Tirvelda Irish Setters
Edward Irving Eldredge, better known as Ted, was a force to be reckoned with in Irish Setters for half a century. His Tirvelda kennel produced more than 100 champions. AKC judge Anne Savory Bolus purchased a puppy from Ted in 1963 to found her Dunholm bloodline. This led to a 22-year friendship. “He was very proud of his dogs’ accomplishments, but he never pontificated,” recalls Anne. “He simply wasn’t that kind of person.”
Ted may not have aspired to fame and glory. Yet, his unerring eye for type and quality eventually landed him in the spotlight, judging BIS at Westminster in 1980. In a Sports Illustrated interview before the show he said, “A top dog of any breed can go up whether he’s glamorous or not. In fact, a truly fine Basset Hound looks glamorous to me. A good dog of any breed does.”
Ted’s BIS line-up included heavyweights like the Greyhound Ch. Aroi Talk of the Blues and the Standard Poodle Ch. Rimskittle Ruffian, and his choice made history. BIS went to Ch. Innisfree’s Sierra Cinnar, the only Siberian Husky ever to win Westminster, shown by 22-year-old Trish Kanzler, believed to be the youngest handler to claim a Best at the Garden.
That wasn’t the most remarkable aspect of his decision according to Kanzler. “Although Cinnar was a multiple BIS winner, I was the only nonprofessional in the ring. And many judges who had put him up before, would not touch him after his ear tip was bitten off. I always remember Mr. Eldredge as the ultimate gentleman. He was someone worth emulating.” Cinnar went on to become the breed’s most important sire.
Confident decision making is the hallmark of an expert dog show judge and breeder. Ted demonstrated this ability from an early age. His mentor was Lee Schoen, whose Kinvarra bloodline provided foundation stock for many notable kennels, but none more important than Tirvelda. Schoen recognized Ted’s natural talents.
In 1934, when Ted was just 12, Schoen imported Kinvarra Millie of Gadeland to provide his start in the breed. Ted had already chosen his kennel prefix: “the T stands for Ted, which is my nickname, the IRV for Irving, the ELD for Eldredge, and the A to make it euphonious.” Millie finished undefeated and Ted’s first litter, in 1937, produced Ch. Kinvarra Kermit, sire of 29 champions.
Tirvelda really got rolling in 1957 when Ted imported Hartsbourne Sallyann of Tirvelda from Eileen Walker. Bred to Ch. Kinvarra Malone she produced Ch. Tirvelda Nutbrown Sherry and Ch. Tirvelda Rustick Duke. Both had a big impact on the breed. Rustick Duke sired the most high-profile Irish Setter of the era, Richard Nixon’s dog, Tirvelda’s King Timahoe.