Percy Roberts and Anne Rogers Clark: two conversations worth having.
Fri, 02/23/2024 - 7:08pm

Question of the Week

Who are three people from the present and/or past with whom you would want to discuss purebred dogs?


Paul Lepiane

Ojai, California

First would be Annie Clark. I first met Anne (and Jim) Clark when I started publishing Poodle Variety in 1977. Over the years we were in continual contact, culminating when she wrote her very popular “Annie On Dogs” column for us when we were publishing Dogs in Review magazine. She was born into a dog-show family in 1929 so had a lifetime of memories in the sport. Any question I had about anything regarding purebred dogs I could always get a knowledgeable opinion from her.

Right alongside Annie would be Tom Stevenson, who had an even longer time in the sport. Born in 1910, he started showing Bulldogs as a teenager in the 1920s. His breadth of knowledge on all aspects of the sport was amazing, and he loved to discuss trends in the various breeds and the sport in general. When we moved to Santa Barbara in 1984, we were in frequent and regular contact with Tom and his wife Ann. We were the beneficiaries of meeting many of the famous dog people from around the world who came to visit them, especially during the height of the Santa Barbara Kennel Club days when it was the largest show in the nation. Their “Monday after the show luncheons” at their beautiful home for the judges and a few others (us!) were legendary and fascinating!

The third person would be Hayes Blake Hoyt of Blakeen Poodle fame. I never met her in person, but was able to have someone else interview her just a short time before she died, and that interview was published in Poodle Variety. The first woman to win Best in Show at Westminster (in 1935 with her imported white Standard Poodle Ch. Nunsoe Duc de la Terrace of Blakeen), she was a formidable force as a breeder and owner-handler in Poodles. I would love to hear her stories of the early imports and development of the breed, along with her thoughts on how she became so successful.


Iva Kimmelman 

Stow, Massachusetts 

The three people I love talking dogs with: Paul Lepiane, Aaron Todd Miller and Isabella Stoffers.

Sadly, but luckily, Paul is the only one still here. 


Ellen MacNeille Charles

Washington, D.C.

Adelaide Riggs, William Kendrick and Michele Billings.


Jodie Childers

Springfield, Illinois

Anne Rogers Clark, Ruth and Doc Paule (Bassets), and Rick Chashoudian.


Joan Zielinski 

Olympia, Washington

I’d be so interested in a conversation with Michelle Billings, Frank Sabella and Edd Bivin. Three great minds exchanging barbs would make for great entertainment!


Kristi L. Tukua

Delano, Minnesota

Two people in Sporting dogs: Julia Gasow (Springers) and Alice Swiderski (Cocker Spaniels). Both from Michigan and gone now.


Butch Schulman

Louisville, Kentucky

The three people I would choose to discuss purebred dogs with are my mother, Dorothy Schulman (a former AKC judge and an accomplished breeder of Collies, Lhasa Apsos and Doberman Pinschers who fully understood the essence of true breed type, now deceased); my friend Ken Murray (who I consider to be the “Master of the Setters” — his knowledge of the Sporting breeds simply captivates me), and my friend John Buddie (a man who mastered exquisite Collie expression in his breeding program, and whose knowledge of the Collie standard and history is so vast and enlightening that our conversations are just never complete).


Sandra Lex

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Rick Beauchamp, Skip Stanbridge, Nigel Aubrey-Jones. 


Vicki Holloway

Riverside, California

Here are my three choices of people to talk dogs with:

Dr. Donald Sturz, Michael Dachel and Michael Faulkner.

Great question!


Nancy Russell

Walsenburg, Colorado

Back in the 1960s, I was showing Ch. Glaciers' Storm Kloud to Henry Stoecker, and he put a son of his to BOB. That evening at the club banquet, I sat at the same table as Mr. Stoecker and finally got up enough nerve to ask this question: "Mr. Stoecker, this morning I showed a Malamute special to you, and you gave his son BOB. I think it was because he stops straighter in front. I don't understand why my dog moves well in front but doesn't stop straight?”

I had asked this question of breeders and never got a good answer. Well, I got a great explanation of front assembly and the importance of where the whole assembly lays on the rib cage. It changed my whole breeding program, and this dog became the top-producing sire in the breed. He also proceeded to tell me that my handling was causing the problem to be worse, and then told me how to set him up correctly!

I really feel that AKC's recent rules that prevent judges from talking and socializing with exhibitors is wrong. When I was a novice breeder/ handler, multiple judges gave me help in both handling and breeding information.


Dr. Fred Askin

Pittsboro, North Carolina

Annie Clark, Melbourne Downing and Desi Murphy.


Susan Shephard

Deltona, Florida

R. William Taylor, Nigel Aubrey-Jones and Joseph Joly III. Bill and Nigel knew everything about Pekingese and had handled most of the past great ones. Joe knew dogs and dog shows, and had a special love and knowledge of Pekingese. All the most wonderful people. 


