Glen of Imaal critique-Crufts 2010

Crufts-Glen of Imaal Terrier

The first Crufts to be judged under the “new” breed standard and as the first Breed Specialist to award CCs at the event since the Glen of Imaal Terrier was awarded Challenge Certificates it was an interesting appointment. I was more than pleased with my main winners but I have to register concerns about the way the breed seems to be going.

The Glen got off lightly with the Kennel Club re-writing with just one word, slightly, being added to the description of the bow of the forequarters. It is understood why it was felt necessary to do this and it is acknowledged that, in the early 90s, quite an exaggerated front was seen in some Glens but the breed itself realised things had begun to go a bit far and mainly sorted its own problem out with there only being a couple of fronts today that I would consider excessive. One previous Standard change that was hardly commented on was the changing of the word “desired” regarding height, to “maximum” but never including a minimum to counter-balance this so how small can a Glen be? Early photographs, particularly the official St Patrick’s Day 1934 first breed classes, show dogs with daylight underneath and distinct legs so combining that with the construction of the breed anything under 12 inches or so might be considered a fault. Smaller does not automatically mean wrong though because of that most important sentence in the standard-maximum substance for the size of dog. It doesn’t mean fat, it means bulk made up of muscle, body and bone. A mature Glen should neither be a stick insect nor a slug. Even though there is no height difference between the sexes it should be no problem to tell whether you are looking at a dog or a bitch. The Glen of Imaal is not an easy dog to judge (or breed) if the basics of type and structure have not been fully grasped and the entry today leads me to think that such a fundamental principle has not been really understood since CCs were awarded in 2007 as I haven’t seen such a mixed entry in over 30 years!

Mixed entry isn’t a reference to mixed type. The Glen has always been a breed that embraced multi-type and thrived because of it. It is the reason that for years Glen of Imaal exhibitors were seen with slight consternation by many judges; they were a breed that actually wanted to know exactly why decisions were made & expected to debate it. People who knew the breed wanted to know if their judges did. A slightly old-fashioned system now, but Glens have seemingly not been altogether well served by changing judging to a seminar based activity rather than out in the real world talking to a lot of different people and actually seeing dogs.

The Glen structure isn’t unique, there are other achondroplasic breeds, but they are the only Terrier that did have to earn a working qualification before becoming a Champion and is still, legitimately, worked so form and function says there should not be a short upper arm so where has it come from? Is it that judges aren’t recognising the fault and getting it mixed up with some Glens being shorter on the leg or do some people not realise what it is? A short upper arm restricts forward movement. To the uninitiated eye a dog is moving properly, but rather than extending the front leg to pull it back the leg performs a more up and down movement. It can look spectacular and the dog can appear balanced rather than uneconomical in movement but the higher lift of the front feet gives lie to the Glen “covering the ground effortlessly”.

Maximum substance for size includes bone and in some of the younger dogs more was needed. The senior classes were excellent and bone can develop but the basis has to be there to lay down the frame for the adult Glen. Body shape, proportions and overall balance are all included in the overall picture and one or two were just wrong. Glens are not a long breed but there were some that certainly fitted this description and the longer coupling was compounded, in a couple of cases, by shortness of leg which totally distorts the balance of the dog and gives rise to a flat topline; something that is a complete antithesis for the breed.

Mouths for along time were a big problem in Glens but the improvements made here go from strength to strength with all dogs having good sized teeth and only two dogs having a poor bite but coats are obviously still a problem for some. A Glen of Imaal Terrier with a correct coat, and none here today were soft, is easy to look after; strip it and it grows & needing little work if kept on top of. The poor winter just experienced was manna from Heaven for growth & coat preparation of a breed that thrives in the cold so it was a bit of a surprise to have dogs with coats way past their best. Not everybody can strip at exactly the right time but not to strip at all does rather let the dog down in an entry that had some animals looking the best they have for years. The effort was noticed ringside as well because after judging some long term admirers and judges of the breed also said how well some of the dogs looked better than they had for years.

Veteran Dog: 1) Calloch’s Multi Champion Perfect Lionheart of South Wind Kalyani. The first of the multi-titled dogs and like his “younger brethren” in Open you can see he earned his awards. Classic Glen and good to look at, showed his age in movement by appearing rather stiff in front & behind.

Special Puppy Dog: 1) Croft’s Glenwellieka Flint of Flynn. Actually a better dog handled than viewed as his coat hid everything and correct shape and proportions are under there. When he finally settled there was good drive from a well muscled and nicely angulated rear. Best Puppy. 2) Hardy’s Amhard Freebooter. Smaller than one, nice head and adequately boned but his proportions at this age leave a bit to be desired.

