Will Alexander Dog Show Tips with Thomas H. Bradley III
hi everybody will alexander from will alexander’s dog show tips brought to you by canine chronicle television and pro plan nutrition that performs today on the interview chair we have mr thomas bradley iii mr westminster himself i’m sure it’ll be enjoyable hi everybody today we have mr thomas bradley iii how are you tom i’m doing great will thanks it’s a beautiful day here well it’s good to see you it looks beautiful there for sure well let’s get right at it tell me how you got involved in dogs tom well it’s an easy if that’s an easy answer my father my father answered it for me people said to him how did your son get involved in all these dogs and he said it’s my fault if i only knew what one little horse would have cost me so that’s it no horse but i settled for a dog and that started the whole thing what what breed did you start with tom german shorthairs okay 1950 1954.
how old were you then 14 14 just a kid tell me how you got involved in the sport then well uh we had a we had a uh a local kennel club starting and um that i i signed up to become a member i was i was 13 or 14 years old i didn’t really know what a kennel club was or what they did but we had what i call dog shows which were really matches trying to get recognized by the kennel club to become a you know a regular dog show and one of the people you’ll appreciate this story one of the people who came to our match was a mrs betty hislip from rockville ontario you know betty lives within an hour of me but people know people don’t understand that you and i understand it’s one side of the border or the other uh and so one of the first shows that i went to were uh canadian save the children fund in ottawa and save yeah and uh i was i was there i had to get a friend to take me because i couldn’t drive yet i was 15.
and uh she pulled in and one of her blue station wagons and were screaming cam terriers and and uh kind of parked near me and finally she came over and she said could you help me could you boys help me show these dogs and we said well no we really don’t know how to do that oh just she said i just got too many you have to help so we said okay and uh so she bought us lunch and that was that was the beginning of a friendship that lasted all all of uh all of her life really to the end and uh she was she really in in later that year she came my parents had a house at the thousand island club on wells island and she came to uh have dinner there with her one of her bows and uh so my mother said that woman’s way waving at you i said what woman’s waving at me i don’t know that woman over there the red hair said i oh that’s the dog lady from canada so she said to me are you going to go to westchester and i said well i’d like to but uh i don’t have any way to get you don’t you or dear i’ll pick you up in that what started wow so oh she would she’s the she’s the she’s the one who who uh actually introduced me to a lot of people and push me a little bit to do better well i didn’t realize betty had that i knew you i knew you were very close i didn’t know that much of the impact of the beginning that’s that’s yeah well you know i i often say yeah well that uh betty was very nice to jim reynolds and myself the gym was showing dogs in those days and we were both able to be her extra non-costing handlers because she always had two or three class dogs two or three class pitches and lord knows how many specials why so many specials well i’m not quite sure what color they want so we would take them all so that was you guys showed on both sides of the borders helping betty then uh yeah sure oh yeah right indeed when did you meet jim then uh that’s a that’s a tougher one jim was still showing scotty so i don’t know what year it was i i don’t really remember but that goes on to uh way too many way too long stories that’s great so where did it go from there how long did you how did the german short hair do well he finished and uh it wasn’t an easy trip it wasn’t an easy road but uh that’s all it took and uh he he wasn’t a great one but he was he was a decent one and uh he finished and then one short hair leads to another really after that a little bit i got someone involved in in field trials we had a and we started the local german short hair club in those days there were nine short hair clubs in new york state alone we chelled specialty shows we each had field trials spring and fall nowadays i think there may be two maybe three tops um hard to find field trial grounds today and anywhere you are but but uh that would introduce me to another you know a little a little different world of of uh of dogs but uh but i continue with that and we had some partners we’ve read short hairs for quite a while and and one thing leads to another short hair led to an english cracker led to a pointer head to a labrador okay i want to keep going with this though so you had the short hair and then the pointers when did because you know fame how how impactful you were with the pointers when you first started with mike michael showing the dogs and can you go into that for me sure um actually the uh you’ll start if you want to avoid the beginning and that’s even better i don’t care okay i’ll tell you how i got the pointers the uh uh i wanted an english cocker and so i shopped around and found a lady in michigan and so she had a wonderful blue room dog and uh so i bought him and pardon me what did you find