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Airedale Terrier Club of Japan Championship Show November 2004
Comments by Judge Keith Lovell, Australia

My Japanese Airedale friends, Thank you! Thank you for your kind welcome and thank you for your great hospitality, your wonderful sportsmanship and for the beautiful dogs you have shown me today.

This is the first time in Japan for my wife, Patricia and I. We have enjoyed our two days so far seeing many beautiful and many traditional things: (art, museum, village, garden, shops and most importantly Japanese food. We love the food.) We will also visit Kyoto which we have read and seen (TV) so much about as well as Tokyo.

Takemi and Shino have been wonderful hosts looking after us in every way. Your club is very fortunate to have such committed people.

Today at the show I was most impressed by the venue and the organization. The parking and the cooperation of exhibitors was an example for all the world. I am delighted to have had Aya as interpreter and thank her for the assistance. The lunch was so very enjoyable. The experience of participating the lunch typical of a Japanese Airedale Show was great for us.

The dogs were of mixed quality. Several were as good and as competitive as you might see anywhere in the world. I have judged Airedales in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, United States of America (even Montgomery), Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Romania and Hungary. Now Japan! (Thank you for the privilege!) Your best would have been competitive at any of these shows.

I think the best Airedales I have judged were, Finlair Isis, Tiger of Finlair, Finlair True Grit, Pinto Whiter Shade of Pale, Drakehall Dragoon, Tartans Oil Patch Star, Terrydales Adorable Lady and Old Iron Highpoint.

Of course I have bred some great Airedales myself who I think would manage very well in that company. They include Tjuringa Harrah, Tjuringa Cactus Flower, Tjuringa Chancellor, Tjuringa Aintmisbehavin, Tjuringa Ants Pants and Tjuringa Queen Bee. Our biggest win was best in Show at our centenary celebration show when Tjuringa Harrah was successful from an entry of 176 under English Judge Mr. Arthur Lodge of Mynair Airedales.

The Wilderness Airedales in Japan are very impressive and provide a great foundation to develop the breed and be internationally competitive. My best in show bitch, Ch. Diamond Willow of Wilderness, could win anywhere. She is sound and typical, well balanced and a very good mover. Her coat glistened and her trimming was world class. I loved her grizzle coat. She has a clean elegant head, dark eye and excellent mouth.

It was not an easy win for her because the two Stargus entries were also quite stunning.

The bitch, Stargus Aphrodite was youthful and exciting. Only just two years old and full of energy and enthusiasm. She was splendidly prepared to show her rich tan and dark black coat at its harsh best. Her movement was clearly the best at the show. She excelled in ear placement and carriage, neck, top line, tail placement and angulation front and back. She is right up to size and I would prefer her a little smaller. I like a more elegant head but just the same accept this as a good head. Her most beneficial attribute is personality. She was well handled and showed herself superbly.

The other star of the show was my choice for best dog. He is a litter brother to the bitch winner. Stargus Adonis is an upstanding showy dog whose ring presence varied from outstanding with the head and tail strong and spirited to intimidated with the tail dropping whenever uncertain. While I forgave this because he was so stunning, it was very disappointing for me. He was short in back with great neck placement and excellent tail set on a very level and short back. Good angulation both ends but not quite as much as the sister. He moved very well, has the same great coat and colour and was trimmed superbly. I selected the sister as my preference because I like a finer head and more refinement in the chest area where he is too broad. This dog has so much to offer the breed in Japan that I would expect many to use him over their bitches. He may become the biggest producer ever. Therefore, you need another unrelated dog of great quality to breed on to his progeny. I suggest somebody looks in Argentina, USA or Australia.

Clearly readers can see from my placings throughout the show that Wilderness Airedales impressed me the most as `Diane` was best in show and most classes were won by Wilderness.
The features most outstanding in Japanese dogs were the necks and shoulders. You are so good in that department. Some heads were of a really nice length and fineness but skulls were often a problem with prominent domes and bumps. The other great concern for me is the hindquarters. Too many, but not all, have a dropped croup, low set tail and close hocks without strength or drive. I would like more short backs like the junior male Wilderness For Meriadoc, Dogwood of Wilderness and of course Ch Diamond Willow of Wilderness and Ch Jaideld Gypsy Queen of Wilderness. The best I can suggest for this improvement is for the dog Stargus Adonis to be used at stud many times.

Grooming was really excellent. I did not see any clipped dogs. While some were better than others, all were very acceptable. The fine trimming is an art mastered only by a few. The winners of the experienced and the inexperienced trimming classes were both excellent. They have the right idea of head and elbow trimming. This is always the hardest to learn. My advise for some of you is to take a risk and remove more hair when trying to get the finished appearance. If you take to much it will grow for next time. If you don't you may never find out how good your dog really is.

Handling is good but training for the show needs more attention. Many of the dogs needed more confidence and happiness. Puppies should be allowed to be a little naughty. Airedales become the King of Terriers but first of all they need to be the Court Jester, a clown. Take them to the shopping areas, have coffee with them in the street cafes and let them jump on you. After they develop confidence, you can train them more easily. The only important habit to never allow is growling and biting. If your judges do not face the dogs to each other to enable them to become `tight` and enthusiastic, you need to train them with food to show excitement when they look at you and the judge.

Trish and I have enjoyed the show so very much, we love the Japanese people we have met and thank you all for your kindness.

Keith Lovell