Breeder of the Year Award


2013 AKC Breeder of the Year -- Group Recipients

Sporting Group: Randy, Anne Marie and Peter Kubacz, Ramblin' Red Irish Setters

Randy, Anne Marie and their son Peter recognize how important the human-animal bond is, and that every pet is a member of the family first and foremost. The focus of their breeding program is sound temperament and good health.

Randy founded Ramblin' Acres Kennel after retiring from a successful career at United Airlines. Ramblin' Red Irish Setters began when Randy and Anne Marie, a licensed veterinary technician at The Animal Medical Center in New York City, met through the Irish Setter Club of Long Island and married in 1975. Their son Peter now runs Ramblin' Acres, handles show dogs professionally, judges AKC Junior Showmanship and serves as a board member of Take the Lead.

Ramblin' Red is the only Irish Setter breeding program to produce both a National Field Trial winner and several National Specialty winners. Form and function dictate which dogs are chosen to play a role in the Ramblin' Red breeding program. The Kubaczs believe that part of being a breeder is giving back to the sport. Being available to help newcomers to Irish Setters in particular, and to the sport of dogs in general no matter where the owners got their dog, is important to them.

Hound: Janet and Linda Souza and Jamie Souza Bartlett, Limerick Irish Wolfhounds

Limerick Irish Wolfhounds was established in 1972 when Janet acquired a 17-month-old Irish-import bitch, Roaree of Limerick. After completing her championship, that dog was bred one time and the Limerick foundation was established. Since then, Limerick has produced 16 litters, resulting in 111 puppies, including 50 finished champions. Twelve generations later, Roaree is still in every pedigree of the dogs presently residing at Limerick. As AKC Breeder of Merit program participants, the Limerick ladies have always challenged themselves to breed the highest-quality dogs in as few litters as possible. The required health checks are an important part of their breeding decisions.

Ten different Limerick hounds have won 20 specialties among them, including Best of Breed at the 2003 National Specialty and Best of Opposite in 2005, 2009, and 2013 with a father, then his daughter, then her son. For five straight years beginning in 2002, Limerick had the nation's number one Irish Wolfhound in breed competition with four different dogs, as well as three different all-breed Best in Show winners, always owner-handled. Limerick has had several other number one Irish Wolfhounds, most recently in 2012. Ch. Taryn Tate of Limerick, SC, was the top-producing sire in 2007 and 2008.

Beyond the show ring and whelping box, Janet, Linda, and Jamie have served in specialty and all-breed clubs. Linda has been an AKC Delegate and national chair for judge's education, and this year was given the AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award by her parent club. Jamie is an AKC-approved judge for Irish Wolfhounds, Whippets and Junior Showmanship, and is currently working on permanent status for Afghan Hounds and Salukis.

Working: Joe and Tootie Longo, Longo Great Danes

Joe and Tootie acquired their first black Great Dane in 1969 as a pet. They entered him in a puppy match, where he won the Working Group, and that dog later became their first champion. Initially, the dog show world was a way of getting away with the kids from their Italian restaurants and catering business, but the hobby turned into a lifestyle.

The Longos have always bred on a small scale, planning litters only every few years. In 1980, they bred and owned BIS BISS Ch. Longo's Chief Joseph, their first "special." Since then they have had seven all-breed Best in Show winners, five Top 20 winners, and the only three black dogs to win Great Dane Club of America's National Best of Breed. They have also owned two National BOS winners, a National Winners Bitch, 11 National Awards of Merit, the number-one and -two top black champion-producing sires, four number-one and three number-two Great Danes, many top-10s, two GDCA Top Brood Bitches, and the only Platinum Grand Champion-winning Great Dane.

Joe and Tootie have worn many hats in the Great Dane Club of Cleveland, where they are lifetime members, as well as the Great Dane Club of America. The two are also AKC Breeder of Merit program participants.

