Week to week as owners, breeders, owner handlers, or general enthusiasts watching our favorites, we attend the shows with clear sight on our goals, and fingers crossed. Typically, it is that exciting first win, then perhaps a championship, whether conformation or performance, but frequently the seed blossoms.
As our regard for the fancy and various dog sports grows, often does the desire to achieve grander triumphs with the dogs we so deeply admire. We applaud enthusiastically all the winners, because it takes passion, dedication, perseverance, and sportsmanship, as well as considerable time, energy, and financial investment to participate in the fancy and sporting events. To reach a pinnacle, it takes an extra special dog and exceptional resolve to set records that can become new standards of achievement, elevating our breed and our ideals to the highest level.
I was inspired to investigate the extraordinary accomplishments in Welsh Terrier breeding, conformation, and performance when I followed a Welsh Terrier in 2017 to the apex of Number One Terrier in America. It was exciting to watch GCh. Ch. Shaireab’s Bayleigh Daenerys Stormborn, “Khaleesi,” win many weeks throughout the year, not only Best of Breed and Group One, but also Best In Show. What a thrill when the judge pointed to her. Watching ringside, I wondered: Who are the Welsh Terriers in history who have made it this far, or reached different heights?
After attending the Show Dogs of the Year Awards, a glittering gala honoring the top seven dogs in the country, I rolled up my sleeves and researched deeply the breed, scouring historical and contemporary journals and books, as well as kennel club catalogs, breed membership history, the American Kennel Club, Montgomery County Kennel Club, Welsh Terrier Club UK, Welsh Terrier Club of America, and Westminster Kennel Club archives. I talked to many participants—breeders, owners, handlers, and judges. Subsequently, my article “The Welsh Terrier Record Holders” was published in The Canine Chronicle in September 2018.
The website, The Welsh Terrier Record Holders, expands the scope of the article with additional information on each of the original record holders, updates records since publication, and includes new record holders. It is becoming a catalyst for the next major project—a modern history of the Welsh Terrier.
I offer great appreciation for rare images, information, and leads to additional information that might otherwise have been lost for posterity, provided through the courtesy of Gail Miller Bisher, Director of Communications for the Westminster Kennel Club, New York; Joan Church, Secretary, and Margaretta (“Missy”) Wood, Archivist, for the Montgomery County Kennel Club; Carol Dorking, Chairman, The Welsh Terrier Club, the oldest club in the world representing Welsh Terriers in Great Britain; Heidi Hudson, MA, Curator of the Photographic Collections for The Kennel Club, London; Brynn E. White, Archivist for the American Kennel Club Library & Archives, New York; and Bruce Schwartz, President, and Wendy Warnock, Historian, of the Welsh Terrier Club of America.
I extend profound thankfulness to Emma Kesler, the developer of The Welsh Terrier Record Holders website, and the designer of The Welsh Terrier Record Holders Crest which incorporates hand-drawn lettering and critique by Marika Kesler. Click here to read about the development of the WTRH Crest. Emma Kesler is a true partner in visioning this historical project. Without her, the site would not be as beautiful nor useful. It is surely to be treasured by this and future generations.