In our April 22nd issue we had a conversation with Breeder & All Breed Judge, Pamela Bruce.
Name: Pamela Bruce
Where do you live: Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
Kennel name: Accolade Airedale Terriers
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
1) How did you become involved in the Airedale Terrier breed?
In the Seventies my parents bred Lhasa Apsos. They were shown in the Terrier group. Family friends – the Preeces’ showed and bred Airedales. I was in love with the breed and desperately wanted one. Due to the coat work I was not allowed to have one as it would conflict with my parent’s dogs, my schooling, sports etc. I was at ringside every time the Airedales were shown and offered to hold and walk dogs etc. I then got to take dogs in for breeders for best of winners or best puppy. I was hooked!
As a teenager I became affiliated with Afghans Of Grandeur as their exclusive handler in Canada. I travelled in the USA with my mentor Michael Canalizo (the exclusive USA handler for Grandeur).
We often set up near the Green team – I started washing and drying dogs for them when I could at the bigger shows. Peter would also let me walk to the ring with him when he was showing an Airedale. It again reaffirmed my love for the breed. I had not missed a Montgomery Terrier show since 1975 and I would watch the breed ALL DAY- It was Nirvana!
I then connected with Kelly Wood in Canada and worked with her dogs. My first Airedale was a Paradym dog. Can. Am. Ch. Paradym’s Got Game – Jordan
Once we retired the last Afghan of Grandeur – it was a natural progression to continue on with my Airedale Terriers.
2) Have you bred any other breeds?
I was involved with Afghans of Grandeur for over 40 years. We have one of the top winning dogs of all breeds of all time internationally with over 161 BIS – Can. Am. Ch. Tryst Of Grandeur. We have had MANY top winning hounds on both sides of the border.
I have also bred top winning Weimaraner’s from the breeding stock of Mike and Rose Shoreman with Deb Lynch and David Kuehl.
3) How many years have you been involved in purebred dogs?
I was born into this sport. My great grandmother bred Rough Collies. My maternal grandfather bred Boston Terriers, and he had a couple of Welsh Terriers. My paternal grandmother had a few American Cocker Spaniels that she finished, and kept as family companions.
My parents showed Maltese, and bred top winning Lhasa Apsos. I finished my first Maltese at the age four under my “Aunts” with the guidance of Lou Durocher, Billy Milne, and my parents. I also would show Cockers for Denzel Thorpe when he needed an extra hand with his class dogs.
Growing up I apprenticed under Elaine Whitney and her husband Bob – Garrett Lambert – Ed Henderson – Carol Hollands and Harold Butler.
4) Describe the Airedale Terrier in 3 words?
FULL TIME JOB!!! OK seriously, ROYALTY – LOYAL – CLOWNS
5) What to you is the ultimate hallmark of the Airedale Terrier?
A crisp coated – brick headed – KING (or QUEEN)
6) What are the “must have” traits you must have in your breed?
ROYALTY, above anything else – they need to look down on everything around them as if they are not worthy.
There is a saying amongst breeders that an Airedale will never start a fight – but they will ALWAYS finish one! True Statement.
A harsh coated, hand stripped, a MODERATE balanced dog with a brick head and fluid movement. Airedales cover ground – they do not go to ground. They HAVE to stand up on their toes in expectation and with interest NOT aggressiveness.
7) Is exaggeration a problem in the Airedale Terrier?
NO. I am SO proud of the dedicated breeders who are adamant this is a moderate breed. Saying that there are a few exceptions now and again. There was a breeder a few years back that only kept and showed dogs that were caricatures – each generation more extreme. This was not accepted in our breed. Fancy black and tan Wire Fox Terriers are NOT Airedale Terriers! They are NOT fancy. They are a moderate breed in every sense of the word.
8) As a judge of the breed around the world has the quality of the breed, improved or declined?
I think the dedicated breeders have been amazing caretakers for the breed, and as a result it is in good shape. Quality dogs today do not differ greatly from ones 40 years ago. Trimming has however become an art form.
9) The current population of our sport is aging, we have so many successful breeders who are slowly winding down, are you worried about the future of your breed?
ABSOLUTELY – YES. This breed is not for the faint of heart, and they truly are a full-time job to keep in proper show trim.
Sadly, FEW outside the breed understand the complete dedication to having them ring ready and presenting them in tight jackets with proper depth.
