Question of the Week
My departed mentor I would love to visit with again is the one and only Nigel … Aubrey Jones, of course. I learned so much from him, but probably the most important was never compromise.
Gregory A. Anderson
This is another great question I really miss and would love to laugh with and learn more from Ted Young Jr.! What an inspiration – so talented, gracious, intelligent and a sense of humor that everyone enjoyed! So many people in the dog world have learned so much from him. Thank you, Teddy!
Florence Nagle of Sulhamstead Kennels, England.
Why? Whenever you spoke with her and asked her questions, she had the most in-depth knowledge accompanied by common sense. A rare combination in anyone. What a woman and what a great breeder. I am lucky to have known her and to have her great bloodline incorporated in mine.
Thousand Oaks, California
Jane Chopson from Northern California … intelligent, well spoken, worldly. Her knowledge of Great Danes started with her parents and was enhanced by the accurate genetic information she absorbed from her friendship with Isabel Karkau. They tried to educate people on how coat color is TRULY inherited in the breed at a time when people SADLY believed misinformation. There is a huge void without her in the Great Dane world, the dog world and my life. She left way too soon.
Mt. Airy, Maryland
In Ridgebacks, that is fairly easy. It was a partnership of Margaret Lowthian and Eugene Freeland (Lamarde Perro Kennel), and though they were not married they lived together for many years. While Margaret was not the first to bring in Ridgebacks, she was the first to breed them in volume and really develop the breed. In the 1950s she had 60 to 100 dogs at her kennel in Alpine, California, and recognizing that it was a new, developing breed she was very circumspect in what she did. If a dog did not have a ridge or was not up to her “par,” she would put it down. As a result, the breed developed rapidly. I bought my foundation bitch from her (Ch. Lamarde Perro Yakala A), and after she won big at the National in New York on the way east (Rick Chashoudian was the handler), Margaret honored the deal. If you went to her house in California, she would show you 30 dogs, analyzing each one, part by part, and as a whole ... it was a learning experience. They also raised Appaloosa horses and peacocks. You stayed up late talking dogs, and were awakened early by the peacocks walking on the roof of your cottage. To this day I have not seen a better Ridgeback than Ch. Lamarde Perro Temba. He is the picture I judge each dog coming into the ring against as to "type." Even today I remember her comments.
Barbara J. Morris
From Rottweilers, I really miss my breeder, Marc Schwartz. He was always there when I needed to talk about the breed, who I should breed my stud dog to and any health problems that would come up. (Luckily, I never had any.) He really loved the breed, and always followed his puppies wherever they went.
That is an easy answer: Patsy Wood. My mentor, my other mother figure. The first person who told me I was good at something (stripping Sealies in eighth grade). Patsy was always teaching me about dogs, breeding, type. Right from wrong. We challenged each other with our picks of puppies, discussed at length the reasons, watched them grow and continued the debate. I was young and made my mistakes. I made her proud and I made her cringe. Our relationship was way beyond dogs – the dogs are what brought us together and kept us together until the day she passed.
I would treasure talking to and hugging my sweet friend, Patrick Pettit. He died in 1996.
First of all, he was so hilarious. Every phone call – and I got at least one a week – would leave me hysterical with laughter.
Second, his view of the dog world was never negative. He loved people and his Whippets, and found unbridled joy in all of it.
He was not only a contemporary – he was a mentor. I don't know that he ever realized how much he taught me. His words of wisdom come up in my mind frequently.
I was lucky to know him.
Newbury Park, California
Jane Forsyth and Richard Beauchamp. These two giants in the Sport of dogs encouraged and mentored me from my very beginnings!
Jane would say to me, “You are breeding some lovely dogs, and you can show them yourself” – and so I did!
I would often see Mrs. Forsyth take novices aside and encourage and show them how they could do it better.
Rick was the epitome of knowledge when it came to breed type and was willing to share his knowledge with all those who cared to learn. Even today I read over his many books and learn!
I miss these two so much.
If I had the chance, I would love to talk again with my breed mentor, Gladys May of Majeune Bouviers. She taught me everything I know about evaluating a litter. I would love to have those conversations again and watch her pick up a two-day-old puppy, hold it in her palm with the legs hanging down and show me, point by point, how she thought the puppy would develop. I saved all the notes I took on each puppy over the years in the hope I could try to do as good a job as she did.
