Acquiring The 1938 DCA Best Of Breed Trophy
by Jeanne A. Rice, in collaboration with Anne Carson
On June 5th I received from Jeanie Kolstadt of Oregon an email that directed me to an eBay site where a DCA Best of Breed trophy from 1938 was up for auction with the bidding closing on June 9th. At the bottom of the page was a note to the seller stating, “This is a piece of DCA History and should not be on eBay” and suggesting that it be donated back to DCA. I later found out that the person who wrote to the seller was Mary Sue Barnum of Ohio. The seller responded that he could not afford to do that and suggested that Mary Sue pay him $400 and donate the trophy herself. Within 2 hours of learning about his trophy I emailed Carl Holder, DCA President, Marlies Noll, DCA Secretary, and Marci Forrester, DCA Director, suggesting that DCA request donations on the DCA Bulletin Board website in order to try to bid and acquire this trophy.
Unbeknownst to me, the Board was actually meeting in Detroit at this time. Anne Carson, DCA Director from Georgia, contacted me later that day saying that some Board members were in favor while others were less interested and told me she would discuss it further with the Board at dinner that evening. Since there was so little time before the bidding ended and because I felt this trophy could NOT wind up sitting on the mantle of someone who had not earned it through competition, I decided to act with the tenacity and courage of our beloved Dachshunds. I wrote to my contacts and each DCA Director asking them to forward to others an email regarding the trophy and requesting pledges. Then Anne Carson and I started emailing and telephoning each other trying to decide how much money we would need to raise, when the bid should be placed, and how we should approach the bidding. Since Anne was familiar with eBay bidding and to avoid bidding against each other, thereby artificially inflating the price, we agreed that she would be the
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solitary bidder for the group if we could raise at least $400, and that I would accept pledges for donations and follow up on the collection of the monies if we were successful in acquiring the trophy. At Anne’s suggestion I placed my email requesting pledges on some of the Dachshund group websites in the wee hours of June 7th. By that evening we had $375 pledged, and by the next day we had $595! Anne had corresponded with the seller asking questions about the condition of the trophy and explaining its historical significance to us; the seller gave an indication that he would be willing to work with us. Anne submitted the winning bid, and we were able to get the trophy for $450 plus shipping and insurance. I have to admit, that when Anne called me to tell me we had succeeded in acquiring the trophy, I broke down in tears!
Although I had originally suggested that the trophy be offered as a challenge trophy, Anne suggested that it go to the DCA historical archives. I was in total agreement with this concept since the trophy would now have a permanent home back with the organization that had first offered it, and Dachshund fanciers would be able to see and appreciate it for years to come. The additional monies that have been received will be used to prepare the trophy for presentation, to obtain a secure box suitable for transporting it, and transportation of the trophy to and from DCA Shows. We are also trying to locate more information regarding the judge and a photograph of the dog with the trophy. Upon receiving the trophy Anne Carson discovered that the trophy has a slight tilt to it that needs to be corrected by a reputable silversmith. It also will be professionally polished.
In subsequent correspondence with the seller the only information he could obtain concerning the origin of the trophy was that it came from an estate in Parsippany, New Jersey, some time in March 2004. It is interesting to note that Parsippany is in close proximity to Madison, New Jersey, where the show was held and also close to South Orange, New Jersey, where Mrs. Annis A. Jones, the owner of American and Canadian Champion Herman Rinkton, resided.
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The true significance of acquiring the “Judge Gustav Alisch” sterling silver trophy lies not in its beauty, its age, nor in its dollar value. Its real significance is in what it and the dog who won it represent in terms of the continued growth of the Dachshund breed in the United States. The trophy is also representative of an era in dog show environments that few, if any, of us have ever experienced.
The Dachshund Club of America, Inc., offered the trophy, which bears the original DCA club medallion in gold, in honor of the Judge Gustav Alisch for Best Dachshund at its 1938 Specialty Show held in conjunction with the Morris and Essex Show.
