MRS. PATRICIA CRAIGE TROTTER of Carmel, California, registered her first litter of Vin-Melca Norwegian Elkhounds in 1951 and her most recent litter in 2020. All her breeding stock descends from her original bitch acquired in 1949 from an expert bear hunter. Her breeding program produced the top sire and dam in the breed’s history as well as the breed’s top winners, including Ch. Vin-Melca's Vagabond who became top dog all breeds in 1970.
Vin-Melca Norwegian Elkhounds won 11 Hound Group firsts at Westminster, all handled and either owned or bred by Mrs. Trotter. She also handled top ten all-breed dogs on 10 different occasions while working full-time as a teacher. In addition, 42 Vin-Melca Norwegian Elkhounds have won all-breed best in show honors to date. Mrs. Trotter achieved more recognition for her role in the fancy with the Gaines Girl Show Dog Fancier award in 1952, the AKC Hound Breeder of the Year award in 2004, and the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 as well as the Anne Rogers Clark Purina Pro Plan Hall of Fame award.
As a judge, Mrs. Trotter believes the true purpose of the dog show is to select breeding stock. By working in concert with each other, she believes breeders and judges can continually improve all breeds. Mrs. Trotter is approved to judge all Breeds, Groups, Junior Showmanship, and Best in Show. She judged the 2009 and 2019 Hound groups. This will be her fifth judging assignment at Westminster.