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AKC Breeder OF The Year Sporting Award


AKC Breeder of The Year Sporting Award

I am pretty much in shock. Once again God has blessed me indeed. The American Kennel Club has a new award this year. They will be awarding a breeder the award of (Breeder of the Year ) in Orlando Florida at the AKC Eukanuba Invitational on December 11th. AKC has selected a breeder from each group to be the breeder of that group to be present at the Invitational. They have selected me for the Sporting Group. This is far beyond my wildest dream. I am the only West Coast breeder that was selected out of the seven finalists. I am thrilled that I will be representing the Sporting Group and our wonderful breed.
I must say that none of this could have possibly have happened with out all of you. The support that you have given our dogs is unbelievable. From Showing, finishing Champions, Campaigning top dogs, breeding to our stud dogs and showing the get, Field Trialing, Hunt Tests, Obedience Trialing, Agility and Tracking your dogs. You are all to be commended. Thank you for making this award possible. Thank you to each of you, and hugs to your dogs. I wish that you could all be there with me.
Once again, I pray that God will bless you as much as he has me!
Here is a copy of the AKC Press Release.

-- “Breeder of the Year” to be Announced at AKC/Eukanuba National Invitational Championship --

New York — The seven group winners for The American Kennel Club’s first Breeder of the Year Award were announced today. Those selected are examples of breeders who have dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament and quality of purebred dogs. With a breeder from each of the groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding, together they represent a combined history of more than two centuries in the sport.

“Our greatest breeders are those who adhere to values that are deeply held within the fancy,” said Dennis Sprung, AKC VP of Corporate Relations. “These special people are ideal representatives of these values and have consistently made significant contributions to the world of purebred dogs through their breeding programs with their integrity, vision and dedication.”

All seven group winners will be honored in person at the AKC/Eukanuba National Invitational Championship in Orlando, Florida on December 11, 2002. The title of American Kennel Club Breeder of the Year will be bestowed on one winner at a presentation during group judging. A work of art will be commissioned to memorialize a cherished dog from the winner’s kennel and an original bronze sculpture--representative of the nurturing character of these individuals and inscribed with the winner’s name--will be placed on permanent display at the AKC.

A replica of this sculpture will also be presented to the winner as the official trophy and medallions of the same design will be awarded to all group winners. Advantage Flea Control is the presenting sponsor of The American Kennel Club Breeder of the Year trophy. The group winners are:

SPORTING: Melissa D. Newman, English Setters, Setter Ridge Kennel, Clinton, Washington. Melissa started hunting upland game birds with her father when she was eight years old, and that turned into a life of dedication to pointing dogs. By the time she was 18, she knew that she wanted English Setters, and she knew that she wanted to make them dual field- and conformation- champions. She has more than attained her goal, having bred over 100 champions. The most famous of those, Multi-BIS, SBIS, Dual Champion, Can. Ch. Set’r Ridge’s Solid Gold, CDX, MH, HDX, CGC still reigns supreme in the breed, with eight all breed BIS and leaving a legacy in his progeny of 124 American champions (including 17-all breed BIS winners), making him the top-producing English Setter of all time.
HOUND: Damara Bolté, Basenjis, Reveille Kennel, Leesburg, Virginia. When the Basenji Club of America decided a several years ago that the breed needed to be infused with new blood from native dogs in Africa, Damara was an easy choice to make the trip and bring back some dogs. A lifetime of champions and Best in Show winners in the breed, dating back to 1955, coincided with her career as a supervisory animal husbandman at National Institutes of Health and also as a professional dog handler. Damara is a longtime board member of the Basenji Club of America and wrote the AKC Gazette breed column for three decades. She is a member of the AKC’s Breeder’s Committee, is on the Advisory Committee for the AKC Handler’s program, and is a member of the Professional Handlers Association.
WORKING: Peggy & Dave Helming, Newfoundlands, Pouch Cove Kennel, Flemington, New Jersey. Peggy and Dave Helming have truly done it all in their breed. Since establishing their kennel in 1968, they have bred and/or owned about 225 champions, many national specialty and all-breed Best in Show winners in the USA and around the world, 36 Newfoundland Club of America Register of Merit dogs. Their dogs have also been successful in Obedience and Working events, and 14 have earned their NCA Versatility titles in obtaining AKC championship, NCA Water Rescue, and NCA Draft Dog titles. They have spent a combined 24 years on the Board of Directors for the parent club, and are members of a number of all-breed clubs.
TERRIER: Barbara Miller, Norfolk Terriers, Max-Well Kennel, Glen Head, New York. She calls her breed “…the little dog at the end of the terrier line…” but Barbara Miller has found herself and her Norfolks at the front of the line quite often through the years. Her dogs have won many all-breed Bests in Show, and her breeding program has produced many champions. Her first serious breed was Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, but she soon found her place with the Norfolks. Through the years, she has been very active in the parent club, holding a number of offices and committee positions, including serving as the AKC Gazette columnist for the club. She has been a member of the Long Island Kennel Club for more than 20 years, and is currently president and show chairman.
TOY: Linda George, Chihuahuas, Ouachitah Kennel, Waukesha, Wisconsin. Linda George’s dogs have left their pawprints all over the Chihuahua world. In over 30 years as a breeder, Linda has produced the top two sires in the history of the breed, Ch. Ouachitah Beau Chiene (105 champion offspring) and his litter brother, Ch. Ouachitah Kodiak (42). She has also bred the only Chihuahua to ever win the Toy Group at Westminster, Ch. Ouachitah For Your Eyes Only, and a number of Best in Show and national specialty winners. She has served many years as an officer and board member of the Chihuahua Club of America, and is a popular speaker at judges education seminars around the country. She works as a medical technologist at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, also serving as the laboratory safety officer and team leader.
NON-SPORTING: Wendell J. Sammet, Poodles, Ale Kai Kennel, Bryantville, Massachusetts. Wendell Sammet has spent over a half-century in purebred dogs. As a teenager, he trained a Dalmatian in obedience, and in 1950 he began breeding them. He finished and bred many champions, but soon found himself in the breed in which he has truly made his mark – Poodles -- establishing a breeding program under the Alekai banner with Mrs. Henry Kaiser. Through the decades, he has prided himself in breeding for health, temperament and breed type. Along the way, he has always found time to serve as a mentor for newcomers to the breed and the sport, as well as an advisor to his peers and in roles for both the Poodle Club of America and the Dalmatian Club of America. The 77-year-old is also a veteran of World War II, having fought at the Battle of the Bulge and being held as a POW for six months.
HERDING: Janina Laurin, Belgian Tervuren, Chateau Blanc Kennel, Danbury, Connecticut. Janina is successfully carrying on a legacy begun by her mother, Edeltraud Laurin, in Belgian Tervuren. She competed with her first dog, a German Shepherd Dog, at a 4-H fair as a 6-year-old, and has been involved in the sport ever since. She made her mark as a breeder-owner-handler of Belgian Tervuren, with a number of Best in Show, Group and specialty winning dogs and bitches. On the performance front, her dogs have excelled in agility, obedience and herding, capturing top awards in each category. She is a past president and board member of the American Belgian Tervuren Club, where she was also a founding member of the Parent Club’s Education committee.


The AKC, founded in 1884, is one of the oldest sports-governing organizations. It maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, is responsible for overseeing the governance of the sport of purebred dogs, and keeps records of competitive results. For further information about AKC and the sport of purebred dogs, visit www.akc.org at or contact the Communications Department at 212-696-8343.

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