Let’s Talk Breed Education!
THE AUSTRALIAN TERRIER
1. What are your thoughts on your breed’s current sustainability issues? 2. Your opinion of the current quality of purebred dogs in general, and your breed in particular. 3. The biggest concern you have about your breed, be it medical, structural, temperament-wise, or what. 4. The biggest problem facing you as a breeder. 5. Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed? 6. What’s the most common fault you see when travel- ing around the country? 7. Anything else you’d like to share—something you’ve learned as a breeder, exhibitor or judge or a par- ticular point you’d like to make. 8. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing that you ever experienced at a dog show? KERRIE BRYAN Kerrie Bryan owned her first Australian Terrier as a pet in australia in 1950. In 1991, in the America, she joined the Wis- miss Kennel established in 1970 by Carol Sazama. She contin- ues to breed and co-own with Carol Sazama and shows as an owner, breeder and handler. I live in Colorado. Outside of dogs, I am very involved in the sustainability of the natural environment in Colorado, specifically Boulder County. I monitor raptors for the County and work with a number of nature organizations. I have an extensive garden and spend many hours with the dogs there. Australian Terriers are not alone in facing decreasing litter registrations. I do not believe that the decreasing litter regis- trations are caused only by a lack of pet owners interested in Australian Terriers as to the best of my knowledge, breeders have not had a problem placing their puppies recently. In a changing society, many interests (and breeds and novel cross breeds) vie for people’s attention and demands on their spare time. Breeding purebred dogs is a serious and sometimes arduous hobby and demands an apprenticeship on not only the actual breeding process but on the nature of pedigrees and how best to preserve the structure and temperament of Australian Terriers through a planned breeding program. The traditional role of dog shows was as a vehicle for choosing the dogs that best portrayed the innate traits of
the breed. To some extent that remains a subsidiary object of dogs shows but the overall nature of shows has changed, and the competitive nature of shows is in the ascendency. That can be daunting for new owners and would-be breeders. A small number of dedicated breeders are committed to breeding Australian Terriers exhibiting the structure and temperament innate in those terriers. Before Australian Ter- rier were show dogs, they were working dogs. Uniquely, because of the topography of Australia they were also bred as a companion to the far-flung homesteaders. Australian Terri- ers are well suited to being companion dogs and performance dogs. They love a job. I do believe that most of our breeders ai for well-rounded dogs. The biggest concern I have about the breed is a decreasing gene pool. The biggest problem facing me as a breeder is finding the time to devote to a long-term serious breeding program as one ages. A new breeder should discuss the breed with a number of experienced breeders. Mentoring is so important for new breeders. Take the time to observe not only your breed but other breeds, movement and structure. Go over a lot of dogs with experienced breeders who will be honest about their dogs- both Australian Terriers and other breeds. Judges should reward the innate qualities of the breed and above all terrier temperament. Terriers were not meant to be judged only as a pretty picture. What are the characteristics that make an Australian Terrier essentially and Australian Terrier rather than a generic dog ? There is a point to that topknot and ruff.- defense against the snakes they were bred to kill. The most common fault I see when traveling around the country: if you mean in Australian Terriers, I would say that it would be too long in loin, lack of keel and length of jaw—all qualities essential to this working terrier. Often grooming has depleted the topknot and ruff which are the essential charac- teristics of an Australian Terrier. Another point I’d like to make is that breeding happy, well- structured Australian Terriers is a serious task and that one must aim for a well- =rounded dog as well as for a winning dog in the show ring. My young male had won Winners Dog and was competing in Breed. We were all lined up in front of the judge when his sister (held—or not held—by a friend), dashed into the ring
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australian terrier Q&A WITH KERRIE BRYAN, GRACE MASSEY, CHERYL MECHALKE, KIM OCCHIUTI, ALEXA SAMAROTTO, TERESA SCHREEDER AND JULIE SEATON
and went straight to her brother. I was mortified. The judge laughed and said, “Good choice. He is my Best of Winners.” GRACE MASSEY My name is Dr. Grace Massey and my kennel is Firewalker Australian Terriers. I have been involved in Australian Ter- riers for over 16 years as owner/handler and over ten years as a breeder. This is my second year as Vice President of the Australian Terrier Club of America, and I served on the Board of Directors previously for 7 years. I contribute to the ATCA as the columnist for the AKC Gazette Australian Terrier Breed column (since 2007) and as the editor of the ATCA Calendar (since 2014). I am currently the chairman of the ATCA Schol- arship Fund Committee and serve on the Australian Terrier Breed Sustainability committee. I live in Gloucester, Virginia. I am a Marine Research Sci- entist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science/ College of William & Mary, studying hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. I am also a Motorcycle Safety Federation RiderCoach at Thomas Nelson Community College, teaching basic and safe riding motorcycle skills. As a member of the Australian Terrier Club of America’s sustainability committee, I would have to say I am most con- cerned about the decrease in the number of litters registered each year with AKC. The committee is currently conducting a study of the 2008-2017 global number of Australian Terriers to find out if this trend holds true worldwide. We are also looking at the number of Aussies that are imported/exported between countries as well as the average number of pup- pies born per litter each year as an indicator of the health of the breed. My biggest fear, as we move forward in addressing the sus- tainability of our breed, is that we begin to breed for quantity and breed diversity at the sacrifice of quality. We still need to breed to the standard while choosing for temperament and health. It will be a fine line that our future breeders will have to walk. I believe that one of the biggest problems facing Austra- lian Terrier breeders today is the limited recognition of our breed as a wonderful pet by the general population. We need to advertise our breed so it is better recognized. Most of the people that contact me about puppies for a pet have previous- ly owned or presently own an Australian Terrier. By no means do I want the Australian Terrier to become one of most popu- lar pet breeds. However, I would like to have people who have never owned an Aussie to call and visit so I can have the opportunity to further educate them about our wonderful breed and give them a chance to experience them firsthand. My advice to a new breeder or new judge would be: “Breed to the Standard” and “Judge to the Standard”. We have a Stan- dard to describe the ideal Australian Terrier. Read it often! As a new breeder, one should, as often as possible, be going over other breeders’ dogs and asking them to explain what they see as their dogs’ attributes and faults. The more hands-on experi- ence you have, the better you will get at seeing the structure that should underlie our beautiful Aussies. Once you feel the
