Judging and Breeding Champion Dogs
Some claim that passion is a gift but true passion requires a great deal of time, work, and sacrifice. James Dalton can attest to that statement.
Born in Belfast, Ireland, James has always loved animals. At an early age, a neighbor invited him to a dog show and his passion was set in motion. His first show dog was Champion Summer Breeze of Monksmile, a Dachshund that he started showing when he was just 12 years old. The Kennel name Fabelhaft was chosen as it is the German word meaning fabulous and since Dachshunds are of German descent, it seemed appropriate. When James was 14, “Breeze” won Best in Show, a first for both of them. Two years later James became one of the youngest dog show judges in Ireland.
An integral benefit to James’ passion was his educational focus in fashion design. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Ulster followed by a Master of Design at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London. After graduation, he was immediately hired by Reebok International and relocated to the USA world headquarters in the Boston area. There his expertise was utilized designing tennis and golf clothing for the American, European, and Japanese markets. Additional special Reebok projects involved working with top tennis athletes Venus and Serena Williams, Michael Chang, and golf champion Greg Norman as well as pop icons Gloria Estefan and Madonna.
While browsing the Boston Globe one Sunday in 1993, James ran across an ad for Afghan Hound puppies in New Hampshire and on a whim made an appointment to see them, thus setting in motion his U.S. career as show dog breeder, trainer, handler, and judge. James and his new acquisition, 14-month-old Afghan Hound, American, Canadian, and Bermudan Champion Paladin Fancy Pants Trinity, “C.C.,” went on to win more than 30 All Breed Best in Show titles, becoming the top winning female Afghan Hound of all time in Canada. In 1996, James acquired his first French Bulldog, Champion Justamere’s Dunkin F’r Apples, “Duggan.” In 1997, Duggan was ranked the Number One French Bulldog in the U.S.
Since the acquisition of these first two American Kennel Club (AKC)champions, James has bred and owned over 150 French Bulldogs and Afghan Hound champions winning multiple Best in Show and Best of Breed awards at Westminster. His dogs have been awarded top honors in Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. In 2002, James relocated to Portsmouth, Ohio, as his partner Dr. John Turjoman had been heavily recruited by Southern Ohio Medical Center.
One major highlight in James’ career occurred in 2010 when Champion Robobull Fabelhaft I’m on Fire, “Bru,” won Best of Breed and First in the Non-sporting Group at the Westminster Kennel Club Show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. This was a particularly exciting and historical event because it was the first and only time in the 113 years of Westminster shows that a French Bulldog had achieved this honor. ESPN always provides national TV coverage for the dog show and area residents were surprised and delighted when it was announced that Bru came from Portsmouth. As a result of the win, James and Bru also appeared on the “Martha Stewart Show.”
In 2010, while visiting a friend in Columbus, James fell in love with a one-year-old female Japanese Chin, Champion Pem We-Syng Lucky Mi, “Mimi.” Her owner, Nanette Wright, had not considered parting with her dog, but after much persuasion James brought Mimi to her new home in Portsmouth. In 2011, now owned and handled by James, Mimi won Best in Show at the Japanese Chin Club of America Specialty Show. In 2012, a nationwide campaign was initiated and Mimi travelled from coast-to-coast professionally handled by Nancy Martin from Chicago. James and Dr. John were thrilled with Mimi’s record-breaking achievements. Since the AKC first recognized the breed in 1888, Mimi has become the top winning Japanese Chin of all time with 18 Best in Show and over 60 Toy Group Firsts.
Recently approved as an AKC judge, James has already been invited to judge dog shows in Australia, Spain, and Mexico. Even with this demanding schedule, he has still made time to support the Portsmouth community as a Southern Ohio Museum board member. He also has worked with the local chapter of the Red Cross as a judge for the “Dancing with Our Stars” fundraiser, and hosted various fundraising events in his home.
When asked what he thought Portsmouth Metro readers should realize about his passion, James responded, “First and foremost, a person needs dedication – particularly for breeding dogs. There are trials and tribulations in breeding and showing dogs and it is not for the faint of heart. However, the friendships made all over the world or the joy of placing a new companion in a loving forever home make it all worthwhile.”
Afghan Hound Facts
Uncertainty exists as to the origin of this breed. One theory states that this Hound existed in Egypt thousands of years ago. Another popular theory is that it developed gradually on the steppes of Asia. Extensive research cannot verify either theory. One of the oldest dog breeds, its AKC category is Hound. Its weight ranges from 45-60 pounds and height falls between 24-29 inches. It has a thick, fine, silky coat and a ring curl at the end of its tail.
Originally used as a hunting dog, modern Afghan Hounds make great companion pets. Although they appear noble, elegant, and majestic, this breed is sweet, affectionate and loyal. They require a daily walk or jog and would not do well in an apartment setting. The median life expectancy is about 14 years. Even though this breed is an average shedder, their long thick coat requires attention. Some have referred to this breed as “the king of dogs.”
French Bulldog Facts
Nineteenth century English lace makers bred the early bulldog for a lap pet. When immigrating to France, these “toy” bulldogs were very popular with the upper class. Near the end of the century, these dogs were called French Bulldogs. Recognized by the AKC as a Non-Sporting Dog Breed in 1898, they must weigh less than 28 pounds. The skin should be soft and loose, especially at the head and shoulders, forming wrinkles. Their coat is moderately fine, brilliant, short and smooth. These dogs are small, muscular with a heavy bone structure, and have erect bat-shaped ears.
They are primarily an indoor pet but do require exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Their average life span is eight to 10 years. French Bulldogs are popular because they are affectionate and have an even disposition. They are playful and alert but not rambunctious. A popular description of the breed is a “clown in a philosopher’s cloak.”
Japanese Chin Facts
The history of the Japanese Chin dates back many centuries as seen in the images of the breed on ancient pottery and embroideries. Originally bred for the ladies of the Imperial Palace, they were highly treasured by the nobility and bestowed only as a prestigious gift to diplomats or foreigners for exceptional service. The AKC first listed them in the Toy Group in 1888. They range in height from eight to 11 inches and the most common weight is between seven and nine pounds. They have a large broad head, large wide set eyes, a short broad muzzle, and ear feathering. Their coat is very smooth and silky, usually requiring twice weekly brushing.
The Chin is very intelligent, elegant, dainty, mild-mannered, loyal, and playful. A typical life span for this breed is 10-12 years. The best have been referred to as “beauty without compromise.”
Photos Compliments James Dalton