, I think of a very stylish, flashy breed—of which a Border is neither. A Border’s beauty stems from all the ingredients that make it “essentially a working terrier” and its calm, pleasant nature—when not at work—complete the picture. What makes him a great pet is that very same nature, his ability to get along well with other dogs. The fact that he can keep up with you, no matter what your pursuits,
3. Describe the breed in three words. PF: Friendly, active and intelligent.
PG: Narrow, rugged and stoic. RI: Active, friendly and stoical. RN: Hard to do, but I would say, “natural working Terrier”. MP: “Essentially a Working Terrier” 4. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? PF: Correct otter varmint headpiece and expression, a span- nable dog that can work in the field, and a dog with thick loose hide with a hard, thick jacket.
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