The Santa Barbara Weekend: Aug. 28-30, 2009

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Two years ago while at the World Show in Sweden, American judge and third-generation dog man Desi Murphy watched a group of Skansen Schnauzers competing for Best Breeders Group and suddenly wondered why he had to travel halfway around the world to see the collective results of an American breeding program. Although the Skansen kennel was founded in Sweden in 1950, Sylvia Hammarstrom moved to Northern California in 1964 and has bred more than 900 Giant Schnauzer champions in the intervening years, including several that have been among America’s top dogs through the years. Thus, one might imagine that if you’d see the evidence of Sylvia’s successful breeding program any place in the world, it would be on U.S. soil...

That thought led Desi to discussions with various dog friends when he returned home, which in the summer of 2008 turned into firm plans to establish a competition for breeders in the U.S. to be held in conjunction with Santa Barbara Kennel Club, of which Desi is a member. Many people shared Desi’s enthusiasm for the concept of recognizing the sport’s most essential members, because although both Dogs in Review, in partnership with Cherrybrook and Purina, and AKC recognize numerous breeders with their “Outstanding Breeder” and “Breeder of the Year” awards each year, these honors typically favor breeders whose dogs have made a mark in the “big time,” at the Group and Best in Show level and on a national scale. And even so, as Desi points out, there are so few of those awards to go around when one realizes how many talented and dedicated breeders work year in and year out producing sound, healthy dogs of good quality, but who receive little recognition beyond finishing champions. The goal from the outset was to create a platform where the average hard-working breeder can be recognized.

As planning commenced, finding a co-sponsor for the event was discussed and members felt that the obvious choice was the dog food company that has been so breeder- oriented through the years, and in short order Purina enthusiastically came on board to be part of the 2009 inaugural Breeder’s Showcase event. The first of what will no doubt be many Breeder’s Showcases was dedicated to the memory of Irene Bivin and husband Edd donated a beautiful Challenge Trophy in her honor. Since then Challenge Trophies have been offered for all seven variety Groups.

We at DR echo what many fanciers have said to Desi since the planning and promotion began for this event: “Thank you for doing something for the breeders!” Paul Lepiane reports on the 2009 event.

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