Toy Fox Terrier Information
Judging The Toy Fox Terrier
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AKC, UKC, Int'l Judge, Kennel Review publisher and dog magazine columnist
Rick Beauchamp Judged The First Toy Fox Terrier National Specialty "A" Match in Pleasanton, CA - Saturday, October 20, 2001
Mr. Beauchamp, you have been largely instrumental in helping several breeds through Miscellaneous Class and into full AKC Recognition. One of them, the Bichon, is a very popular and prestigious breed today. Based on your knowledge of the Toy Fox Terrier and of the AKC show world, where do you think the Toy Fox Terrier will be in say, five years?
"Given the concentrated educational effort of the ATFTC, the Toy Fox Terrier could easily become one of the Toy Group's most imposing competitors. However, this assumes the parent club will be able to provide the dog world with an ideal to aim for. If not provided with same, judges and new fanciers will interpret the breed to their own liking and the first dog "out of the starting gate" with the biggest win record, whether of correct type or not, will set the style."
Do you think AKC Judges will have enough educational opportunities to learn about the Toy Fox Terrier before those who have the Toy Group are called upon to judge them?
"Probably not. In their enthusiasm to gain acceptance, new breed people are inclined to send the cart in well ahead of the horse and then try to "re-educate" those who have already made up their minds. Allowing every Tom, Dick and Harriet who loves the Toy Fox Terrier to present their personal "interpretation" of the breed is like inviting all your best friends in to pick up a scalpel and join your surgeon in performing your open-heart surgery."
"New parent clubs need to seek the advice of those who have had long-time and overall experience in the dog game. Breeders have intimate knowledge of what constitutes breed type but those with overall experience know what the judges and new people need to know and they know how to present that information. People in new breeds are inclined to believe their breed is entirely unique and that basic canine principles don't really apply to their breed. The principles of anatomy and movement that govern all canines are constant, it is only the manner in which each breed has adapted to them that differs."
How can the American Toy Fox Terrier Club help judges fine tune their understanding of breed type?
"I think that's pretty well covered in the answer to Question 2 but well thought out seminars using good photographs and illustrations help tremendously. And along the seminar lines--I am adamantly opposed to the use of half a dozen "acceptable" variations of the same breed being presented. I think that is extremely confusing. I can safely speak for myself and a good number of other knowledgeable dog fanciers who advocate the same thing--show us WHAT YOU WANT, not what you don't want. We don't like to leave a room with a dozen different mental images of a breed--some good, some bad, some indifferent. That clouds the issue!"
You had in your Toy Fox Terrier specialty ring some very sound, showy dogs that were elegant and racy and some equally outstanding dogs that were more muscular and heavier boned. Did this present a problem for you in assessing the classes?
"I look at these as variations of the "ideal." There's that perfect TFT that should be firmly placed in mind and that is what we should be breeding for and looking for as judges. Naturally we're going to have some very good dogs falling slightly to the left of that ideal and others that fall slightly to the right but the picture we have in mind is what we're looking for from among the dogs entered or puppies in a litter. The ones that come closer to the center are the best ones. Too much bone and body mass and the Toy Fox Terrier loses its maneuverability and elegance--too little and you develop a fragile caricature of the breed."
That's interesting because ringside felt your judging was very consistent and your critiques to the observer-judges right "on-the-mark." Could you tell us what you therefore consider to be the three most important characteristics judges (and breeders) should look for in the Toy Fox Terrier?
"I have 5 things I apply in judging and they are the same 5 things that every dog fancier must know about every breed he or she is breeding or judging. The seminar I give ("Unveiling the Mysteries of Breed Type") to both breeders and judges instructs both groups to apply the 5 Basic Elements of Breed Type in making their selections. They are: 1) Breed Character, 2) Silhouette, 3)Head, 4) Movement, and 5) Coat. Understanding what excellence is in respect to a breed is what leads us to understanding breed type."
Do you think of this breed as a "toy dog" or as a small working terrier?
"Well, I think it's important we keep both aspects of the breed in mind. The way I view the breed is that the temperament must be all Terrier while respecting the integrity of its Toy status."
Based on the first National, do you think breeders are on the right track?
"Oh, definitely! Don't forget, the TFT wasn't invented last week. There are some people involved in the breed who have been registering their dogs with the United Kennel Club for decades and they have established lines that consistently produce top notch quality. My Best of Breed and Best Opposite winners both come from long established bloodlines and it shows. The quality of those two are on a par with the finest being shown in AKC Toy Group competition today."
You appeared to genuinely enjoy judging the Toy Fox Terrier. What attracted you to this breed?
"Probably the same thing that has attracted me to all the other breeds I've been involved with -- I can't get by a good one!"
Having been at this point in history with other breeds, what words of advice can you offer to Toy Fox Terrier Breeders?
"Don't confuse your show dogs with your breeding dogs. We always hope they will be the same but they aren't always. When it comes to the whelping box a pile of Best In Show ribbons only tells you one thing--the dog has won a pile of blue ribbons, nothing more, nothing less."
Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We are also grateful to you and the current board for helping this great breed over the recognition hurdle. Thank you! Rick Beauchamp
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