The Lady Behind Morris and Essex Kennel Club
Geraldine Rockefeller had always loved animals as evidenced by the fact that as a small child she would pick up stray cats and dogs in Central Park and take them to the family home on New York’s Fifth Avenue. She was the niece of American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller and in 1907 married Marcellus Hartley Dodge, the Remington Arms heir. At the time of their marriage they were said to be the wealthiest newlyweds in the country with an estimated worth of more than $160 million. They settled in Madison, New Jersey, establishing a property of hundreds of acres that became known as Hartley Farms. The portion of the estate that housed the Dodges’ stables and kennels was called Giralda Farms, and it became known internationally for its horse and dog shows. Mrs. Dodge owned more than 85 breeds of dogs during her lifetime, with English Cocker Spaniels and German Shepherd Dogs being her favorites. Mrs. Dodge herself was internationally known in the world of dogs and began judging in 1924. She judged at the premier shows in Canada, England, Germany and Ireland, as well as at major dog shows in every American state. She became the first woman to be the sole judge of Best In Show at Westminster Kennel Club in 1933. (Best in Show had previously been selected by a panel of judges).
Mrs. Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge was a patron of the arts and a generous benefactor to community and charity events. She established the Seeing Eye Dog Foundation in Morristown in 1929, and in 1939 St. Hubert’s at Giralda was founded on her estate as a refuge for lost and injured animals.
The Dog Show
Mrs. Dodge felt that there was a need for a new venue which would lead to better breeding techniques by bringing together the world’s top breeders and the finest dogs. In order to accomplish this she encouraged novice exhibitors and one-dog owners as well as the experienced exhibitors; she provided plenty of prize money and sterling silver trophies for each Best of Breed; she provided a judge for nearly every breed, and she provided a dream world setting for the shows.
Mr. Dodge gave his wife an “annual wedding present” of $40,000, which is the equivalent of more than $560,000 a year in today’s economy, and it was with this money that she founded the Morris and Essex Kennel Club and began in 1927 to hold dog shows for the benefit of charities. The shows were held for the next 30 years, with the exception of the war years 1942-1945. The show became known internationally as the world’s largest and most prestigious, even more so than Crufts in England. Crowds of exhibitors and spectators were very large. Invited to officiate were some of the world’s finest judges, many of them being from the country of origin of each breed.
Between 1879 and 1885 only eleven Dachshunds were registered with the American Kennel Club. The Dachshund Club of America was founded in 1895 and by 1914, dachshunds were among the top ten registered breeds. But then came World War I, and the Dachshund and its breeders here in the U.S. and England were looked upon with great disdain because the sentiment had turned so much against Germany and anything considered German, including the Dachshund. Dogs were stoned and owners and breeders were threatened and persecuted. The part of Toto in the “Wizard of OZ”, (filmed in 1938) was originally scripted for a dachshund. Lingering post-war hostility toward the Germans, however, caused the studio to insist upon the substitution of a small terrier, a dog of then-more-acceptable British descent. Only the most dedicated and bravest of heart persisted in owning and/or breeding Dachshunds. The American Kennel Club even temporarily renamed the breed to “Badger Dog” from 1919 until 1923, and only 26 Dachshunds were registered that year. In Germany many breeders found they had to give up their dogs and kennels because their fortunes had been depleted. Soldiers returning from the war brought Dachshunds home with them, but because of the confusion over their German registration status, many could not be AKC registered. Through the intervention and encouragement of Gustav Alisch, many of the top winning Dachshunds and finest breeding stock with verified pedigrees were exported from Germany to other countries, including the United States. Slowly the gene pool was rebuilt, and by 1930 there were 166 Dachshunds registered with AKC; by 1938 there were 3,213 Dachshunds registered. It wasn’t until early in 1948 that the Examining Organization for Export in Germany was expanded as a direct result of DCA and AKC’s Col. Rossborough.