Special Junior Dog: 1) Croft’s Glenwellieka Flint of Flynn. 2) Barnaby’s Kenocto Chief’s Song. A well up to size dog, with bone and muscle, that looks even bigger through sporting a huge coat. Rather close behind.

Post Graduate Dog: This class is always a difficult one as it is the only place the teenagers can go and in Glens twelve-eighteen months can make all the difference. 1) Horton’s Jeonty Highland Boy. A nice dog for his age with everything as it should be. Head coming along, rib and bone present, topline retains well both moving and standing, muscled behind. His conformation indicates he should have more to give in the movement department. 2) Ashcroft’s Romainville Typhoon. Another who handles better than his coat indicates. Nicely boned all through but is his own worst enemy as he stands in a way that does not flatter his shape and is inclined to half-passe when moving. 3) Roger’s Jeonty Wannabe Bauer. Handsome dog with nice proportions who needs to body up. The best put down of the three but today his movement was not up to it.

Limit Dog: 1) Garner’s Johnny Be Good At Romainville. This dog is a good illustration of substance for size. He is a smaller dog so it would be easy to think there should be more of him but he could never be mistaken for a bitch. A total showdog, including showing his handler up, in the best coat of the day. Nicely proportioned and an eye catching mover. Front structure slightly unbalanced but sound. 2) George’s Feohanagh Bryan at Romanville. Nicely boned dog, more of a “conventional” size, good angulation behind but tends to be unsound coming towards as he overpowers his own front.

Open Dog: The three well boned, well muscled, well put down, good headed dogs in this class were all Champions under more than one Kennel Club, all of a different type, all had points that made it easy to understand why top awards have been given in numerous countries and all are related to each other. 1) Welch’s Ch/Bel Ch Brockland Brayhead Lad. The better proportioned of the three, retained firm topline both on the move and standing, slightly straight behind but moved totally true. CC & BOB 2)Roger’s Ch/Bel Ch/Nl Ch Jeonty Wannabe Buster. Eye-catching dog with excellent rear drive, slightly let down by being not quite as good in front. Res CC. 3) White’s Multi Champion Abberann Conan AN Ch 6/7/8 CW 7/8/9. A master handler gets the best out of this dog but needing better rear drive and front extension was what placed him number three in the best class of the day. My compliments to all three owners.

Good Citizen Dog: 1) Barnaby’s Kenocto Chief’s Song.

Veteran Bitch: It was nice to see that Glens still continue to be competitive as Veteran is reached. 1) Seall’s Brockland Merrylegs for Bregorrey. I give this bitch Best Puppy at Crufts nine years ago and she is everything anticipated back then. Still retains her outline, shape, rib and proportions and moves with reach and parallel drive behind. Res CC. 2) Welch’s Bel Ch Brockland Brenna Anne. Another beautiful senior bitch who has retained her quality, now a little broad in front and tending to upright stance behind. 3) Forbes’ Ch Jeonty Hasaceilidh for Karensbrae ShCM. Lighter build all through, exceptional movement and balance, coat not of the quality or state of preparation.

Post Graduate Bitch: 1) Baldock’s Jeonty Maybe Daysee. 2) Sage’s Jeonty Lola May at Wickholm. Two litter sisters and very similar. Nice proportions, bone, rib and heads on the pair and both have balance and parallel drive behind. On the day it went to Daysee, despite still carrying her winter warmth in coat and body layers, as she was better balanced on the move and Lola May kept insisting on moving a little close at the front. 3) Smith’s Grizzlemarsh Dorathea. Nicely headed bitch that just did not want to move in anything like a settled manner.

Limit Bitch: 1) Seall’s Brockland Belle Bregorrey. Nicely packaged and presented, well shaped, good proportioned, smaller bitch who is balanced on the move and handles well but tends to stand over at the front and under at the rear 2) Allerman’s Emeldir Priness Astrid at Glenwellieka. Sound moving with nice outline and shape, needs more body and bone all through.

Open Bitch: 1) Roger’s Ch Jeonty Fern Grass.  Beautiful wheaten bitch who has it all-well most of it. Bone & substance but still feminine, retaining topline both at the stand and on the move, good reach and drive, coat just at the stand off stage which made her appear fatter than she actually was. CC. 2) White’s Ch/IrCh Abberann Ennya. Well presented, well handled bitch with excellent drive but stilted in front movement. 3) George’s Romainville Miss Moneypenny. Stands well but lets herself down on the move by being too close, body shape and proportion better than her coat indicates.

Harold Gay (Judge)