Breeder of the Year Award


Each year, The American Kennel Club recognizes and celebrates an outstanding purebred dog breeder with the Breeder of the Year Award. The award honors those breeders who have dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament and quality of purebred dogs. At a special presentation held during the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship show, a breeder, or pair of breeders, is recognized in each of the 7 Groups. At the conclusion of the presentation, one of the 7 Group recipients is chosen as the Breeder of the Year.

  • 2016: To be announced December 16, 2016
  • 2015: John Buddie
  • 2014: Gwen DeMilta and Carissa DeMilta Shimpeno
  • 2013: Winifred Stout
  • 2012: James W. Smith
  • 2011: Pluis Davern
  • 2010: Debbie Butt
  • 2009: Claudia Orlandi, Ph.D.
  • 2008: Joan Savage
  • 2007: Barbara Miller
  • 2006: Douglas and Michaelanne Johnson
  • 2005: Dave and Peggy Helming
  • 2004: Catherine B. Nelson
  • 2003: Mary Rodgers
  • 2002: Wendell J. Sammet


2016 Breeder of the Year Group Honorees



Sporting: Dorothea (Dot) Vooris Simberlund, Fieldfine German Shorthaired Pointers

Dorothea (Dot) Vooris Simberlund's love affair with German Shorthaired Pointers began in the mid-1960s with the founding of Fieldfine. Fieldfine's foundation stud dog, Am/Can Ch. FieldFines Count Rambard, hit number four on the breed’s Show Sire list, was a top sire for six years in a row, and was inducted into the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America (GSPCA) Hall Of Fame.

The Fieldfine program has produced more than 250 champions, top 10 winners, national specialty winners, top 20 dogs, national sweepstakes winners, futurity winners, multiple Best in Show dogs, and numerous top-producing sires and dams.

The most famous of these dogs is Ch. Fieldfine Back In Action JH CGC ROMXX, who was a multiple Best In Show winner and a four-time Best of Breed winner at the national specialty, a record. He is the only dog that has ever won Best in Sweepstakes, Best in Futurity and Best of Breed in the same year, and with 97 champion offspring, is currently number three on the breed’s top producing sire list.

Fieldfine has become a family affair, with five children, and now grandchildren, involved in the breed. Dot has loved the years she spent mentoring people about her breed, and she now considers them extended family. Fieldfine remains an internationally known name found in the pedigrees of many top German Shorthaired Pointer kennels around the word. Dot has also been honored for her vision and devotion with inclusion into the GSPCA Hall of Fame.


Hound: Ray and Jana Brinlee, Jaraluv Scottish Deerhounds

Ray and Jana Brinlee established Jaraluv Scottish Deerhounds in 1980 when they married, after getting their start in the fancy with German Shepherd Dogs and Borzoi, respectively.

Ray and Jana are AKC Breeder of Merit program participants and their dogs have been represented in top dog rankings in breed and all-breed statistics nearly every single year. The pair has won the Scottish Deerhound Club of America’s national specialty with several dogs, including the breed’s only three-time national specialty winner, Ch. Jaraluv Keep The Faith.

The Jaraluv breeding program has produced 14 litters over a 36 year span. Out of the 104 dogs they’ve bred or owned, 70 became AKC champions, 45 placed in the group, 28 won Hound groups, and 10 different dogs have won a total of 45 Bests in Show.  

Jaraluv has also produced the top all-breed Best in Show-winning male and female Scottish Deerhounds of all time. The male, Ch. Jaraluv Michael, won 10 all-breed Bests, and his daughter, Ch. Jaraluv Ouija (who is also the daughter of Keep The Faith), holds the breed record with 21 all-breed Bests. Ouija was also the number nine dog in the US in 2008 out of all breeds. 

Ray and Jana have been members of the parent club for 35 years and have served in various capacities: as secretary, directors, on committees, and as club-approved breed mentors.


Working: Alan Kalter & Chris Lezotte, HappyLegs Bullmastiffs

Alan Kalter and Chris Lezotte acquired their first Bullmastiff in 1982. This exuberant male, while hardly a show dog, not only sparked Chris and Alan’s love affair with the breed, but his “happy legs” became the inspiration for their kennel name. Since obtaining their foundation bitch in 1984, Chris and Alan have bred or owned 160 titleholders; these include specialty winners, Best in Show winners, Westminster winners, top producers (they co-bred the top producing sire in the history of the breed) and five generations of group winners.

Alan and Chris have endeavored to give back to the sport of purebred dogs in a number of ways. Chris has served as secretary, Bulletin editor, and on the judges education committee of the American Bullmastiff Association; Alan is currently ABA president and the club’s AKC delegate. Chris is president of the Ann Arbor Kennel Club; Alan is past chairman of the American Kennel Club and a current AKC board member, is the AKC Reunite chair, and serves on the AKC PAC board. Most recently, Alan was elected to the boards of the International Partnership for Dogs and the Theriogenology Foundation. Beyond the purebred dog world, Alan and Chris established the HappyLegs Fund at the MSU Veterinary Hospital which provides financial help for those with dogs requiring life-saving care.