structure, watch them move. You will see how the structure affects the movement. An Aussie is a working terrier, and the Standard describes him as more than a pretty face or profile when standing still. Of course, even if an Aussie moves well but doesn’t have type, i.e., doesn’t “look” like how the Aus- tralian Terrier as described in our Standard, then he isn’t any better than the one that looks good but can’t move. Both, however, can be useful with careful planning in a breeding program: one to help improve structure and the other to help improve type. To judges I would ask: Please don’t judge only faults, but look at the overall quality of the Aussie. No Aussie is perfect, but we should be working toward it! Breed for temperament and health. Our Aussies are pets first and foremost. No matter how close to the standard they are, if they cannot live long healthy lives as members of the family then we are doing a disservice to our breed! I was walking my Aussie Flame, BISS CH Aussome Chero- kee Firewalker, into the building at a show site after taking him out to relieve himself, and as we got in the door a very little, very fluffy Pomeranian puppy came bouncing out in front of us, making cute little squeaky noises. This puppy was so fluffy you couldn’t tell which end was the front! My big bad Australian Terrier male, who was not afraid of anything, took one look at the little Pom, jumped back and tried to climb my legs to get away from him. I could not stop laughing at his reaction! From that day, till the day he died at 14 and-a-half years old, he would RUN from fluffy squeaky toys! CHERYL MECHALKE I live in Colorado. I am a Data and Configuration Manager for an Aerospace Company. This is a real concern in our
breed and our National Club has created a committee to address the issue. I personally believe that getting Australian Terriers out and about in the general public eye is one of the best ways to generate interest in the breed. I am always happy to see
Australian Terriers doing many things and I am always willing to stop and visit with people who come to shows and want to learn about the breed. I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful people and they now have Aussies living in their home, even if their puppies are not of my breeding. I don’t feel qualified to answer regarding the quality of other breeds. Regarding Australian Terriers, I have noticed that the over- all quality of the dogs is improving and the breeders that I associate with are striving to breed dogs that are sound of body and mind. The biggest concern I have about your breed: this is a dif- ficult question to answer as it is complex. I am concerned about the overall dog, as a complete package. I firmly believe
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australian terrier Q&A WITH KERRIE BRYAN, GRACE MASSEY, CHERYL MECHALKE, KIM OCCHIUTI, ALEXA SAMAROTTO, TERESA SCHREEDER AND JULIE SEATON
in a lack of consistency in breed type across the country fur- ther limiting choices for breeding partners. My advice to a new breeder is to travel and see Aussies beyond your breeder’s stock and to study the breed standard from an impartial source, for instance, with breed mentors or long-standing parent club members active and inactive. With- out consulting those “inactive” breeders one loses the history and depth of knowledge regarding the breed. In addition, “inactive” breeders have no skin in the game and will offer unbiased opinions on anyone’s dogs or breeding practices. As far as judges go, I wish that they would judge the breed as if it were their own and to really evaluate for breeding. Because this breed is not common, it is easier to fault judge versus judging the entire dog. The mediocre Aussie often wins the most because the faults, while many, are not dramatic. As a breeder, I would breed to an overall excellent dog with some obvious fault (e.g. size, eye color, pigment, etc.) over a medio- cre dog any day. Most common fault is breed type, but if we are talking breed standard faults, I’d have to say straight shoulders. Integrity and patience are key. The people I respect the most have ethics which they have adhered to through slow winning and big winning times. The wins will come and go, so persevering and sticking with what is best for the breed is best for the sustainability and longevity of you and your breeding program. The funniest moments for me are not publicly shareable, but a favorite moment was a Tarheel circuit about 20 years ago when my then 4 year old daughter was big on listening to ABBA and had us all singing to the hits of ABBA, we all think of that circuit when we hear ABBA to this day. ALEXA SAMAROTTO I live in Staten Island, a suburban part of New York City. This is a breed that should be more well known and desired as the best features of the breed really suit the way we live today. We want a dog with an easy care coat, easy going personality, good size and activity level often for apartment living and with few health issues and frankly, the Australian Terrier meets those requirements. To some extent, those fea- tures do not meet a certain modern taste for “exotic” looking breeds that are in fashion. This is unfortunate in that when a pet person discovers the Aussie, they often say they would never change breeds again. I have heard this so many times in my many years (over 50) in the breed. The problem is often access to puppies from good quality breeders. So many poten- tial buyers who sound like the homes we want for our pup- pies can’t find a puppy in any viable time frame so they end up with another breed. This was considered heresy years ago, but in today’s climate with regard to purebred dogs, I believe we need to produce more, good quality puppies rather than fewer. More puppies sold to good homes are the public rela- tions ambassadors we need to show the public how great a breed we have. More Aussies out there are our best advertis- ing for the breed ultimately adding to the potential pool of
