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The American Kennel Club 2022 Breeder of the Year Group Honorees Announced

The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is pleased to recognize breeding programs from the Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups as 2022 AKC Breeder of the Year group honorees.

“It is our pleasure to honor these knowledgeable and respected breeders,” said Dennis Sprung, AKC President and CEO. “The individuals have made significant contributions to the sport and to ensuring the healthy future of their breeds. Dogs bearing the honorees’ kennel names are a testament to their excellent and responsible breeding programs.”

The 2022 AKC Breeder of the Year award winner will be announced during the livestream of the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin on Sunday evening, December 18, 2022, which can be watched on AKC.tv.

A canine portraitist will be commissioned to commemorate a prominent dog from the Breeder of the Year’s kennel, and their name will be added to the perpetual trophy. All group recipients will receive a medallion in recognition of their achievements.

The group honorees are:

Sporting Group: Dennis and Katey Brown, Solivia Pointers

Solivia Pointers was established nearly 40 years ago by Susan Olivia Lewis Thompson, Katey’s mother and Dennis’ mother-in-law. Susan put extreme emphasis on side gait, soundness and health and instilled those same practices into her children. In 2017, Susan lost her battle with cancer and her children then carried on her life’s work.Dennis’ family began in Labradors in the early 90s, breeding MBISS winners, multiple Group placers and a National Specialty Best Puppy. They were heavily used in Specialty Services, including cadaver dogs, seeing eye dogs and service dogs. Dennis was a successful junior handler, including making it to the finals at Westminster. He worked for Erin Hall as a young teenager and then went to work for Scott Sommer fresh out of high school, in 1998, and remained for four years. Katey showed her first dog at the age of four and continued showing the family’s Pointers, along with her three sisters, Stacy, Claire and Hayley, and brother, Brett, winning significant awards at all-breed shows, National Specialties and in junior showmanship. Katey worked for Susan Wise and Glenn and Rebecca Lycan, as a teenager.

Solivia has bred over 230 AKC Pointer champions and had seven different Best in Show winners and three different National Specialty winners (including the first and only mother/daughter National winners). Additionally, they have bred multiple AKC National Championship and Westminster Kennel Club Best of Breed winners.

Dennis and Katey have had the #1 Pointer in America several times as well as have been awarded the American Pointer Club’s Top Conformation Breeder and had the American Pointer Club’s Top Sire and Top Dam awards on many occasions. Solivia has had the good fortune of having have had the #1 Pointer in eight other countries as well as having bred a World Show Group placer. Their dogs have not only excelled in the conformation world, but also in field, obedience, rally, and as service dogs, but most importantly, as kind, loyal and loving companions.

“We are honored, humbled and appreciative beyond measure to have been selected amongst such an outstanding field of fellow Sporting Dog breeders,” said Dennis and Katey. “We are also extremely grateful to our co-breeders, friends and family who have made this epic journey possible!” Both Dennis and Katey have served on the board of the American Pointer Club and Katey is an APC approved Mentor.

Hound Group: Margaret “Maggie” K. Mott & Sally P. Simmonds, Kamgaard Norwegian Elkhounds, Reg.

Kamgaard, Registered was founded by a teenage girl from New Jersey breeding her first litter in 1964 after owning her first Norwegian Elkhound six years prior. Margaret (“Maggie”) Mott has for almost 60 years strived to surround herself with dogs who are of correct breed type, sound of mind and body and above all, healthy. As an owner, breeder, past professional handler, judge and vet tech, she has worn many hats over the years, but Elkhounds have always been at the very core of her being.

Joined in 1989 by partner Sally Simmonds, both have traveled to many parts of the globe in search of individuals to complement and enhance their stock and have worked with some wonderful people along the way. They are singularly or jointly members of the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America, the Norwegian Elkhound Club of Great Britain, the Norwegian Elkhound Association of Scotland, the Norwegian Elkhound Club of Canada, honorary member of the Elkhound Society of East Africa, the Garden State Norwegian Elkhound Club and the Morris and Essex Kennel Club, and both have held various posts in several of these organizations. Maggie has served several terms as American Kennel Club Delegate for the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America and has served many years as President of the Garden State Norwegian Elkhound Club as well as Sally having served years as their Treasurer. Kamgaard houses many treasured challenge trophies and national awards. Maggie has had the thrill of judging not only the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America’s National Sweepstakes and Futurity, but also the Diamond Jubilee Championship Show of the British Elkhound Club in 1983 with over 300 entries – the first American ever given this honor.

