Integrity Wrapped in a Towel: E.S. Montgomery’s Reign of Terrier

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AKC Gazette, “Times Past”: Dr. E.S. Montgomery was a man of many parts, and most of them were evident as he emerged from the bathroom at 8:45 a.m. wearing nothing but a towel and a straw hat.

Walter Fletcher, dog writer for the New York Times, had just arrived at the Waldorf Towers to interview the breeder-handler-judge. Mrs. Montgomery offered the reporter coffee and explained, “Edward always wears a hat when he steps out of the shower to try and flatten his curly hair.”

Even fully clothed, the distinguished physician from Tarentum, Pennsylvania, was a sight not soon forgotten. At six-feet-four and 350 pounds, sporting a natty mustache and boutonnière, Montgomery cut a commanding figure. And as Fletcher wrote in his memoir, My Times in Dogs, the doctor’s reputation for brutal honesty was as imposing as his frame: “As an exhibitor and judge, he was controversial. … Strongly opinionated, he could be relied on to stir up a commotion when he talked.”

Montgomery was in New York on this morning in 1961 to give a speech at a Dog Fanciers Club luncheon. “He wasn’t one to talk off the record,” wrote Fletcher, “so when he delivered a speech, there was always a good turnout.” The dean of dog writers added that his interviews with Montgomery generated sacks of reader mail seething with “protest and indignation.”

Montgomery could back his bruising opinions with a keen intellect and a lifetime of practical experience. “I’ve been a Bull Terrier aficionado since I was 5 years old,” he told Fletcher as he dressed, “when I found a bedraggled white pup and brought him home.” The breed became a lifelong passion.

Known to the fancy as “Mr. Bull Terrier,” Montgomery breeder-owner-handled dozens of his Monty-Ayr Bullies to breed immortality. In his pursuit of knowledge, he bred his way through the entire Terrier Group and became one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject. (The photo shows Montgomery during this period, handling his Ch. Romany Ritual.)

As a judge, Montgomery held breeders to the high standards he set for himself. Some feared the doctor’s uncompromising verdict, but all respected it and the integrity behind it. Montgomery paid his own expenses and gave his fees to charity. He played no favorites among exhibitors; the dog’s quality was his only consideration.

Fletcher accompanied Montgomery to the Dog Fanciers speech. As the writer expected, the room was full. Montgomery began his assessment of the show scene: “The lack of emphasis of the dog in motion is rapidly deteriorating a half-dozen breeds into unsound entities. It is only in motion that the true anatomical structure of an animal can be observed. …”

This was followed by many more typically blunt opinions—blunt, but sound as a Monty-Ayr terrier. Fletcher sat back and smiled. His next column was writing itself. —Bud Boccone

Read the latest AKC Gazette here.



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Posted in AKC Gazette, Times Past

Aurora Ballot Measure Will Determine Fate of Pit Bulls


In the next few weeks,  residents of Aurora, Colorado, will be receiving mail-in ballots. Question 2D on the ballot asks, “Shall the people of Aurora adopt an ordinance allowing pit bulls back into their city?”

A vote of “YES” provides the opportunity for Aurora dog lovers and residents to fight discrimination restore the rights of dog owners in the city and protect the lives of dogs that are determined to be “pit bulls”.

Currently, the city of Aurora  is one of a declining number of communities  across the country that  ban ownership  of “pit bulls”, which  city code defines as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American pit bull terriers, or any dog that “substantially conforms to the standards for these breeds” (in other words, dogs that look like they may be one of these breeds could be banned).   Dogs deemed to be on the restricted breed list are assumed to be dangerous and can be impounded and euthanized unless the dog can be transferred to someone outside city limits.

Breed-specific dangerous dog laws (BSL) like the one in Aurora are tantamount to racial profiling for dogs. They unfairly penalize responsible dog owners and actually exacerbate community dog issues because they do not hold all dog owners equally accountable for the actions of their dogs.


The American Kennel Club opposes breed-specific laws  and supports a “YES” vote to remove the ban and allow dog owners to once again responsibly own the breed of their choice – regardless of its appearance. Other national organizations such as American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the American Bar Association, and a host of other respected national organizations also oppose BSL and recognize the issues, inequities and fallacies inherent with such laws.

AKC’s Government Relations Department  is working AKC’s Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs and area dog clubs to educate residents about  dangerous dog issues, responsible dog ownership, and how breed bans are not only ineffective, but can actually harm the communities they are designed to protect.

“It’s time to stop the killing of innocent dogs based only upon their appearance,” says Linda Hart of the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs.

“Animal Control officers will admit privately that they do not believe the ban in Aurora makes the citizens safer and it takes time away from their ability to do bite prevention in the community. Aurora would be better served with an updated and more effective dangerous dog law that makes the owner of any breed of dog that bites responsible. To effectively reduce dog bites it’s necessary to break the cycle of repeat offenders who may allow a dog to be destroyed because of a bite situation, but almost immediately go out and get another puppy which they raise in the same environment and create another dangerous dog.”

Specific concerns with the Aurora law include the following:

  • Breed-specific laws unfairly target responsible dog owners and innocent dogs. Dog owners should have the right to own the dog that is the right fit for them and their family, as long as they do so in a responsible manner.  They should not be punished, and their pet should not be impounded or euthanized, simply because of the dog’s appearance.  The emphasis should be on responsible dog ownership for ALL dog owners – regardless of the dog they choose to own.


  • Breed-specific laws (BSL) hinder community safety. BSL places the emphasis on a dog’s appearance rather than its behavior.  To truly protect the community, animal control and law enforcement should be able to focus on a dog’s specific actions, regardless of its appearance.


