Saturday, September 20, 2008


As my byline indicates I reside in Memphis, Tennessee, the city where I grew up. Like many southern boys, I couldn’t wait to escape to a more sophisticated destination. As a teenager I imagined that one day I would live in New York, San Francisco, or some other cosmopolitan place. I affected every stereotypical mannerism and attribute of the residents of those glamorous locales. I listened to opera and read the New York Times. I went to the theater and watched foreign language films. While all my good old boy classmates drank bourbon, I drank scotch.

My introduction to scotch came about quite serendipitously. In the 60s if you took a bottle of bourbon to a party, everyone would help themselves to your booze. Once I started drinking scotch, I never had to share my whisky. One of the popular brands of the day was Black and White Scotch which was promoted by ads sporting a Scottish Terrier and a West Highland White Terrier. At Christmas, they would offer their whisky in ceramic decanter versions of their doggy pitchmen. At the time I saw no reason to pay a premium to pour my cocktail from a headless puppy.

However, over the years I, like almost every other dog show follower, have collected a few items of canine memorabilia. For some time I have looked for the Black and White Scotch decanters to add to my collection. The whisky has not been marketed in the US for many years, but the vintage promotional items have retained a loyal following. Recently I stumbled across a pair of the decanters on E-bay. They had long since been drained of the scotch, but the decanters were in excellent condition. They are now contently sequestered in the area of my family room my wife has reserved for my indulgences.

I did make it to New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, but after 25 years I moved back to the South. However, I still drink scotch, listen to opera, watch foreign language films and attend the theater…when I have money left over from my dog budget.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Yesterday, I predicted that things would get shaken up in Bozeman, Montana. Today we awoke to the results of day two of the doggy dance hosted by the Gallatin KC. Judge James Frederickson awarded BIS to the Siberian Husky bitch, CH Paragon’s Red Red Wine. “Merlot” (Only on the west coast would they hang such a name on a dog) is bred and owned by Terri Erickson of Lake Tapps, WA and handled by Scott Price. Wednesday there were four top ten dogs competing in Bozeman. On Thursday, there were also four, with one substitution, and only one, the Standard Poodle, CH Randenn Tristar Affirmation, made it into the final seven. The number one dog, the Giant Schnauzer, CH Galilee's Pure Of Spirit, and the number seven dog, the Scottish Terrier, CH Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot, had to settle for a Group 2 ribbons while the number ten dog, the Scottish Deerhound, CH Jaraluv's Ouija barely made it with a Group 4.

CH Paragon’s Red Red Wine

The number six dog, the Affenpinscher, CH Tamarin Tug, made it into to the BIS ring on Wednesday, but was conspicuously absent from the toy group final on Thursday. Did “Taser” bolt (oh, I do love this one) and run for friendlier spaces? We will just have to wait a couple of days to see where the mini money face dog will surface. My guess is Taser will garner a BIS somewhere before Monday.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I am a terrier owner. That admission is part boast, part confession. I and my dogs resist house breaking and will sulk for days if spoken to harshly. We are suspicious of strangers and loathe all forms of vermin. We also tend to be a little argumentative. The late Anne Rogers Clark once said, “You always know where the Scotties are in the show hall. They’re the ones using the bad language.” However, we are loyal to a fault and are the ones to have on your side in a fight.

Anne Rogers Clark

Terrier people have many idiosyncrasies, other than a penchant for tweed and comfortable shoes. Among the best is the annual Montgomery County Kennel Club terriers only show. The 74th iteration of this tribal celebration is Sunday, October 5, in Blue Bell, PA, a pristine suburb of Philadelphia. I know there are other group gropes supported by the rest of dogdom. Today the Greater Atlanta Toy Dog Association is hosting what will be likely the largest gathering of its kind this year, with 371 entries. However, the terrier world, which counts among its registry only three breeds in the AKC top 50, mustered almost 2,500 entries for last year’s Montgomery County event.

2007 BIS Montgomery County Kennel Club
Ch. Evermay's High Performance

Almost every terrier national specialty club will host an entry in conjunction with the weekend. At no other show in the United States will you get 131 Scottish Terriers or 143 West Highland White Terriers. The top five terriers in the United States are:

1. Sealyham Terrier, CH Efbe's Hidalgo At Goodspice (see sidebar)
2. Scottish Terrier, CH Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot (see sidebar)

3. Lakeland Terrier, CH Hi-Kel Terrydale Soldier Of Fortune

4. Smooth Fox Terrier, CH Torquay S Demetrio

5. Smooth Fox Terrier, CH Broxden Dress For Success

However, don’t expect terrier people, or judges, to be predictable. Last year’s winner, the Airedale, Ch. Evermay's High Performance, won over not only the Sealie, Charmin, but another top ten all breed dog, the Irish Terrier, CH Geordan Tiger Lily. If you are anywhere near Philadelphia on October 5th, put on your Harris Tweed Jacket and your Hushpuppies, jump in the Jag, and motor on out to Blue Bell, PA. You’ll be speaking with a brogue by day’s end.


