Wednesday, February 13, 2013

1985 Westminster Champion - The Alabama Slammer

In 1986 while living and working in Norwalk, CT (the first time), I was invited to go to dinner with some local Democrat women at Bloodroot Restaurant in Bridgeport.   I do not recall the exact circumstances of the dinner since I am not involved in politics and never have been.  Guess I am a political slacker.  

I got into the back seat of the sedan and there was an elderly woman, who was already in the vehicle, sitting next to me.  After the usual introductory chit-chat, we just starting talking about dogs.  I guess this old lady could see that I liked dogs.   So we started talking about dogs and the Westminster Dog Show.   So I said:  "I recall the last Sporting Group winner was the Alabama Slammer, the Gordon Setter" (1985).  She looked at me and said:  "I bred the Alabama Slammer" .

So I said to her, in disbelief:  "You bred the Alabama Slammer"?  You know how young people, such as myself back then, can be!

"Yes", she said, "I did".  "However, Cocker Spaniels are what I am known for in the dog world".  .....

The location of this conversation was while we was driving along Route 136 in Westport, CT.  I was much younger and likely naive.  Yet, I knew without saying much that this was a moment in life that I would never forget and I never have forgotten.  Never met the old lady, again and that evening I never asked her name and she never told me her name.  She was one of my inspirations for becoming a fan of the American Kennel Club and the Westminster Dog Show. 

See the Westminster Kennel Club link for the "1985 Champion":

Postcript (2/14/2014):  As things go, it was subsequently revealed that this old woman was the author F. Scott Fitzgerald's daughter.  Her father had been part of the Westport, CT arts scene in years past. 


This year at the recent Westminster Dog Show in New York City an American Foxhound, nicknamed Jewel, won the Hound Group.  A few days prior to this I had been reviewing old-time American Dog Show History and found this article about the American Foxhound from 1897:

To continue, President and General Washington was one of the first in the United States to import Foxhounds from Europe.  Some may have been English Foxhounds, although he received French Hounds (Grand Bleu de Gascogne) as a gift from General Lafayette.  He maintained a large Foxhound kennel and breeding program in Virginia.  Washington supposedly also obtained dogs from a lineage of English Foxhounds introduced to America by a Robert Brooke in 1650 and bred these with the dogs given to him by General Lafayette.  The following is a mural representation of Washington with his hounds:  

The mural was painted by John Ward Dunsmore in 1909.    The famous Faunces Tavern of New York City is associated with the art of Mr. Dunsmore:  

A link to the American Kennel Club provides a summarized timeline for the American Foxhound in the United States which was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886: 

I am glad Jewel won the Hound group this year and cheer for every other dog at the Westminster Dog Show.  I have my favorite dog breeds including my own pets and have always dreamed about having one of my own dogs showing at Westminster some day!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


An article written by Lillian Moeran for Outing Magazine in 1902 is posted for your reading enjoyment:

Mrs. Moeran was a successful dog breeder and handler and associated with the Ladies Kennel Association of American.  She wrote magazine articles about various dog breeds.  Her writing style, although colloquial, displayed a knowledge about dog breeds, breeding, and handling/exhibiting in the United States.  A photo of Mrs. Moeran and her toy spaniels is found in the article.

Friday, February 1, 2013


The following is a link to an interesting article from the magazine "Outing" from the year 1888 about the Westminster Dog Show which is held every February at Madison Square Garden in New York City:

[The Outing magazine archives, along with other historic sporting journals, is accessible from the Los Angeles Sports Foundation digital archives.  The foundation was begun in 1984 with the Summer Olympics which were held in Los Angeles, CA that year.   I was originally referred to the Los Angeles Sports Foundation by Mr. George Dales, a professional friend and retired track and field/cross country coach from Western Michigan University, while researching track and field history.]