Twinroc History.

We started our quest to produce high quality, show Cardigans from very humble beginnings:   no real dog experience, no knowledge of how to breed, newly married, and of course......with precious little money to spare!  Even back then, once we made a decision and  set our goals, we became voracious students.  We "pestered" the top people, trying to gain as much knowledge as quickly as possible.  Our phone bills to Brymore Kennels approached that of our mortgage.   We have made many errors on our journey and have had many setbacks, including the untimely death of one of our early acquisitions due to an auto accident.

Back in 1969, we had a Cardigan Puppy that I bought as an engagement present for Doris.  We decided to go to the Trenton Kennel Dog Show, at that time one of the biggest shows and with a tremendous general attendance.

That afternoon we sat on the grass and were watching the Working Group when a man tapped me on the shoulder.  That man was Dr. Ed Mcgough, Cardigan breeder, judge, psychiatrist, and president of Rutgers University Medical Center.  He shook my hand and said, "Is that a Cardigan you have?" From that innocent question Doris and I were both "hooked". 

As they say, "Ed had me at hello."   Soon, he had me fill out entry forms.   It wasn't long before we made our grand entrance into the world of show dogs.  Ahhhhh, that was a sight to behold!

I proudly showed my little pet, convinced that he was the best Cardigan that ever lived.  He walked into that ring complete with a "fur saver" collar to which was attached a chain large enough to hold a lion.

When we think about that day we still laugh like lunatics. It just goes to show life sure is strange.

Before there was the second Sprite, there was of course, the first Sprite.  Her full name was Ch. Wicklewood Watersprite and we were fortunate to acquire her from George Bud Reed.

Bud ran an all breed pedigree service in Bedford Village New York and he was an early pioneer and maintained good friendships with both Marcia Lopeman and Bud and Betty Hassett.  The Hassetts were early mentors to Doris and I, and we spent many a Sunday with them at their home in Long Island. 

Anyway, we had purchased our first show puppy form Betty Hassett and she became our very first Cardigan Champion.  In one of our Sunday visits, Betty had told us that Bud Reed had a very good litter from Marcia Lopeman's top quality bitch Ch. Kencia Di Bu Canog bred to the great and first Cardigan Best in Show dog Ch Springdale Droednoeth bred by Hal Nelson and owned by Dr. Mcgough.  In particular, there was a b/w bitch puppy that showed tons of promise.

Without mentioning any names we got wind of a rumor that said another long time breeder was trying to buy her.  Without waiting to confirm that rumor, we raced up to Bud Reed's home and snapped her up. 

Although she did die at three, she lived long enough to produce Ch. Twinroc Caesar's Cadet a dog whose record helped to shape our success and so when the second Sprite came along she was named in honor of her grandmother.  She lived on through the many Caesar kids and grandkids.

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Caesar was born in 1971.  He was 8 years old in this photo.  He was an important Cardigan in his day

Caesar's Story:

As I mentioned Ch. Twinroc Caesar's Cadet was an important dog;  not only to our program, but we would like to believe he was also important to the breed.

Caesar gave us Ch. Checkmate Bounty Hunter owned by Bob and   Sherry Caldwell.  CH Checkmate Bounty Hunter  made a mark as a top stud dog.  Caesar also sired Ch. Twinroc Wam-bam Thank U Ma'm,  another great producer.   

Caesar himself, was out of Ch. Halmor Caesar and   was a grandson of Ch. Springdale Droednoeth on this dam's side. He won either two or three Stud dog classes at the Nationals.    Born in 1971, he was a top winning Special who later gave way to Ch. Eastwyn Miss Friendly, although the year we specialed them against everyone and each other, he actually beat her more than she beat him!  I admit the reason we did that was we were trying to win some specific awards offered by the club based on the number of club points you earned.   

At that time, if you owned the Best of Breed dog you received 16 points and if you owned the Best of Opposite dog you received 15 points.  That meant that if you owned both you would win 31 points.  Happily, they often went Breed and Opposite.   That  year we won several club awards.   We never tried that strategy again.   Caesar lived a long life and made it to 15.    During all that time he never was ill or out of sorts.  He was my first big winning champion and I will never forget him.

In an earlier accounting, I mentioned how we started with a "tap on the shoulder" while we were visiting the Trenton Kennel Club and being swept up with what we all suffer from, namely, a disease I affectionately refer to as dog show "fever"

I neglected to mention that I really did believe that our first dog (a pet quality dog named Rocky) was the perfect conformation dog.  After all, I had read and reread the Standard and as far as I was concerned, he WAS the Standard as I interpreted it.  The Standard said 27 pounds.  He was 27 pounds.  The characteristics of the bowed legs and egg shaped chest, he had all that.  All true.  So when he went to 13 straight shows and was Best of Breed every single time (of course I ignored that he was the only Cardigan).  I preferred to believe that he was fantastic.

The fourteenth show rolled around and lo and behold two bitches showed up and wonder of wonders, Rocky won again.  The handler who had both of the bitches congratulated me and said "Congratulations, you won a point." 

I obviously had a blank stare on my face,  "What's a point?"  I can still hear him laughing.  He took me aside explained points, championships, etc. and that was the beginning of a 25 year close relationship with Mike Smith who became a mentor for my general knowledge of show dogs and especially my handling career as I learned at the feet of a man who had a boatload of knowledge to offer.  In truth, I became like his son and I still miss him as we lost Mike about 14 years ago.

As a postscript to the Rocky story, I should add that I was so sure of Rocky's quality that I actually wrote to the AKC that the judges could not possibly know the Standard because if they did,  he would never lose.  They wrote back that I was quoting the old and revised Standard.  Talk about being chagrined and embarrassed.   Well, that's what we old-timers mean when we  talk about humble beginnings!

