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The Great Ones – Ch. Nornay Saddler

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82 – September, 2022

By Kerrin Winter-Churchill

“It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing”

~ Duke Ellington

Just as the music of Duke Ellington was the link between the Jazz Age and the new era of swing, a little terrier of that same era, Ch. Nornay Saddler, bridged the transition between the old way of dog showing and the modern campaigning we see today. When Duke wrote the words, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing,” he meant that unlike other music of the day, swing had something extra, an oomph that got the blood bubbling and made people jump up and down in joy. The little Smooth Fox Terrier, born and bred in England, had the same effect on the American dog show scene.

Some say he was a Great One, others say there were better dogs at the time. The truth is that sixty-some years after his arrival in America, people are still talking about this game little dog. Like a popular swing tune, Saddler is still bubbling the blood. Beginning with a few false starts, the 18 pounds of might quickly became a smash hit on the American circuit, largely because of that extra “oomph” that he himself possessed and partly because of the promotional campaign–a mammoth one for its time–waged by his owner.

The Miracle Is Born

Saddler was the product of careful planning by an inexperienced couple who owned a bitch that was their young daughter’s pet. The pet, Wyrksop Surprise, a.k.a “Pat,” was a Smooth Fox of meticulous quality from the well-known English kennel of Stanley B. Lane. Her pedigree was all Bowden linebreeding going back to fabled Smooth Fox Terriers of yore–Vic and Old Trap. However, when the time came to breed her, the Cowards were already mesmerized by the big winning ways of Ch. Traveling Fox–a show dog whose bloodline was dominated by the Avon and Homestead prefixes, going back to that fabled old terrier known to all as Tartar. The Cowards’ mentor, Mr. Lane, was against the outcrossing of Pat to Fox but the young couple marched to their own drummer, looking forward to the results, maybe with an intuitive idea that this was a match destined for greatness.

Although many have heard of Saddler, few will have heard that he was born under a bush during a dreary, English spring downpour. His dam had been accidentally locked out of the house by a kitchen maid, and with nowhere else to go the bitch whelped her first puppy in the muddy shrubbery bed of the Cowards’ estate. True to her breed, the young mother was tenacious. Carrying her new whelp, she was determined to have someone open the door. When the Cowards realized what was happening, they quickly took the newborn from its dam, dried him off and placed the youngster inside the warm oven for safekeeping. It was during this ordeal that Mrs. Coward noticed the firstborn’s single black marking on his show side, which reminded her of a saddle. While she was rubbing the puppy dry with flannel, the name “Saddler” sprang from her lips. Soon enough, lips on both sides of the Atlantic would be whispering this name too, as the puppy grew into a magnificent specimen of a quality never before seen in a Smooth Fox Terrier.

Click here to read the complete article
82 – September, 2022

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Posted by on Sep 8 2022. Filed under Current Articles, Editorial, 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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