Just 90 miles north of Yellowstone National Park is the beautiful town of Bozeman, Montana, an unlikely spot for a showdown among the top dogs in the USA, in the middle of the week yet. As improbable as it is, four of our top ten dogs, all of whom live 700 miles or more from Bozeman, gathered in Bozeman for the Gallatin KC show. So far-fetched was this scene that the country’s number one dog, the Giant Schnauzer, CH Galilee's Pure Of Spirit, watched a little known Doberman Pinscher take Group one. Now this Dobie is not a top ten dog nor even a top ten working dog. This Dobie is the number nine Doberman Pinscher, CH Cambria’s The Captain bred by Ann White & Jim White, owned by Naomi Barksdale of San Diego, CA , and handled by Andy Linton. As unexpected as the win was it is a testament to how many beautiful Dobermans we have in the show ring, a fact which every Dobie exhibitor is proudly and painfully aware of.

Bozeman MT

Joining the Doberman in the BIS ring was the number four dog, the Standard Poodle, CH Randenn Tristar Affirmation; the number six dog, the Affenpinscher, CH Tamarin Tug; and the number seven dog, the Scottish Terrier, CH Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot. At the end of the day judge Mrs. Loraine Boutwell said yes to Yes, the Standard Poodle. This five day week continues today with the second half of the Gallantin two-fer. Friday they take a travel day and caravan 100 miles north to Helena, MT for back to back shows Saturday and Sunday hosted by the Helena KC. One wonders which of the top ten dogs will decide to hotfoot it back to the coast to seek easier pickings.

CH Cambria’s The Captain

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


For the most part, I am a fan of show dog rankings. I am one of those people that likes to do things by the numbers…it just sort of appeals to my sense of order. As I have written here before, I believe that the rankings are open to interpretation. However, they are a good place to start when looking for this country’s outstanding dogs. Based on show results through the August 31, I have updated the top ten dogs pictured on the left.

CH Efbe's Hidalgo At Goodspice

The only dog to move up in the standings is the Sealyham Terrier, CH Efbe's Hidalgo At Goodspice. Charmin moved up two spots to the number three position. The top two are likely to hold their respective spots through the rest of the year. The number one dog, the Giant Schnauzer, CH Galilee's Pure Of Spirit ended the month with 80,809 points, while the number two dog, the Pointer, CH Cookieland Seasyde Hollyberry, has 70,888. By contrast, the next four dogs trail by more than 20,000 points and are bunched together with a little over 3,000 points separating the number three dog from the number six dog, the Affenpinscher, CH Tamarin’s Tug. Taser is likely to move up, having picked up four BIS in the last two weeks.

CH Tupelo Shoboat Tu China Tu

The remaining dogs have a shaky hold on the their top ten ranking. Only the number ten dog, the Scottish Deerhound, CH Jaraluv Ouija, has been a consistent BIS threat. Two dogs that are likely to move into the top ten are the Pug, CH Tupelo Shoboat Tu China Tu, currently ranked number eleven and the German Shepherd Dog, CH Woodsides Pacino, who debuts in the top twenty at the number 15 spot. (see our September 6 post, Rin Tin Redux) A lot can happen in four months.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


When I started this blog, there was a worry that there would be problems finding enough material to fill this space between weekend show results. However, it seems that dog show related materials fall from the sky. One such report is the announcement Sunday that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was severing their relationship with Crufts in protest of the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club (the equivalent of our AKC) promotion of the breeding of “deformed and disabled” purebred dogs. As much of an Anglophile as I am (I drive a Jaguar and own both a Scottish and Cairn Terrier), every now and then I am reminded why my ancestors were among the first British immigrants to this continent.

American Doberman Pinscher

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) recently aired a documentary fomenting public animosity toward breeders focusing on health issues purportedly caused by breeding to standard. The Kennel Club, in typically British masochistic fashion, has donated 48,000 pounds (about 86,000 US) to the RSPCA. At my age, I have learned to listen to my critics, but I always have relied on my mother’s advice, “Keep an open mind, but don’t let your brains fall out.“ There are lot of health problems in purebred dogs, but I’m not convinced that selective breeding is the major culprit. More likely it is the fault of haphazard and uninformed breeding. In any event the UK’s Kennel Club and our own AKC are major supporters of canine health research and do more to educate the public about responsible breeding practices that the RSPCA or its American counterpart.

British Doberman Pinscher

I reject out of hand that the KC or the AKC are responsible for the health problems in our pets. If there are genetic health issues in our breeds, it is the responsibility of breeders, without government interference, to resolve. And it is here that I part company with many on the other side of the Atlantic and even a few here. First, where we agree, no one should purposely breed an animal which must live its life in pain or discomfort. Nor is it permissible to abuse or injure any animal. (I do eat meat and wear leather shoes) Here is my basic premise…All domestic dogs were bred to be companions to mankind. Now, if you are one of those nutcases that believes man has no right to use animals for his own selfish purposes, you probably got to this blog by mistake.