  • Breed-specific laws are costly for the community and taxpayers. Dogs that are declared a “restricted breed” in Aurora are impounded by the city, where they are housed and/or euthanized at taxpayer expense.


 For more resources and information about BSL, view AKC’s   Issue Analysis “Why Breed-Specific Legislation Doesn’t Work”, view AKC’s award winning dog safety video for Children — The Dog Whisperer, and a variety of other resources on the topic.

The AKC lauds Aurora City leaders for bringing this issue to a vote, and urges citizens  to vote YES to end discrimination based on appearance and to support responsible dog ownership, regardless of breed.

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Posted in Government Relations

What You Need to Know about Ebola and Dogs


In the news recently there have been reports of three health care workers, one in Spain and two in the United States, who have been diagnosed with Ebola virus. Two of these women are also dog owners.  The dog in Spain was euthanized in the interest of public health. The dog in the United States is currently quarantined.

To better understand why dogs are part of the conversation and why these two countries reacted differently, a better understanding of Ebola virus is necessary.

Read this AKC Canine Health Foundation white paper for accurate information on what you need to know about Ebola and dogs.

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Posted in AKC Canine Health Foundation

The Gorgeous Sourmug: 5 Ways of Looking at a Bulldog


AKC Gazette, “Times Past”:

  1. “There are some who compare the dog Cerberus, the monster that guarded the entrance to Hades, with the original conception of the bulldog. This, of course, is fanciful. Time has so molded his disposition that, today, he is as different from his past as that bloodthirsty bygone age is different from our own kindly humanity. The bulldog is the sweetest dog on earth, and to gain that epithet he has come a long way.” —Josephine Rine, AKC Gazette, April 1928


  1. Many schools and universities use the Bulldog as their mascot, but Yale’s Handsome Dan was the original. The first in a long line of Handsome Dans came to Yale in 1889. He was immortalized in the “Bulldog” fight song, written in 1911 by undergraduate Cole Porter.

When the sons of Eli break through the line,

That is the sign we hail,

Bull-dog! Bull-dog! Bow, wow, wow, Eli Yale!


  1. The Bulldog has long been a symbol of England’s national resilience and determination. As Winston Churchill once explained to a Nazi envoy, “The nose of the Bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go.”


  1. The Mack company adopted its famous corporate symbol during World War I. British troops appreciated the Mack truck’s ability to chug relentlessly across the muddy, shell-pocked fields of France. They nicknamed it the “Bulldog.”


  1. “With this breed it is almost impossible to overdo the affection bestowed. Give your Bulldog oceans of love and affection, and pet him frequently. They thrive on it. They like to be liked, and they love to be loved.” —J. Ross Nugent, The Gorgeous Sourmug, 1934

Read the latest issue of the AKC Gazette here.



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Posted in AKC Gazette, Times Past

Meet the Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog (SWD) breeder and SWD Club of America President Sheryl Gaines introduces us to the wonderful Spanish Water Dog. The breed, currently in AKC’s Miscellaneous Class, will become a fully recognized member of AKC’s Herding Group on January 1, 2015.

Watch a litter of SWD puppies enjoy a day of play along with mom Isa and their Lagotto Romagnolo “uncle”/housemate Wally. (Sire to the litter is Casa de Rancho’s Hagan Ruido (Rudi)).

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Posted in Breeders, Purpose-Bred Dogs, Responsible Dog Ownership

Dos And Don’ts For Effective Training


You can teach your dog to do many different things, but there are a few general guidelines that will help make sure your training goes well.  The American Kennel Club’s (AKC®) Canine Good Citizen® Director Mary Burch offers the top tips for effectively training your four-legged friend.

Do reward behaviors you like.  Observe carefully when training your dog and reward the behaviors that you’d like him to continue.  Treats, toys, and your attention are great rewards and can eventually be phased out and replaced with praise.

Do manage the environment.  When training your dog, managing his environment will help him succeed and not do something that you don’t like.  If you keep your shoes in the closet, your dog can’t make a snack out of them.

Don’t reinforce behaviors you don’t like.  Reinforcing behaviors you don’t like is very common, and you might not even realize you’re doing it.  Petting and playing with a puppy that jumps on you when you enter the room will more likely than not ensure that he’ll continue jumping on people because you’re giving him the attention he wants.  Instead, wait until he’s not jumping on you to pet him.

Don’t forget about exercise.  Exercise plays a critical role in preventing many behavior problems.  Exercise also helps to relax your dog so he can pay more attention to you during training.

For more training and socialization resources, visit the AKC website.

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Posted in Dog Care, Training

Common Pet Myths – Debunked!


We think we know everything there is to know about our pets, but if you believe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, think again!  There are countless myths about our pets, many so old they’ve become common folklore.  While most of these inventions are harmless, some could end up hurting your pet.

To separate fact from fiction, we’ve debunked some of the most common dog myths.

Dogs can’t see color – False

It was once thought that dogs could see only in black, white and shades of grey – and many people still believe this today.

Dogs can see color, but not in the same way as most humans. It is believed that dogs can see blue, greenish-yellow, and yellow, in addition to various shades of grey.

Dogs age seven years for every human year – False

This myth has been around for so long that it’s nearly become fact.  While dogs do age faster than humans, they don’t age seven years for every one human year.  Dogs age faster when they’re younger and slower as they get older.  The size of the dog also has much to do with the aging process – larger dogs age faster.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – False

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” probably stemmed from someone who couldn’t get his dog to catch a Frisbee.  You actually can teach a dog new tricks no matter what his age – including how to shake hands, speak and roll over – by keeping training sessions short, fun, and using plenty of positive reinforcement including praise and treats.

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Posted in Training, Tricks

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