“I realized early that you just don’t buy a purebred, show it and come up with ribbons,” says Hallard. “There is a science to grooming, training and showing dogs.” In 1989, he purchased his first Sealyham Terrier (Shenandoa Schuyler) with the intention of “getting serious” about showing. Unfortunately, Schuyler died unexpectedly shortly thereafter. However, the breeder sold Hallard the litter’s-pick female Shenandoa Margaret Thatcher (“Maggie”).
Hallard says he has been very fortunate to have the support of his wife, former classmate Deborah Russo, BS’73 (M). “This takes work,” Hallard says, “meaning nights and weekends … At times it can be all-consuming and, at the same time, quite rewarding.”
Hallard’s dedication soon paid off. Maggie excelled both as a show dog and as the foundation of Hallard’s own kennel, Schuyler Farms. She earned her AKC championship points in breed in June of 1991, and Hallard continued to show her as a champion (called specialing in dog-show terminology) for recognition in the terrier group, hoping for Best in Show honors. “One year, I traveled to 90 different shows on weekends and vacations,” he says, “doing circuits where I might exhibit in as many as eight shows in eight days.”
Surprisingly, Hallard says it takes fewer hours of concentrated training to prepare a dog for a show than one might think. “Most true show dogs have an inner sense of what is expected of them,” he says, “so they walk with a poise and grace. There is training to teach them to carry their heads properly, follow your lead in turns and to stand motionless while the judge examines them.”
Hallard continues, “Much of their being able to stand still comes from the hours of being groomed.” Hallard worked part-time with a professional handler for six years to learn the techniques of preparing a dog’s coat. “In grooming a Sealy, the coat is hand plucked, so that the dog has just the correct amount of coat and presents a ‘varminty’ expression, and that is where knowing what you are doing pays off.”
After retiring from the show ring in 1992, Maggie was bred with the number-one Sealyham in the country. From her litter of six, four dogs attained their championships in 1993, making Maggie the number-one Sealyham Terrier dam (or female parent) in the country that year and earning Schuyler Farms the American Sealyham Terrier Club’s “Pinegrade Trophy” for most Best of Breed awards with an American-bred Sealyham.