underground. A 14-inch Parson can do the job just as well as a 12-inch terrier, depending on the terrain. Nothing irritates me more than a judge announcing that a 14-inch terrier is too big. It constitutes not knowing the breed at all. KD: The most misunderstood thing that many judges exhibit are lack of understanding of proportion and spanning/judging the chest. The Parson is slightly longer than tall. It is not the same proportion from point of shoulder to bid docks as withers to ground. A dog that is too short would have more difficulty turn- ing around in an earth burrow in order to get out. Also, a puppy will generally have a smaller spannable chest than an adult. It’s not just about spanability, it’s also about compressibility. JF: The PRT is medium in temperament and should never be expected to have the same amount of show gene as his cousin the Wire Fox Terrier. Not that you want a dead head (which should never be rewarded), but the Parson is a pack dog that is expected to get along, thus the reason he is not sparred. Never allow speed gaiting in your ring. The Parson should always be shown at a brisk walk and not judged or rewarded based on another’s breed standard. MSB: I think judges often reward the square profile versus the correct off-square profile. While a square profile can be more pleasing to the eye, it is incorrect for the Parson Russell Terrier. There are also Parsons being shown that do not have sufficient leg underneath them. I would emphasize to any judge to be sure of the correct profile and remember to span. I don’t see too many judges that actually forget to span but I do see many judges that go forward and do not use the information that they receive from the process of spanning and they reward dogs that are deep chested and not truly spannable. SY: That a Parson is just another Smooth Fox Terrier. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. KB: The Parson is an incredibly smart and funny little dog. However, they are challenging for even an experienced dog owner. When left to their own devices, they will find a way to entertain themselves. Once they have their mind set on something, it’s hard to redirect them, whether they are after a critter or trying to get a toy from the top of the refrigerator! ND: The Parson is the best of companion dogs. Parsons are very intelligent, have a super personality and are simply full of fun. They are always ready to participate in anything you may be doing. I wouldn’t be without one. Being a Terrier, however, one per household is enough and never even think of having two bitches or two dogs housed together. JF: Please learn to span the breed correctly and do not just go through the motions. It’s critical to know why and
what to feel for. His chest is his hallmark and should be easily spanned, flexible and correctly shaped. He is one of only three working terrier breeds that is still actively used for natural earth work in this country. Please help us preserve his working roots! MSB: I am hopeful that our Judges Education Committee, on which I serve, will have an Illustrated Standard com- pleted and available to judges by the end of the year. I believe an Illustrated Standard will be a very useful tool for judges that seek to judge our breed. SY: We are seeing dwindling numbers in our breed in con- formation as well as performance. I think a lot of us old- timers are phasing out, but I hate to see that the breed, once ever so popular, will now be something that is rare.
7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show?
KB: In the ring, my Parson barking at an airplane flying overhead. Outside the ring, the most recent was our man- nequin head that we used to display a fancy hat at Morris & Essex. We drove it around posed as a passenger with different hats. ND: I think the funniest thing that ever happened to me happened just last year. I was showing my Foxhound bitch indoors. She was still very inexperienced and no breed in this world can hook your leg like a Foxhound. As I was finishing going around, it happened and I took about three giant steps almost into the arms of the judge! A look of absolute surprise and alarm was on the judge’s face. But I did not fall and I did not knock the judge over. We all had a good laugh over it. As for Parsons, my friend’s male Parson was on the table being examined when he politely removed a flower from the judge’s lapel. So much like a Parson! KD: The funniest thing that’s happened to me at a dog show were exhibitors going to the AKC Rep and Superinten- dent complaining that the same person was judging the same breeds two days in a row—it was my twin sister. JF: What happens at Montgomery stays at Montgomery. MSB: I am not sure this is so much funny but cute. The han- dler that handles my dogs has an adorable daughter and we have taken many candid photos of her since she was quite young. We were at a local dog show and the ador- able daughter was tired and upset, lots of tears and her father told her something to the effect that she should stop crying and that Mary did not want to see her cry. Her very serious answer, “I forgot how.” How does one ever argue with that? SY: Humorous now, but not so funny then. On the way to a show, being picked up at the airport on the hottest day of the year and then transported in a small, pink pickup truck to the motel—three people had to fit in the front. On top of that, the driver was asking us for directions and we had never been to this place!
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