in michigan uh you’re pushing me maple his name was maple on silver sovereign her name was gene glass bean glass wall yeah and uh so i took one look at this hairy beast and said i don’t know anything about hair i’ve only had german short hair pointers so i found uh karen uh prickett miller and uh karen and mickey and i became very very close friends for for many years it was a and uh she she showed him and he wasn’t everyone ever won english cocker but he was ranked right up there and a quick story is that they called me up on christmas and said um we have a christmas present for you but it’s here and you’ve got to come to when you come to detroit in march you have to come see so i did and and i went out and when we went up into the kennel and they were maybe in the yard there were a bunch of four five six month old springers charging around and she said which one do you like best and i said that black and white one right there and she jumped up and down and said mickey he found him he found him well that turned out to be lou john black label who was the top winning springer for and as far as uh especially shows for many years until uh until we stopped with him his name we called him jack and he and i were were the closest of friends it was interesting to see that kind of relationship i would only see him maybe a half a dozen times a year but the first time i saw him he was a baby we were in virginia and a girl came into the hotel room and he was just he was just a baby i mean seven six seven eight months old and he growled at her and uh mickey picked him up and shook him picked him up behind the uh by the neck and the tail and shook him and said we don’t do that and really shook him hard and he and put him down he looked around and i said come here jack and he came next to me and i put my arm around him i said you stay with me i’ll protect you the rest of your life and and to that day i would go out and they would meet me at the airport and jack would come and in the van and by the time before i got to open the door the van was rocking back and forth and he and we had that kind of relationship for a long time and i called called karen up one day uh you’re gonna get me emotional now and uh i said just just checking in i’m just checking on you see how things are going she said i was gonna call you this morning and i said you were why and she said we lost jack last night and so who knows what really what what what led me to make that call but i’m glad i did and he was a wonderful dog wow that was a good story and then uh from there you went with after english oh that’s how we got to play sorry that’s how we got some pointers she was showing a dog for a young couple in lexington and um it was the humble acre dog and she said i want you to look at this dog and uh he’s i’ve done a little wedding with him and i said so i said well he’s a nice pointer and i said i don’t think he’s a great one but he’s a nice one and uh how much did they pay for them and she told me and i said well they got their money’s worth this is going to be a nice dog next time i saw him he won best and britta westminster and we thought oh my this is are you sure he went best of breeder westminster well long story short he also won the national specialty and won the breed at westminster in the final year listen i would be the first to tell you he was not a great dog but he was a great attitude he’d stand in the middle of the ring play show dog all day long and this was in the early 70s half of them were crawling around on their bellies with tails tucked so that’s what made him a better showdown yes there we go one now what dog was that i’m a laker sandstorm okay he won this national in 1976.
with gene ellis marching up and down outside the ring i’ll say no more that’s great i remember i first met you i think i was i was visiting mr eldridge when i first met you right i think so too i remember that yeah one of my very very favorite people online too yeah and and really one of the reasons i’m still in this was still in the sport as long as i was i think really yeah i was just a kid but he sure had a big impact on me yeah he’s i i it was so fond of him and he had such a wonderful way about him in a way about way above breeding dogs and livestock he was he was a he was kind of like my friend bob whaley he was a breeder they read chickens and they bred goats and they made cows and they happened to breed damn good dogs that was amazing very good off topic there a bit i’m sorry so okay or on the pointers yep well okay so that led to the pointer and uh so i said well who are this young couple that have this trouble they can’t afford to show him and i said well maybe we should become partners and that that that led to my first pointer and uh that led to a lot of other pointers then we went and uh i i was able to uh get a uh two dogs from erica america the curly in those days and um that started my my my breeding problem we didn’t use sandstorm much of us as a stead dog only once or twice but and then we ended up with uh opulence or we called her opal and opal was leased by mrs robson and michael to be uh bee’s mother oh wow okay so that’s where we started from then yeah that part started nice yep how did she she was bee’s mother and that was um how did was opal shown as well so yes she she won a group under uh roy holloway a couple and uh once she wasn’t she hated dog shows but michael zolo showed her in those days and uh he