1. Describe the breed in three words. KB: Tenacious, independent and affectionate. ND: Handsome, smart and ready. KD: Clever, tough and devoted. JF: Bold, friendly and athletic. MSB: Energetic, playful and great companions. SY: True Working Terrier.
SY: The shorter backs and straight fronts mean less flexibil- ity and stride. This may be more pleasing to the eye but it is not correct in Parsons. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? KB: I don’t judge, but I don’t feel that the breed is better than when we were first AKC recognized. We don’t have the history and long-term breeders that more established breeds have. I think the Russell Terrier has hurt the Par- son, as the Russells are charming and so easy to live with. ND: Yes and no. I have seen some outstanding Parsons which I am happy to say have been well rewarded by group judges. But I have also seen less than stellar Par- sons where it is clear the exhibitor does not know the breed and worse, does not want to learn. KD: Yes, as a breed, I feel there has been improvement since they were first recognized—more consistency, better breed type. JF: The strongest quality in the breed was in the formative years of AKC recognition 2000-2004. So I’d have to say overall better when I first started judging. There have been a few standouts along the way, but overall, the breed is losing depth of quality. Many long time quality breeders have quit and the breed still suffers from out- standing males not being utilized by fellow breeders. MSB: Yes. I see huge strides having been made in shoul- ders and overall balance, though I see a definite need of more uniformity in the overall profile. Far too often I see Parsons that are square in profile rather than off-square. Coats have become vastly improved, where as we used to have many curly and wavy coated Parsons, most of the coats now are flat with sufficient undercoat. SY: There were certainly some good ones from back in the day, but I believe today’s Parsons are in good shape with a little more size and substance. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? KB: Spanning! I rarely see a judge span correctly and I’m not sure they truly understand why it is of paramount impor- tance to the breed. Spanning is critical component to the judging process. If a dog can’t be spanned, it cannot do the job it was bred to do. ND: This is a working breed still greatly used in the UK, its country of origin. The Parson must have the substance and pluck to work and yet be flexible enough to work
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? KB: Moderation, keenness and effortless movement. ND: Must have breed type, harsh coat and the ability to work under and above ground. KD: Four “must haves” in the breed are: proper body length- to-height (not too short-backed), type, coat (not over- groomed) and good temperament. JF: Sufficient length of leg, approximately square with an appealing headpiece. Good substance, in proper balance and plenty of dog behind a correctly set tail. A properly groomed, harsh, double-coated weather-proof jacket, small, flexible chest and tireless ground-covering trot displaying good reach in front with the hindquarters providing plenty of drive. Alert, happy and confident temperament is a must! MSB: Excellent breed type. Correct profile—off-square and a straight, flat coat with no curl, wave or kink. SY: I look for a balanced Terrier with good free movement, nice, harsh jacket and a spannable chest. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? KB: I can’t say I see exaggeration, however, I think poor fronts are an issue. My greatest fear is that this breed will lose the fire that makes it the Parson. I see far too many Parsons in the ring with their tails down—this should never be the case! ND: I despise creative grooming; sculpting or exaggerating the natural coat. Clean and tidy is the best presentation. I’d like to see breeders concentrate on breed type and correct conformation. Pay attention to shoulder layback and good rears, attributes that allow the Parson to do its job. KD: Over-grooming is still haunting this breed. They are a working breed first and foremost. JF: The tendency to breed long and low. MSB: I feel that the over-grooming in the breed is far too common. I often see Parsons groomed to resemble other breeds and not resembling the wash and wear dog they are supposed to be.
“i look for A bAlAnced terrier with good free movement, nice, hArsh jAcket And A spAnnAble chest.”
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