that one must strive to breed sound dogs by doing research and selecting dogs to breed to that compliments, enhanc- es or offers improvements to the faults of the the dam you are breeding. The biggest problem facing me as a breeder is ensur- ing that the puppies that have been bred are placed in wonderful homes. Advice to a new breeder and to a new judge: read and understand the Standard for the breed. Then find breeders at shows or online, and visit with them to learn about the breed and put your hands on the dogs to feel the structure. Much can be done with grooming to distract from faults that all dogs have, but your hands can feel much more than the eye can see. It is better to feel the dog and know the “whole pack- age”, as a really good dog may not have an owner who grooms really well, or is new to the breed and needs some practice/ advice regarding grooming. I have been blessed to have met other breeders, handlers and judges who offered me groom- ing tips! This is much appreciated! The most common fault I see when traveling around the country is Australian Terriers that lack bone/forechest, round eyes/lack of pigmentation, have poor toplines Love your dogs! Strive to breed to the Standard! And ignore the bullies! The funniest thing that happened to me at a show was I lost my half slip in a show ring and threw it out of the show ring and it landed on the ring fencing! KIM OCCHIUTI I live outside of Boston. I work a full-time job and a part time job. I am more active with my family and friends than I am with my dogs, though dogs are a major part of my life. I’m very concerned, all counts are down dramatically from when I started, breeders, litters, puppies, Regional Aus- sie clubs and parent club membership. We have always been a less popular breed, but I feel that we are heading toward being rare. The quality of dogs overall has not changed dramatically over the years. There are a few quality dogs and many aver- age dogs, the best dogs are not necessarily the top winners. I’m guessing that Australian Terriers are no different in this than any breed. Being so passionate about this breed, I see problems in every area mentioned (structure, temperament, health), but I believe our biggest issue is breed type. There are so many fac- tors that are important to our breed type, the outline of this breed from head to tail, is unique to the short legged terriers. Our heads should be long and strong, the neck should slope and blend beautifully into the laid back shoulder and there should be structure beyond the tail. I see all three of these things lacking, yes the front and rear are ultimately about structure, but without them the dogs lack true breed type. My biggest problem as a breeder is the lack of quality stud dogs. Breeders tend to keep bitches as they are easier to run together. Aussie breeders also tend to limit their breeding programs to their region and their friends which has resulted
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australian terrier Q&A WITH KERRIE BRYAN, GRACE MASSEY, CHERYL MECHALKE, KIM OCCHIUTI, ALEXA SAMAROTTO, TERESA SCHREEDER AND JULIE SEATON
new exhibitors and breeders if we explore that interest with our puppy buyers and encourage them. Even as pets, our Aus- sies speak for themselves as purebred quality dogs and that is the asset. In Aussies, the quality has increased nicely overall in more than fifty years but that said, some of the truly great Auss- ies from the past would still be outstanding today. On the other hand, bar has raised enough to make the breed more competitive against other breeds which is very good for the future of the breed. What I have seen overall in pure- bred dogs is a very nice level of presentation which I feel makes the sport look more professional, in the good sense of the word. Temperament is one of the strong features of the breed and should be bred for and maintained. This will ensure the breed’s future and when I see doubtful temperament, I feel strongly it should not be bred from or perpetuated; remem- ber most puppies no matter whether primarily show or pets, are pets as well and must be able to function in a home envi- ronment. Type is also a concern; we all need to keep the breed’s image in mind. The biggest problem facing me as a breeder is trying to find the right sire to breed to is more challenging in a rarer breed for sure. The gene pool is small and even when dogs are imported, care must be taken to examine the pedigree. I try to linebreed with the right outcrosses and I am not alone in finding this such a challenge. My advice to a new breeder reflects my experience when I was new: learn from the standard and view with skepticism any information you get from other breeders. Let me explain before you jump to conclusions! When I started I was a kid and in those days, very little was available to read about the breed nor were the older breeders as helpful because I had not bought a dog from them. Sound familiar now? My mother and I were actually freer to read the standard and watch dogs in the ring and learn without biased advice coming our way. I learned more and faster because we read general books on structure and movement, watched not just Aussie judging but watched judging all day, especially the older great judges of that era. I feel I learned to evaluate dogs better that way than I see from some newcomers who are being led in all directions by those touting their own breeding. This advice applies to new judges: read the standard and apply it. If something someone tells you is contrary to the standard, re-read it and come to your own conclusion. We need to keep our eyes on proper front and rear struc- ture to create proper movement. This is a breed that needed to cover more ground in their environment, needed to be athletic, agile to be able to hunt. Hunting snakes as they did requires the ability to jump up and away when they needed to. We need to keep the long, strong head in mind as well which adds to their functionality. I have had the breed since 1963 and started showing in 1965 and still love every minute of being in and around the dog show world. The friends you make are the truest supporters in any time of need, or success, based on our mutual love of our breed and dogs. It is that aspect that is the most important message we need to spread: love of dogs conquers all.
I live in Northern California close to many shows. I work as a Physical Therapist. I co-breed Aussie’s with Susan Bachman under the moniker of Ryba Australian Terriers. I am an Australian Terrier Club of Amer- ica Board member, the Health Chairman as well as a board member of the Australian Terrier Trust. I participate as part of the judges education for the parent club for local shows, meet the breed and at National specialties.
