Famous Dog Breeders

Icons of the Sport, Dogs in Review April 2011

Peggy Adamson
Damasyn Dobermans
Born in 1908, in Oakland, Calif., Peggy Adamson didn’t become seriously interested in dogs until 1940. She showed her first Doberman in obedience, and after earning her CD, she began showing her in conformation. She acquired her most famous dog, Ch. Dictator von Glenhugel, in 1942 after falling in love with a beautiful Doberman bitch she had seen at a show.

She contacted the breeder of the bitch, John Cholley of Glenhugel Dobermans in Canton, Ohio, a past president of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. This led to the purchase of a puppy from a repeat breeding. He was second pick and a red, which might explain his modest price of $150. Whether it was luck or fate, from then on Peggy’s life was devoted to the Doberman Pinscher.

Lina Basquette
Honey Hollow Great Danes
Lina Basquette’s success as a breeder and handler was so phenomenal, it is hard to believe that this was the second act of her career. At 18, she married Sam Warner of Warner Brothers, her first of nine marriages. Her best-known role came in 1929 in Cecil B. DeMille’s last silent film The Godless  Girl. In 1943, she made her last film, A Night For Crime, and said goodbye to Hollywood.

She acquired her first Great Dane in 1937, and in 1947 began devoting her life to the breed. Her first champion was a bitch, Gilbert Duyster’s Linda Mae, and her first dog champion was Ch. Duyster’s Lord Jim. In 1949, she purchased Honey Hollow, a 25-acre kennel in Bucks County, Pa., and became a licensed professional handler in 1950. By the early ’50s she had her first BIS winner, Ch. Dion of Kent, a golden fawn, bred by Marian Rankin.

Mona Berkowitz
Momarv Old English Sheepdogs
Like many successful breeders, Mona Berkowitz came from a dog- loving family. Her father, Dr. Joseph Saphir, served on the Old English Sheepdog Club of America board in the 1940s, and Mona joined the club as a non-voting member in 1934 when she was 9 years old.

In 1939, she was Best Junior Handler at Westminster showing her first OES champion, Ch. Crest of the Wave. Mona credits her mentor Mrs. Lewis Roesler Renner (Merriedip) for much of her subsequent success. Merriedip kennel ranked among the most important OES kennels of the 20th century.

Ernest Loeb
Lahngold German Shepherd Dogs
Ernest Loeb imported some of the greatest German Shepherd Dogs to come to America and ranked among the most influential figures in the breed for five decades. Ernie was born in Germany in 1909, and his devotion to the breed began at a time when it was still overseen by the legendary Captain Max von Stephanitz. 

In 1934, he left Germany for America, hoping to pursue his lifelong passion for German Shepherd Dogs. A few months later, he entered one of his dogs, Brando von Heidelbeerberg, in the 1935 Westminster show. They may have been a pair of unknowns when they arrived at Westminster, but that changed overnight. Ernie’s German import defeated an entry of 87. Brando ultimately became an important stud dog in America, but that was just the beginning of Ernie’s success.

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