Pluis Davern Named 2011 AKC Breeder Of The Year

Pluis Davern Named 2011 AKC Breeder Of The Year

Award Presented at AKC/Eukanuba National Championship

New York, NY – Pluis Davern of Royal Oaks, California was honored with the 2011 AKC Breeder of the Year Award for her Sundowners Sussex Spaniels at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship on Sunday, December 18, 2011.  The annual award honors those breeders who have dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament and quality of purebred dogs.

"Congratulations to Pluis," said AKC Chairman of the Board Ron Menaker. "We're also proud that she, along with the other Breeder of the Year group honorees, is an AKC Breeder of Merit program participant - part of a select group of AKC breeders that truly are the backbone of the sport and the foundation of our organization."

Each year, one honoree is chosen from each of the seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. From those seven, one Group winner is selected as "AKC Breeder of the Year" during the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, which was held this year in Orlando, Florida on December 17 and 18. The Breeder of the Year ceremony will be included in the show's telecast on ABC Network Television on Saturday, February 4, 2012. Check local listings for air times.

Raised in Europe and New Zealand, Pluis came to America with her husband in 1964. They purchased a Golden Retriever, which lead to hunting, field and obedience training, handling in the show ring, breeding and eventually to her becoming a performance and conformation judge. Having bred a number of dual purpose Goldens, Pluis decided to downsize with Sussex Spaniels. Her Ch. The Vicar of Lexxfield CD, won the first BIS in the breed and placed in the group at the Garden.

Pluis acquired Sand Creeks' Up to Snuff, her foundation stud, in 1990. He became a multiple BIS winner and the first Sussex with advanced field and obedience titles.
With a UK-imported bitch, Pluis began her challenging journey as a breeder. With a second UK bitch, she produced three champions, two of which were ranked 1 and 2 in the country, and a male All-Breed and National Specialty Best in Show Winner, who ranked outstanding sire two years.

Another dog she bred became the first with a Master Hunter title, while his brother sired a two-time BISS winner. Subsequent progeny succeeded in both conformation and performance, including the 2010 AKC/Eukanuba BOB winner and the show's breed Best Bred-By-Exhibitor two years in a row.

As the 2011 Breeder of the Year' recipient, Pluis Davern will be honored with a commission from Mitch Gyson, a canine portraitist to memorialize a prominent dog from her kennel and her name will be inscribed on a perpetual trophy. They will remain on permanent display at the AKC headquarters in New York City. 

All seven Group honorees were presented with medallions during the show on December 18, 2011.  Group winners included:

  • Sporting: Pluis Davern - Sundowners Sussex Spaniels, Royal Oaks, California
  • Hound: Gretchen Bernardi - Berwyck Irish Wolfhounds, Edwardsville, Illinois
  • Working: Thomas Oelschlager & Marlene DePalma - Kontoki Siberian Huskies, Finleyville, Pennsylvania
  • Terrier: Elena Landa - Doubloon Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Bothell, Washington
  • Toy: Sharon and Raymond Stevens - Sharbelle Toy Poodles, Vista, California
  • Non-Sporting: Barbara Wood - Anbara Lhasa Apsos, Cranford, New Jersey
  • Herding: Steve and Alice Lawrence - Fuzzy Farm Pulik, Stafford Springs, Connecticut

For more information on all of the AKC Breeder of the Year Group honorees visit
For more about the AKC Breeder of Merit program and to learn how dedicated breeders can join the ranks of these honorees, visit