Thoughts on the breed’s current sustainability issues: Aus- tralian Terriers in the last five years have reduced in the num- bers of litters produced and lower registered dogs. The issue is multi-factorial one being the age of the breeders; many are no longer breeding and only showing dogs occasionally. New people interested in the breed are more interested in show- ing and performance events and not breeding. Another issue could be external pressure from the county to limit the num- ber of dogs in the households, pressure from people to rescue and not breed. In order to change the problems one option could be co-breeding with older breeders or with your breed mentor. Leasing a female to have a litter is also an option, once the puppies are gone mom goes home. We all still have to deal with external pressures of family, work, and finan- cial. Taking the time to have a litter and enjoy the process from start to finish and end with a wonderful dog at the end is amazing. In general I have found dogs seen in the ring very nice, there are always a few that you shake your head and ask why. In my area owner handlers are very conscientious about breeding to the standard for their breed. Australian Terriers these days are overall better than five years ago. The dogs being presented are identifiable as an Aussie. We have a dis- tinctive outline and are able to keep the look of number of dogs with issues is less each National. Breeders are working hard to correct fronts and body length. Biggest health concerns of the breed: front structure is an issue, getting the correct keel, depth of rib cage and cor- rect upper arm length is challenging. When we achieve all of these factors and all other things are equal ,movement is a thing of beauty. Advice to a new judge of the breed: get your hands on as many dogs as possible. The more dogs you have your hands on the better sense of how the dogs will feel. Understanding structure is a must. Ask questions when you are mentoring. Aussies are a low entry breed; check the Australian Terrier Club of America breeder referral to find someone with dogs in your area. Attend a National the ATCA has a strong judge’s education, with hands on and education for many days. As a new judge do not go through the motions just to add
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another breed. Breeders know when you are not interested in the breed and the Aussie will be an even lower entry for you. Advice to a new breeder: develop friendships with oth- er Aussie people, look for a mentor to help you understand pedigrees and dog breeding. Your mentor can assist you with issues that come up with puppies or issues with dogs. In my area we are all interactive, new people are included in puppy grading and show set ups. We are all competitive but still very supportive of all Aussie accomplishments. The most common fault I see when traveling around the country: short upper arm is the most common issue, resulting in a short striding front. The same issue all over the country, despite effort by breeders it is a tough fix. JULIE SEATON I live in Muskego, Wisconsin
him, but I know he is doing good over there, is loved and cherished and adding to the breed gene pool as well. That was more important to me, as his breeder, that I did the right thing not only for myself and my kennel, but for the breed. Advice to a new breeder, slow down! Know what you are doing before you dive into breeding. A breeding program is built on good bitches, not flashy stud dogs. Get the best bitch you can and start your breeding program with that bitch. Don’t settle for second best. Also, get a breeder/mentor that will guide you to make the best decisions you can about your breeding program. Advice to new Judges, know the standard, judge to the standard. It is there for a reason. Read it the night before you judge and have it on hand in case you need to reference it while judging. Don’t award a dog with points if they do not meet the standard. Remember, they may be used in that exhibitors breeding program! You are not helping the breed when you do this! You are judging breeding stock! Points are not man- datory to award, nor are ribbons! I hear too many times that if the dog has points or an AKC Championsip that must mean it is worthy to be bred. When points are awarded to inferior dogs, you are, for that exhibitor, confirming to them, that you feel the dog is worthy of being used to reproduce. The most common fault you I when traveling around the country: dogs that have no bone and are high in leg. This breed is longer in body then they are in leg length and should have some substance to them, they are not Silkys! The bal- ance is off when you look at a dog with no bone and is high in leg, you should see balance. As a breeder, I have learned that the most important thing you can do for the breed is make sure you breed happy, healthy, well-rounded puppies and that you screen prospec- tive buyers carefully no matter what they are buying the dog/ puppy for. You brought them into the world and started them on their journey, so it is up to you to make sure that they go into homes to continue that journey. A happy, healthy well- rounded puppy will turn into a happy-healthy well-rounded adult. The new owners will love and cherish them as much as you do. In the end, that is a win-win for everyone involved. When I was fairly new in the breed I was to show under a judge that a friend knew. She said to say hello. So while on the table, I said hello to the judge by name and said my friend said to say hello. (I was the only entry). The judge said she would pass the message along. I had the wrong judge! “DON’T AWARD A DOG WITH POINTS IF THEY DO NOT MEET THE STANDARD.”
and outside of dogs I am involved in photography and having fun with the grandkids which are up to four now with another one on its way! I have been a Breeder of Aus- tralian Terriers for 25 years and have been dedicated to the breed since that time. I am a member of the Australian Terrier Club of America and am currently on the
Board and have been the Newsletter Editor for the club since 2011. I am also involved and serve on the board for Australian Terrier Rescue. Thoughts on the breeds current sustainability issues: our breed is in trouble and luckily our parent club developed a breed sustainability committee in 2018 to tackle the issue. We want to see the breed thrive and I hope that every repu- table breeder takes what needs to be done to heart and helps whether they are a member of the ATCA or not! We need to band together to make sure our breed survives! I think the quality of the Australian Terrier is really good at the moment. Yes, you will see some in the ring that are not- so-good and do not conform to the standard, but they are few and far between. Honestly one of our biggest health issues is the fact our breeders are aging out and the breed is dwindling in num- bers. We need to promote the breed and breeders need to put differences aside and work together to secure our breeds future! The biggest problem facing me as a breeder is making sure I always do the right thing. I have worked really hard on my breeding program over the last 25 years. I have people want- ing dogs from me all over the world. One breeder from Aus- tralia wanted a dog and knowing the money she was spend- ing, she had to wait almost three years until I made sure she got the right dog. I wanted to send the best I could breed to her, not the second or third best. That dog within three months of arriving at the age of a year and a half won the Australian National Specialty and last year was the top Aussie in the country. I tell myself all the time I should have kept
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THE NEED FOR AUSTRALIAN TERRIER SUSTAINABILITY
by VICKI MCKEE ATCA Breed Sustainability Chair
2 008 is considered a pivotal year with the AKC registra- tion statistics for purebred dogs. A noticeable contraction in litters and registrations across the AKC purebred dog industry was docu- mented in 2008. It is believed that this contraction coincided with the reces- sion which was at least partially a root cause. Since then some breeds have fully recovered, some partially recov- ered, and yet others have been in steady decline since 2008. Australian terriers have declined in dog registration, litter numbers, and number of puppies since 2008. A 52% decline in registration numbers, a 34% decline in the number of litters, and a 36% decline in the num- ber of puppies.