American Great Dane

In Great Britain it is already illegal to crop a dog’s ears. Yet it is legal for children there to mutilate their bodies. (More than ten percent of the British population has one or more body piercings apart from ear piercing.) Just compare a Doberman Pinscher with cropped ears and one au natural. The former is the very epitome of a fierce guard dog, the latter could be mistaken for a poor example of a Black and Tan Coonhound. An American Great Dane has the regal bearing of the dog bred to protect kings. A British Great Dane looks like a big goofy hound. I choose to work with breeds that require no alteration and have no particular extreme physical characteristics. However, I do not agree that we should stop breeding Pekingese, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, or other breeds because they can’t out run a Greyhound. I would feel very deprived if I lived in a world without some of our more unique breeds.

British Great Dane

Please do not think that I abhor all things European. I subscribe to a concept, the Social Contract, from the French philospher Jean Jacques Rousseau. Legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The social contract allows the individual all rights allowed by his conscience as so long as his actions do interfere with the society at large. I do have a rather quintessentially American interpretation of this idea. Leave me and my dogs alone!

British Teenager

Monday, September 15, 2008


Our top ten dogs continue to roll over their opponents…with a few exceptions. The number one dog, the Giant Schnauzer, CH Galilee's Pure Of Spirit, abandoned the west coast for the heartland, powering to three BIS in Salina, KS at the Salina, Wichita, and Hutchinson KC shows. On Friday, Spirit, exacted her revenge on the upstart number six dog, the Affenpinsher, CH Tamarin Tug. Taser and handler Jorge Olivera decided to spend the rest of the weekend in Washington State at the Wenatchee KC double header, taking on the number three dog, the Standard Poodle, CH Randenn Tristar Affirmation. On Saturday Yes prevailed, but on Sunday Taser stung his bigger rival and took home a Best.

Sunset in Salina, KS

The number two and five dogs, the Pointer, CH Cookieland Seasyde Hollyberry, and the Sealyham Terrier, CH Efbe's Hidalgo At Goodspice spent a four day weekend in Pennsylvania. As we reported here, Holly and Charmin were bested by the Rottweiler, Ch Blackrocks Kazanova, on Thursday at the Pocono KC show, but Holly returned to form on Friday at the club’s second show, winning BIS. On Saturday the action moved to Allentown for the Lehigh KC show. Again Holly led the way, garnering one more Best. However, all good things come to an end, and on Sunday in Kutztown at the Berks County KC show, Holly and Charmin watched the German Shepherd Dog, Ch Imp-Cen Rowland’s Tough Love, take his first Best In Show. Congratulations to breeder/owner/handler Christina M. Halliday and her partners, Connie Halliday and Betsy Scott.

Ch Imp-Cen Rowland’s Tough Love

Three of the top ten dogs competed at the Sir Francis Drake KC shows in San Rafael, CA. San Rafael is in Marin County, one of the wealthiest and most beautiful places on earth. Saturday the number ten dog, the Scottish Deerhound, CH Jaraluv Ouija, took the top prize while the number eight dog, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, CH Coventry Vanity Fair, stood by. On Sunday, the number seven dog, the Scottish Terrier, CH Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot, took a Group 2 (She was absent on Saturday), while the Corgi and the Deerhound made it to the final seven, only to be upset by the Samoyed, CH Rossia’s Texas Rocket O Cedar Ridge. It was the first Best In Show for the Sammie who was bred by Gail Spieker & J & S Clark, is owned by Gail Spieker & Jackie & Keith Mason of Glenbrook, NV, and handled by Jean Gauchat-Hargis. We tip out hat to all of them.

CH Rossia’s Texas Rocket O Cedar Ridge

Our number four dog, the Brussels Griffon, CH Cilleine Masquerade, decided to take it easy, entering only the two Moore County KC shows in Pinehurst, NC. The result was two BIS. The remaining top ten dog, the Harrier, CH Downhome Family Tradition, spent four days in Falmouth, MA, gathering all four ribbons in the Hound Group, taking Group 1, 3, 4, & 2, in that order at the “Cranberry Cluster“ shows hosted by the Cape Cod and South Shore KCs. If we see a trend developing here, it is get the RV to a four day cluster away from your competition and pray some local spoiler doesn’t upset you. Ah, this is what keeps it interesting!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


We tend to dwell on the top ten dogs here, but we are always happy to discover local talent. And so it has been so far in Falmouth MA this weekend at the Cranberry Cluster shows. On Thursday and Saturday, the country’s number one Irish Setter, Ch Beaubriar Premiere Event, picked up the BIS rosette. “Eloise” was bred by Elaine & Michelle DeChambeau & Paulette Peckol and is owned by Leon & Brenda Pierhal & Michelle & Elaine DeChambeau of West Bridgewater, MA.

Ch Beaubriar Premiere Event

Friday, a British import, the Wire Fox Terrier dog, Ch Tamedale Orinoco, got the nod. He was bred by Mr & Mrs Weal Bams and is owned by Norman Kenney & Lynda Kenney of Westford, MA, and handled by R C Carusi, a local boy from Oxford, MA. As the photos attest, both of these dogs are exceptional representatives of their breeds. In dogs, as in people, we may follow the exploits of the latest darling of the media, but there is often a prettier girl right in your neighborhood. So get out to your local show and marvel at the beauty in your own area.

Ch Tamedale Orinoco