Twelve proved to be the lucky number for a local breeder of Curly Coated Retrievers when the Croghan woman's dog won "Best of Breed" in the sporting dogs category at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week. Catherine E. Lewandowski wore the number on her armband during the show.
She was urged to enter her 18-month-old dog, known as "Dana" by a fellow breeder who also owns the top-rated Curly Coated Retriever in the U. S. and Canada. Ms. Lewandowski confessed, "I did not think we had a chance at winning breed and going to the group ring at such a prestigious show." She added, "When we won the breed, it was unreal." She noted that she had watched the show every year on television, but being present for it was an emotional experience and one she would never forget.
The Lewis County woman was one of only a few owner-breeder-handlers participating in the show, as most of the dogs were shown by professional handlers. While the competition is very large and stressful, Ms. Lewandowski said that Dana did not seem to mind. "This show is huge, with a lot of stress, but she took it all in stride. Her tail never stopped wagging in the ring."
Although Dana had an excellent showing in the ring, Ms. Lewandowski says she has no intention to send her dog out for months at a time with a professional handler, even though the judge told her Dana would be able to go far. "I know Dana is great, but she is just going to have to settle for being great on my couch, and not in the limelight." she joked.
Ms. Lewandowski is employed as a clinical analyst at Lewis County hospital in Lowville. She has been showing dogs since the age of 15 when she began by showing the family's Irish Setter. She owns and operates Soft Maple kennel with her husband, Mark, since 1979 becoming interested in Curly Coated Retrievers in 1993.
Contact the Lewandowski's for more information on their dogs at:
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan New York 13327
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