Still another "war story" from the early years happened back when I was campaigning the young Ch. Foxfyre Spirit of Sprite.  AFTER her unfortunate loss of  half of her left ear,   Doris and I were on the Tar Heel circuit (at that time you had to have gone there at least for 3 years before the judges took you seriously and this was our third trip). 
I had Sprite entered under a judge who I was certain would recognize her quality and probably not care too much about the damaged ear. Since it was her left ear, when you posed her in the correct position, no one could miss the damaged ear.

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Sprite finished undefeated in five shows, all majors including WB and BOW at the National.  Paul says Sprite is the second greatest Cardigan he's ever seen!

Sprite's Story:

A friend of ours, Mrs. Marge Ricardi, had a Caesar granddaughter and we recommended she be bred to a Caesar and Pookie son Called Ch. Twinroc Wam-bam-thank you-ma'm! 

Before the litter was born, I promised the pick puppy to Monty and Robin Phillips a young couple who wanted the best puppy.  The night Doris drove to Phila. Airport she arrived back home with that pick-pup at about 3 in the morning. All I remember is being awakened by screaming and yelling with Doris accusing me of promising the best puppy she had ever seen.  She was right. I had made a serious error. 

 That puppy was Spirit of Sprite.   In only one week, she went to a whole week of 5 point majors including the National and she won every single one.  Finished in one week - all 5 pointers:  the Best in Sweeps and Best of winners at the National. 

This sadly was the bitch that Pookie de-eared  (only half)  in an effort to cut the competition.  Ear or no ear, Sprite was spectacular.  IMO the second greatest Cardigan I ever saw or handled.   Oh, who was the first?   Without doubt my answer---Ch. Pendragon Line Leader..

She wound up Best of Opposite.  Naturally,  I asked the judge why he did not give her the breed and he said,  "That ear just kept hitting me in the eye.  The next time you show her to me, if you do, don't let me see that ear." Two months later I found myself entered under him again, but this time I showed her BACKWARDS  where the ear was on the inside with her good right ear on the outside.  Pow!   This time he instantly gave her breed.  Unfortunately that very year a Siberian won the Garden with a missing half-ear also which meant  that the judges apparently did not  want to set a precedent, and so....... Sprite's injury brought a much too soon end to her career.

Again taking another stroll back through the early years, I recall still another war story and it almost was a real war story.  Again it involved the aforementioned Sprite #2 only this time it was BEFORE the injury to her ear. On this occasion she lost the breed to a truly inferior dog but with a top handler and it was obvious to anyone that the judge went out of his way to put up the handler. 

Now as it turns out, the handler was a close friend of mine and I knew that he was only doing his job so I was not at all upset with him.  On the other hand I was incensed at the lack of integrity of the judge.  So, when I accepted the Best of Opposite ribbon I muttered loud enough for the judge to hear me, "You are lucky I don't punch you in the
mouth for that travesty.". 

He instantly fired back, "Well I used to be a boxer." 

My reply was just as instant.  I said, "Well you couldn't have been good at that either your nose has been broken at least three times!"

Happily, he soon vanished from the dog show scene as it didn't take the "masses" long  to learn that he was a less than honest judge.

I expect to lose to a superior dog, but with my competitive nature, it's really hard to stomach a loss to an animal that clearly doesn't measure up.  Yep, I've been known to lose my temper!

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"Melody"                                                                                               "Pookie"

Today, Twinroc has won four Best in Specialties at the National with three of them coming courtesy of Ch Eastwyn Miss Friendly "Pookie".  The fourth one was courtesy of Ch Phi-Vestavia Original Sin CD HS "Melody".  We have also come very close on another occasion going Best of Opposite withCh Twinroc Max-In-A-Million.   The dogs we have campaigned placed many times in the Working as well as the Herding Group.  Max, long retired, was a multiple Herding Group winner. 

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Otis' Story:

Sometimes timing is everything in breeding decisions.  Although I have never been one to solicit a bitch for any of my stud dogs I had a "premonition" that Jean Clifford's beautiful bitch "Chatty" should be bred to Ch. Twinroc Max in a Million. 

 I placed a call to Jean to see how she felt about that and she said, "I was going to call you next week about that same thing".*

This was before the PRA test revealed that Max was a carrier.  He was immediately removed from the gene pool.  Happily, (and probably luckily) Otis tested clear.   We finalized the details and Max was collected and shipped overnight express to Jean's vet.  Hence Otis' name,  Ch. Trailwyn Overnight Express. 

This litter gave us the following successful show dogs. Ch. Trailwyn Mae West, (Mae-Mae) Ch. Trailwyn Uotobinpics (Otto), Ch. Trailwyn Odyssey, and of course, Otis himself as my stud fee puppy. 

Mae Mae was a multiple group placer and winner, Best in National Specialty Show winner as well as All Breed Best in Show. Otto was a multi Regional Specialty winner as well as a many time Group placer and Award of Merit winner.   Otis who was lightly campaigned was also a multiple Regional Specialty winner, multi Group Placer, and multiple Award of Merit winner at Nationals

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At the end of 2003, Otis was ranked in both breed points where he finished ranked 5th, as well as in all breed points where he finished 7th.   His record was 67 shows winning the Breed 47 times.  Not too bad for a "part  time" special. 

Now retired from active campaigning, he may be shown at Regionals or Nationals as a veteran as he just turned 7 as hard as that is for me to believe.  He still looks fit and show ready and at 7 is still in his absolute prime..

*My take on that was this was a breeding that was meant to take place.


Paul Slaboda
Twinroc Cardigans (since 1968)

This article is copied from the Twinroc Homepage with the kind permission of Paul and Doris Slaboda, Texas.

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