Westminster Flashback: When Sealys Owned the Garden

AKC Gazette, “Times Past”—The Sealyham Terrier joined the AKC in 1911. Within just a few years—thanks to shrewd imports, judicious breeding, and a small but enthusiastic U.S. fancy—the sturdy little Welshman was a force in the American show ring.

Here are two Westminster Best in Show Sealyhams, immortalized in the AKC art collection.


Ch. Barberryhill Bootlegger (BIS 1924)

A show-ring aristocrat of the Prohibition era, Bootlegger was named, as Bill Stifel wrote, “for what some wit thought of as Man’s Other Best Friend—which is to say, a discreet source of alcohol.”

During the 10 long years booze was illegal, fanciers vented their displeasure through their dogs: Among the entry Bootlegger defeated for Best in Show were dogs with names like Tom Collins, Egg Nog, and Home Brew. And the name of Bootlegger’s sire? Gin Rickey!

William Schnelle’s painting is done in a loose, impressionistic style, a daring choice for a dog portraitist of the day.


Ch. Pinegrade Scotia Swell

Ch. Pinegrade Perfection (BIS 1927)

Lillian Cheviot’s delightful twin portrait depicts two all-time great Sealys. Perfection (right) was the more famous of the two, having gone Best of All Breeds at the 1926 AKC Sequicentennial show and BIS at Westminster the following year. Scotia Swell, a British import, went Best of Breed at the Garden in 1925.

Their handler was Percy Roberts, who in 1937 handled to his fourth Westminster BIS, a record he held alone until Peter Green matched it in 1998. The combined eight dogs Roberts and Green handled to the top at Westminster were all terriers.

The most recent Sealy to take BIS at the Garden was Ch. Dersade Bobby’s Girl, 1977, handled by Green.

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Posted in AKC Gazette, Times Past

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