i said how’s she going to do that he said i almost lost her halfway down i reached out and punched her i said don’t you do that and she behaved herself and stood up and won the group little tricks of the trade tell me um okay so we know michael’s on the scene when you got b’s you know when bees was born did you know that who is what she was going to turn into i’m sorry when when bees was welled when you when you when you when you well bees did you realize who was gonna be okay i did not well for michael welter um he was she was bred as you know the deputy and uh and he welped her and he went both letters actually and uh she was spread to deputy again the second time are you you were on it weren’t you on his breeder as well yes because i okay yes i i when i least heard of mrs robson uh michael and i both stayed on as co-owners okay therefore uh breeders yeah but i did not actually i didn’t i didn’t welfare okay but when you were were you involved in our campaign no not at all no no not really this is bro mrs robinson ran her own ship now that now that now that the days are over with i can tell you another story we uh the second letter produced a dog called lyftness of booker t washington american big black and white dog and he won two five point uh won a big uh sweeps sweepstakes or sp uh futurity and then won two five-point majors and mrs robson said to michael why isn’t my kennel name on that dog well he said you know mrs rosa you just least least the bitch for a year and uh well i really want my name on her and he said well i think i can take care of that mrs robson and so he was the dog was re-registered as abel arm lufthansa booker t booker t won three five-point majors and finished with five five-point majors oh my those days you did strange unfortunately i didn’t know about until afterwards long afterwards when did you first start with westminster tom i was a member thanks to mr eldridge uh in 1975 or six ted and ted nominated me and and introduced me to the club and then uh i you know then i i be uh my years are not very good will i forget what time what year we did this but then it became eventually uh chet collier came to me and said uh how would you be interested in running the pr and i said well i’ve never done anything like that and i said he said he said you’ll be fine and i said okay so i i i took over the pr and did that for seven or eight years maybe and then uh when chet was retiring he said to me uh uh i want you to be the show chairman and i said okay and so i did that for 16 years and retired did you have some good stories about those years oh my man we got all we haven’t got anywhere near enough time for those stories not even one or two uh well they were it was it was they were you know i i i i had had i had experience running shows and i used that word in quotes because sometime in the earlier 70s the stevensons took me under their wing and and i got to go to georgia santa barbara quite a few times and then they asked me if i would be the show chairman and i said well you know i can’t i live in watertown new york i can’t believe they said you can and they really being the show chairman of santa barbara in those days was kind of being like head of the cleanup crew i mean the every the demon sense did everything i mean in detail and that was tom stevenson that’s where i learned how to run dog shows detail detailed detail and no detail is too small not to pay attention to and uh that was a great lesson for me i would i would fly out along with a whole bunch of number of people i mean jimin and clark and dick and john uh frank sabella and we would all meet there in in santa barbara and spend the week putting on putting on the dog show with the stevensons and it was it was a great experience not only that part of it but the seamlesses didn’t have a dining room they had a big kitchen table and let me tell you those dinners were were a lesson that that no one could ever duplicate from people from judges from all over the world to to just uh day-to-day people who were of interest to to the sport but you you learned a lot you learned a lot yeah wow that’s incredible what do you think is um let’s get right down what’s your favorite breed tom no no way oh my goodness my favorite breed all right let me think about this for a little bit um okay my favorite breed is alphabetically uh greyhounds labradors pointers and whippets okay i didn’t realize the sighthound part of it wow well i’ve had a couple of whip and santa greyhound yeah what about mentors i know we talked about betty we even talked about mr e what other mentors do you have in your in your sport in your life in the sport boy that list is long too um some of these people will be familiar names to people on this who listen to this program and said i’m not bob whaley uh was the the master breeder of field trial pointers uh my my uh house where i am right now in henderson is a half a mile from uh what was his what was his home and uh it’s now a uh 2500 acre state park um bob whaley bred the l field trial pointers there they won more national field trial championships than and i’m talking american feel not american kennel club um than anybody else and he was he was he he like like ted eldridge was a breeder he bred the he bred the first horse to win a million dollars in new york state a horse called wind now he sold him as a youngster because he didn’t he didn’t like the people at the track but he liked to breed horses