The Magnificent Seven
Since its founding in 1884, the American Kennel Club has been the organization of choice for people who are devoted to purebred dogs. This commitment to preserve, protect, and improve a chosen breed represents the very essence of the AKC and is the basis for the sport of purebred dogs. Accordingly, each year, the AKC recognizes and celebrates our breeders, the backbone of our sport.
The American Kennel Club Breeder of the Year Award is bestowed on outstanding individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament, and quality of purebred dogs. The AKC honors these breeders and their lifelong dedication and commitment to preserving a breed’s unique heritage and promoting its future.
Each year, a breeder is chosen from each of the seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Medallions are presented at the annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship to each group recipient in recognition of their achievements.
At the conclusion of the presentation, the name of the Breeder of the Year is announced live and the recipient is presented with a trophy. A canine portraitist is commissioned to commemorate a prominent dog from the recipient’s kennel, and their name is inscribed on a perpetual trophy and plaque on permanent display at AKC headquarters in New York City.
Breeder of the Year
The 2010 Breeder of the Year was awarded to the Hound Group recipient, Debbie Butt, of Sporting Fields Whippets, on December 5, in Long Beach, California. In the late 1960s, the already established Sporting Fields added Whippets to their breeding program. In 1970, with the purchase of the Canadian-born Ch. Winterfold’s Bold Bid and the English import Ch. Charmoll Clansman three years later, Sporting Fields was soon at the top of the Whippet charts. Clansman’s son, Ch. Sporting Fields Clansman (Buoy) won the Hound Group at Westminster in 1981. His 58 AKC all-breed Best in Show wins remains an all-time record for the breed.
Debbie started handling at an early age and took her first BIS win with Bold Bid in 1976, when Debbie was barely a teenager. She also handled Buoy to his first and last BIS wins, as well as BIS at the American Whippet Club (AWC) in 1984.
In the 1990s Debbie showed Buoy’s great-grandson Ch. Sporting Fields Kinsman to 51 AKC All-Breed Best in Shows and the AWC National in 1992. Among Sporting Fields’s 21st-century winners, Ch. Sporting Fields Rock On has won more Bests in Specialty than any other Whippet.
Sporting Fields has maintained a broad breeding program and produced several hundred champions, five of which have won the AWC National, including the 2010 show.
The 2010 Sporting Group recipient is Gregory Siner, of Pooles Ide Irish Water Spaniels. For over 30 years, Greg has been able to produce a family of dogs consistently recognized for their exceptional breed type. Thoughtful linebreeding has produced worthy champions such as Ch. Poole’s Ide Marksman McLean, winner of four National Specialties, four Westminster BOBs, and an AKC/Eukanuba Bred-by-Exhibitor Group; Ch. Poole’s Ide Skylark, the breed’s top all-breed BIS-winning bitch with 11 Bests and an AKC/Eukanuba Sporting Group win; Ch. Poole’s Ide Watermark, top producer and winner of seven all-breed BISs, four Westminster BOBs, and three National Specialties; and Ch. Poole’s Ide Then There’s Maude, two-time National Specialty winner and dam of an all-champion litter of six that has so far produced two multiple all-breed BIS and BISS winners.
Poole’s Ide’s record-to-date encompasses four generations of all-breed BIS winners; eight generations of group-winning bitches; 10 National Specialty winners with four generations; and 16 Westminster Best of Breed winners with eight generations. Equally important to Greg are the three AKC All Around IWSs who carry his kennel name and bear out the versatility of his breeding program.
Michele Santana, of Foxfire Doberman Pinschers, is the 2010 Working Group recipient. Producing mentally and structurally sound Dobermans is Michelle Santana’s passion. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) recognized Michelle’s breeding program with their Register of Merit “Breeder of Excellence,” acknowledging 16 Foxfire-bred ROMs. She has also bred countless WACs, 110 champions, and 56 performance-titled dogs.
Michelle is breeder-owner-handler of seven Foxfire generations. Highlights of her career include Best of Breed at the 1998 DPCA National with Veteran BIS/BISS Ch Foxfire’s Devils N Demons; seven Foxfire “specials” to DPCA Top Twenty status for a total of 16 years; multi-BIS/25 BISS Ch Foxfire’s All That Jazz (Jade) to number-one Doberman, and Top Twenty winner status in 2005. Jade is also the AKC’s top-producing dam for 2008 and 2009. In 2008 BIS/BISS Ch. Foxfire’s Love Monster was ranked the AKC’s number-one male Doberman, winning the DPCA Top Twenty and AKC/Eukanuba National Championship BBE Working Group First. In 2009 Ch. Foxfire All Star was ranked the AKC’s top-producing sire and lead dog of Foxfire’s Best in Show trio at the Inaugural Eukanuba Breeder’s Stakes. Michelle was chairwoman of the DPCA Exhibitor Education committee for five years and is the author of many articles.
