New York, NY — In an ongoing campaign to recognize the hard work and commitment of breeders dedicated to improving the health, temperament and quality of purebred dogs, the American Kennel Club® announced today the seven group recipients of the 2013 AKC® Breeder of the Year Award.

“The AKC Breeder of the Year Award celebrates several of AKC’s most distinguished breeders and we’re proud to recognize seven outstanding breeding programs as the 2013 Group finalists,” said Michael Canalizo, AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Event Manager. “These breeders all strive to produce dogs useful in both form and function, with impeccable health and temperament. We’re delighted to spotlight them as the “best of the best” of purebred dog breeders.”

A breeder is chosen from each of the seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding. The individual group recipients will receive a medallion in recognition of their achievements on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, Fla. At the end of the presentation the 2013 AKC Breeder of the Year will be announced. Additionally, a canine portraitist will be commissioned to commemorate a prominent dog from the Breeder of the Year’s kennel, and their name will be added to the perpetual trophy and plaque on permanent display at the AKC headquarters in New York City.

The group winners are:

Sporting Group: Randy, Anne Marie and Peter Kubacz, Ramblin’ Red Irish Setters

Randy, Anne Marie and their son Peter recognize how important the human-animal bond is, and that every pet is a member of the family first and foremost. The focus of their breeding program is sound temperament and good health. Ramblin’ Red is the only Irish Setter breeding program to produce both a National Field Trial winner and several National Specialty winners. Form and function dictate which dogs are chosen to play a role in the Ramblin’ Red breeding program.

Hound: Janet and Linda Souza and Jamie Souza Bartlett, Limerick Irish Wolfhounds

Limerick Irish Wolfhounds was established in 1972. Since then, Limerick has produced 16 litters, resulting in 111 puppies, including 50 finished champions. As AKC Breeder of Merit program participants, the Limerick ladies have always challenged themselves to breed the highest-quality dogs in as few litters as possible. Ten different Limerick hounds have won 20 specialties among them, including Best of Breed at the 2003 National Specialty and Best of Opposite in 2005, 2009, and 2013 with a father, then his daughter, then her son.

Working: Joe and Tootie Longo, Longo Great Danes

Joe and Tootie acquired their first black Great Dane in 1969 as a pet. They entered him in a puppy match, where he won the Working Group, and that dog later became their first champion. In 1980, they bred and owned BIS BISS Ch. Longo’s Chief Joseph, their first “special.” Since then they have had seven all-breed Best in Show winners, five Top 20 winners, and the only three black dogs to win Great Dane Club of America’s National Best of Breed.

Terrier: Winifred Stout, Quissex Smooth Fox Terriers

Winifred acquired her first Smooth Fox Terrier from Barbara Fallass, whose Andely kennel was prominent before and during World War II. She raised her first litter of Smooth Fox Terriers in 1960. After moving in the late 1960s to a farm in Rhode Island, she started breeding Smooth Fox Terriers under the “Quissex” prefix (from the French qui s’excuse, s’accuse, which is loosely translated as “Never explain!”). Quissex has produced some 300 AKC champions, specialty and all-breed Best in Show winners and performance titlists.

Toy: Armando and Xio Angelbello, Marlex Miniature Pinschers

Marlex Miniature Pinschers was founded by Armando and Xio in 1986. They acquired their first show-quality Min Pin from a great mentor and that dog went on to become a top-ranked three-time National Specialty winner and producer of 75 champions. Their canine highlights include breeding and exhibiting multiple all-breed Best in Show winners, eight National Specialty breed wins, and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor wins and group placements at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. In May 2013, their co-owned bitch broke a 50-year-old breed record, becoming the all-time top BIS-winning Min Pin in history.

Non-Sporting: Michael and Linda Brantley, Dreamland Chow Chows

Michael and Linda have been breeding and showing Chows under the “Dreamland” prefix since 1988. Together, they have bred more than 100 AKC champions, including 24 Best in Show Chows in the United States and abroad. Many of their BIS winners, group winners and AKC Champion Chows hold dual conformation and performance titles. The pair believes in the philosophy of breeders as guardians of the breed, and as a result, the driving force behind the Dreamland breeding program is to safeguard the Chow Chow for future generations.

Herding: Leslie and Don Jeszewski, Highcroft Collies

Highcroft Collies was established by Leslie and Don in 1981. The AKC-registered Highcroft kennel prefix is recognized both nationally and by serious Collie breeders and fanciers around the world, with Highcroft Collies residing in various countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Through their combined efforts, Leslie and Don have either bred or finished over 300 AKC champion Collies. Leslie and Don have also received the Collie Club of America Presidential Award for Breeder of the Year four times. Read more.

Learn more about the award and past honorees.


The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 20,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Companion Animal Recovery and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit

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