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The American Spaniel Club - Established in 1881 Hall Of Fame

The American Spaniel Club first inducted members into its Hall of Fame in 1995 when current members nominated candidates to the Hall of Fame in four different categories. In 1999, those categories were simplified to just two: Service to the Organization and Contribution to the Breed.

It is the purpose of the Hall of Fame to capture for succeeding generations the memory of the extraordinary and not the ordinary. 

Margaret M. Saari

Margaret M. SaariInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011
For contribution to the Organization

Margaret M. Saari, D.V.M. has been compiling “Top Dog” records since 1953. Her statistics were first published that year in “The Cocker Spaniel Visitor”. After the Visitor they were published in “The American Cocker Review”, and “The Cocker Spaniel Leader”. They are now in the “Cocker Classic” and the “American Spaniel Club, Inc. Bulletin”. Her records were published in the 1976 American Spaniel Club, Inc. book and the 1881-1981 American Spaniel Club, Inc. two volume Centennial books.

Marge’s dedication to the fancy is above and beyond the ordinary for her monthly reporting for almost 60 years. There is much history in her records including the “Top Winners”, “Top Producers” and “Top Breeders” for every year. She is famous for her commitment to documenting these records for us, the Cocker Spaniel Fancy.

Marge is the ongoing American Spaniel Club chair for the “Top Dog” committee and serves on the “Archival Project Work Group”. She served as the American Spaniel Club “Health” chair from it’s inception through 2009. She was also the “Show Chair” for the first Zone 4 show in 1962.

To do what she has done for so many years is much more than just adding numbers next to names, it has been a tool that all breeders have taken for granted, and found to be extremely useful to the betterment of the breed. Her work is priceless and the list of honorees in the Hall of Fame would not be complete without honoring her legacy and her contributions to the Organization. Marge was inducted into the American Spaniel Club Hall of Fame, January 2011.

Kathy Egeland Brock and Friends

Gladys Taber

Gladys TaberInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
For contribution to the breed

Contribution to the Cocker Spaniel as a breed can be done in many ways. Some people breed dogs who found dynasties; some soar to heights in conformation, performance or field events. Others dedicate their efforts to improving the health or behavior or training of the dogs. And some take their passion and share it with the world.

Gladys Taber, April 12, 1889- March 11, 1980, shared her Cockers with everyone through her stories written from the 1930’s throughout her life. An author of more than 50 books, she was a columnist for Ladies Home Journal and Family Circle, and today her writings echo as true as when she first told them.

She wrote about everyday life on her historical Connecticut farm house with its “bevy” of Cocker Spaniels, an Irish Setter and a couple of cats. She promoted the breed to her readers around the world in her columns, “Diary of Domesticity” and “Butternut Wisdom”, where the antics of the dogs flushed up and retrieved many hearts.

Hers were not fictional stories, but were stories of her dogs. The Stillmeadow breeding program was based on Cockers from Latimer Rees, Wilmarland, and Ripplemark. Her bitches were bred to Tokalon, Rees’, and other sires from prominent kennels of the day located in New England.

Early in their dog careers, Gladys talks about their first foray into dog shows at the 1935 American Spaniel Club Flushing Spaniel show held at the Roosevelt in New York City. Co-owner Eleanor Mayer showed one of their foundation bitches, Rees’ Quicksilver, known as “Sister” in her books. Quicksilver won her Novice, bitches, parti-color class over Mignonette May, Tokalon Cherry Blossom and Wilmarland So Fair.

From there though she and Eleanor shifted their focus to obedience and tracking events, and supported local and ASC club activities including serving on the ASC Obedience Committee and as consistent trophy donor.

In 1952, she was at the ASC show and was invited to a group breakfast hosted by Clinton Wilmerding. Norman Austin was also at the breakfast and noted in his book on the breed,

“Many, many of us were devoted followers of her column and eagerly awaited each issue to find out what Daffodil and Jonquil had been up to. It was a heady breakfast indeed. Clinton Wilmerding talked full tilt about his much loved Cocker Spaniels and about all of the people who had influenced the breed …”

“….I vividly remember what he said in parting to each of us… To Gladys Taber he said, “When we are all gone, someone will read about us and the Cocker Spaniel and they will fall in love with the breed.”

And so each of the Stillmeadow books as well as her dog-care books, Especially Dogs and Especially Spaniels, reflect her own deep love and appreciation for the breed in ways that capture our hearts today. Reading her candid, accurate descriptions of her own Cockers could well tell the story of any of our Cockers today. Never sentimental or trite, they are genuine stories of real Cockers descended from the best bloodlines of the time.

