Thursday, October 31, 2013


 Michele Billings with CH Dahnwood Gabriel

In my very first post here on Dog Show Poop, Dog Show Junkie,  I related how I was introduced to the dog show world:

I went to my first dog show in 1968. My family had just purchased our first AKC registered dog, a Saint Bernard, we called Brandy. I remembered that none of the dogs looked like any of the dogs in my neighborhood. That show was won by the Afghan Hound, CH Dahnwood Gabriel, the top Hound of 1968,  handled by Michele Leathers Billings. The two of them were like rock stars, glamorous and larger than life. I was a short, plain looking kid with glasses from Memphis, Tennessee, and, for me, these two were celebrities. Now, I knew I was never going to be another Elvis or James Dean, but here was a world where mere dog owners were superstars. Now 40 years later, Elvis and James Dean are dead, but I'm still going to dog shows.

I would run into Ms Billings more than 40 years later in Jackson TN where she was judging.  I approached her and said, “It’s all your fault.”  She looked at me somewhat taken aback and I said, “I saw you go BIS in 1968 at the very first dog show I ever attended and I’ve been hooked ever since.”  She smiled and told me how happy she was that I was still going to dog shows 40 years later.

Over the years I have seen Ms Billings judge many times and even shown under her several times.  She was always gracious, elegant, and professional.  She will always be the standard by which I hold every AKC judge and exhibitor.  Rest in peace, lovely lady.


  1. Such a lovely judge. R.I.P. Ms. Billings. (C.S.B.)

  2. If this is true............My heartfelt condolense goes out to her family and friends. Mrs. Billings class act and eye for a good dog will be greatly missed in show rings around the country.

    Sweet dreams and God Bless, lovely lady.

  3. So it's sad. The dog show world has lost one of the greatest. A sad day for all of us. Rest in Peace.

  4. I received my first Group one from this lovely lady in 1972. Always the class act, always a pleasure to show to. I am greately saddened by her leaving us. I will miss you Michelle

  5. Always an elegant class act....she will be missed by all in the dog show world....RIP....

  6. One of the very
    Best judges, and a great lady to boot.

  7. Mrs. Billings gave my first home bred Canadian Champion his very first Best in Show in 1984. She was a lovely, and elegant lady and a wonderful knowledgeable dog show judge. RIP, lovely lady. You will be sadly missed in the dog world. Glady Gates, Seawind Keeshonden, Nova Scotia, Canada.