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The Top Best-in-Show-Winning Working Dog of All Time

By Christi McDonald

Editor’s note: Determining the top AKC winners in any category is an inexact science. We explain why in a companion article: Biggest BIS Winner Tough to Call.

Only two Working dogs in history have won more than 100 all-breed Best In Shows.

The first, and for many decades the only one, was the 1951 Westminster Best in Show winner Ch. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest. Bang Away, handled to 121 BIS by Nate Levine for breeder/owners Dr. and Mrs. R. C. Harris, first changed the course of history for the Boxer in the show ring, and then contributed significantly to forever changing the look of the breed when he became the top sire of all time, with more than 80 champion offspring. Boxer authorities have said that it was Bang Away who added style and flair to the breed.

Almost 40 years after the Boxer retired from the show ring, another contender finally emerged that would break his Best in Show record. The red Doberman Pinscher Brunswig’s Cryptonite finished his championship at just over 1 year of age. By the time his career finished, he had won 124 all-breed Best in Shows to become the second Working dog to join the elite rank of dogs with more than 100 such awards. Along the way ‘Kafka’ also won three Doberman Pinscher Club of America National Specialties.

Ch. Brunswig’s Cryptonite with, left to right, the late Mrs. Julie Gasow, judge Michele Billings, handler George Murray and Erik Bergishagen.

Kafka was bred by Robert and Phyllis Farrer, and owned by Sam and Marion Lawrence. The Lawrences are, of course, well-known as show dog aficionados, and in fact campaigned four dogs that won more than 100 Best in Show awards: Kafka, the Black Cocker Spaniel Ch. La-Shay’s Bart Simpson, the Wire Fox Terrier Ch. Registry’s Lonesome Dove and the Maltese Ch. Ta’Jon’s Tickle Me Silly.

Ch. Brunswig’s Cryptonite won three national specialties, this one in 1991 under judge Frank Grover.

Like his predecessor Bang Away, Kafka also heavily influenced his breed through his progeny. He sired 154 champion offspring, and many Doberman breeders will tell you that it is difficult to find a pedigree in the U.S. today that doesn’t trace back at least once to him.

An untold number of Best in Show winners descend from Kafka, as do many winners at the national specialty, but perhaps his most significant legacy is his grandson Ch. Cambria’s Cactus Cash, by the Kafka son Ch. Rahdy’s Sail the Seven Seas out of Ch. Cambria’s Nocona V Texas. ‘Eddie’ is not only the top Doberman Pinscher sire in the history of the breed, he is also the all-time top Working dog sire. Himself the sire of 155 champions, like his grandsire, Eddie produced not only Best in Show winners (13 at last count), but many of his offspring went on to become national specialty Best of Breed, Top 20 and Futurity winners.

The modern Doberman Pinscher will forever be linked to the influence of the top Best-in-Show-winning Working dog of all time.

(Ch. Rahdy’s Sail the Seven Seas was bred and owned by Dave and Barb Goldfein. Ch. Cambria’s Cactus Cash was bred and owned by Jim and Ann White.)

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.
  • KEVEN HARRIS September 2, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    What a shame there was no Photo of Bangaway to go with his short history piece! For the record, Bangaway also won sixty (60) BISS on his way to canine glory and of his get, a sire of merit grandson went on to produce a male that would in turn produce a record 120 champions, CH. Milans Fashion Hint! All this combined with his 121AB BIS in that early era was an incredible feat, and it is virtually impossible to compare the later achievements of the also great Cryptonite, his hey day being 40 years on. Two great canines that left their own legacy!

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