The learning curve is steep and the hours involved require complete passion and dedication to have an exhibit presented in Montgomery ready condition.
Quite frankly – I am not sure many are prepared to invest the time and energy.
10) If you could give a new judge to your breed one piece of advice what would it be?
OK, ONE BIG PIECE of advice…
Peter Green has a belief that if you have never lived with a Terrier, or at least been around them to appreciate them – then you have no business judging them.
I would recommend that ANY judge that intends to judge any Terrier breed with integrity – attend Montgomery County Terrier show. It is a Terrier group event held the first week in October in Pennsylvania USA with almost every breed holding their National specialty at one venue.
Plan to attend for the entire week. Pick a breed to watch each day (two breeds if time allows) There are great breed mentors in attendance. On Montgomery day watch Airedales from start to finish with the intention of observing the behavior of the dogs, as well as proper presentation etc. The electricity in the air is something that unless you have lived it, cannot ever be described!
PLEASE if you judge this breed appreciate the work that goes into them. NEVER back brush their jacket. Know that black and tan does not mean black to the root at each hair. A natural jacket will have good wave, depth and differential ( remember they are bred down from Otterhounds.)
KNOW that not only do they come in red grizzle but that it is preferred by most breeders as these are often the harshest coats often with the most amazing wave and ripple on their jackets!
Know that their coats are staged but should never be cut (a blunt edge finish) or short and straight – that is often a bad coat being kept short to hide improper texture
Appreciate that they are not expected to hard stack nor use their ears for the entire time in the ring (quite the opposite)
Conduct an efficient exam and stand away from them and watch them standing on their own. Know to never kneel in front of them in the ring nor talk baby talk to them.
NEVER expect them to move out after an effective spar as they are still amped up from ‘the conversation’.
11) What current health testing is required for the breed?
Hip and elbow evaluation, Cardiac Exam, Renal Disease DNA Test, Ophthalmologist Evaluation PLN
12) What dog of the past in your breed would you have like to have owned?
Male – Ch.Tierra De Churubusco Y Chubasco – Carlos
Female- Ch. Finlair Isis.
Cavi is related to both.
13) Describe the routine of a dog you are actively showing?
I am fully aware of just how insane this schedule appears as I write it – but in order to be in top form this is an accurate (albeit detailed) account of our day. This a very high maintenance breed to campaign – thankfully they have an incredible disposition.
In detail – Specialing Cavi for example: EVERY SINGLE DAY, I get up at 7 a.m and walk them for about an hour. They come back and relax, and then I will feed them breakfast. After lunch I take them to a fenced baseball diamond where they free run and I throw balls for them while they wrestle and hunt. We come back and Cavi goes to the grooming room on her own and right onto the grooming table. She is gloved and tweaked for about two hours each day. They play in the backyard after that, and get a carrot as a reward for trimming. They love watching for squirrels and birds, so they often want in or out. I do not discourage this, as it keeps them keen. They get fed an evening meal and later they are good for a last walk, or play in the backyard. I often take them out in the car as well – especially with no shows they are looking for a ride anywhere to get out.
Sunday, I wash furnishings, as well as a second day mid-week depending on the weather, or what parts I am trimming on that day. EVERY hair is pulled by hand. To keep her in special’s condition this schedule is adhered to every single day without exception. It is a passion, not a burden
Once every few months Cavi is taken to my mentors to have the fine points of her trim tweaked so she is in top form. It takes a village.
14) Besides conformation what else does your breed excel at?
They are truly an all-purpose breed. They hunt – fish – agility and obedience – scent work – police work and schutzhund work. They are amazing visiting retirement homes, or those who are developmentally delayed etc. They are extremely intuitive and versatile.
15) What type of home do you require for your puppies sold as family companions?
Preferably a home that has had an Airedale before. They are fine in urban, suburban, or rural homes but require regular exercise. The breed does best with structure, and a gentle voice and hand. At eight weeks of age they are like owning your very own raptor. By three they settle in. They are very willing to please, but have a great sense of humor, and can be a challenge. They should never be taken to dog parks as most dogs will object to their haughtiness. It is a recipe for disaster.
Thank you to ShowScene for spotlighting Cavi – #1 Terrier and #6 All Breeds. Cheers!
We wish everyone the best of health. Be safe. We look forward to being back together to enjoy the friendships we have made, and our beloved sport!