She writes in Especially Spaniels, “The spaniels of Stillmeadow have told me many things, have taught me much. The practical, helpful tangible things I have been able to record for other spaniels and their owners. As the cockers race in and out of the room, lie dozing on the nearest couch, or climb up on the typewriting bench at hugging distance, they have made this their record.

“But the one thing they have not been able to tell me is how immeasurably they have enriched my life. The intangible is not so easy to communicate, it is too much like sunset or apple blossoms in twilight or dark branches against a sky or fire on the hearth.

“Surely that person is rare who never needs love and loyalty and warmth and selfless devotion in his life. That person does not need a dog. For the reset, unselfish love, patience in adversity, a cheerful spirit, unfailing approval, these are treasure in an unstable world well worth some small effort…”

Gladys Taber captured the timeless Cocker Spaniel spirit for all people who share her deep love for the breed.

Bobbie Kolehouse

Kay and Larry Hardy

Kay and Larry HardyInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007
For contribution to the breed

Kay and Larry Hardy established their Hob Nob Hill Kennels in the 1950' s. The typical Hob Nob Hill cocker was well up on leg with a short, hard back and beautiful, plush head. A gifted artist, Kay, brought her sense of balance and style to creating a line of Cocker Spaniels, which became readily identifiable. The influence of these dogs comes down to this day through their two pre-potent dogs, Ch. Hob Nob Hill's Hob Nobber (sire of 38 champions) and his son Ch. Hob Nob Hill's Tribute. In "A Century of Spaniels" Volume II, Norman Austin refers to Tribute as "a true pillar of the breed". He sired 54 black and black and tan champions; they include Betty Durland's Ch. Dur-Bet's Knight to Remember and Ch. Dur-Bet's Pick the Tiger. Pick the Tiger in turn sired Edna Anselmi's great producer, Ch. Windy Hill' s 'tis Demi's Demon.

Early on the Hardy's became very active in the Cocker Spaniel Breeders' Club of New England. Having held just about every office in the club, they can be credited with guiding it through good times and bad for several decades.

In the 1970's, as hereditary problems were coming to the fore, they introduced one of the first annual eye clinics to be held in the area, for which they imported Dr. Lionel Rubin, then Chief of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. This eye clinic (with Dr. Rubin) continues to this day sponsored by the Cocker Spaniel Breeders' Club of New England.

Cocker Spaniel Breeder's Club of New England

Norman A. Austin

Norman A. AustinInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006
For contribution to the breed

Very few people in the breed deserve the title "Mr. or Ms. Cocker Spaniel." Norman Austin was one of those few and deserves to be in the company of the greats such as Herman Mellenthin, Judge Scudder and Laura Henson. In his years as a professional handler, a very successful breeder and adviser to others' breeding programs and subsequently as a much respected judge, Mr. Austin earned the title of being one of the "Mr. Cocker Spaniels of All Time."

His accomplishments in the breed encompassed all three varieties. Just for example he guided the show and breeding career of CH Elderwood Bangaway in the '50s. This dog was a cornerstone for the great blacks and black & tans that have come down through the years, even to the present day. In particolors Norman was a major part of the success of the Honey Creek Cockers of Bea Wegusen. Honey Creek was the foundation for most of the particolor kennels that came after the fifties. Additionally in particolors Norman worked with Chris Snowden of Glenshaw Cockers. Through combining her CH Mar-Hawks Gift to Glenshaw with CH Dumar's Dapper Dan he created his own Baliwick line which was part of the basis behind the top winning particolors that followed. In browns Norman pioneered the color in the show ring via his and Frances Greer's CH Moderna's Brown Derby. He is also an integral part of the Van Valzah Cockers that were the basis of CH Clarkdale Capital Stock.

Norman and his wife Jean wrote one of the definite works on the cockers - The Complete American Cocker Spaniel. He also contributed to the American Spaniel Club's centennial books and additionally was the co-author of the three volumes of cocker history compiled with Dr. Frances Greer.

Norman's accomplishments and imprint on the cocker almost can never be duplicated. Each generation in his involvement in cockers has its own picture of him whether showing Vivacious, Bangaway, Fancy Parade or Capital Heir or as a judge at important shows whether at ASC or abroad will always picture him at the helm. He truly deserves to be among his peers in ASC's Hall of Fame.

Bill Gorodner and Lloyd Alton

Hildreth Kennedy Bloodgood

Hildreth Kennedy BloodgoodInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005
For contribution to the breed

HK Bloodgood and his Mepal Farm (pronounced “maple”) are deeply rooted in cocker history. Hildreth Kennedy Bloodgood was a prominent Wall Street banker and sportsman with a passion for breeding prize winning sheep, cattle and cocker spaniels. He was also famous for his hackney driving ponies.

