MS. PATRICIA CRAIGE TROTTER of Carmel, CA registered her first litter of Vin-Melca Norwegian Elkhounds with the American Kennel Club in 1951 and her most recent litter this year. Her breeding program has produced both the Top Sire and Dam in the breed’s history as well as the breed’s top winners. Vin-Melca Elkhounds have won 11 Hound group firsts at Westminster, all owner-handled.
When Ch. Vin-Melca’s Vagabond became Top Dog All Breeds in 1970, he was the first amateur-handled dog to achieve that honor. Pat handled her own dogs to Top Ten All Breed status on 10 different occasions while holding down a full-time teaching job. Her Elkhounds were regular winners of Top Hound honors and Quaker Oats Awards for dogs with the most group wins within a year.
Names such as Vagabond, Howdy Rowdy, Nimbus, Smuggler, Calista, Marketta, Silver Shadow, Top O’ The Mark, and more recently “Duffy” are amongst the legendary hounds produced by this family. Thirty-eight Vin-Melca Elkhounds have accumulated all-breed Best in Show honors to date. Today’s dogs represent untold generations descending from that 1951 litter. Personal honors include the Purina ProPlan® Hall of Fame, two Fido awards as Dog Woman of the Year and AKC’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Trotter is approved to judge all breeds. This is her fourth Westminster assignment.