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Annie the golden retriever goes to Westminster – The Landmark

Danielle Ray

STERLING – The canine days of summer time arrived early for Gregg and Margaret von Sternberg once they had been offered with the chance to point out certainly one of their beloved golden retrievers on the Westminster Kennel Membership 146th Annual Canine Present in June. Westminster is among the oldest, most prestigious canine exhibits on the earth.

The city couple mentioned they had been “thrilled and honored present our 4-year outdated lady, American/Canadian CH Starhill Who’s That Woman, Annie,” who obtained her title final fall, qualifying her for this 12 months’s Westminster present.

“It was particularly particular for us, as Annie is of our personal breeding from our basis and solely proven by us,” Gregg mentioned. “There have been quite a lot of wonderful canines on the present, and seeing Annie within the ring with these different elite golden retrievers was a thrill.”

The present, which was held this 12 months on the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York, began in 1887 as a present for sporting canines — retrievers, setters and spaniels — and grew to change into one of many nation’s largest annual all-breed canine occasions. For nearly 100 years, the present was held at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis “as a benched present the place all canines had been required to be saved on their allotted bench spot from the opening to shut of present,” Gregg mentioned, including “it was not unusual for the hearth marshal to shut the doorways to further spectators because of the extreme variety of individuals.”

Margaret mentioned that when exhibiting their area spaniel Andy at Westminster in 2010, “The crowds had been so thick it took Gregg an hour to hold Andy the 200 yards from his bench space to the present ring on the backyard ground.” In 2021 the present moved from Manhattan to the grounds of Lyndhurst, an property alongside the Hudson River in Westchester County.

“This present is exclusive in that each one canines proven have achieved their AKC (American Kennel Membership) championship title, and it’s largely invitational for the highest successful canines inside their breeds,” Gregg mentioned.

Though this was not the couple’s first time taking part within the iconic present, it was their first time exhibiting certainly one of their golden retrievers.

“A lifetime dream was fulfilled by simply being there and exhibiting our lady,” they mentioned. “It was a terrific pleasure to look at lots of the nation’s prime canines and prime handlers.”

This 12 months they confirmed breeder choose Nancy Talbot from California with a area that included 47 males and 23 females.

“Lots of the prime golden retrievers from the US and different international locations the place there are competing for the coveted Greatest in Present title,” Margaret mentioned. Though Annie didn’t place at Westminster, she did earn a Better of Breed and a Sporting Group1placement below golden retriever breeder-judge Gloria Kerr on the Pioneer Valley Kennel Membership present in Greenfield on Aug. 6.

Gregg grew up in Marblehead, and Margaret was born in Switzerland and has household there.

Gregg mentioned his love of canines started at an early age, as he has “all the time had canines,” primarily cocker spaniels as a baby after which golden retrievers. After the couple retired in 2018, they moved to Sterling from North Andover, the place that they had lived for 20 years.

“This has been a passion for us over the previous 25 years,” Gregg mentioned. “We each labored for IBM previous to retirement and located working with our canines an exquisite aid from our company tasks. We take part in lots of canine ​​exhibits all year long, and in some ways, Westminster is just not that completely different. Simply larger, extra prestigious and glamorous.”

He and his spouse acquired their first golden retriever, Kimmie, in 1984.

“Kimmie was an exquisite golden retriever however really was from a back-yard breeder and got here with quite a few well being points we weren’t conscious of on the time,” he mentioned. “However she was an exquisite companion to us, and when Kimmie handed, we felt we needed to spend a bit extra time in analysis to discover a better-bred golden retriever.” After months of talking to breeders throughout the nation, they “lastly discovered a lady within the space whom we felt snug with, and he or she had a litter deliberate.”

Quickly Emmy joined their household. “The breeder requested us if we might contemplate exhibiting her de ella, and that was our introduction to the world of canine sports activities,” Margaret mentioned. “Initially we paid skilled handlers to groom and present our canines in conformation, after which we took seminars and courses and picked it up ourselves.”

They presently have 4 golden retrievers ranging in age from 6 months to five years outdated, together with Annie. Margaret grooms the canines in addition to trains them in obedience, rally, agility, and remedy canine ​​work, and Gregg handles the canine exhibits in conformation.

“Our canines all carry the AKC kennel identify of ‘Starhill,’, the English translation of our final identify,” Gregg mentioned, including that individuals can observe their pups at

They mentioned all purebred canines “are likely to have a nationwide membership that gives a wealth of details about their breed, the breed’s normal, code of ethics and call record of native golf equipment and their breeders.”

For them, it is the Golden Retriever Membership of America, they usually “wish to stress the significance for future Golden Retrievers, or any purebred canine, homeowners to do analysis to search out accountable breeders who receive all of the well being clearances on their canines and are open and trustworthy in discussing their breeding.”

“There are quite a lot of on-line websites with cute pet photos, however any good canine breeder will not promote their puppies with out interviewing the potential pet homeowners and assembly them in individual,” Gregg mentioned. “It takes time and persistence, however the rewards of a well-bred canine are definitely worth the wait.”

They mentioned good data on the right way to discover a golden retriever breeder will be discovered on the Golden Retriever Membership of America web site,, and there may be data on the location a couple of golden retriever’s historical past, the AKC breed normal well being, and far more .

Since 1997 the couple has proven their canines greater than 2,000 occasions in roughly 800 canine exhibits within the japanese US and Canada, they usually don’t have any plans to cease anytime quickly.

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