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Getting the ears right is the result of breeding, al- though when showing, the ears can be encouraged by briefly folding the flap/leather over the finger. I see no objection to this. It is more honest than is, say, a gundog breed when the head is held in a position by the flews and the tail stretched out behind. An attractive but completely false outline of the dog, but accepted as the norm. Who would fault a docked breed terrier if his handler stroked the tail upward?


I believe that there is a suggestion from Amer- ica that our dropped ears are ‘fixed’ (surgically changed to create the fold), but this is not based on fact or knowledge. I believe that it can be done, but in my years of involvement in the MT breed I have only known of two cases in the UK. It was a shock to see it as it was so unexpected. It may happen in other breeds, but rarely in MTs. Most judges turn back ears of most breeds for various reasons other than and in addition to establishing if it has been tampered with. My mentor in MT, the late George Candling, when looking at a fold- ed back ear said that he was looking for the tan inside the ear. There are tan hairs in most ears, so I never did know if he was just not saying that the ears can be fixed or tan hairs mean something not in the Standard.


There are a variety of attitudes, opinions and im- portance given to the size of the ears, because the Standard, whilst giving a ‘small ear’ as the pre- ferred choice, does not give a precise size relative to the size of the head, which vary quite a bit. Surely it is the balance of size of ear to head that is important. I am always envious of the Border Terrier breeders and their judge’s interpretation of their Standard, because they breed thousands of sound, well-constructed dogs with just the vagu- est of Standards. Few actual facts compared to the very precise colour code of the MT. Perhaps we should just not get too worked up about the size of ear until all the other more important features are consistently correct.


A respected terrier Judge, with just 65 years expe- rience of judging terriers, was overheard to say as a particularly well-constructed dog was put down for an imperfect ear carriage, “it doesn’t move on its bloody ears.”


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BLACK & TAN | FALL 2010


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