Question of the Week
I acquired a Bullmastiff that was not only show quality but groomed to be a competitive special from Geraldine Shastid (Ladybug). Over the years, Geraldine has become a treasured mentor and friend, encouraging me to look for the good in every dog. While Ch. Ladybug's Lady Caitlin, TD, was not the one responsible for introducing me to the breed, in four years of intermittent campaigning with me as her owner/handler, she became the number-three Bullmastiff and top-winning bitch of all time. Winner of two national specialty BOBs, seven all-breed BIS, four regional specialty BOBs, 64 group placements (28 Group 1sts) and 96 BOB out of 124 times shown. This record stands today, 31 years after her retiring show.
Port St. Lucie, Florida
Although I had three other purebred dogs in the past, one of which I showed briefly, my first real show dog and my foundation bitch came from Mrs. Eva Seeley, the mother of the Alaskan Malamute breed.
We had two pet buff Cockers Spaniels, each found via an advert in the vet's office and, yes, in the newspaper: Spanky and Darla. This was 1978. We needed to board our two critters and found a local place. The owner stated she had a new litter of Cocker puppies about five weeks old; would we like to see them. Of course!
The minute I looked into the whelping box I saw the difference between these cuties and ours. The first thing out of my mouth: How did you do that? She had these odd pictures on her walls of Cockers being displayed on a table with her and a stranger holding ribbon(s.) Shortly thereafter we acquired one of those black babies (sired by Ch. Piner's Point of View) and took two years learning how to groom and show our wonderful breed.
At the end of two years we realized we needed a foundation bitch. In our ignorance we found a girl from a stud dog we admired. I state "ignorance," as we were not well versed in the standard. However, we understood the engineering of a proper working dog. This girl had all the bone, angles, topline and head needed for a good producer. However, she was not a showgirl. We produced our first champion and the rest is history. We are breed mentors, breeders, exhibitors of different breeds, judges and both my husband and I are lifetime members of American Spaniel Club, having served on the ASC Board (he as President and myself as a Zone Director).
From two pet Cockers came a lifetime passion. Never discount a newbie.
Dr. Jerry Klein
I got my first dog, a Wire Fox Terrier, from a pet shop in Cleveland, Ohio, as my 12th-year birthday present from my parents in 1964. At that time, this is where non-doggy people went to get a dog: We looked in the newspaper and saw the ad, drove crosstown and got my puppy. This puppy led me into the world of dogs, which changed my life. This is why I never denigrate where people get started. You never know where it may lead them. But hopefully, "when you know better, you do better," as Oprah used to say.
Thomson Stanfield Jr.
Commerce City, Colorado
My first show dog was a rough Collie my grandmother bought me from Rex Weatherwax that was a half-brother to Lassie.
Oh, gosh … It’s so long ago and so far away. In 1959 my sister and I were besotted with Afghan Hounds — and we wanted to SHOW! What possessed my otherwise normal, middle-class Swedish parents to let their children bring an uncivilized, hairy beast into their hitherto well-organized world? The Afghan puppy we got was disobedient, ran away, killed chickens and terrorized the neighborhood … but we loved her! She was of all English breeding but actually very good: She could still win, I think, unlike most of the dogs from those days.
The breeder we got Ariadne from was Mme. af Trolle, who lived in a great, spooky old house with a large number of Afghan Hounds. (Somewhere in the background there was a husband and a number of children: I remember a son, maybe four or five years old, who had most of a half-eaten sandwich stuck to his face. It had obviously been there for some time.) Mme. af Trolle was very colorful and can best be described as a Swedish version of Sunny Shay or Lina Basquette. She was very kind to us until the explosion that came when we told her that we would breed Ariadne, a champion by then, to a Crown Crest import from the U.S.: He was owned by the “wrong” people! But I wonder how many people, in the U.S. or Sweden, had a first litter sired by a son of a back-to-back Group winner at Westminster, Ch. Taejon of Crown Crest (1954 and 1955)?
And when I wanted to get a Whippet my parents could not BELIEVE how easy they were after the Afghan Hound! I still love Afghans, though, and probably always will.
We purchased our dog from an ad out of the Sunday paper. He was nowhere close to being a quality animal! So we tried again and answered another ad, with the same results! Thank goodness a family took pity on us and sold us a good bitch.
Baldwin Harbor, New York
My first show dog, a Borzoi bitch, Ch. Hot Honi Harlow, was purchased in 1969 from Olga Bralove, Bralova Borzoi, of Mamaroneck, New York. Having a Borzoi was my dream ever since seeing a Jean Harlow movie where she was walking with two of these magnificent hounds.