His home the family refers to as the “manor” was named for his favorite horse and foundation sire “Star of Mepal” Mr. Bloodgood purchased him while honeymooning in Mepal, England in 1888 and “Star of Mepal” was the first of 100 Hackney ponies to cross the ocean and live at the farm in New Marlborough.

HK was an executive director and judge in the National Horse Shows, American Kennel Club, (AKC) Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) and American Spaniel Club (ASC.) He served 14 years as president of ASC and was still in office when he died in 1919. His two daughters, Vera (Mrs Charles Scribner of NY Scribner Publishing Company) and Gladys, (Mrs J Macy Willets of Cassilis Kennels) would continue the Mepal breeding programs in both the ponies and the dogs. By 1956 the Mepal cockers had won over 2000 prizes.

The Bloodgood family owned three ASC Best in Show cockers, Ch Durbar in 1920, Ch Mepal's Ira in 1921 and Ch Mepal's Irene in 1922.

A Mepal cocker won four futurities; a feat never repeated by another breeder. In 1923, it was Mepal's Fortunata (black bitch), in 1924, it was Ch Mepal's Molinda II (black bitch). Then in 1926, Mepal Culzean (black dog) won and in 1927, Mepal's Rominy, (black dog.) Mepal Romeo was the sire of the 1928 futurity winner, Ch Brookside Magician.

Braeside Bob was the imported foundation sire for the Mepal parti-colors and Bob produced Ch Mepal Shotover , Ch Mepal Ira , Ch Mepal Roue, Ch Mepal's Hilma and Ch Mepal Iris. In her lifetime, Iris won 93 prizes...more prizes than any other Mepal cocker.

A Mepal cocker never won Best in Show at WKC but three others did who carry Mepal in their pedigrees. They include Ch Midkiff Seductive, 1921, Ch. My Own Brucie, 1940 and 1941 and Ch. Carmor's Rise and Shine in 1954. The Iris pedigree is behind two of them and Ch. Baby Ruth is behind all three.

After a fire at Mepal Farm, HK composed a letter to his dear friend George Greer. He wrote “Dear Greer, The house burned down around our heads last night but thank God we saved Ruth. Sincerely, Bloodgood. ” In his one sentence we are immediately aware of the importance of Ch Baby Ruth to the breed.

After his death, the ASC membership arranged for a memorial trophy for Best Cocker Spaniel at the ASC National Flushing show. The funds were invested so the interest would provide for it to be offered in perpetuity.

In July 2004 we received an email from Melanie Sharp-Bolster, County Cork, Ireland who wrote she was the great grand daughter of HK. It was through Melanie we were able to connect with her two children living and working in the US. At the invitation of the Archival Work Group Nicola and her brother Gordon Sharp-Bolster, HK’s great, great grandchildren, attended the induction ceremony of their ancestor into the ASC Hall of Fame for his Contributions to the Breed.

Wilma Parker, ASC Curator

Laura Henson

Laura Henson2004 Hall of Fame Nomination
Contribution to the Breed

The Kaplar prefix of Laura M. Henson has long been familiar to the fancy with the majority of these cockers shown by Laura, herself. What started with a family pet over 40 years ago has left a mark unprecedented in contributions to the breed for correct cocker type. The Kaplar dogs and their offspring have proven their quality by the many wins at the national level and specialties.

Laura was closely involved with the creation of our Club’s first fully illustrated book on the cocker spaniel, fondly known as the “Blue Book.” She has served on both the Standard and Education committees, worked on the original breed slide show and later the conversion to video.

From 1993 through 1997 she served as the Zone I Alternate. She has presented breed seminars both here and abroad and continues to serve as a mentor ringside to those who participate in the breed seminars. Laura has judged in other countries as well and was selected by her peers to judge the ASC Futurity on two occasions. She has never failed to give of her time and talent whether as a Tack Room Chair or Assistant Show Chair at the January Flushing Show and many new breeders have benefited from her knowledge.

The Kaplar dogs along with Laura’s tireless efforts as an ambassador for the breed will be felt for years to come.

In January 2004 Laura M. Henson was inducted into the ASC Hall of Fame for her contributions to the breed.

Wilma Parker, ASC Curator

Mary Joan Replogle

Mary Joan ReplogleInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002
For contribution to the breed

From the '50s until her recent demise Mary Joan represented the highest ideal that a cocker breeder could attain. In a limited breeding program she managed to make a deep impact on the Black variety particularly. Line bred on the Ch. Elderwood Bangaway dog her Ch. Merryhaven Strutaway is the ancestor to an astounding array of the breed's best Blacks.