Terrier: Winifred Stout, Quissex Smooth Fox Terriers

Winifred grew up in the 1930s on a farm outside Philadelphia, where she was introduced to Junior Showmanship by her foxhunting neighbors. After graduating from college in 1955, Winifred acquired her first Smooth Fox Terrier from Barbara Fallass, whose Andely kennel was prominent before and during World War II. Winifred moved to Boston to work as an editor for the Atlantic Monthly, married, and raised her first litter of Smooth Fox Terriers in 1960. After moving in the late 1960s to a farm in Rhode Island, she began a 35-year teaching career, and started breeding Smooth Fox Terriers under the "Quissex" prefix (from the French qui s'excuse, s'accuse, which is loosely translated as "Never explain!").

Quissex has produced some 300 AKC champions, specialty and all-breed Best in Show winners and performance titlists. Winifred joined the American Fox Terrier Club in 1962 and has served in numerous positions, including editor of the _AFTC Annual _and manager of the club's rescue and breeder referral programs. She has served a number of consecutive terms on the AFTC Board of Governors.

A life in dogs has brought Winifred deep and rewarding friendships with man and beast and the intellectual challenge of a learning experience that never ends.

Toy: Armando and Xio Angelbello, Marlex Miniature Pinschers

The Angelbellos became smitten with the spirited Miniature Pinscher while raising their son and daughter.

Marlex Miniature Pinschers was founded in 1986 by Armando, who focuses on the breeding and showing, and Xio, who provides care and nurturing. They acquired their first show-quality Min Pin from a great mentor and that dog went on to become a top-ranked three-time National Specialty winner and producer of 75 champions. In May 2013, their co-owned bitch broke a 50-year-old breed record, becoming the all-time top BIS-winning Min Pin in history. In August of this year, she was awarded her 100th Best in Show.

Other canine highlights include breeding and exhibiting multiple all-breed Best in Show winners, eight National Specialty breed wins, and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor wins and group placements at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. They have won the breed and placed in the group multiple times at Westminster and received awards for Top-Producing Sires and Dams of the Year.

The Miniature Pinscher Club of America has also recognized Armando and Xio for their good sportsmanship and contributions to the breed.

Non-Sporting: Michael and Linda Brantley, Dreamland Chow Chows

Michael and Linda have been breeding and showing Chows under the "Dreamland" prefix since 1988. Michael was born into a family that bred Pekinese and Chows, and Linda bought her first Chow in 1979. Together, they have bred more than 100 AKC champions, including 24 Best in Show Chows in the United States and abroad. Many of their BIS winners, group winners and AKC Champion Chows hold dual conformation and performance titles. Dreamland holds the record for BIS wins on a Chow bitch and dogs from the breeding program have won multiple BOB, BOS, AOM, WD, WB, and Sweepstakes at Chow Chow Club Nationals.

The Brantleys have been Chow Chow Club members for over 25 years, with Michael serving as President and Vice President, and both Linda and Michael serving on the club's Board of Directors. The pair believes in the philosophy of breeders as guardians of the breed, and as a result, the driving force behind the Dreamland breeding program is to safeguard the Chow Chow for future generations. Michael and Linda are dedicated to educating breeders and judges about the breed, improving the health and quality of the Chow Chow and encouraging sportsmanship in and out of the show ring.

As an ongoing commitment to the breed they love, Linda started West Texas Chow Rescue in 1990. Since that time, the rescue has saved more than 1,500 Chows. Michael and Linda demonstrate a deep commitment and abiding love for the Chow Chow, whether in the show ring, performance and companion venues, or forever rescue homes.

Herding: Leslie and Don Jeszewski, Highcroft Collies

Highcroft Collies was established by Leslie and Don in 1981. The AKC-registered Highcroft kennel prefix is recognized both nationally and by serious Collie breeders and fanciers around the world, with Highcroft Collies residing in various countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Through their combined efforts, Leslie and Don have either bred or finished over 300 AKC champion Collies. The pair owned the number-one top-winning rough Collie in the United States in 2004, who, owner-handled, went Best of Breed at Westminster that year (over 13 rough specials) and also won the Collie Club of America National Specialty Show. That dog's name was Ch. Highcroft Lode-Ark's Legend ROM, four-time CCA Award of Merit winner. His photo was chosen by the parent club to be the visual representation of the Collie standard in the newly revised AKC Complete Dog Book. Leslie and Don have also received the Collie Club of America Presidential Award for Breeder of the Year four times.