Working Group: Judith M. Russell, Karnovanda Kennels, Reg. Siberian Huskies

Judith M. Russell’s love of animals and competition started as a child, when she began competing with American Saddle Bred horses. Through her horse trainer, she obtained her first Siberian Husky that she showed to championship and a Utility Dog title.

Judy and her children became involved in sled-dog racing, and this influenced the breeding program. Karnovanda has produced generations of successful sled dogs, influential producers, winning show dogs and wonderful pets. Following her mentor Julia Gasow’s practices, Judy has always looked outside her own kennel for good dogs which might enhance her breeding program. Throughout the years Judy has continued to strive to produce Standard-fitting, genetically healthy Siberians with excellent temperaments.

Karnovanda has produced approximately 500 Champions, including 12 Best-in-Show winners, one of which has won 32 Bests-in-Show. In addition to conformation wins, Karnovanda Siberian Huskies have won five consecutive Siberian Husky Club of America Working-Showing trophies for excellence in showing and sledding.

Today, Karnovanda Kennels consists of Judy and Sarah N. Hubbach, who started as an 8-year-old puppy petter and now is a full partner. They maintain about 30 adult dogs and continue to look to the future with the breeding philosophy summarized by Judy as, “when breeding two animals the first thing to think about is the temperament and attitude of the puppies, then we look at the pedigrees of the parents and ensure that they are compatible and not too closely related, and finally we balance the strengths and weaknesses of both parents to determine if they are to each other’s advantage. We believe that it is as inappropriate to produce miniature, non-functional Siberians, as it is to produce overdone Malamute style dogs. The perfect dog will always prove to be elusive but getting there is a lot of fun. We are always looking for quality dogs to incorporate good genetics. Over the generations a Karnovanda style has developed, and this is something we are both proud of. Mostly, we just love the Siberian Husky breed and want to see it continue to thrive.”

Terrier Group: Geri Kelly and Suzanne Steele, Kelly’s Miniature Schnauzers

In 1963, Geri Kelly was given her first Miniature Schnauzer by her late husband, and she fell in love with the breed. She then decided to breed and four of the six puppies in the litter became her first black homebred champions. Because of that litter, she fell in love with the black Miniature Schnauzers and has bred primarily blacks and continues to try to enhance the quality to this day.
Geri had the great fortune of meeting Suzanne Steele in 1980. They became close friends and Co-bred the Kelly-Steele line of Miniature Schnauzers together. They bred the only black bitch to win a Best in Show and a black male was awarded 71 group 1st and five Bests in Show in one year. They’re honored and proud to have bred a total of seven Best in Show Miniature Schnauzers.

Geri and Suzanne have sent many Miniature Schnauzers to Europe, Asia and Australia. Their exports to Sweden have made an impact there. Since her very beginning with Miniature Schnauzers, Geri has been fortunate enough to have over 300 homebred Miniature Schnauzer champions. She is an AKC judge of all terriers and continues to breed, groom and exhibit her own dogs. Geri says, “I wish to thank all who nominated me for this prestigious award and I’m very grateful to be a part of the wonderful world of AKC dogs”

Toy Group: Kim Calvacca & Robin Greenslade, KimRo Miniature Pinschers

Kim Calvacca and Robin Greenslade owned their first Miniature Pinscher together in November 1997. In January of 1998 that first Min Pin was awarded a BIS by Judge Jean Fancy, herself a breeder of Min Pins.

In December of 1999 that same bitch whelped a lovely litter of three and produced the first KimRo BIS Miniature Pinscher – multiple BIS Kimro’s Rocket Man. Rocky went on to be the #1 Min Pin in 2002. What followed is seven additional generations of BIS KimRo
Miniature Pinschers all going back to that 1999 litter. KimRo is also proudly the breeder of 13 group winners, two Hall of Fame Sires and two Hall of Fame Dams, all with the lineage from that same 1999 litter.

