LOWCHEN BREED RECOGNITION: The Canadian Connection
 


Gini Denninger, Ardis Shurtleff & Felizitas Dickeler with Ondra vom Burgwald.

In the late 1970’s, Gwen Appell attended a conference in England, where she met a fellow delegate who shared her interest in Bichon. Gwen, a noted groomer, was intent upon purchasing this breed, in part to perfect techniques.  Upon visiting the Bichon owner, Gwen met an outgoing, fun loving Lowchen. Understandably, it stole her heart and in 1977 her Sunnyslope kennel imported Littlecourt Victoria to Canada. Soon, she imported a male, Huntglen Gunter. Eventually, one of her grooming students purchased a Lowchen from Sunnyslope; Kim Schmidt, of Kiji Kennels, recalls that she “just had to have one, as I loved their sense of humour”.  Most present day Canadian breeders credit Kim with introducing them to this magnificent breed.


Ardis Shurtleff is also a pioneer in Canadian Lowchen breed history. Once again, it’s a tale of not initially searching out Lowchen. A friend, active in rare breed activities, determined that Ardis and Richard Shurtleff must join in the fun. John Wilson popped by with a “gift”, a rather scruffy looking Lowchen.

Mr. Wilson was convinced that the Shurtleff family, successful with their Keeshond kennel, Keeburnie, would enjoy a new challenge. One look at this odd creature left the Shurtleffs incredulous. Eventually, they came to appreciate Lowchen, placed this one in a pet home, and then obtained one more to their liking, Ondra von Burgwald; this started their line. It also brought the possibility of Canadian Kennel Club breed recognition, as this line was added; now, a wider gene pool to bolster the British one brought in by Gwen Appell was present, permitting the Lowchen application for approval to move forward.


By 1995, Lowchen entered show rings as CKC recognized members of Group Six (Non-Sporting).  Not until 1999 did Lowchen receive AKC recognition in the Non-Sporting Group. The Shurtleffs were surprised to learn that North American Lowchen weren’t placed in Group Five (Toy), as they are elsewhere in the world.  Unwilling to compete with themselves for group placements, as their first breed, Keeshond, is also in Group Six, they decided not to stay in Lowchen and placed theirs with others who continued to promote the breed.

 

Special thanks to Ardis Shurtleff for patiently sharing her story and providing the photo of Ondra vom Burgwald, the Lowchen that started her line and played a pivotal role in CKC breed recognition.

~ The Pringle Pride © 2011