Chris and Alan are honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition. As they wind down their breeding program after 30 years in the sport, they hope to be remembered not for their dogs’ accomplishments, but for their efforts to incorporate soundness, structure, and “happy legs” into the Bullmastiff breed for generations to come.


Terrier: Joan Huber, Blythewood Miniature Schnauzers

As a teenager, Joan Huber did a lot of research to get the best puppy she could find. After working hard to earn money by selling cakes and cookies at a Baltimore market for $0.50 an hour, cutting lawns and selling ceramics, she purchased her first Miniature Schnauzer, sired by a Westminster Best of Breed winner, for $75.00 from the Minquas Kennels of Marguerite Jones. This was in 1949 – 67 years ago!

Joan believes that the great dog breeders of the past have contributed greatly to her education about the Miniature Schnauzer. Blythewood Miniature Schnauzers has since produced more than 850 AKC champions, including all-breed and specialty Best in Show winners.

These achievements were accomplished with the help of staff members, clients and many knowledgeable professional handlers. Their friendship and encouragement have been an invaluable contribution to Blythewood’s success. Joan has also enjoyed mentoring many new fanciers who will continue breeding.

In 2018, Joan will be the first breeder (non-AKC judge) to judge at Montgomery County, an honor that was voted on by the members of the American Miniature Schnauzer Club.


Toy: Max E. Hurd, Hurd’s Chihuahuas

Max and his late wife, Marie, purchased their first pet Chihuahua in February 1957. Soon after, a foundation bitch was added, then a show prospect male. This was the beginning of "Hurd's Chihuahua Herd."

Max set a goal of finishing at least four Chihuahuas to their championships each year, which has brought the total number of Hurd AKC champions to more than 250. His most notable Chihuahua is all-breed Best in Show winner CH Hurd's Honey Bee, the top winning Chihuahua for 1969 and 1970. Their first Toy Group win was under judge Percy Roberts.

Max is a lifetime member of the Council Bluffs Kennel Club (also a charter member), the Nebraska Kennel Club and The Chihuahua Club of America. He has also attended all but two of The Chihuahua Club of America national specialties since 1958.

He judged the breed for fifteen years, mainly at Chihuahua specialties, and requested emeritus status after judging at The Chihuahua Club of America specialty for his third time in October 2014.


Non-Sporting: Susan and Gary Carr, Salishan Tibetan Terriers

Susan and Gary Carr’s life’s work in the fancy is their Salishan Tibetan Terriers. Gary passed away this year on March 11th, but he will always remain a part of the breeding program.

The Carrs obtained their first Tibetan Terrier in 1975 and have owned number one ranked dogs, Best in Show and national specialty winners, and international champions. They have bred more than 300 Tibetan Terrier champions, including Group, Best in Show and sweepstakes winners; a World winner; and performance title holders.

Susan is a past president and past recording cecretary of the Tibetan Terrier Club of America. Gary was a former treasurer, delegate to AKC and a director of the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, and worked as a co-author and illustrator of The Illustrated Guide to the Tibetan Terrier. 

Susan and Gary have also judged Tibetan Terrier national specialties, and were honored to judge in England. Gary judged Tibetan Terriers at the Utility Group Show and Susan presided over 215 Tibetan Terriers at the Championship Show in 2014.

The unique characteristics and personalities of the Tibetan Terrier made the breed the love of the Carr’s lives and Susan hopes to continue to give back and share that joy with others.


Herding: Terry Miller and Dominique Dube, Deja Vu/Popsakadoo Briards

Terry got her first conformation Briard in 1982 after having shown in obedience for several years. This dog, Ch. Phydeaux Take The Money N Run, won Best of Opposite Sex at the 1983 Briard Club of America national specialty. At the same national, Terry's first foundation bitch, Ch. Aigner Teatotaller ROM, was Winners Bitch from the 9-12 class. They were off and running.

Dominique, who was born and raised speaking French in her native Quebec, learned to speak English so that she could communicate about her first love and passion - Briards. Dominique’s first Briard came to her as her family pet when she was 14 years old and her love has only grown. Dominique has been breeding under the Popsakadoo prefix since 1990. 

Terry and Dominique met in 1985 when they each bought bitches from the same breeder in Pennsylvania. Their visions and direction differed slightly over the years until they joined forces in 2008 to form Deja Vu/Popsakadoo. In that eight years they have won Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex at national specialties two times each, gone Winners Bitch at four national specialties, have owned two top ten Herding group dogs who were also each national specialty winners, enjoyed multiple Best In Show dogs and owned the number one Briard all systems. 

They are home to the two most famous Briards in the United States show ring -- Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT and his daughter Ch Deja Vu Ruffles Have Ridges PT, the top-winning male and female, respectively, of all time in the history of the breed. 

Although the competition and winning are thrilling, both Dominique and Terry are more centered on the passion and drive as breeders, believing that the art and chess game of breeding is what makes life worth living!


AKC Most Popular Dog Names Female puppy Male puppy