The 2010 Terrier Group recipient is Margery Good, of Goodspice Sealyham Terriers. In 1971, Margery’s first Sealyham, Surgenpride Lady Rose Ariel, won Winners at the National Specialty. Her granddaughter, Ch. Penllyn Paprika Goodspice, born in 1975, was the top-producing dam in the breed until 2009. Paprika’s daughter, Ch. Goodspice Tarragon won Best in Show at Montgomery in 1979, breeder-owner-handled.
In the early 1980s Margery handled her first all-breed Best in Show winner, Ch. Hobbit Hill’s Up ’n Adam to 65 group firsts and 16 Bests in Show. In 1987, she imported Ch. Torset Touch of Class from England and handled him to Top Terrier in 1991, becoming the top-producing sire in the breed.
Margery shared breeding stock with France Bergeron for more than 20 years. Their repeat litters produced Ch. Efbe’s Merci Pour le Poivre, Number One All Breed in Canada (2007) and AKC/Eukanuba group winner (2008), and Ch. Efbe’s Hidalgo at Goodspice won AKC/Eukanuba Best in Show (2007), Westminster group first, Montgomery Best in Show, and World Dog Show Best in Show (2008), as well as Crufts Best in Show (2009).
In nearly 40 years of breeding Sealyhams, Margery has bred 91 AKC champions.
Carol Harris, of Bo-Bett Italian Greyhounds, is the 2010 Toy Group recipient. For 75 years, Carol Harris has bred, trained, and shown world-class racehorses, show horses, and dogs. She has owned and showed dogs from all seven groups, but it was not until 1987 that she began focusing on Italian Greyhounds. Carol’s Bo-Bett has produced approximately 490 champions in the past 23 years and consistently been included in the top rankings of the breed, seven times having been ranked number one.
At age 87, Carol continues to enthusiastically breed and show Italian Greyhounds and Whippets with the help of her family and her young professional handler and friend, Justin Smithey.
Carol has owned 12 top-producing Italian Greyhounds, dogs who have sired a total of 285 champions including her foundation stud dog Ch. Tekoneva’s Dario, still the all-time top-producing Italian Greyhound sire in breed history, with 108 champions. She has also owned 14 top-producing Italian Greyhound bitches who produced a total of 106 champions, including her top-producing bitch, Ch. Windriver Ruby Tuesday, who produced an Italian Greyhound record of 22 champions, all sired by Dario.
The 2010 Non-Sporting Group recipient is Joanne Reed, of Windrift Keeshonden. Joanne has been successfully breeding dogs for over 40 years. She has bred well over 200 champions, including 22 Best in Show Keeshonden, the top Keeshond of all time, BIS Ch. Flakkee Instant Replay HOF, and was also the breeder-handler of the top Keeshond specialty winner of all time, BIS/BISS Ch. Windrift’s Summertime Blues HOF ROMX.
Joanne is the current holder of each of the top awards offered by the Keeshond Club of America (KCA). In KCA history, she holds the overall record for breeding the most champions, Hall of Fame, Register of Merit, and Register of Merit-Excellent dogs in the breed.
The Keeshond Club of America awarded her its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Joanne has given seminars on handling, conditioning, and care to all-breed organizations in Australia, Thailand, China, and Hong Kong, and is a member of the Hong Kong Kennel Club. Joanne is a tireless mentor to breed fanciers, and has been president of the Sierra Keeshond Club for the past three years and sits on the board of the Keeshond Club of America.
Leslie Frank, of Propwash Australian Shepherds, is the 2010 Herding Group recipient, and the breeder of Ch. Propwash Reckon, the Best in Show winner at the 2010 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.
Leslie grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where skiing was a given and horses were her passion. Dogs were always a part of life. There were setters, Labs, lots of Beagles, and Jack Russells at each stable and assorted mixed-breeds that lived at her home.
Forty-four years ago, Leslie’s then new husband, Geert, was warned there would be dogs. The livestock that were a wonderful part of their life are gone, but herding dogs remained a constant. In the 1970s she fell in love with Australian Shepherds, and that’s where her heart has stayed.
Favorite and memorable accomplishments in the conformation ring remain BIS, BISS Ch. St. Elmo’s Fire being awarded the first AKC National Specialty and Westminster Best of Breed; BIS/BISS Ch. Propwash Indicate Precisely being the number-one Australian Shepherd all systems in 1999 and winning the National Specialty; BIS, International World; Am./Can. Ch. Propwash Syzygy winning Best in Show at the World Show with an entry of 20,000 and BIS, International, World Am./Can. Ch. Propwash Twelve O’Clock High was the top-winning dog in Italy and number-one dog in his breed in the U.S.
These seven breeders certainly fulfill the Breeder of the Year Award’s mission by preserving and improving the form, function, health, and distinctive type and character of purebred dogs through their enduring dedication to a specific breed, the sport of purebred dogs, and the principles of responsible dog ownership.
Congratulations to 2010 Breeder of the Year winner Debbie Butt, and to the other group recipients as well.