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Best In Show Daily’s Who’s Who: Paula Dempsey

Breeder, owner-handler and judge Paula Dempsey has bred English Setters, with Jim Jannard under the Oakley prefix, for nearly four decades. Jim named his company after his first English Setter, Clairho Oakley Anne, back in 1975, and the products produced by Oakley, including sunglasses and apparel, have become recognized worldwide for their quality. The same may be said of the Oakley English Setters. Paula answered our Who’s Who questions.

1. Where were you born?
Wichita Falls, Texas.

2. List the roles you’ve played in the dog world: breeder, owner-handler, professional handler, apprentice, judge, delegate, writer, publisher, photographer, artist, campaign manager?
I have bred English Setters for 37 years and am an owner-handler. I am approved to judge English and Irish Setters. I also give back to the sport as show chairman for the Rainier Sporting Dog Association Group show, show chairman for the English Setter Association of America National Specialty and by serving on committees for the Tacoma Kennel Club.

Paula handling her first homebred Best in Show winner, Ch. Oakley’s Phi Slamma Jamma, to a specialty BOB win in 1997. ‘Slammer’ was by Ch. Fieldplay’s Abe Lincoln out of Ch. Clairho London.

3. Are you the only person in your family who is involved in the dog show world?

4. With what living dog person have you had the longest acquaintance, other than a relative?
Nancy Jenkins of Guys ‘N Dolls English Setters.

5. What breeds have you been personally involved with? What is your favorite breed?
I grew up with German Shepherds as pets, and out of high school decided Afghans were my dream, until they destroyed almost every piece of furniture I had. While I was married, we had Old English Sheepdogs that we showed. Then I saw Ch. Guys ‘N Dolls Onassis and knew English Setters were my breed.

Ch. Guys ‘N Dolls Shalimar Duke was the Number 10 Sporting dog in 1969 and Number 2 in 1970. Handled by Dick Webb, he won six Best in Shows and the 1970 National Specialty. More importantly he sired 76 champions, including BIS-winner Ch. Guys ‘N Dolls Onassis, who then sired 60 champions. Onassis’ offspring included the three-time National Specialty winner and 1974 Number 3 Sporting dog Ch. Guys ‘N Dolls Annie O’Brien, a perennial favorite among English Setter lovers handled by Ray McGinnis.

6. Who inspired you in the dog world? In what way?
My babysitter took me to my first dog show when I was 10 years old. She had Boxers. She is the one who told me that dog shows are where you take your finest animals, to exhibit your breeding stock. She drilled into my head that you start with the best because if you don’t it will take you a lot longer to get to the top.

7. Are you taken, looking or happily unattached? If taken, by whom and for how long?
Ted Stone and I have been together for 12 years.

8. What are your current house pets?
Right now we have five fabulous English Setters living in the house.

9. What is your most prized possession?
My artwork and statues of English Setters, especially my busts of the great Ch. Oakley’s Cigar and Ch. Oakley’s Just a Minute, by Jim Gion.

Ch. Oakley’s Cigar, by Ch. Oakley’s Phi Slamma Jamma out of Ch. Marron’s Ticket to Oakley, was an all-breed BIS winner and won the National Specialty in 2001. He’s the sire of multiple BIS winner GCh. Oakley’s B’Dazzled.

10. What one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I’m an extreme skier.

11. Besides dog things, what are your favorite interests or activities?
Snow skiing, golf and LIFE.

12. Other than your chosen profession, how would you like to have earned a living?
As a spy or a forensic scientist.

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.