The 1938 Show
The Dachshund Club of America held its Annual Specialty Shows at the Morris and Essex Kennel Club Show from 1936 to 1941. For the May 28,1938 Specialty, the internationally recognized famous authority on Dachshunds and Executive Vice-President of the German Dachshund Club, Herr Gustav Alisch of Hanover, Germany, was invited to judge. He drew a record-breaking entry of 311 Dachshunds. The entry was so large that the judging actually took place over a two-day period with the dogs being judged on May 27th and the bitches being judged on May 28th. Judging took place on the lush manicured grass of the Hartley Estate Polo Fields. Arthur Frederick Jones made these comments about the show in the July 1, 1938 Gazette, “…The winners names are etched largely, for a moment, against an azure backdrop, and then they drift skyward into the sunset. … Morris and Essex was the first outdoor dog show in America which gave more than casual thought to the feeding of exhibitors and spectators. The services of a first class caterer has made luncheon a rather pleasant thing at Madison. The exhibitor at Madison eats in a special tent, and the general public is provided with another big tent that shelters a complete cafeteria.
Morris and Essex Dog Show, Hartley Estate Polo Grounds, 1935
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Of interest are the breeds which were exhibited in the Miscellaneous Classes: Afghans, Whippets, Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers, Komondors, Bull Mastiffs, Siberian Huskies, Briards, Pembroke Welsh Corgies, Lakeland Terriers and Toy Poodles.
American/Canadian Ch. Herman Rinkton
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(Ch. Achat v Werderhavelstrand x Anny Rinkton)
Breeder: Richard S. Heller Whelped: November, 1935
AKC Registration Number: A96033
Smooth Red Standard weighing 18 pounds
Reprinted with, permission of Hoflin Publishing, Inc.
Copyright 1982 by Hoflin Publishing Inc., 4401 Zephyr Street, Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033-3299
Reproduction in whole or part without express permission from HPI is prohibited
Victor Moench of Lackawanna, New York imported Herman’s sire from Germany. Herman’s sire was the maternal great grandsire of Ch. Favorite von Marienlust. Favorite was born in 1945 and was a multiple Best In Show winner. He was also the Top-producing Dachshund in history in his time producing 95 Champions. He was the top producer until Ch. Laddland A Wing And A Prayer almost 50 years later.
Herman didn’t start out in life to be a show dog. In fact it appears that he was just a companion dog who was allowed to wander at will, visiting the local eateries whenever he pleased. Just like most Dachshunds, he was a great con artist when it came to getting a free meal by using his wiles on an unsuspecting human. He had that attitude of “here I am world and you had better take notice”….just the attitude we want our dogs to have in the show ring! One day Victor Moench, who was an active importer and exhibitor of Dachshunds, happened to catch sight of Herman on one of his outings and was very pleased with the conformation of the dog and arranged to purchase the dog from his owner. After doing so he took the dog to his breeder, Mr. Heller, who was just as pleased with Herman’s appearance and took ownership of Herman.
Hans H. Sachers, whose kennel name was Lakelands, was an outstanding handler in those days. He was in the Philippines when World War II broke out and spent the rest of the war as a Japanese prisoner of war. When he returned, he first built his kennel in Dallas, Texas, and then moved to San Antonio, Texas. It was Hans Sachers who piloted Herman to his American Championship in 1937 and also to his Canadian Championship. C. Hyland Jones of South Orange, New Jersey, then purchased Herman for a reported sum that would be the equivalent of more than $15,000 in today’s economy, and retained Hans Sachers as the dog’s handler. Herman accumulated more than 100 Best of Variety wins, 66 Hound Group First placements, and 14 Best in Show awards. His most spectacular win was Best of Breed at Westminster Kennel Club in 1939.
According to Herman Cox, this outstanding record of wins was “of secondary importance when we evaluate its effect on the breed during these formative years. The promotion and publicity generated by Herman Rinkton’s sensational career was responsible for improving the image and public acceptance of the Dachshund in America.” It also opened judges’ eyes, and they began to give serious consideration to the Dachshund in the Group and beyond. By 1938 Dachshunds ranked fourth in the AKC’s registrations, with 3,213 registered. By 1946 registrations had jumped to 6,598!