Some people may believe that AKC registration is too time consuming and do not register their dogs, which has led to the decline, others may believe that there is no problem because Aus- tralian Terriers are not for everybody. Still others point to limited registrations as a problem inherited from the 1980s. I personally get this question a lot, do you really believe our beloved Austra- lian Terriers could face extinction like the double horned rhino? My answer is maybe, yeah more than a chance. I, along with the ATCA (Australian Terrier Club of America) want to understand the why and work to change the course before it’s too late. If the trend contin- ues, by 2028 we would be down to 52 dogs registered a year, 21 litters a year,
and 101 puppies. The situation maybe too late by then. We want to try to make a difference because to me and the rest of the Aussie community as a whole, a world without healthy Australian Terri- ers is just simply not an option. What is breed sustainability and why is it needed to preserve the Australian Terrier? Sustainability has many definitions in modern society. It is often used when discussing the science around global warming or the fight to perse- vere endangered species. Sustainable fisheries often refer to catch limits or season limitations. AKC refers to sustainability simply as any activities which would preserve, protect and promote the breed.
Australian Terrier AKC Registration Statistics 2008 & 2017
Number of Puppies
Number of Litters
NUMBER OF LITTERS
NUMBER OF PUPPIES
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While I understand they are not the right dog for everyone, those that own or are owned by the little dog called an Aussie have the attitude that they will never have anything but an Australian Terrier ever again. They take control of your life and you can’t not help but be a minion to their every whim. Of the 193 recognized AKC canine breeds, the Australian Terrier ranks 136. The top 10 AKC dog breeds actu- ally account for 50% of the AKC regis- trations. Together, the rarest 50 AKC breeds made up just 1.2% of the regis- tered AKC dogs. (Stanely Coren, PHD Psychology today 2013.) If we were requesting entry in 2019 into the AKC would we meet the criteria? Does the public know about ATs? Some breeds fall out of favor as the purpose of their breeding diminishes in need. But this isn’t the case for the AT. The companionship of a terrier is still a cherished trait today. What is the reason this lovable, companion ter- rier with a brave heart has such low breeding numbers? What can be done about it? Other parent clubs facing similar or worse statistics have also formed sus- tainability committees. Both the Scot- tish Terrier and the Otterhound clubs have well established committees. The Otterhound club, with significantly low breed numbers has founded a club and AKC endorsed semen bank. Long term the ATCA sustainabil- ity committee will focus on Austra- lian Terrier breed awareness, quality line conservation, promoting sustain- able breeding and health check prac- tices, encouraging new member- ship to the ATCA and also mentoring new breeders. The sustainability committee is also focused on getting people that love the breed talking about improving the future outlook. We are focused on developing data on global Australian Terrier population, to understand just how endangered the species is. Austra- lian Terrier breeders and clubs around the world have been contacted to help in this endeavor. This is NOT an issue in just the USA, this is a global concern! We will be involved in spread- ing awareness about the breed to the canine public, through publications, social media and more meet the breed type avenues. We need to encourage people to join us in securing the future of Australian Terriers. If you are interested to learn more about the committee, our purpose and interests, please feel free to reach out and contact the ATCA sustainability committee at email@example.com.
In 2018 The Australian Terrier Club of America formed a sustainability com- mittee. Our mission is simple: to work to secure a sustainable future for the Australian Terrier. We do not believe that the decline of popularity of the Australian Ter- rier is a US specific issue. While more research needs to be gathered, initial data received globally indicates that Australian Terriers are being born in low numbers around the world. It’s not just a US problem. One of the goals of the ATCA sustainability committee is to quantify the global situation. We are happy to report that today’s Australian Terrier is genetically diverse. During the 2018 education day at the ATCA National Convention, Jerold S. Bell, DVM from Tufts University gave a wonderful seminar on the genetic diver- sity of the Australian Terrier. The full lecture is available on Youtube. Dr. Bell discussed the importance of genetic diversity, gene diversity, and the impor- tance of maintaining healthy breed- ing lines and not losing these lines.
He reported that the Australian Terrier has a diverse gene pool. Indeed, the AT has a better 10 generation inbreeding coefficient than breeds with genetic diversity concerns (such as popular sire syndrome). With the decreasing numbers of lit- ters and also the retirement of many long time quality lines, the Australian Terrier is more susceptible to long term health concerns. Breeding decisions today can affect the breed both posi- tively or negatively in the future. Every breeding decision that is made matters at these low numbers. Health, genetic diversity, maintaining successful lines after breeder retirement, selection deci- sions on litters all matter to the future of the Australian Terrier. These dogs were originally bred as a working dog in the bush of Australia that was also a companion. Traits that abound in the breed today. The Austra- lian Terrier is a loyal companion that loves to be a couch potato with you after the work of the day is complete. They are fun and devoted family pets.
