An Old English Sheepdog’s “Firsts”

On February 24, 1975, an Old English Sheepdog named Ch. Sir Lancelot of Barvan became the first herding breed¹ to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  The Best in Show winner of the 99th Westminster Dog Show became the first OES in 61 years to win the award, and the first Canadian dog since 1918 to do it. It was also the first time that three year old “Dudley,” owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Vanword of Newmarket, Ontario, had won a Best in Show in the United States.

Dudley entered the BIS ring as the Number One Dog (all breeds) in Canada. Other dogs in the Best in Show line up that night included a Gordon Setter, Ch. Afternod Yank of Rockaplenty, C.D, handled by George Alston, a 7‐pound red Min Pin,  Ch. Jay Mac’s Impossible Dream, handled by Joe Waterman, another Canadian dog, a Chow Chow named Ch. Mi Tu’s Han Su Shang, a British import West Highland White Terrier, Ch. Ardenrun Andsome of Purston, handled by Mrs. Dora Lee Wilson,  and Ch. Braec O’Shawn McDown of Eagle, an Irish Wolfhound handled by his breeder, Sam Ewing.

It had to be disheartening at the time that great dogs handled by people whose names are still known nearly fifty years later were cited in an article that came “this short” of bashing the fancy.  You can read the article yourself here. 

¹ At the time of Dudley’s win, the Old English Sheepdog was still a member of the Working Group. The herding group wasn’t formed until 1983. 

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