he bred fancy chickens and this it’s it’s endless and uh but he was he was a very very close friend for for many years and a very dear friend and taught me a lot it’s his attitude about people in this sport was that was was was invaluable i have to say that oh ted as we said len brumby then brumby ran the akc judges program for those days and uh was did it of course from my opinion did it did it exactly correctly the only thing i didn’t ever do what he told me to do was was was go for another group and i just had sporting dogs and that’s all i really wanted to judge but he would you say mr brumby i’d like to apply for some more breeds or he’d call me up and say it’s time for you to supply apply for some more breeds and this is who you what you should apply for and i clearly remember uh doing cockers brittany’s plumbers and springers he said you can’t do collectors in the springers at the same time and i said oh come on be alright so i applied well i didn’t get springers first time you did what he told you to do i learned my lesson quickly uh and he was he he took young people like myself in the sport and real and seriously took it took you under his wing and and guided you and uh i don’t think it’s i know that mr bivin and i have this conversation frequently and we both feel exactly the same way about it so he was he was a wonderful wonderful dog man uh of course as i said the students i mean ann stevenson called me up in april of 1975 and said i need you to stand by dear to judge clumbers because it’s the day after the national specialty and i don’t think our judge is going to be able to do it and i said that’s fine you just tell me what you want she said i want you to do those six dogs at the end of the day and i said six dogs at the end of the day but oh yeah sure well i said i’d love to do best in show for you anne but i’m not approved by the kennel club but she said yes you are i said no i’m not and she said as of yesterday afternoon you were approved by the board to judge the group therefore you are uh eligible to do best in chicago and i said me that could be true but i assuming that best not doing best to show at santa barbara when uh when i’ve never even judged a sporting group and she said yes you are and i did so i had never judged the sporting group but i did best in show at santa barbara there were four thousand dogs it was it also was a lifetime experience i can tell you who all six of them were too but do i get into that over here who were they well they just now you’re going to push me that they uh this sporting dog was a dog called champion renzevel news flash home shown by his owner which the gentleline the uh the hound now is escaping me but it’ll come back the uh oh no maybe i know the working working dog there wasn’t a hurting grip the working dog no i can’t do it well i used to be able to meddle them right off and uh what did you go to i uh mr greene was there with a the uh norwich terrier that well i think was just i think it was in north now i can’t remember from norwich or norfolk but uh it was one of ruthie cooper’s the dog that did a lot a lot of winning uh the non-sporting was it was a kiss me cape a standard poodle from the midwest somewhere uh here’s the beauty the hound oh gosh i couldn’t if i had my head have my list in front of me i could point it out but uh oh the and the palm was was a susie fisher showing uh a palm for lady conyers from uh bermuda and uh i guess i’m getting most of most of them oh no the working dog i remember was a nine-year-old siberian husky and that wasn’t who was supposed to be there was supposed to be uh doberman and i don’t remember which one but that was the big winner of the day and then the four hounds got left out i don’t remember what it was and it was it was a lot of fun i’ll tell you and the worst part is i had i had no idea how long i’d been out there and so i went to one of the exhibits actually went to piss me kate and i bent down in front of her and took her front and my in my hands and turned my wrist and looked looked at my watch because i didn’t want to just go well what time is it so i thought it was time it’s time to and so um mrs clark afterwards said that why did you do that and i said drove you crazy didn’t it and she said yes it did this is back when that one we’re fans so yeah tom and ann any other mentors come to mind oh that that pretty much i think that pretty much that well other than chat of course and that goes that kind of goes without saying on a personal level i want to know a little more about mr e um he he i was invited to uh s well now first time i met him i was showing german short ear pointers at west chester 1965 maybe 65 along there and i had a i was given you know in those days well i was given a short hair uh and she happened to be the the top bitch in the country the year before but the people who owned her uh were couldn’t we’re moving south to the shooting area and she was not a gun dog and they had other dogs to take tom crow got her for me tom crow said to me i want to talk to you one day and he had shown dogs for them and uh their name was andrews and so he he would you be interested and he came to see me the next day and he said he said do you come see me and i went to see him and he said i’ve spoken to mr mrs andrews they’re going to ship the dog to you next week and she was that she was her dog called her she was her name was champion sheba bruner she was she was white with