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Australian Terrier Club of America
National Specialty Show BY CONNIE CLARK
I t was an honor and privilege to be selected to judge the 2018 National Specialty in Asheville, North Carolina! With a marvelous entry of 79 including 42 Specials and quality exhibits in all classes, made it a most memorable experience. Winners Dog came from the Bred-by class, Samabel Luv That Augie At Marblearch bred by Alexa Samarotto & Claudia Coleman and
owned by Patricia Zupan, Claudia Coleman Alexa Sama- rotto. At only 14 months, he was well balanced with a long arched neck blending into well laid back shoulders, level topline, high tail set, long head with a strong muzzle and keen expression. He was sound coming and going and on the go around with a ground covering stride, alert and very self-confident. Reserve Winners Dog from the Open class Temora Black- range Welcome To The Dark Side bred by Julie Seaton and Zane Smith owne by Angel Smith-Tilot. Good balance overall in good condition and coat, firm level topline, high tail set, good legs and feet moving with drive and covering ground.
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Australian Terrier Club of America: National...
BY CONNIE CLARK continued
“ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE CLASSES WAS THE VETERAN DOG CLASS—SEVEN YEARS. AND OVER.”
Winners Bitch came from the Open class Shastakin Killara’s Flying Eureka! Bred by Zoe Van Wyck DeRopp and Esther Krom Owners Anne, Fiona and Moira McGroarty. This bitch is so cor- rect, balance and proportion, feminine, long head with a strong muzzle and keen expression, level topline and high tail set, good neck into well laid back shoulders, stride covering gait, self con- fident and handled to perfection by her junior Handler!
Reserve Winners Bitch came from the Bred-by class Ludlu’s Break of Dawn bred by June Beckwith and Marsha Gray, owner June Beckwith. Well bal- anced, feminine head with strong muz- zle, small high set ears, good shoulders, firm level topline, well-sprung ribs, good on the move. One of the most impressive classes was the Veteran Dog Class—seven years. and over. Six dogs ranging in age from seven to 14 years and first in this
class went to CH Ryba’s Call Me Irre- sponsible bred by L. Nance and owner Bachman Schreeder. At 14 years young this dog still possessed proper breed type, balance and proportion, level topline high tail set, good layback. Long head, strong muzzle, and good stride. The second place dog GCHG Dun- ham Lake Unanimous Decision. Breed- er/owners Theresa, Lydia and Ellie Goiffon the youngster in the group, is worthy of mention as he exudes
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BY CONNIE CLARK continued
“THE 42 SPECIALS WERE EQUALLY DIVIDED WITH 21 DOG SPECIALS AND 21 BITCH SPECIALS...”
breed type with balance and propor- tion, long neck well laid back shoul- ders, firm and level topline and high tail set, long strong head and muzzle, keen expression, free moving and very self-assured. To see these six Veteran dogs in such great form and condition was amazing—a testament to the heri- tage of the Aussie and his owners loving care!
The 42 Specials were equally divid- ed with 21 Dog Specials and 21 Bitch Specials and my choice for Best of Breed was GCHG Temora Say It With Bacon bred by Julie Seaton and owned by Julie Seaton, Jennifer Sousa and Vicki McKee. An outstanding dog in beautiful coat and condition, classic headpiece, long neck with well-placed shoulders, firm level topline, strong loin correct tail set, powerful quarters with steady
movement on good feet and legs. He had exceptional ring presence and was presented to perfection. Best of Winners went to the Winners Dog. Best of Opposite Sex was awarded to GCH Temora Southern Comfort bred by Carol Arnold andownedby JudyO’Brien. She was beautiful, well-balanced and sound moving, keen expression with small dark eyes, correct neck, front
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BY CONNIE CLARK continued
“...I COMMEND YOUR PRESENTATION, SHOWMANSHIP AND CONDITIONING OF THESE SPIRITED, SELF-CONFIDENT, SMALL WORKING AND WONDERFUL AUSSIES!”
and shoulders, level topline with strong hindquarters. Well presented in top coat and condition. Select Dog GCH Redsky Come Fly With Me To Ryba bred by E. Strid and owners Susan Bachman and Teresa Schreeder. A lovely dog with wonder- ful balance and proportion, very sound with a long, strong head and muzzle, keen expression, good fitting neck into
shoulders, level topline high tail set, strong hindquarters with good legs and feet. Coat in very good condition, well presented and expertly handled. Select Bitch Ch Wismiss Redhawk Here Comes The Sun bred by Kerri Bryan and Carol Sazma and owned by Heather Rife. She was outstand- ing and very sound, beautiful femi- nine head and expression, good neck,
front and shoulders, level topline, high twelve o’clock tail set, strong short loin, lovely coat and color and very self-assured. Again, my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to judge such top quali- ty exhibits and I commend your presen- tation, showmanship and conditioning of these spirited, self-confident, small working and wonderful Aussies!
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THE AUSTRALIAN TERRIER
VANDRA HUBER I live in the Pacific Northwest in a small town outside of Seattle. I’m an emeritus professor of Management from the University of Washington and do some consulting. Lately, I’ve been writing articles on various dog related topics and I’ve started drawing again. MARETH KIPP I am honored to have been asked to participate in the dis- cussion regarding Australian Terriers. I live on a 250 acre dairy farm in Southeast Wisconsin, namely North Prairie. When I’m not doing “dog stuff”, I vol- unteer at our local hospital as well as being the bookkeeper and “gopher” for the farm. 1. Your opinion of the current quality of purebred dogs in general, and your breed in particular. VH: My original breed is Scottish Terriers. I find that the breed is in good shape regarding conformation. However, there have been major declines in the number of litters and puppies such that we soon will not have enough breed-quality Scottish Terriers to preserve the essential qualities of the breed. MK: It’s interesting to think about the quality of purebred dogs in general. There will always be ups and downs within each breed. When judging, I always look for the special one, sometimes it’s there, sometimes not. I have noticed however, the differences in all breeds over the 50 years I have been lucky enough to share my love for dogs. 2. The biggest concern you have about your breed, be it medical, structural, temperament-wise, or what. VH: I am concerned that many breeders do not test their dogs for health and when a problem arises, they keep it a secret rather than working through the problem and considering viable options. Some people criticize the problems of others but do not do proper testing on their own dogs. We need to determine which genetic faults
we can not live with and work around them. We can not throw out good dogs who carry a fault or two.
