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Looking Back With Lee_ Remembering Chic Ceccarini

From the archives of The Canine Chronicle, April 2011

By Lee Canalizo

Chic showing in 1960 Look at the rings made of string and the big brown heavy tents.

Once again it’s another “Look Back” to a family in our sport that left an indelible mark. In Boxers if you were a handler with a name like Forsyth, Knoop, Downey, Levine, Sangster or Foster, you were well-known in the most influential circles of the breed. But I’d bet the farm that most everyone who could spell those easy and recognizable names could also spell “Ceccarini”!

I’m not sure I ever knew his real first name, but the feisty slender little guy I saw every weekend was always just “Chic”. I’m told Chic was an athlete and a fierce competitor. He was an accomplished swimmer and cyclist and competed in cycling events for many years. All the locals came to know him and his whole family. His wife, Annamay, his daughters Loretta and Lydia and then the grandkids all had a role in the dog world.

Chic was born on the outskirts of Florence, Italy and immigrated to the US in 1913 with his mother and two brothers aboard a ship that arrived at Ellis Island where they joined his father who had come a few years earlier and had established himself in the concrete and marble business.

In the early 1940s after his discharge from the Navy, Chic imported his first Boxer from Germany named “Prince”. Chic and Annamay married and later moved to an apartment in Queens, New York where they couldn’t keep the dog. Loretta was born and a few years later Lydia. He gave “Prince” to a friend in New Jersey who had a farm. Twice a month for many years Chic would visit his dog. When Loretta and Lydia were growing up he would always say, “One day we are going to have another Boxer.” That day came in the mid-1950′s when his cycling friend told Chic that his dad and mom had a litter of Boxer puppies. The litter was in Massachusetts. The whole family made the trip to Massachusetts and they came home with a 16 month-old male dog that had 2 points toward his championship.

The dog was sired by the fabulous Ch. Barrage of Quality Hill, the big winner at that time. Three weeks later Chic and his Boxer were competing at the Westbury Kennel Association show where they won the class. Albert Van Court was the judge. From there on he hired a few handlers to show the dog but in the end his competitive nature took over and he decided he was going to show his own dog and he did just that. Chic went on to become a licensed AKC All Breed Professional Handler in the late 50s. His career spanned decades and many great dogs passed through his nimble fingers.

He was accepted to the American Boxer Club about the same time. The family would be so honored to have Chic, in the ‘80s, become a lifetime member of the ABC. In 2003, hisdaughter Loretta became a lifetime member and granddaughter Kim Pastella became a lifetime member in 2008. Three generations of ABC lifetime members, what a feat.

The whole Ceccarini family loved dogs and loved dog shows. Lydia won Best Junior Handler at Westminster Kennel Club in 1965 under Judge Howard Tyler. She went on to show Great Danes for Donald and Estelle Booxbaum. Chic’s older daughter Loretta competed in Juniors also and has remained active in the dog show world. Loretta has shown and bred Boxers over the years and she is currently the Co-Chair of the American Boxer Club National Specialty as well as the Chairperson of the American Boxer Top Twenty Event.

Her daughter, the third generation of Ceccarinis, Kimberly Pastella Calvacca, has been attending dog shows since she was a baby. She showed in Juniors and assisted Chic for many years. Today she is one of the top handlers in the country. Kim is also a top breeder of Miniature Pinchers with several generations of BIS winners. I’m sure Chic was smiling down when Kim won the Best Bred-By Exhibitor in show at the 2010 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship with her homebred Min Pin GCh. Kimro’s Toy Soldier. An interesting sidebar to this is that a Champion Min Bitch obtained as a companion for Chic in his later years was the foundation for Kimro Min Pins.

While Chic may have finished many breeds over the years, his favorite breed was the Boxer. And the entire family has been connected to many great Boxers over the years.

In 1981 Chic won Best Of Breed at the American Boxer Club with Ch. Niklof’s Empress of Turo. Another Turo great was a personal favorite of mine… Ch. Turo’s Cachet owned by Leonard and Susan Magowitz. She was (and still is) the Boxer that comes into my mind first and was one of the top winning Boxers of modern times. “Tony” was a National and Regional Specialty winner. She won 24 Best In Shows with Chic on the lead and 12 Best In Shows with Kim. Tony also had the distinction of winning the Working Group at Westminster twice… in 1986 Chic handled him and in 1987 he was handled by Kim. He is the only Boxer to win two Westminster working groups since the ‘70s. OK…so how much closer in the family could that get?

In the early 1980s Chic, Annamay and Kim met Bill and Tina Truesdale at a dog show in New England. That chance meeting began a relationship with Chic, Annamay, Loretta, Kim, Tina and Bill that has set records for the Boxer breed in America. With Chic’s early guidance and inspiration, Hi-Tech Boxers has owned, bred and shown Westminster Working Group Winner Ch. Hi-Tech’s Arbitrage, 3-time National Specialty winner Ch. Hi-Tech’s Johnny J Of Boxerton, along with 5 generations of BIS winners, and many champions of distinction.

What began with winning a blue ribbon at a local dog show back in the ‘50s spanned a career of handling and dogs shows for over 30 years and still continues today through the third generation with Kim.

Chic unknowingly created what truly became a Family Affair!

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Posted by on Jun 27 2020. Filed under Current Articles, Dog Show History, Editorial, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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