liver spots and which is somewhat unusual in those days and we used to say that came from swedish blood but actually that the white uh has always been in the breed more so today now uh and she did a lot of winning but ted gave her the breed over over uh ramen crest chip who was the one of the top sporting dogs in the country and uh actually that’s not cool yes that’s true but he also gave her the breed up in vermont of the new england circuit before before that and uh so uh and he uh we he uh so that’s introduced that’s what really introduced us and we i was on then i was a delegate those days and i was on the nominating committee for maybe officers for the year whatever they when how many committees did and i went to trevelda for the first time and so he said come come a day or two early and i i did and we did a lot of irish setter talks and i mean i was it was it’s it’s i’ve never had the breed uh but it certainly is is one of my very favorite breeds and you know my biggest i think the biggest honor i have in judging is i was invited to have been invited to do their national four times and uh i i loved i loved the breed i love judging the breed in retiring it’s one of the things that really miss another chance to walk back in the ring with a bunch of red dogs i always always love showing arrow centers to you because i i well you did it was pretty easy it was pretty obvious what i liked that was when you were on the panel fryer setters it seemed like the iris that our world came to life to to be there to see you so yeah it was fun i got i uh one of one of the one i judge bitches one year in uh in uh california i think and uh uh i gave when i was like awarded winner’s patch to uh the she might have been a 12-18 she might also been a bred by i’m not sure what class she came out of and great hooping hollering and uh then i gave reserve to her litter sister apparently and there were like 200 bitches you know and i didn’t have any idea who these movies who these two were or anything else but that brought the house down and i kept saying people were weeping and crying jumping up and down i said what’s going on well they’re sisters they’re sisters and i was right mine was the producer and the open for the reserve was that was uh was the winner she went out to be the top irish center more than more than once a couple years beautiful bitch beautiful bitches both so where are you going to go over here so you’re retired now you still have dogs i still have dogs and i have a 14 and a half year old young border terrier bitch living here and um porter yeah well that’s another long story years ago i bought a i bought a walking stick from dennis dennis who who did bronze work he was a terrier handler from the squad from the state of one dennis springer springer yes yeah i started to say i knew it was and it wasn’t sprung but i knew it was pretty close and uh and i don’t know why i bought one but uh so here i am 14 and a half years later with with this this monster who lives with me and controls my life but i i i uh again i don’t do hair so um i don’t know what i’ll do next i have no idea i’m guessing probably black some black dog do we have an idea what braid it is then you obviously do yeah i would think a labrador yeah i love that i have black lavas myself too oh they’re wonderful actually i am showing a couple dogs right now actually four well almost four i have we have two pointers out with with uh read by and fortunately uh i’ve been able to co-own them with uh dennis brown and katie and uh black and white bitch has done really well she won florida and uh akc show and she won westminster and she’s had a best in show and a bunch of reserves and she’s just just growing up now but now that she can’t go to dog shows very often but she’ll be back and she’ll do fine and many years ago jim smith and i became friends jim smith who lived near buffalo and a master breeder of smooth fox terriers and uh as we were good friends we were not let’s have dinner friends but we were good friends and after he passed and i i called up dana gable who who is this is was his partner and and said you know if i’m looking for a smooth bitch to have maybe when after the border terrier goes she said and one thing led to another why don’t you have my two who uh co-owned shocked with me and i said that’s fine who’s chuck she said well chuck’s the number one smooth in the country i said oh that’s kind of interesting i was just thinking for a pet and and uh oh you should do this it’ll be a lot of fun and i said okay so chuck ended up the year last year’s number one last year two is number one and uh he’s he’s instead dog ranks now and so all of a sudden they got this picture of of uh of a bitch and she was five months old and i said oh who’s this and she said well this is absolutely smitten and i said what a great name uh yeah sure so smitten is now being shown she’s she’s finished and she she’s doing very well she has some head group placements in this this last go round of shows recently and now today she’s in kansas for god’s sakes but so you go to go to dog shows any thoughts on today’s current judging process um well you know i think i i think i alluded to your question earlier um a little bit i think the way that uh len brumby taught us to do it come along slowly and you know give you three or four breeds at a time get your feet wet get to know breeders get to know you know i think i think i’m i’m not ashamed to say that