Mary Rodgers, Marienburg Kennels.
Diane C. Stille
My first show dog was an Australian Terrier, purchased from Nell Fox, an icon in the breed.
I was an 11-year-old child who was a bit socially awkward, and wanted to participate in 4-H. Nell sold me a slightly older puppy that I competed with for years, and Charles Deer taught that small girl how to correctly strip the coat.
What I gained from that experience was confidence, the ability to interact with others, especially adults, and a true love for dogs. Here we are 50-plus years later, and I’m still breeding and exhibiting dogs.
Gladys W. Knox
My first show dog was a Pekingese from David Fitzpatrick.
I did not purchase my first show dog from anyone. I co-bred it, a Miniature Schnauzer, Ch. Black Watch of Blythewood, whelped 9/17/1967. However, I did purchase my first Lakeland Terrier, Ch. Schlosshaus’s Jo-Jo-The Red, from Tom Castles of Stockton, California, in February 1973.
Jane Maddox Bishop
Bridgeport, West Virginia
I purchased my first show dog, a Borzoi, from Lorraine Groshans, Loral Borzoi. I was 15 and had been saving for my first “show dog” for years. My grandfather even contributed. I commend Lorraine for stepping out in faith. She sold me a puppy that finished in seven shows and that I owner-handled to group wins and top 10 every year while I showed him! He even beat his Best in Show sire once! What a way to learn!
Newburgh, New York
I got my first show dog, Erinblu Ceannport, a Kerry Blue Terrier from Arthur Hilary of Erinblu Knls, Worcester, Massachusetts. My first Wire Fox Terrier, Monestella My Fair Lady, was from Mrs. Munro W. Lanier, Monestella Knls., New York City.
Kansas City, Kansas
I couldn’t have had a more fortuitous beginning with a show dog.
I had met the legendary Sunny Shay of Afghans of Grandeur at a small Midwest show. She was exhibiting a beautiful blue male champion. She promised me puppy from this handsome boy. Unfortunately she passed away before I could get a puppy. Mr. Roger Rechler stepped in and saw that I received a glamorous self-masked cream boy.
That was the beginning, and it’s been a wonderful 45 years.
Our first English Setter was from Andy Hawn Margand in 1964. The first Poodles from Nancy Cutler, a white toy dog that was a Wilbur White Swan grandson and a mini Poodle bitch Cutlers Ebony Mimosa. The first English Cocker bitch from Betsy Wahlberg.
Ann Moore Schultz
As rare as opportunities go, I was given the chance to purchase Bowwag's Pocahontas (Welsh Terrier) from O'Neill Wagner. "Pokey" ended up being the last female puppy that top producer Penzance Polaris produced. Pokey was bred to Anasazi Trail Boss. Out of that litter George Ward showed Moore Teensi Bowag to championship title.
I purchased my first show dog, which was a Great Dane, from Jim and Sandy Hann of Von Shrado Kennels. My friend and I were at the Alpharetta, Georgia shows and met them when my friend was taking photos of a beautiful Harlequin bitch (Justine) they had with them. Inquired about a puppy and ended up buying BISS Ch. Von Shrados Kissimmee at eight weeks old from them. This developed into a lifelong friendship and many happy times together at dog shows.
I purchased my first "show" dog from Puppy Palace (circa 1967). The cutest little Malamute puppy! What did I know ... LOL?
When I discovered (at my first dog show) that he only had one testicle, I searched for another "show" dog. A friend showed Samoyeds, and told me about a nearby dog show coming up where I could connect with breeders at the show ... YAY.
I connected with a man named John Mazzola, N Bar J Alaskan Malamutes. I knew about as much about puppy mills as I had known about pet shops. So this Mr. Mazzola sold me a whole "breeding program" – a male and three females, and NO money down! He promised, if we shared the receipts, he would send me all the puppy buyers I could handle ... What a deal! So I was in the show game and a breeder to boot. It wasn't long before I learned a lot. Fortunately for me, there was an Alaskan Malamute club forming in my area ... AMALI. The members welcomed me and taught me about all things dog show and being a dog breeder. The rest, as they say, is history!
Lake Wales, Florida
First show dog I got was an Old English Sheepdog from Joyce Wetzler of Whisperwood Kennel.