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The Dachshund Club of America, Inc., had invited Herr Gustav Alisch of Hanover Germany to judge its 1938 Specialty. Herr Alisch’s reputation as an expert on Dachshunds the world over drew a record entry of 311 Dachshunds, which represented almost 10% of the Dachshunds registered with AKC.
Laurence Alden Horswell wrote the following for Popular Dogs Magazine:
“The judging of the special classes for best smooth, best wire-hair, and best longhair, Saturday afternoon was marred by the decision on the part of the officials at 4:45 p.m. to call the Hound Group as the third Group to be judged. In spite of the fact that Herr Alisch had 185 Dachshunds to judge on Saturday, a task not equaled by any individual judge in Groups three, four, five, or six; even if no consideration is given to the time required to record notes and ratings, or to the interruption and delay caused by transferring the Dachshund judging to another ring shortly before, and the substitution of a rickety card table for the solid inspection bench just before the judging of Mrs. Dodge’s special American-bred class.
“With a megaphone bellowing ‘Last call for the Hound Group’ like a fog horn every few seconds, and loud threats to judge the Group without the Dachshund unless Best of Breed were produced within ten minutes, the judge was faced by the necessity of studying and comparing 16 smooth champions with the four smooth survivors of class competition, for his best smooth Dachshund; and of judging the corresponding competition of two wirehairs and three longhairs for best of their respective coats.
“Although Dachshund judging was more than an hour ahead of last year’s schedule, no time was permitted for the A.K.C.-prescribed, exhibitor-satisfying, fair consideration of each of these contestants; or to justify the expensive pilgrimages of top flight dogs from distant kennels; or even to fulfill the premium list promise to exhibitors that every Dachshund would receive individual written comment by the judge. Letter ratings were based upon inspection so brief that a single misstep or an instantaneous faulty posture might contribute unduly to the decisive impression.
“Instead of a fitting climax to a world record Dachshund judging accomplishment by a world authority, the rosette, envelope, medal, etc., for best Dachshund were handed to Hans Sachers like a concealed lateral pass in a football game, as his long legs hurdled cords and chairs with Herman Rinkton under his arm – to be brought down just short of a Hound Group touchdown for the breed, by Louis Murr’s Borzoi, Vigow of Romanoff. Mr. Jones collected the Best of Breed trophies about an hour later.
“In New York, after the show Herr Alisch devoted three sessions to editing the transcriptions of his 251 ring notes, signing the certificates, and preparing general comments from which the following paragraphs are quoted:
‘My general impression of the black-and-tan and of the red dogs and bitches was by far more favorable than at any show I have ever judged. There is only one point I take the liberty to criticise: The Dachshund being primarily a hunting breed, he should not exhibit evidence of over-feeding, but the animation and physical vitality for such forceful purpose. Too many dogs showed lack of systematic exercise necessary to develop well-muscled and closely knit forequarters and (literally) ‘iron-hard’ level backs, and to keep the feet properly compact. American Dachshund fanciers should pay more attention to the encouragement of true Dachshund character: A Dachshund should be self-reliant and bold, not timid or retiring. In his small body, he should suggest the courage and capacity of a giant.
‘Teeth, heads, and eye-color in most cases were very good. It is important that backs be firm and level, this being the most important part of the body in all breeds. Chests must not extend too close to the ground, too great depth is a hindrance to freedom of action. The ribs should extend well back, and the breastbone must not stop abruptly at the deepest part of the chest, interrupting the smooth line under the chest and reducing space for lungs and heart. Most of the fronts were good. A few dogs showed skin excessively wrinkled on the forefeet and over the shoulders, and dewlaps – faults which are transmissible in breeding and should be avoided. Hindquarters were generally good, and some animals which had rather narrow stance appeared better when in motion.
