Page 192 - ShowSight - November 2019
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                Breeder Interview : Barbara Miller, Max-Well Norfolk Terriers... BY ALLAN REZNIK continued
   yard was fenced in but afforded plenty of room to romp, unlike the Moncktons’ that allowed the Norwich fields to run through. Both different but both committed to their breed. As kennel maid of the most famous breeder of the time, May knew the breed inside and out. Her husband, a Scotsman and firm supporter of docked tails, was equally as informative. The day May mar- ried was also the day she was fired. How dare she leave Miss Sheila Macfie! Another history lesson; I was taken to the lady her- self, Miss Alice Hazeldine, who owned Ick- worth Ready; probably the most famous of all Norfolk Terriers.
Finally I visited Joy Taylor who was not only a perfect mentor but a longtime friend until her untimely passing. I say untimely because Joy was pretty healthy until she came down with the flu, or I believe it was the flu. I attended her more than awesome funeral in the church down the road from her home. The Queen of Norfolks arrived in a straw coffin atop a flatbed horse-drawn carriage. It was the perfect goodbye for someone who taught me so much about the breed. Nanfan Norfolk Terriers were famous worldwide and still are. The “cottage” as she called it was 400 years old with wide plank wood flooring except for the kitchen tiles cut from Cotswold stone. And there sat the always warm AGA with her two Min Pins nearby. In a small attached hallway and bathroom under warming lights was a litter of baby Norfolk. The only warmth in the cottage came from heaters and nighttime hot water bags to keep your feet warm win- ter or summer. No one, not even me, was allowed to photograph Nanfans without Joy’s approval and a proper brushing. The kennel was what most Americans would call a lean to, and originally served as a stable. Outside one of the stalls was an old, really old table where Joy trimmed her dogs. She believed in a proper brush such as a Mason
Pearson rather than a wire brush. To this very day I use a Mason Pearson especially after bathing and drying a dog’s coat. While my stay at her “cottage” was enlightening I never asked her for a Norfolk pup. Minute by minute I was being educated as to good feed, health and exercise. The pots of cooked veggies, beef, bones and chicken stewing away on the AGA for most of the day were for the many dogs she had on her property of 14 acres. From that moment on I visited often, for the Windsor Dog Show, Crufts, Wales, Ladies, and lesser shows. Each time I spent with Joy I learned more. She taught me not to be afraid of line breeding which is how I developed my Max-Well line. Eventu- ally I became well versed in the breed and confident enough to disagree with her when I saw fit.
And then one day in May of 1984 I returned home from a dog show with a message to phone Joy. She was sending me a birthday present, a four-month-old male pup, Nanfan Crunch, already on the plane. I responded with “How come?” She replied with, “You’ve never asked for one and I couldn’t understand you not wanting a Nanfan so I decided to burden you with one.” This “burden” became the backbone of my breeding program. I was doing just fine until Crunch arrived but he changed the breed for me. I bred him to my bitches that, in turn, produced Norfolk of sturdy bone rather than the spindly legs and pups that really needed more body. Crunch was an inch too big overall but he possessed the “you better look at me” attitude needed for the show ring. There was one judge, who shall remain nameless, who really hated him. Probably jealous, but the more that judge complained about his size the more he would win Best in Shows. Beth Sweigart, living on Long Island at the time, and I finished Crunch. I was planning on send- ing Crunch to a California handler but one
night at dinner with Beth my mind was changed. I asked her about a handler in the Midwest and she agreed with me Bob Larouche would be perfect. The rest is his- tory. Crunch went on to become the first Norfolk to place in the Terrier Group at Westminster and he did that three times, followed by his descendants Ch. Max-Well’s Weatherman, Ch Max-Well’s Cyclone and Ch. Max-Well’s Viper.
In addition to the breeders in the United Kingdom you’ve told us about, who were your mentors in this country?
I would have to say Jack Simm was my backbone mentor in all things canine. I loved Jack for his patience and his encour- agement, especially when I had bred Lone Ranger (May 1980) and started to show him. I knew Jack through the Collies as he was recommended to my dad when I became a Collie owner as someone who could groom the dog. It wasn’t until I was a young mother that I actually went to Mardomere, where he and Harry Murphy, Desi’s dad, worked. Those were the days of huge kennels on Long Island, the Ander- son kennel being one of them. Mardomere was internationally famous for Whippets. I believe Bob Forsyth worked for the ken- nel as well. Ranger was a small Norfolk but lovely with a true red coat, perfect bite and a great little show dog. He earned his championship quickly between me as his handler and Bob Clyde. Jack was commit- ted to the Fells so it was rather interesting when we would show against one another. I must admit when I was at the end of the lead I loved when I beat Jack. Bob Clyde came into my life because of the Wheatens and often a meeting at my house in Roslyn would include Clyde to discuss coat main- tenance. Clyde took Ranger to shows that I couldn’t attend, bringing home ribbon after ribbon. >
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