Mary Joan mentored a great many fanciers and was never too busy to take the time to guide a novice to the path of his or her own success. Whether it was the art of presentation or a question about breeding "Mrs. Merryhaven” was always ready to help. She felt the cocker fancy should stick together like Velcro and she has earned a place of respect from her peers.

Lloyd Alton and Bill Gorodner, ASC Archival Work Group

Betty Duding

Betty DudingInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001
For contribution to the breed

The couple from Candylane have been dedicated to the Cocker Spaniel for a long time. During her college days Betty apprenticed at Ruth Kraeuchi's Silver Maple Farm in St. Louis. This had to be a learning experience of a lifetime as Ruth and her husband Lee were where it was at as far as cockers were concerned in the mid west. Norman Austin was another graduate of the Silver Maple finishing school so you get the picture of Betty's early cocker education.

As breeders, the Dudings specialized in particolors but had success in buffs as well. There were many champions in a limited program the most enduring most likely were Ch. Candyland Cadet and Ch. Candylane Cosmopolitan representing the two varieties that the Dudings dedicated themselves to in their breeding days.

To a cocker person a win under either Dick or Betty is a meaningful one. Betty particularly has been known to launch exciting puppies over some of the more mature specimens when they deserve it and most cocker people are anxious to get their hopefuls out in her ring. Dick has a take charge style which leaves no surprises in the fact that he wants the total picture in a dog.

As editor in chief, Betty was instrumental in getting the 1976 American Cocker Spaniel book published. She was also a longtime chair of the Standard Committee. The Dudings judge more than just cockers and are sought after both as judges and as instructors at judging seminars.

This couple's ongoing pursuit of better Cocker Spaniels earns them a place with our breed's finest.

Lloyd Alton and Bill Gorodner, ASC Archival Work Group

Ron Fabis

Ron FabisInducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000
For contribution to the breed

Ron began his love affair with the Cocker Spaniel in 1949 and until his death in 1994, aside from his mercantile career, this was his prime interest and passion. Ron wore many hats in the dog world. He was a breeder, fancier and handier non pareil and when he turned his fancy to English Toy Spaniels he duplicated his cocker success just to show that talent will out.

If he had done nothing else but guide the stud careers of Ch. Scioto Bluff’s Sinbad and Ch. Dreamridge Dominoe this gentleman of the breed would have earned entrée into the Hall of Fame but Ron accomplished much, much more. Just a few of his fabled clients included Rexpointe, Priority, Merryhaven, Valli-Lo, Nosowea, Earnscliffe, Blue Bay and many, many more. His own Stonewalk prefix contributed to particolors and his contribution to Tom 0'Neal's Dreamridge was stuff legends are made of; winning BIS in 1975 at the ASC with the class dog Dreamridge Dandiman and in 1963 with Sinbad were two stellar accomplishments among many others.

He was a former chairman of the ASC Standard Committee during the extensive reformation of the standard as it is today. His work on this committee has helped mold the breed we love today. Lung cancer claimed Ron in 1994. As long as good cockers are enjoyed and as long as great particolors keep coming on the scene Ron will be remembered.

Lloyd Alton and Bill Gorodner, ASC Archival Work Group

Ruth Muller

Ruth MullerInducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999
For contribution to the breed

Ruth and "Milru" were mainstays on the cocker scene for a long, long time. Her first litter was whelped in 1939 and was sired by Mrs.Towsend Scudder's, Brynwood, Danny Boy. Judge Scudder was very revered in ASC and in the history of cockers and obviously passed his enthusiasm on to Ruth Muller.

In the '50s Ruth and Milt Muller began in cockers seriously. Obedience and field work played a big part in the couple's early activities and success. Milru's Licorice Honey UDT won, among other honors, the Noerr Trophy. (Mr. Noerr was a very respected Obedience judge and breeder of Bloodhounds and Cocker Spaniels whose prefix was Kennels of the Ring.)

Ruth bred many champions and enjoyed innumerable important wins showing her dogs herself as well as having them shown by professional handlers. The numbers of fanciers that she mentored were many including some of the top breeders of today.

Ruth maintained a deep interest in cockers being used in the field, obedience and in conformation all through her life. She was never too busy to help any fledgling fancier. Her long time commitment coupled with her successes makes her a splendid example of what an ASC Hall of Fame inductee should be.

Lloyd Alton and Bill Gorodner, ASC Archival Work Group

ASC Flushing Spaniel Show The 2016 ASC Annual Flushing Spaniel Show

will be held January, 2016

in Knoxville, Tennessee

More information