Bo Bengtson

Ojai, California

Tom Stevenson! I really miss the walks in the beach on Mondays after he and Ann had been away judging: He would discuss what he had done so clearly and dispassionately I could almost see the dogs in front of me. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, but he was funny and self-deprecating, too. I learned a lot!

I can’t think of two other people that I’d like to listen to as much. Maybe the lunches at the Stevensons after the Santa Barbara Kennel Club show in the late ’80s and early ’90s. But there were so many people you could listen to: Tom and Ann, of course, Annie Clark, Frank Sabella, Tom Bradley and many more …


Dr. Daniel W. Dowling 

Hope, Maine

Due to my special interest in Borzoi, I'd love to visit with Louis Muir about his wonderful Romanoff Wolfhounds. I would also choose to spend time with Percy Roberts and Bea Godsol. 


Christie Martinez

Gig Harbor, Washington

There are many and I do, but my top three would be: Michael Canalizo, Sid Marx and Nathaniel Horn.


Jay Phinizy

Acworth New Hampshire

Well, there are many folks I miss greatly, but I must say that it would still be a treat to be able to sit down again for the afternoon with Babbi Tongren, Cora Miller and my old chum, Anastasia Noble. We just might cover more things that just dogs.


Len Reppond

San Leandro, California

I’d enjoy speaking with Alva Rosenberg, Beatrice Godsol and Joe Faigel. These are judges I greatly respected when I first got into dogs. All three were generous with their time and treated me (a youngster) with much respect and kindness. They had strong opinions backed with great knowledge. Now that I’ve been judging for over 30 years, I realize even more just how exceptional they were, and I’d give anything to thank them for their generosity to me and willingness to share their expertise. 


Charlotte McGowan

Newton, Massachusetts

I feel so fortunate to have known so many great dog people. I would most enjoy more time with Rachel Page Elliott. Pagey was one of the greatest students of canine anatomy. She was amazing and shared her knowledge with so many of us. I would also like more time with Mar Van Wagenen, a great Sheltie breeder and walking encyclopedia of pedigrees, history and photos of the breed who willingly shared her knowledge. Mary was a judge in demand in multiple countries. I would also like more time with Betty Kenworthy of Kenrennie Papillon fame. She was a lifelong student of the breed internationally and was so knowledgeable about pedigrees and the details of dogs in pedigrees everywhere. She was also a great breeder with a strong understanding of genetics.


Patrick C. Byrne 

Kansas City, Kansas

If I could pick three important influences from the wonderful world of dogs, it would be Sunny Shay of the Grandeur Kennels, the Bolgins of the Shur Du Shar-Pei kennel and Mr. Eugene Blake.


Pam Bruce

Niagara, Ontario, Canada 

(1) Peter Green

(2) Nigel Aubrey Jones

(3) Michele Billings

(4) Roger Rechler/Sunny Shay


Steven Herman

Wesley Chapel, Florida 

Marjorie Martorella and Ashleigh Oldfield for their encyclopedic knowledge of Pointers.

Wayne Cavanaugh for Pointers, too, Sporting dogs in general and just about any other topic.


David Frei

Seattle, Washington

Peter Green, Pat Craige Trotter and Michael Canalizo.


Richard L. Reynolds 

Tenafly, New Jersey

William “Sandy” Gunn, an all-around dog person with a storehouse of conformation and real working experience.  


Sylvia Arrowwood

Charleston, South Carolina

The Ghost of Annie Clark, AKC Judge Edd Bivin and Delegate Karen Burgess.


Mike Macbeth

Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada

I would invite Bill Taylor of St. Aubrey-Elsdon Pekingese, Raymond Oppenheimer of Ormandy Bull Terriers and Carlos Renau of Del Zarzoso Standard Poodles to sit together, but I would not partake in the conversation ... I wouldn’t say a word. Can you imagine the discussion with these three giants of our sport? Imagine what we would learn!


Bruce Schultz

Bonita, California

I enjoy talking dogs with Jim Moses, Eugene Blake and George Alston.


Dr. Stephen Lawrence

Stafford Springs, Connecticut

Muriel Freeman, Ramona Van Court Jones and Melbourne Downing.

These three individuals had strong points of view, which they applied to their evaluation of actual dogs.


Judy Harrington

Monson, Massachusetts

Andrew Brace — anytime, any day!


Janet Cupolo

Hellertown, Pennsylvania

I always want to discuss dogs with my idols, Peter Green, Beth Swiegart and Ernesto Lara. I have learned so very much listening to discussions with these three! From the past, I would love to sit down to dinner with Bob and Jane Forsyth. If I could get all these people together, I would definitely need to video it for posterity!


Bill Shelton

Pomona, California

As a breeder, I so enjoy talking dogs with other knowledgeable breeders in my position. Like Peggy, Helming, David Fitzpatrick, the Smitheys, Michelle Santana, Joseph Vignette, Dennis O’Connor and many others like them. 


Tom Bradley 

Watertown, New York

Anne, Billy and Frank. If you need more than this, you are in the wrong sport. 


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