3. The biggest problem facing you as a breeder. VH: Preserving the breed while working with a decreasing gene pool. I have difficulty when those who don’t test criticize but do no testing themselves. We must unify and work to preserve our breed. MK: Since I’m not an Aussie breeder, I have no knowledge regarding several of the questions. 4. Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed? VH: To the new breeder, be patient and get a good founda- tion bitch. Breed to the best quality dog (not just what looks good on paper) but to the best dog whose offspring have impressed you. Keep two related lines going that are slightly different but generally the same. For judges of my breed of Scottish Terriers, I want you to focus on temperament and type. We must have a heads up and tails up (noon carriage, not 1 or 2 o’clock). Do not rely on people holding the dogs together. Let them look at each. They must stand their ground. Bitches may turn their backs in the spar, but it’s more in disgust than lack of attitude. 5. Although the Silky Terrier’s in a different Group, they are often used as comparison breeds in semi- nars. Do you feel that the average judge appreci- ates the special attributes particular to the Aussie? VH: It takes time and experience to understanding the nuances and the subtle differences in Australian Terri- ers versus other short legged terriers and Silky Terriers. Certainly it is easy to tell the difference in coat texture, but determining a hard, harsh wire coat can be more difficult. Both the Silky and Australian Terrier are around 10 inches tall but silkies can be smaller and Aussies are acceptable larger but they differ in body length. More important, the Australian is a working terrier that can easily take down vermin. It is courageous and naturally more aggressive as a hedge hunter. The Silky is tends
“MORE IMPORTANT, THE AUSTRALIAN IS A WORKING TERRIER THAT CAN EASILY TAKE DOWN VERMIN. IT IS COURAGEOUS AND NATURALLY MORE AGGRESSIVE AS A HEDGE HUNTER.”
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WITH VANDRA HUBER & MA
towards friendliness with terrier tendencies rather than Terrier dominance. MK: I truly believe the Aussie is overlooked by many judges. Those of us from Terriers have a great love for all our Ter- riers. I’m afraid many new judges coming into our group have no idea just what it takes to prepare our exhibits for the ring. I have been lucky to have seen some of the won- derful Aussies of the Drs. Barnes, and unfortunately, the names escape me of the other very successful breeders from around this area. 6. What is the biggest concern facing the breed today? VH: As with many Terrier breeds, the concern is to maintain quality and the distinctiveness of the breed. If Aussies over time merely sit on laps, rather than work, then over time the distinctiveness of the two breeds may blend. MK: As in any breed, there are still some things all breeders need to be cognizant of: length of body, some are becom- ing way to cobby, toplines and color. One of the breeds that describes a docked tail, but we are seeing dogs with tails being shown. I will admit I don’t mind a full tail on an Aussie as long as it is set on and carried correctly. I am also seeing some not such nice feet, long toes and very flat. Coming from a livestock background, feet and legs are one of the areas breeders should strive to improve. Also there are dogs being shown that could do with more hair and the ability to walk in a straight line. I’m pleased that it is still a very much owner-handler breed. Go for it guys. Stand proud and show the world your pride and joy. 7. What is the overall impression of the breed at the moment? Is the breed better or worse today? VH: There are definitely some outstanding specimens in the breed today. Due to the dearth of breed numbers overall, there is concern in finding those specimens and ensuring that they are awarded. Too many judges have seen too few Aussies with outstanding coat, varmint- catching but companionable Australian terriers. Judges many not know a good one and have enough strength of conviction to award it. MK: I have to add, seeing the great Crackerjack dog helped to instill type, condition and soundness in my mind of a lovely dog and breed. I think with some of the dogs in the ring today, it’s hard not to notice them. 8. Anything else you’d like to share—something you’ve learned as a breeder, exhibitor or judge or a par- ticular point you’d like to make? VH: It’s important to work within a breeding family of peers who share your values about breeding in general and your breed particularly. They must be good enough friends they will spare no barbs but will help you criti- cally evaluate your breeding stock and discuss concerns and how to work around themI also think you should have what I term an Alpha line and a Beta line. These are closely related but not the same. Then if something happens in one line, you can utilize your back-up bitch to move in a different direction. Finally, Forget about angry Facebook folks who don’t have your interests at heart. And never in pain or fear post on Facebook such that you open yourself or others
up to ridicule. Those who are less successful are lurching and waiting to make you look bad. Just do the best you can with your breeding program. If something doesn’t work out, then think it through with your breeding group and do the best you can to minimize the fault or health issue. 9. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing that you ever experienced at a dog show? VH: It’s only funny now. I had two temporary front teeth in my mouth when attending great Western. After stack- ing a puppy on the table, I went about business as usual. That is, I held the lead with my teeth while I maneuvered the bait with my hand. Just as the judge approached and I stretch the lead, my two temporary front teeth flew out, flying on either side of the judge’s head. I had to go around the entire weekend with missing front teeth. I felt like a hick from the back country. MK: I was judging in California when in walked one of the nicest Chocolate Lab puppies I had the pleasure to judge. He was eight-months-old and when I went to check his manhood, there was nothing there. Thought perhaps I’m had misread the class and it was a bitch instead of a dog. I asked the handler to take the puppy around as sometimes the testicles will magically appear, not this time. I men- tioned this to the handler (I believe owner handled) and her response was, “He is just a puppy, they will grow” and of course, I tended to disagree and excused her. Her retort was, “I’ll show you, I’m taking him to the show Vet and he will tell you”. I saw the Vet later and asked if a woman with a Chocolate Lab puppy came to him. He acknowledged she had and indeed the puppy had no testicles. “THERE ARE DEFINITELY SOME OUTSTANDING SPECIMENS IN THE BREED TODAY. DUE TO THE DEARTH OF BREED NUMBERS OVERALL, THERE IS CONCERN IN FINDING THOSE SPECIMENS AND ENSURING THAT THEY ARE AWARDED.”
