Agonistes Dogs

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As far back as I can remember there has always been a dog in my life; always smaller type breeds like Doxies, and a Tibetan Spaniel (long before they were ever recognized). I have always been dog crazy , a fact my parents recognized so when I asked them for a Saint Bernard they reluctantly agreed.

Looking back on pictures of this first Saint she was less than perfect and not at all attractive. This breed is my first love. Luck in the whelping box was not to be mine, I knew what I wanted to breed but never seemed to be able to produce it. I did own, co-own, finish and back several lovely Champions over the years, a few of which are pictured here. One being the German import, Ch. Figaro Von Haus Steinbach, who I backed and briefly co-owned with the late Diane Thrasher. Figaro was "picture" perfect. He did his share of winning including B.I.S.S. wins under renowned breed authorities. Today he can still be traced back in the pedigrees of many successful dogs being shown today. At that time puppy mills were pumping out the Saint Bernard in great numbers so it was decided that rather than to continue to breed I would stop and just continue with the showing part of it. The American Kennel Club granted me approval to judge this breed in the early 70’s. 

After a brief hiatus to pursue my education and to travel I applied for more breeds and at present I am licensed to judge the Working Group, Skye Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Manchester Terriers and was just recently granted provisional status for Japanese Chins, Shih Tzu, Miniature Pinschers, Toy Fox Terriers and the Toy Group as well as Irish Terriers, the American Staffordshires and Miniature Schnauzers.

At about this time, while exhibiting at the Santa Barbara Kennel Club show a strange caterpillar type dog crossed my path as I followed my handler to the our ring. In these days dog shows were huge events. Santa Barbara was such a grand show; held on the Polo Field there under huge circus type tents for the benching. The show was enormous and the entry large. Because of the enormity of the show I did not find out until later that day the this strange dog was Ch. Jimmy de Riceline, a Skye Terrier, owned by Chuck Brown. At the time the thought of owning one never crossed my mind but the picture of the breed always stayed with me.

In 1973, I happened upon a litter of Skye Terrier puppies. The place was The Beau Cheval St. Bernard Kennel belonging to Doug and Marlene Anderson. I had known the Anderson’s for years and co-owned dogs with them but never knew of their interest in Skyes. Roaming through the kennel I finally got to the carriage house where I came upon this litter of three young puppies sired by Ch. Beau Cheval’s Long Distance. Needless to say I came home with what was to be my first Skye Champion and my best and greatest dog friend, Beau Chevals Wichita Lineman. We were inseparable and the love and dedication we shared was bar none. To this day I have not bonded with another dog like the one I shared with "Wichita".

Ken liked the terriers, not so with the Saints, so the Skyes became a joint venture, with additional Skyes added and a breeding program set up. A minority breed and very protected by their owners only limited breeding prevailed. The litters resulted in several homebred champions.

Wichita lived to a ripe old age but when he died my interest in Skyes waned. Ken was actively showing Ch. Agonistes Black Magic, his bond, but with the dogs sudden death Ken too decided not to go on and curtailed the breeding and exhibiting of future Skyes. The last of the Skyes, Utzmoor’s Rocky, died in 1996. Other breeds, a Pekingese, a Papillon some Newfs have all lived with us over the years but the emptiness that prevails without a Skye roaming about is uncanny.

Over the years Agonistes has shared a lot of success and an equal amount of heartbreak in our involvements . The number of national winners is an easy question to answer; their trophies are scattered about and can be counted. Ask us how many Champion dogs we have bred or owned, how many Grand Champion cats and regional winner we have produced and you would get no response. This has never been a number game us so counting is unimportant. Ask us if we would do it all again …. your answer….YES.

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Saint BernardsSkye TerrierEnglish Toy Spaniel

Chihuahua               Agonistes In The Ring

 

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