Barbara J. Morris
My first show dog was a Rottweiler. I talked to many breeders that I found from AKC breeders directory. I talked to many Rottweiler owners at shows as well. I finally found Pat and Marc Schwartz in West Nyack, New York. That is where I bought the soon-to-be Ch. Noblehaus Decathlon Pete, CD.
In 1974, we found a breeder who sold us a daughter of the handsome guy on the cover of the breed magazine Schnauzer Shorts that someone had given me. That he was the number-one Miniature Schnauzer Ch. Hughcrest Hugh Hefner, being specialed by Clay Cody, didn’t mean anything to me. Later when she won a Group 1st handled by Paul Booher, we didn’t understand the significance of that either, later learning that she was the only Miniature Schnauzer bitch to win a Group 1st that year!
We had a LOT to learn, but having Paul as a mentor made a huge difference. We had some real “bumps” along the way – I quit dogs several times in the dark of night, but by next morning, figured out what we needed to do. Forty-eight years later, I enjoy judging, and our last puppy is approaching 13 years old!
Rhoda H. Weinman
Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
I purchased my first dog, and several more, from Dee Hutchinson.
Betty J. Abbott
My very first Collie to be shown was from my first litter of puppies. She was Reserve Bitch my first time in the ring. After that, a mentor/friend/aspiring judge suggested buying a puppy from Brandwyne Colles, Trudy Mangels.
She was very special, being from a top line at the time.
Friends commented that this bitch was one of the very BEST MOVING dogs they had ever witnessed.
Jackie became a driving force in teaching me what great movement is and should be.
Then, after advice from a successful Midwest breeder and purchasing two smooth Collies from a California breeder (Storm Collies) known for excellent structure/movement in her dogs, that set the course of my breeding.
Collies have to have excellent heads; the planes of the head are critical, as are the other head qualities.
Legitimate and ethical Afghan breeders – Ambrosia Afghans, Dann and Mike Maly (1976).
I purchased my first AKC show Sheltie from a hole-in-the-wall pet store owned by a Yorkie show breeder at the time in North Hollywood, California, near where we lived. The pup, 12 weeks old, came from a small Oregon show breeder. The pup promptly came down with distemper – this was 1966. There were no vaccines then, but I pulled him through with "distemper teeth" a result. Back then the local pet stores were mostly owned by show people, not by chains as they are today. The dog ended up a crackerjack obedience dog, my conformation learner – no points, but a major RWD and match-group wins to his credit. He had a well-bred champion-sired pedigree, and he eventually became the grandsire of my first group winner.
That same pet-store owner three months later signed us up, filling out the entry to our very first AKC show – it was also Ventura KC's first show. We didn't even know the difference between a match and a show, but she knew what she was doing. The show had a supported Sheltie entry, judged by Hayworth Hoch, a noted Collie breeder who was then president of the ASSA.
Not knowing better, I went in a T-shirt, jeans and Zori sandals with my dog on his obedience leash. The local Sheltie club members took us under wing there, and invited us to join their club. The judge was also very kind to me, patient, instructing me what to do. I was so thrilled when my dog won A RIBBON – second out of two in the 6-9 Puppy class – that I was hooked for life!
The kindness of that judge and the club people are the lessons I will never forget and I try to practice to this day as a judge of 38 years now for the AKC.
My first show dog was a Bull Terrier purchased from Don and Pauline Coss. That dog went on to become Ch. Bonny's Bane Tattoo, CDX. He was the first winner of the BTCA's Harry Otis Award for the high scoring Obedience Bull Terrier of the year.
Hewlett, New York
My first show dog was bred by Joan Mylchreest of Briarcourt Pekingese in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Her name was Ch. Briarcourt Rhapsodee Rules, aka “Cherie.” A small, compact, red bitch that the late Nigel Aubrey Jones referred to as a “one-piece dog.”
East Setauket, New York
My first dog was from Chidley breeding – Joan Read in 1966. Ken Golden gave me private handling lessons and I got better at showing him. My dad took me everywhere to show him, but I never won a point! Not only that – I never beat another dog!
But I persevered! In 1968 my dad purchased two show dogs for me – one from Janet Churchill (Spenrock) and one from Bill Metz (a son of top champion Lewisfield Gunslinger). They became my first two champions!
I purchased my first show-quality Elkhound from Maggie Mott, Kamgaard, in 1977. Ch. Kamgaard Bard Av Dunharrow was owner-handled to his championship, multiple group placements and an all-breed Best in Show. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my dog-show journey.