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THE AUSTRALIAN TERRIER CLUB OF AMERICA BREED STANDARD by SUE BACHMAN
T he Australian Terrier Club of America has had three differ- ent breed standards in the 50 years of its existence. The first was approved September 13, 1960, the second, a revision of the first, was approved October 13, 1970 and the last, a revision of the second, was approved August 9, 1988. The breed standard changes made in each revision reflected further clarification, more streamlined language and format differences. Clear- ly the current standard is a significant improvement over the first two because it gives us a fine description to be used for evaluating how closely our dogs meet the standard. Included, follow- ing this article, are all three breed standards. I have made some com- parisons among the standards which I think are interesting. You will make your own comparisons as you review the standards. An example of the revisions made is illustrated by the language and content in the standard for the tail and dew- claws. The 1960 standard said, “Tail set on high and carried erect but not too gay. Remember tail should be docked within a few days after birth aorund the tan spot located under the tail. With sandy-reds there is a slight difference of color helpful in indicating the place to cut. Leave approximately a generous 2 ⁄ 5 . At the same time dewclaws should be removed from the front and back legs. For these procedures it is gener- ally advisable to use the services of a veterinarian.” The 1970 standard said, “Tail set on high and carried erect but not too gay; docked leaving two fifths.” There is no mention made regarding the dewclaws. The 1988 standard said, “Tail-Set on high and carried erect at a twelve to one o-clock position, docked in balance with the overall dog leaving slightly less than one half, a good hand-hold when mature.” In regards to dew claws, they are to be removed.
Another change in the standard is the wonderful detail added with regard to the dog’s gait. The first two standards simply said, “Straight and true; spright- ly, indicating spirit and assurance.” The most recent standard tells us what to look for saying, “As seen from the front and from the rear, the legs are straight from the shoulder and hip joints to the pads and move in planes parallel to the centerline of travel. The rear legs move in the same planes as the front legs. As the dog moves at a faster trot, the front and rear legs and feet may tend to con- verge toward the centerline of travel, but the legs remain straight even as they flex or extend. Viewed from the side, the legs move in a ground-cover- ing stride. The rear feet should meet the ground in the same prints as left by the front feet, with no gap between them. Topline remains firm and level, without bounce.” How much more helpful this is. Australian Terrier standard regarding coat color was changed in each revision. The 1960 standard discouraged red or sandy coat color saying, “Also sandy col- or and clear red are permissible but not desirable, other things being equal, as the blue and tan.” Subsequent revisions treated all acceptable colors equally. It may surprise you to know that the current breed standard calls for a scis- sors bite, but our previous standards stated that a level bite was acceptable. Through the years there has been much conversation about the size of the Australian Terrier. The weight ref- erence was dropped in the most recent breed standard. The elimination of the weight reference was appropriate in order to maintain substance. The height standard was changed from about 10 inches to 10 to 11 inches at the withers. Since I became an ATCA member in the late 80s I’ve seen swings in size varying from quite small to quite large. In my experience the breed size has always returned to a moderately sized dog. I recommend that owners and breed- ers also read the Australian Terrier
Illustrated Clarification of The Stan- dard . It is very helpful to see the illus- trations for comparison with your own dogs. The better we understand our breed standard, the better we breed. I offer my sincere thanks to the Club members who developed and wrote our three breed standards. STANDARD FOR THE AUSTRALIAN TERRIER, 1960 General Appearance The Australian Terrer is a small, sturdy, rough-coated Terrier of spirited action and self assured manner. Head Long, flat-skulled, and full between the eyes, with the stop moderate. The muzzle is no longer than the distance from the eyes to the occiput. Jaws long and powerful, teeth of good size meet- ing in a scissors bite, although a level bite is acceptable. Nose black. Ears set high on the skull and well apart. They are small and pricked (carried erect), the leather either pointed or slightly rounded and free from long hairs. Eyes small, dark and keen in expression; not prominent. Light colored and protrud- ing are faulty. Neck Inclined to be long and tapering into sloping shoulders; well furnished with hair which forms a protective ruff. Body Low-set and slightly longer from the withers to the root of the tail than from the withers to the ground. Chest medium wide, and deep, with ribs well sprung but not round. Topline level. Tail set on high and carried erect but not too gay. Remember tail should be docked within a few days after birth about at the tan spot located under tail. With sandy-reds there is a slight dif- ference of color helpful in indicating the place to cut. Leave approximately a generous 2 ⁄ 5 . At the same time dew- claws should be removed from front and back lets. For these procedures, it is generally advisable to use the services
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