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Breeder/Owner/Handlers Dominate the Finals

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244 – March 2017

by Joan Harrigan

Winning Westminster is an incredible feat. The dog’s call name becomes a household word: Bang Away, James, Shannon, Manhattan, Indy, Robert, Kirby, Stump, Josh, Hickory, and Banana Joe to name a few. The breeders, owners, and handlers are enshrined in the record books. Winning a group in itself is also a remarkable achievement. When done by a breeder/owner/ handler, it’s a credit to the breeding program, the breeder’s eye for picking a great one, and handling skill. At Westminster this year, more than a half-century separated the most experienced breeder/owner/handler from the youngest, but in many ways, their stories were similar.

Patricia Trotter: “Norwegian Elkhounds Found Me”

Pat Trotter’s name has been synonymous with the Norwegian Elkhound for decades. And not just the Elkhound—she is a respected judge for all seven groups and BIS. Her book, Born to Win—Breed to Succeed, is on most breeders’ bookshelves. “I don’t mind telling you, I’m 81,” she says. Watching her gait her GCh. Vin-Melca’s Daggarwood Delight (“Duffy”) around the group ring, one has to admire the conditioning—of herself, as well as her bitch. Trotter says that she used to run five miles a day with her dogs; now it is more of a walk/jog, and she doesn’t go as far, but she is still very active. “The dogs energize me,” she says. “It would be easy to sit on the couch, but they just won’t let me.”

Trotter didn’t breed Duffy, but the bitch goes back to Vin-Melca Elkhounds, and she was sired by Trotter’s great Ch. Vin-Melca’s Top O’The Mark. Trotter has been working with Nicole Casavechia, who took over Daggarwood Kennels in Halifax, Nova Scotia from its founders. Vin-Melca is one of two kennels behind the Daggarwood line. “Nicole brought a pedigree to me, down from a female I sent up there in 1979,” Trotter says. “She wanted to breed to one of my dogs to keep the line going, and I told her I’d need to see her bitch first. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was the perfect mate for my Top O’The Mark.” Duffy came from this litter, bred by Casavechia and Kevin Richard. Top O’The Mark’s dam won the group twice at Westminster, in 1994 and 1995, as did her dam (in 1989 and 1990).

Click here to read the complete article
244 – March 2017

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