I purchased my first show dog from James and Kathy Jensen-Filicett, Ivory Storm Samoyeds.
Dot is BIS GCh. Ivory Storm's Arctic Point RN NA OAJ NJP CGC TKI VHMA and came to us as a puppy in 2014. As a Samoyed she has proven herself in the show ring, as a performance dog and in the whelping box. She is my foundation bitch and I am extremely lucky to have started with such a strong example of the breed.
Dot has been exclusively owner-handled, which makes her BIS in 2017 so incredibly special. We have experienced new adventures and made many new friends because of her. We are forever grateful she became part of our family.
My first Golden Retriever show dog, Ch. Laurel’s Merry Performance CDX, TD, WC, was purchased from Laura Ellis Kling, Laurell Kennels, in the early ’70s.
Island Lake, Illinois
I purchased my first "real" show dog from Chuck and Mary Lee Hendee of Canarch Springers. His name was "Teaser," black and white Springer. I worked for the Hendees for five years helping manage their boarding kennel and showing their Springers, English Cockers and Silky Terriers. Mary Lee was Clint Harris' sister, and she shipped me off one summer to apprentice with him. It was an interesting summer...
Apex, North Carolina
My first actual show dog was purchased from the famous Sassafras Kennels of Pamela Ingram. He was a white Toy Poodle and the year was approximately 1968. I saved my lawn-mowing money to buy him.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
My first Whippet came from Allen Odom and his partner Phil Hedges in 1977. Forty-five years later, I still have Whippets, and Allen has remained one of my dearest friends.
Marc Ralsky and Correen Pacht
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We purchased our first real show dog from Judith M. Russell of Karnovanda Siberian Huskies in Davisburg, Michigan. This first dog went on to be the number-one Siberian Husky in 2006. He was a lovely black-and-white boy shown by Tommy O – his name was MBIS MBISS Am/Can Ch. Karnovanda’s Paddington Bear, JR.
La Harpe, Illinois
I purchased my first show dog from Mary Lyddon, Terri Lyddon's mother. The stipulation was that Terri was to handle the dog until she finished. She finished quickly, and came to live with me.
Alice and Steve Lawrence
Stafford Springs, Connecticut
Our first show dog was purchased from Dottie (Stevens) Collier – our first Komondor, "Maggie," who became BIS Ch. Summithill Baba, the first Komondor bitch to ever win a Best in Show.
Steven L. Klein
I actually bred my first show dog.
We got our foundation bitch, Seyberne’s Lady Guinevere CD (Guin), from Marjorie Siebern. Marge was a wonderful mentor for a budding junior showman.
In late 1965, Guin came into our family a couple of months before my sixth birthday. We adopted each other and Guin became an early birthday present.
In 1967, we bred Guin to the incomparable Ch. MorShor’s Whirlaway. This gave us our first litter, which produced two champions, one of which was a multi-BIS winner.
Tenafly, New Jersey
My first show dog was Ch. Colegren’s Pollyanna Pryde, a Beagle purchased in 1966 from Virginia Coleman (Colegren) from Greenwich, Connecticut. As I recall, the purchase price was a whopping $300, but that bought me not only an excellent brood bitch, but also a lifelong mentorship from Ginny.
I purchased my first show dog in 1976 from Mareth Kipp of Lone Acres Airedales in Wisconsin.
Stittsville, Ontario, Canada
My first-ever show dog was purchased in 1994 – she was a Shih Tzu, Beswick’s Devils’ Delite. She was bred by Pat Waters of Beswick Shih Tzu. Followed by my first ever Pekingese – St. Aubrey Gin Rumey of Elsdon,” bred by Nigel Aubrey Jones and R. William Taylor.
Barbara Tinker, Bargello Goldens. We were newbies in our 50s looking for a hobby to retire with. We wrote to about 10 breeders whose dogs we liked and received no replies but Barbara’s. Bargello’s Bree of Glengowan was our foundation and the line produced some successful dogs and wonderful companions, until age dictated that we move to smaller dogs.
I purchased my first show dog from Susan Vargus McCoy, Westgate Whippets. His name was Ch. Westgate The Sorcerer (I finished him), and he is behind all my current dogs.
Letty Larson Afong
My very first show dog was a Standard Poodle bitch, Wycliffe U-Genie, who I retired with 19 points and one major. Jean Lyle bred the finest black Standards worldwide, and she also bred for temperament and health. She was a wonderful mentor and also judged at our Twin City Poodle Club many decades ago.