Breeder's Notebook

The breeders of four dogs that triumphed at the Garden share their secrets to success.


Winning the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes luck, money, training, conditioning, handling talent, advertising – and at the center of it all, a good dog. Before that dog stands next to the famous purple-and-gold Westminster Best-in-Show rosette, before it can even stride around Madison Square Garden’s green carpet, it has to totter around a whelping box. How do you breed a Westminster winner?

Making Mick
In 2002, a Kerry Blue Terrier named Mick (Ch. Torum’s Scarf Michael) took the American Kennel Club show world by storm when he came to the United States. Fresh from winning BIS at Crufts in England, he quickly became the No. 1 dog of all breeds in America, capping his career with the 2003 Westminster BIS. Both Mick’s sire and dam traced back to an influential male (Torum’s Mr. Dooley) and, in the words of Ron Ramsey, who breeds with his wife, Carol, “We felt that the connection could produce something good!”

By 6 months old, Mick already “had a presence, even on the grooming table,” Ramsey says. “On the ground, he moved with great drive and purpose.” In addition to Mick, the cross produced a brother that was Finland’s No. 2 dog of all breeds and another that was the U.K.’s top terrier and reserve BIS at Crufts. Both he and Mick are behind many champions and top-winning lines in Ireland, the U.K. and America. Mick has more than 60 champion offspring and is the No. 2 all-time top AKC Kerry Blue Terrier sire.

Revved-up Rufus
In 2006, Rufus (Ch. Rocky Top’s Sundance Kid) the Colored Bull Terrier strutted away with the big prize. Rufus was from an outcrossed litter (from frozen semen from Germany) in which four of the five puppies earned their Register of Merit (ROM) titles. His owner, Barbara Bishop, says she knew he was special at first sight: “That puppy was magical.”


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