Joseph Joly III and Don Sutton. Both encouraged me to set and complete goals within my breeding program and to not settle for anything less than good. Really good. They elevated my “eye” for what I needed in a Pekingese and taught me without a doubt, to find and judge virtues, to judge the dog as a whole, to recognize faults but to not fault judge. These were gentlemen who would have been my dear, sweet friends even if we didn’t have dogs in common. And I miss them both, so much.
Cave Creek, Arizona
The late Betty Merritt of Tucson, who raised and showed more than 100 home-bred champion Westies and was always a generous mentor to anyone. She lived for Westies.
Denver, North Carolina
I would love to visit with Canada's Betty Hyslop of Cairndania Cairn Terriers. I was wacky enough to obtain my first Cairn from her and share in her vast knowledge of bloodlines.
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Ruth Hayden – my original mentor in Lhasa Apsos. I’d want to ask her, “I think I'm FINALLY getting a handle on what has kept me going in the sport for 45-plus years. What kept you going for all those years in Lhasas?”
Kate D. Romanski
Hales Corners, Wisconsin
If I were still actively breeding English Cockers, I would like to sit down and discuss the breed and how to do better with the late Arthur B. Ferguson and his wife, Jane, of the Dunelm English Cockers from Durham, North Carolina. I specialized in solid colors; they did parti-colors. Doesn’t matter what color – they are all the same breed. Arthur and Jane quietly succeeded from the early 1950s until they left us at the turn of the 21st Century. I knew them as fellow fanciers and club members, of course, but I never had the chance to really sit and listen, to pick their brains and to learn more from them.
I think of her every day: Mary Lou Tingley, Phydeaux Briards. Not only my mentor, but my dearest friend, my biggest cheerleader and my compass in dogs and life.
Without a doubt, the late William (Bill) Taylor of St. Aubrey Elsdon Pekingese fame.
The best part of being on a panel with Bill is that we would have dinner and discuss pedigrees, how to read them, whether uncle to niece was inbreeding or line breeding, the mistakes newcomers make, etc. His understanding of a pedigree and the value of knowing the siblings and littermates of those dogs within the pedigree apply to any breed. So few of us breed to the pedigree anymore, and it was so enjoyable to discuss the finer points of pedigree breeding, whether Pekingese or Dandie Dinmont Terriers.
Mrs. Rachel Page Elliott, my grandparents’ next-door neighbor, my lifelong friend and mentor.
Cranford, New Jersey
I met Marianne L. Nixon of San Jo Lhasa Apsos in 1976 when she judged the American Lhasa Apso Club futurity. It was a large entry, and we had two littermates entered. Steve Campbell, the co-breeder, showed the bitch, and I showed the dog. What a thrill when Steve went Grand Futurity Winner from the 9-12 Puppy Bitch class under this knowledgeable, experienced breeder whom we had only heard about in magazines since she was from Washington State and we were from New Jersey. That meeting changed my Lhasa life forever.
Marianne was a consummate student of all things dog, and she never stopped trying to find answers to any question she might not know. As I had only been in the breed for less than five years, she graciously took me on as a long-distance apprentice. I loved talking to her for hours on end, and back then long-distance phone calls were dearly priced.
The following year my mother passed away, and Marianne kindly asked me to come out to Washington and go to some shows with the Cascade Lhasa group! I had never traveled so far alone, but I took a chance and went. We had an instant connection and talked non-stop for hours. At 11 p.m. PST (2 a.m. EST for me), Marianne decided to get out the home movies she had taken of Lhasa classes so we could study movement. About two hours later I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, as I had been up for 23 hours by then. I was there for 10 days, and we never stopped talking, and I never stopped learning.
We became fast friends through the years, and both being night owls our phone conversations became a nightly event. Marianne shared her stud dogs with me, and together we bred more than 30 champions that included BIS, BISS, Group and Futurity winners. Not only did she share her dogs with me, but she shared her amazing family with me, inviting me to Christmas every year for more than 35 years. She gave me a loving family that has given me cherished memories that I treasure for always.
I think of her every day, and there is many a night that I want to pick up the phone and talk about something that’s happened or discuss something l saw while judging. I know I am a better breeder, judge and person because she was in my life. I will miss her and love her forever!