‘In addition to the excellence of the smooth entries, I was very favorably impressed by the quality of the longhairs. I was less satisfied with the wirehairs, whose coats were of better than average texture, but whose conformation and animation did not achieve the general level of the other two coat varieties.
‘In judging, I have attempted to give the rating Gut only too animals worthy of being used as breeding stock. The rating Sehr Gut has been awarded only to animals whose conformation is free from serious faults and which give evidence of proper disposition. The highest rating Vorzuglich signifies a Dachshund free from significant faults of structure, condition or temperament, and such a rating should be conferred only after the most exhausting examination and appraisal. Only by most conscientious, rigorous, and just criticism can service be rendered to a breed, and I ask the exhibitors to accept my ratings from this point of view.
‘It would have been impossible for me to rate and judge the great number of dogs in so short a time without the efficient help of my assistant Mr. Horswell, my steward Mr. Ebeling and my ring secretary Miss Lustig. 311 Dachshunds entries is a record figure of which the American Dachshund Club has every right to be proud. The kind reception I received from the American Dachshund fanciers, and the beautiful show grounds placed at our disposal by the generous patroness of the Morris and Essex club, Mrs. M. Hartley Dodge, have rendered my work an unforgettable pleasure, for which I express my sincerest thanks.’
(Signed) Gustav Alisch.
Herr Gustav Alisch died in Born/Darss, Germany in December of 1948.
I owe a great deal of thanks to the people who have helped with the research involved in this project, specifically, Blackie Nygood, John Merriman and Janet Schwalbe; to Jeanie Kolstad and Mary Sue Barnum who brought my attention to the fact that this trophy was being auctioned; to Anne Carson for her help in acquiring the trophy and preparing it for display; and to all the donors who made it possible to bring this Trophy “Home.
Through the generosity and foresight of the following individuals and Clubs the 1938 Dachshund Club of America Best of Breed Trophy originally won by American and Canadian Ch. Herman Rinkton is presented to the Dachshund Club of America, Inc. for its Historical Archives
Joy Belyeu, Dogwood
Mary Sue Barnum, Barbemac Miniature Longhairs
Anne and Jim Carson, Twelfth Night Dachshunds
Jerry Cerasini and Roger Brown, Brownwood Farm
Lynne and Chuck Dahlen, Chazlyn Dachshunds
Ruth Emmons, Emmdox Miniature Longhairs
Thelma Garcia, Paladin Miniature Dachshunds
Elaine Hanson and Noelle Hanson, Den Grig
Sharon B. Johnson
Trudy and David Kawami, von Salix Wire-hairs
Jeanie Kolstad, Auslagen Miniatures
Dawn-Renee Mack, Ruger Dachshunds
Karen Burke Murray, Karavel
Jeanne Rice, Tori Jarice Miniatures
Bobby Sandoval, Sandachs
Robert and Janet Schwalbe, V Schwalbe Dachshunds
Cyndy Senff, Dynadaux (Reg.)
Wendy and Brett Snyder, Serenity Dachshunds
Emma Jean and Robert Stephenson, EJ’s Dachshunds
Nancy Turner, Von Turner Dachshunds
R. K. Warner, Dachshund Lover Extraordinaire
Jerry and Esther Whitebread, Weissbrot Dachshunds
Bob and Ann Wlodkowski, Sleepy Hollow Longhair
The Clubs of Region V:
Alabama Dachshund Club
Bayou Dachshund Club of New Orleans, Inc.
Central Carolina Dachshund Club
Cumberland Valley Dachshund Club
Dachshund Club of Metropolitan Atlanta
Florida East Coast Dachshund Club
Florida Gulf Coast Dachshund Club
Mississippi Dachshund Club
Sunshine Dachshund Club of Jacksonville, Inc.
July 11, 2009
The Board of Directors of the Dachshund Club of America has accepted The Judge Gustav Alisch Sterling Silver Trophy offered for Best Dachshund at the 1938 DCA Specialty Show for its Archives.