Conformation events are the signature events of the AKC. They concentrate on the distinctive features of purebred dogs and help to preserve these characteristics by providing a forum at which to evaluate breeding stock. Exhibits are judged against individual breed standards, which have been established for the AKC-recognized breeds by their parent clubs. These written standards describe the ideal size, color and temperament of each breed, as well as correct proportion, structure and movement.
The first focus of ATCA in its early days was defining and promoting true type. The breed was new and the standard open to broad interpretation, so options ran the gamut on what constituted a “good” Airedale. In the interest of defining type, the club supported the Airedale entry at leading dog shows of the day, offering special prizes, cups and medals. A competitive spirit soon arose and the club launched its own specialty show in Philadelphia in 1908. In 1911, the club moved its specialty to New York, holding it each February at various hotels, even in enclosed rooftop gardens and armories, except during the war years (1918 and 1943-1946) and the depression (1928). The club’s annual meetings and get togethers to discuss the breed were also held at the Warwick Hotel in NY City each February.
In 1968 the winter specialty was moved back to Philadelphia to be held in conjunction with the all-terrier Montgomery County Kennel Club show continues to be the ATCA’s national specialty and the weekend for the Club’s annual meeting and get together for breeders and enthusiasts. This is a time to evaluate breeding stock and look at the quality within our great breed.
Floating specialty shows came into being in 1920, when the ATCA began sponsoring specialty shows hosted by local Airedale clubs. The first “floater” was hosted by the New England Airedale Terrier Club in Boston that year and the second was held in Louisville, Kentucky the following year.
The Airedale Bowl, a magnificent sterling silver trophy is awarded to the breed winner at each national and floating specialty. It was first placed into competition in 1910.
As the years have passed more trophies have become part of the history of conformation of the ATCA. Along with the Airedale Bowl, the following trophies are awarded annually at the ATCA National Specialty. These include: The Barclay Memorial Trophy, the Willinez Defiance Trophy, Florsheim Trophy, William L. Barclay Memorial Trophy, Ethel Braxton Memorial Trophy, Briarcroft Perfection Trophy, Reffal Memorial Trophy, James M. McLynn Memorial Trophy, Bob LaRouche Memorial Trophy, and the David Leahy Memorial Trophy.
For more specifics on the Annual Specialty show, floaters and regional specialties, go Calendar of events and contacts.