airedale terrier Q&A
WITH ANNE BARLOW, PEGGY BEISEL-MCILWAINE, KEN MCDERMOTT, BETTY-ANNE STENMARK & JOHN TURBA
8. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? AB: This is a square breed, not a rectangular one! Don’t reward long backs. And breed type (the head shape and expression, the silhouette of the dog, tail set, coat) is most important. Above anything else, he must look like an Airedale and have a commanding presence before he ever takes a step. JT: They don’t understand the breed standard. I can tell you breeders would pick different dogs because we breed to the standard. Even experienced judges don’t understand the standard. 9. What, if any, are the health concerns for the Airedale? PBM: Head planes have always been an issue and are still a concern. BAS: Long and low, no angles, sagging toplines. KM: There are a few: dogs/bitches too long in loin; skulls and muzzles not on the same planes giving a Roman look; lack of proper muscle tone to rears, thus poor movement. 10. While judging, can any part of the Breed Standard be overlooked? PBM: I don’t think I am willing to overlook any part of the standard, all parts add into the equation, but sometimes you have to compromise in order to get the best overall representation. BAS: Standards are written to describe the ideal. I trade off on what virtues are the most important and difficult to retain and what faults are easiest to breed away from. KM: It is my hope that when judging I am using the breed Standard in all of my decisions; however, there is one point where I do allow some leniency and that is I will accept doggy bitches, but I am unforgiving of bitchy dogs. 11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. JT: As Teddy Roosevelt said, “An Airedale can do anything that any other dog can and then whip the other dog.” An Airedale doesn’t start fights like other breeds do. 12. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? JT: When Maripi Wooldridge’s “Blair” won Montgomery from the class, Maripi told her she won and then did what I call the “Blair Spin”—doing 360s, jumping up and down. I can never forget that moment.
KM: Without question it is in finding what we are looking for. In the case of Montgomery County weekend and historically Great Western, one could satisfy him or herself and a serious breeder/exhibitor could find new stock, future stud potentials, youngsters with shining futures, etc. But at the average show in the year, one can easily go away greatly disappointed. The situation exists because there are too many shows, diminishing numbers of true breeders and the big kennel days seem to be a thing of the past. A sad tune that has been repeat- ed to me too often is that interest in Terriers is evaporat- ing because people do not want to spend the time and effort necessary to put them down properly. Terriers are my love, I have seen almost all of the greats and I’ve been privileged to have judged most of them. Every time that I enter a ring I have the hope that I am going to discover the next great one. Since I know that God Himself has a Terrier, that hope will never leave me! BAS: I don’t see judging Airedales any more of a challenge than judging any other breed today. We hope dogs of quality come into the ring, it is such a pleasure to put your knowledge of the breed to the test. Judging Terriers on a major Terrier weekend is a great pleasure, an honor. More often we judges spend most of our days sorting out peoples’ pets masquerading as show dogs— it is a painful truth. “HE MUST LOOK LIKE AN AIREDALE AND HAVE A COMMANDING PRESENCE BEFORE HE EVER TAKES A STEP.”
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