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From The CC Vault: Michael & Tryst – Legends in the Sport

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180 – May 2017

by Joan Harrigan

Our sport is deeply rooted in history and tradi- tion. The great dogs and great dog people are written about in books and magazines, and stories about them are passed on whenever dog show people gather. Some achieve almost legendary status. Most of us, if we are lucky, may get to know one such individual well. Michael Canalizo grew up in the sport and built a career associated with two legends: one a person, and one a dog bred from her lines. Of course, the person was Sunny Shay of Grandeur Afghans, and the dog was the Number One Hound of all time, Ch. Tryst of Grandeur. Along the way, Michael Canalizo has become a bit of a legend himself, though he’d never describe himself that way.

Canalizo, who now lives in Mill Neck, N.Y. was born into a dog show family. The first dog he remembers was a large tri-color male Rough Collie, who joined the family about a year before Canalizo himself. In the 1950s, most families would probably have purchased a collie puppy from a news- paper classified ad; but Jim and Lee Canalizo acquired “Prince” from Florence Bell Ilch. Her Bellhaven Kennels in Red Bank, N.J. had imported or produced champion after champion, including the only collie ever to go Best in Show at Westminster.

Canalizo describes his family as “your typical middle class family of five,” but they were more often found at dog shows on a weekend than at a ballfield. “We always had purebred dogs in the house,” Canalizo recalls. “Afghans were com- pletely my mother’s decision. They arrived in 1961, and never left!” That first Afghan led to a breeding program under the Kandahara kennel name.

Lee Canalizo wrote movingly of acquiring that first Afghan in “Looking Back with Lee” in the May 2010 Ca- nine Chronicle. Her family had suffered the loss of a young child, and wanted a dog to help lift their spirits. Drawn to Afghans by their “exotic, mystical” appearance, Lee Canal- izo saw an ad for Grandeur Kennels on Long Island, N.Y. It wasn’t far from the Canalizo’s home, and so the family vis- ited Sunny Shay to meet her dogs. At the time, Shay had bred Afghans for twenty years, but she hadn’t come from a dog family, or wealth, or New York society. She had talent, drive, and incredible skill as a handler. Shay won her first Westminster group in 1950, and in 1957, she became the second breeder/owner/ handler to go Best in Show at the Garden. The first was Herman Mellenthin with the black Cocker Spaniel, Ch. My Own Brucie; Shay accomplished this with her Ch. Shirkhan of Grandeur.

The Canalizos bought a Grandeur bitch, Babu Bamn of Grandeur. Mike Canalizo remembers his father asking Sunny Shay what the difference was between a pet puppy and a show prospect (other than the price). Shay’s answer was “buy the show dog— you’ll see the world!”

Click here to read the complete article
180 – May 2017

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=273490

Posted by on Oct 2 2023. Filed under Current Articles, Dog Show History, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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