Breeding true to the standard and always with conformation, health & temperament being equally important, KimRo can boast both Agility and Obedience titles. Ch KimRo’s Mighty Minion “Roger” was High In Trial at the 2019 Miniature Pinscher Club Of America
National Specialty.

“We are both so honored to be selected to represent the Toy group as Breeder of the
Year,” said Kim and Robin. “The KimRo Miniature Pinscher is not only a breeding program of 27 years, but a lasting friendship between two people who are passionate about purposely bred
purebred dogs.”

Kim Calvacca and Robin Greenslade are both members of the Miniature Pinscher Club
of America, Inc. Kim since 2000 and Robin since 1998

Non-Sporting Group: Bob, Nancy, Brenda and Link Newcomb, Newcomb Bulldogs

Bob and Brenda Newcomb purchased a Bulldog puppy named Babe in 1961 a few months before the birth of their oldest son Link. Babe went to her first show in 1964 and won the novice class all three days, and the Newcombs were hooked. They quickly became active members of the Bulldog Club of Denver, with Bob soon to become President, and thus began a Bulldog dynasty that would produce 90 AKC champions, including many top-winning bulldogs, over a span of nearly 60 years.

Not only were Bob and Brenda involved with the breed, but their son Link also became heavily involved. After Bob and Brenda amicably split, Brenda moved to Palm Springs where she built a first-class dog kennel. Bob married Nancy Rose, now Nancy Newcomb, in 2007 and they continued to expand the breeding program in Oklahoma where they live.

The Newcombs have always strived to breed for conformation (breeding to the AKC Standard), health and temperament. They also learned many lessons along the way, including that the journey of breeding Bulldogs doesn’t always follow a straight path and remaining flexible in your breeding plans is beneficial.
There is more to the Newcomb’s contribution to the bulldog fancy than just breeding and showing at the highest level. In 2020, Link succeeded Bob as the AKC delegate for the Bulldog Club of America (BCA), an office that Bob had held for over 20 years. Each of them has also been President of the BCA (Bob having served two terms of office separated by a span of 30 years). BCA’s beloved breed magazine The Bulldogger was launched during Bob’s first term as President, and the Club’s successful new website design debuted during Link’s term as President. Brenda was the Judges’ Education Chairperson for BCA for 15 years and during that time was instrumental in the publication of BCA’s highly regarded Illustrated Guide to the Standard. All the Newcombs have held various offices in BCA, as well as in their local clubs, and Bob and Link have each been the Show Chairman for BCA National Specialty held in Oklahoma and California, respectively.

Herding Group: Gloria F. Birch, Covy-Tucker Hill German Shepherds

Gloria F. Birch was raised with animals from a young age. After graduating high school, Gloria bought her first German Shepherd Dog and trained him in obedience. While attending Arizona State University, she was smitten by a dog show and decided that this was what she wanted to pursue. Gloria then moved to Texas where there were more dog shows to attend.

Gloria worked as an accountant during the week and went to dog shows on weekends. She bred her first litter of German Shepherd Dogs and Corgis in Texas with Sally Holcomb under the kennel name Kovaya. Ch. Kovaya’s Contessa CD ROM was from her first litter and the love of her life. She called her Covy and later her name was part of Covy-Tucker Hill.

Gloria moved to California in 1969, where she was finally able to devote her life to breeding, showing, and judging GSDs. She has been judging German Shepherd Dogs for 25 years, having judged National GSDC Specialty shows in the U.S. and Canada seven times. Her true love is whelping and raising German Shepherd Dogs. Together with Cappy Pottle, Covy-Tucker Hill was formed, and Contessa was bred to BIS Ch. Lakesides Gilligan’s Island ROM, which produced Ch. Covy’s Felita of Tucker Hill CD, ROM and her brother Flanagan. Flanagan was bred to GVX Ch. Covy’s Rosemary of Tucker Hill ROM, to produce the Centennial AKC Show’s BIS winner Ch. Covy-Tucker Hill’s Manhattan ROM.

Gloria has bred 50 German Shepherd Dog Club of America Selects, most of which have working titles with four Awards of Excellence. Gloria and Cappy were honored with the first GSDCA Lloyd Brackett award and Gloria received the GSDCA LaMar Kuhns award.


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