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Where Are The Terriers?

GCH CH Steele Your Heart, 2011's Number One Terrier in All Breed

On Thursday we will be at one of the first dog shows of the year, the Desert Empire Terrier Club Of Southern California day one limited breed warm up to the big Kennel Club of Palm Springs weekend. As a Terrier guy we would be remiss if we did not point out a milestone in recent dog show history.

2011 was the first year in over a decade that there was not a Terrier among the Top Ten Dogs All Breeds. The closest any Terrier came to that exclusive club were the Number 15 & 16 Dogs, the Wire Fox Terrier, GCH CH Steele Your Heart, & the Smooth Fox Terrier, GCH CH Slyfox Sneaks a Peek. By comparison, there were two Terriers in the Top Ten in eight of the prior ten years with Terriers finishing Tenth & Eleventh in 2004 and Fourth & 15th in 2002. So far this century Terriers have been the Number One Dog All Breeds five times. The Toy Dogs followed with three winners, and the Sporting, Working, & Herding each had one Top Dog.

Now before some of you jump to the conclusion that I am disparaging the Terriers that competed in 2011, let me reassure you that I think 2011’s Top Terriers were all beautiful examples of their breed.  So let’s look for a cause for this milestone. Some might assume that our judging pool has decided to spread the wealth around, but I think that philosophy has more support inside the Washington Beltway than inside the show ring. I think the dwindling entries by Terrier exhibitors is far more likely. Terrier entries have always been the smallest among the seven Groups, averaging about eight percent of total entries. However this year entries have fallen to disastrous levels, culminating at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Kennel Club’s two shows last month that saw three Terriers competing on Saturday & one lone Bedlington Terrier showing up on Sunday.

GCH CH Cragsmoor Buddy Goodman, Number One Terrier in Group Wins

These small entries put Terriers at a decided disadvantage in the all breed rankings. You need look no further than the Number Three Terrier in all breed points, the Skye Terrier, GCH CH Cragsmoor Buddy Goodman, for evidence. Buddy finished 2011 as the Number 21 Dog All Breeds with 16 BIS & 109 Terrier Groups. The Kuvazs, GCH CH Szumeria’s Wildwood Silver Six Pence, ended the year as the Number Nine Dog All Breeds with 18 BIS and 69 Working Groups

I hope in 2012 to see improvement in these dismal entries. This coming week in Palm Springs provides plenty of encouragement for Terrier fans, with Terrier entries averaging 400 each of the four days. That’s more than the Non-Sporting & Herding Groups and on a par with the Toy Group. That’s a Terrier trend I can live with.

Written by

Billy Wheeler has been attending dog shows as a spectator and exhibitor for over 40 years. Billy is the man behind the popular Dog Show Poop. He is a retired management consultant who has advised multiple organizations affiliated with the AKC and the Cat Fanciers Association on business management, long range planning, customer service, and legislative matters. After 25 years of living in the big cities of New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, he now resides in his hometown of Memphis TN with his wife, Brenda, her Toy Poodle and his Cairn, Scottie, & IG. When he is not blogging, Billy can be found in the kitchen cooking, and listening to opera.