The Handlers of Yesteryear

See and learn about these influential dog handlers who made a difference in the sport.

December 27, 2012

Photos from Best in Show: The World of Show Dogs and Dog Shows by Bo Bengtson, Kennel Club Books, a Division of BowTie, Inc., 2008.

Percy Roberts

The Wire Fox Terrier Flornell Spicy Piece of Halleston won Best in Show at Westminster in 1937, fresh off the boat from England. The handler (right) was Percy Roberts; the judge was George S. West.

Russell Zimmerman

One of the top professional handlers for many years, Russell Zimmerman, stands in front of what was the latest mode in dog travel in 1939. One of his advertisements read, "This modern equipment will be a familiar sight throughout America, being seen at all the major shows." Zimmerman lived in Van Nuys, Calif.

Harry Sangster

The Dalmatian Ch. Four-in-Hand Mischief set new standards for his breed by becoming one of the top Best in Show winners of any breed in the late 1930s. He was bred and owned by Leo Meeker in California but shown by Harry Sangster.

Maxine Beam

Maxine Beam with the English Miniature Poodle import Ch. Adastra Magic Fame and the Toy Ch. Ty-Del's Dancing Girl, both multiple Best in Show winners in the 1950s. Fame won more than 40 all-breed Bests and was Runner-up to Top Dog in both 1956 and 1957.

Rogers Clark Forsyth

Two of the greatest handlers of all time, Anne Hone Rogers (later Rogers Clark) and Jane Kamp (now Forsyth), in the early days of their show careers, winning with two English Setters under judge Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge in 1957.

Jack Dexter

Most professional handlers in tthe United States today work out of motor homes specifically outfitted to house dogs. The trend took flight in the 1960s; Jack Dexter's setup includes both the obligatory grooming tables and exercise pens..

Dick Cooper

Mrs. Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge awards Best in Show to the Irish Setter Ch. Conifer's Lance, one of the top Sporting dogs of 1961, handled by Dick Cooper. The trophy presenter is Mrs. Groverman Ellis of Killybracken Irish Wolfhounds.

Elaine Rigden

Ch. Coughton Sungable of Perryacre, imported from England and America's top Toy dog in 1965 and 1966, placed high among all breeds both years. He is shown with handler Elaine Rigden and judge Bea Godsol at Palm Beach County Dog Fanciers Association in 1966.

James Edward Clark

Brace classes were popular at Westminster for many years. They have been discontinued there but are still held at other shows. James Edward Clark is shown winning Best Brace in Show at Westminster in 1968 with Whippets Ch. Rimskittle Seashell and Ch. Stoney Meadows Sealark. The judge was Major B. Godsol.

Cliff Hallmark

The top Terrier of 1970, West Highland White Terrier Ch. De Go Hubert, was one of the Top Dogs of all breeds that year. He was handled by Cliff Hallmark.

Richard Bauer

The Toy Poodle Ch. Hell's-A-Blazen Fagin's Pride strides out ahead of handler Richard Bauer in the Toy Group at Westminster in the late 1970s.

Frank Sabella

Frank Sabella with Standard Poodle Ch. Acadia Command Performance shortly before winning Best in Show at Westminster 1973.

Ted Young

Ted Young, the top Cocker Spaniel handler of the 1960s and 1970s, moves the Top Dog of 1972, Ch. Sagamore Toccoa, for the judge.

Lina Basquette

Lina Basquette specialized in Great Danes and is shown on her way to a Group placement at Westminster in 1977 with Ch. Heather of Braeside. Before settling on dogs as her second career, Basquette had danced with the Ziegfield Follies, acted in Cecil B. DeMille and Frank Capra movies, and been married to Sam Warner.

William Trainor

The top Non-Sporting winner of both 1983 and 1984, the Chow Chow Ch. Wah-Hu Redcloud Sugar Daddy. He was among the Top Dogs of all breeds in 1983 and is shown winning the Ladies Kennel Association of America under judge Elaine Young in 1984, handled by William Trainor.

Doug Holloway

The Italian-born Standard Schnauzer Ch. Parsifal di Casa Nezer not only took home Top Dog of all breeds in the United States in 1996 and the top spot at Westminster in 1997 but also won Best in Show during the FCI World Show circuit in Puerto Rico the same year. He was handled by Doug Holloway under judge Carla Molinari from Portugal At right is club official Roberto Velez Pico.



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Norma J McBride   Chrisney, Indiana

9/3/2015 3:32:40 PM

A great handler was Where George Ward.

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pat   Sutton, Massachusetts

5/20/2015 3:40:38 AM

This brings back many memories I have showed dogs with just about all of them. Bill Tranor lined about 5 miles up the road from me and was a great help to me.

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vickie haywood   Pinehurst, North Carolina

9/28/2014 10:41:03 AM

Wendell Sammett is alive and well still in dogs in NY, He and Karen Lefreck are still friends and still own a few dogs.. Jane and Bob Forsyth are alive and well in Pinehurst! Still active in the Moore Co KC.. Their Daughter Souix is still in dogs. I was mentored by many greats and we are all tasked with passing it all on! (see my latest column in DOG PRESS on mentoring,the power of trust)

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Janelle   Wakeman, Ohio

9/28/2014 9:41:02 AM

These are the Masters of our sport . They set the standards of excellence we should all strive to emulate. Many more come to mind including Tommy Glassford and Bobby Barlow, George Rood , George Ward.

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