i judged judge particular breeds differently when i ended than when i did when i started you you learn you learn by going to specialties by talking to talking to breeders and i think that’s one of the one of the breeds that that’s i certainly judged entirely differently than when i started judging them were labradors and uh you know we were my partner peter sauce and i were very sick very successful and was somewhat successful in oh we were we were the number two breeder in the in the club in the parent club the second year we ever read labyrinth labradors but that was all kind of a by mistake because the labrador ladies knew me well enough but then they let me have a good bitch and uh they kind of guided me as to where she should be bred and after she finished and so it’s it’s uh it was it was pure happenstance that we became we were more surprised than they were i think to be the number two breeder in the country but but i think that uh it’s a breed that when you’re into into it it’s so natural for me i did the boston specialty one year and and uh norman grenier they were i had 20 some in the open open black class and i finally got through placing them and norman was in second place and uh he’s shaking his head as i went by and said but bradley strikes again so you know me you know what do you mean by that he said arnold daughter arnold daughter arnold daughter arnold daughter well dickendale arnold was my very favorite stead dog and for me to pick four of his daughters was not a surprise but i was a surprise i’m glad i did it but uh you know that’s the kind of uh where your eye goes i think that’s been correct any advice for up and coming judges then tom i think uh i guess the best advice i i think and and maybe maybe this is an 80 year old speaking but keep your eyes open and your mouth shut just listen listen to people listen to what they’re saying listen to people who have more experience than you do when and uh uh ask questions but uh uh that’s i think that’s don’t think just because you’ve got a uh after your name says judge of of xyz breed that you know all about them because you don’t and you really need to to speak to people and talk to people and learn it’s a continual learning process if you don’t learn every day then you’re not doing a very good job is there a dog out there you wish you could have been a part of you asked me these easy questions all the time one of my favorite dogs i wish i had been a part of uh was champion van melka’s rolls-royce uh silver shadow known as royce okay uh michael michael scott showed him for pat trotter and and uh he was he it was more he was a wonderful dog he had he was a wonderful el towne but he was a wonderful character and uh i think that uh if if i that’s what i would base it on not not maybe his he was a great dog but he also was a great character he uh he even sleep with me when we travel together and uh uh he was he was he always knew i was around and there and uh made lots of rack and lots of noise and and uh but he was a he was just a uh he was a great all-around dog i loved him okay one one last question then tom okay you could give advice to the 20 year old thomas bradley the third what would you give what advice would you give them i’m sorry here um if i could give myself advice if i was only 20 year old 20 or 20 well that would that be the same advice shut your mouth and open your eyes and open your ears and listen i think that’s that’s uh that’s the best advice i could give anybody but pay attention to the professionals the professionals in the sport you know more than more than most people were amateurs in one day they just learned they learn by watching they learn by listening they learn by working with somebody who was better than as a as an apprentice and and that’s it not don’t just want to run around the ring and show your dog and one and call yourself a professional and wonder why you’re not winning because uh you you you’re just a good amateur that’s all but uh i think this sport this sport depends a lot on history and uh it depends on a lot on uh i think this problem this sport for me has more kind people who are willing to help than probably any other sport that we we know about it’s and it’s always it’s always usually almost always the the top guy who’s more more than willing but you gotta ask that’s uh that’s me i guess you’re right over myself growing up i used to ask a ton of questions and i can’t remember anybody saying no to my questions they always that’s right that’s right but you you knew enough to know you didn’t have all the answers which is part of the problem today thank you tom i really appreciate the time you gave us today it was really great to see you and i i hope we get to see you somewhere i’m stuck up here now but thank you very much it was a real pleasure i’m glad it did this well i i was a little apprehensive but this was this was fun and it’s a great day and i was glad to share whatever little bit i have thank you much definitely fun to see you thank you thank you tom for inviting us into your home today for an incredible interview if you like what we’re doing here make sure you press the like share and subscribe button and don’t forget if you want to send me any messages or talk to me or even tell me to go away you can do it at dog show tips at gmail.
com and uh or if you just want to look into will’s world go to will alexander.net until next interview chair talk to you soon bye-bye you