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The Many Faces of the Airedale Terrier

Showing Your Airedale
… Making a Champion!

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by Lory Ross

So, you have added a four-footed member to your family. It belongs to a breed of Terrier called an Airedale Terrier. It is purebred and registered with the Canadian Kennel Club (the governing body of all purebred dogs), because your breeder has fulfilled their responsibility of registering your puppy to you as the owner.

You have had the puppy for a few weeks and have crate trained him, like you are supposed to do. This means that you can leave him in the safety of the crate while you go out and know that he can’t pull the lamp off the table by pulling at the cord or chew on Mom’s best pair of dress shoes. It also means that he eats his food in the crate, so that he doesn’t become a picky eater. You put the food in the crate and if he doesn’t eat it in 15 or 20 minutes, you take it away until next time.

The term “Dog Show” has been mentioned in conversation and you would like to see what it is all about. After all, your puppy is purebred, which makes him eligible. The first thing you must find out is “Is it worthwhile trying?” Does your dog fit the standard, the written ideal of what an Airedale should like? Is he the right height, do his ears fall correctly, next to the skull and not standing up on top of his head? Your breeder is the one to help you through this evaluation. If this is not possible because of distance, another breeder, a dog show judge that is certified to judge Airedales or a handler (a person that shows dogs for people) should be able to help you with this.

OK, they say he should be shown, let’s enter the next show we can. Hold the enthusiasm. There are a few more things that you should know and do. First, you must learn how to prepare youg dog’s coat for shows. This involves time, care and learning how to strip (pulling the old coat out – ouch – so that the new coat can grown in). You need the instruction book issued by the parent Airedale Club and the mentorship of someone who knows how to prepare a coat properly. Preferably, this should be an Airedale person.

Now you know how to start working on the coat, which will take several weeks. You now have to start training your puppy for the show and the judges’ examination. We don’t want the puppy jumping on the judge or other dogs at the show. This entails taking the puppy on trips in the car (how else are you going to get to the show?), standing calmly on the grooming table so that you can work on the coat, taking him to shopping malls, so that he can learn to walk by people calmly. Better yet, if there are puppy classes or show handling classes that are close to you, join immediately. This will benefit you greatly from the socializing point of view.

While you are waiting for the right time to enter your puppy, take advantage of this and go to some shows to watch and learn. This is not the time to take your dog with you, as dogs not entered at the show are not allowed on the grounds and you want to be able to focus on watching and not be concerned about what “Junior” is up to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of people who are showing, as they all had to start at the point you are. Just don’t try and talk to them just before they are ready to enter the ring, as they must pay attention to what is going on. Ask them where they are situated with their crates and when it is a convenient time to talk to you.

BIS BISS Am Can Ch Regalridge Leader of the Pack, photo by Walter Norris

BIS BISS Am Can Ch Regalridge Leader of the Pack
Photo by Walter Norris, courtesy of Lee Steeves and Ken Curren

It’s time to take another look at your dog’s coat. You will need to be grooming regularly now, a couple times a week. Your house pet is now beginning to look like a show dog. You have found out how to enter a show, and you are enrolled in handling classes. You are ready to roll, but you have one more thing to understand. How do you get to this thing called a Championship? This entails winning 10 points, under the minimum of three judges. The points that you win are in a ratio to the number of dogs you defeat on a given day (that is, 2 dogs gives one point, 3-5 dogs gives you 2 points). The maximum points you can win on one day is 5, and you must have one win of 2 points, which is called a “major”. In other words, you can not win one point on 10 different days to give you the 10 you need.

You are now ready to go to your first show with your “star”. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – you are only human and your dog will still love you. You will only learn by your mistakes.

Have fun and good luck!

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