Las Vegas, Nevada
The persons that I would like to talk to again in my breed are my first partner Jack Heidinger and my dear mentor whom I just lost, Frank Sabella. I would like to thank them for welcoming me into the world of dog shows and my Poodles. Without Jack I would not even know anything about dog shows and Poodles. He had two Poodles and I fell in love with them and Jack. The rest is history. Frank was so kind to me, and when I had a question, I knew he would be so kind as to help me with the answer. I think of each every day. One day we will be reunited, and I am sure I will need their mentoring in Heaven on what I should and should not do. Miss you so very much, my loves Jack and Frank.
Easley, South Carolina
I would love to talk to Bobby Fowler. I was so focused on competing against him that I did not ask him nearly enough about the breed and handling.
Stephanie S. Hedgepath
Lexington, South Carolina
I would love to have the chance to talk with Pat Curties of Lees Welsh Corgis in the U.K. again. She was a font of knowledge, and I have so many more questions I would like to ask her about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. When Miss Curties died, she had been in the breed for more than 60 years!
I would love to see Nat and Gloria Reese again, just because I loved them and miss them so. But I never felt there was anything left unsaid.
The mentor I would truly love to talk with again is Emily Hill Farrell (Foxden). I have so many more questions for her about the great dogs she imported and those she left behind in Europe. She had an amazing eye for type, and rescued some of the best stock after and during World War II. Those dogs, otherwise lost, helped lay the foundation of the great dogs of the 1950s-1990s.
Temple City, California
Gary Wittmeier… he was not only my mentor, but my best friend for more than 40 years. A master breeder of Toy Poodles, he was truly an icon in our sport. He would have been THRILLED that Pat Trotter judged BIS at Westminster, and that she put up the Peke! I know he would be speechless about the current affairs of not only our sport, but also our world. I wish I could just TALK to him, as I miss him so … but I still hear that voice as if he’s still here.
I was lucky in that I got to interview both the greatest breeders of Whippets from the past: Doris Wear (Stoney Meadows) and Peggy Newcombe (Pennyworth). Both were active in the 1940s and both had their last litters in the early 1990s.
But I wish I could have talked to three ladies that were equally talented, but much less polite than the above in disagreeing about what the "Ideal Whippet" should look like …
It would have been wonderful to have a frank conversation with Julia and Judith Shearer, the sisters who bred the Meander Whippets at their historic farm from 1772 in Virginia. (The kennel is now a fancy bed-and-breakfast and according to website photos looks very quaint. I can imagine the sisters’ tart comments …)
As a counterpoint to the Meander story, I would love to hear what Mrs. Margaret Anderson of Mardormere kennels on Long Island had to say. She was their constant rival at the shows, owned very different dogs and had almost unlimited resources, her husband being the CEO of Pfizer. Her English imports included Ch. Flornell Glamorous, one of the top show dogs in the U.S. in the early 1940s, and Ch. Laguna Lucky Lad, who won the breed’s first Hound Group at Westminster in 1957. (Mrs. Anderson’s handler was in fact the father of Desi Murphy, who was literally brought up at Mardormere. Can you have a better dog background than that?)
Since I was already involved in the Whippets in the mid-1960s, when the last Meander and Mardormere litters were born, I could technically have met them … but what would they say about being bombarded with questions from a stranger? Maybe it’s just as well I never met any of them.
Ann F. Grosser
The one person in my breed that I miss the most is Bette Wynn. From the moment I had my first phone call with Bette I knew that this lady would be someone who would be not only willing to help me learn about Schipperkes, but would be would be more than happy to share her extensive knowledge of the breed and of dog showing in general. We soon shared a love of a little dog named BISS Shalako’s Simply Simon CD. Bette taught me how to give generously, how the future of dog shows is the newcomers so we must help them, and to ignore the people who are unkind and always do what’s best for the dogs. I would do anything for one more visit with her.
Who in my breed would I like to talk to again? That would be the one and only Jim Smith. Just to hear his voice ... and to hear his excitement when I called at the end of the day to tell him about the last puppy he bred and how she did on the day. He would have been so happy with this spotted wonder. I am just glad he saw her photo at four weeks. He said, "Positively that one." How right you were, Mr. Smith.... just to hear his voice ....