Westminster Dog show German Shepherd
The achievements of Covy-Tucker Hill are represented by one symbolic dog, Ch. Covy-Tucker Hill's Manhattan OFA H/E ROM. In 1987 "Hatter" was awarded "Best in Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. He was handled throught his career by James Moses, and owned by Jane Firestone and Shirlee Braunstein. Twenty-five years later, he is still the only GSD to win Best in Show in the history of the Westminster Kennel Club. "Hatter" is the winningest male German Shepherd Dog in dog show history, and the #4 show dog of all time, all breeds.
Gloria Birch on Manhattan:
When I started in my quest to show a German Shepherd Dog, little did I realize that with my first love CH. Kovaya's Contessa CD.ROM, I would spend the rest of my life involved in the pursuit and love of breeding better German Shepherd Dogs. In my 20s I fell deeply in love with Covy, (my nickname for Contessa; Covy is part of the kennel name Covy-Tucker Hill). I had a passion for showing dogs and Contessa was my first home-bred Champion. She had an amazing temperament; full of life, loved kids, water, balls, cans, and plastic bottles, anything she could use to get my attention. It always worked. She was always making me laugh. She was the beginning for me, and will always be closest in my heart. Her selflessness, integrity, and honesty were of the purest forms. She is the grandmother of BIS Ch Covy-Tucker Hill's Manhattan.
Contessa was a Bernd von Kallengarten granddaughter. We bred her to BIS Ch. Lakeside's Gilligan's Island. Gilligan’s mother was Cobert's Melissa ROM, highest living ROM dam for many, many years. I saw Gilligan and his sister Golly with their owners Danny Dwier and my dearest mentor Connie Beckhardt in Colorado at a Futurity. Danny and Connie co-owned Melissa. We became fast friends. Gilligan was a gorgeous stallion of a male and I knew Contessa had to be bred to him. His sister was also beautiful which meant that the litter was deep in quality and should produce true to type. Gilligan became a famous BIS dog before I even got to breed to him. I was so fortunate to get a litter before he died at way too young an age.
From Gilligan, Contessa produced Ch. Covy's Felita of Tucker Hill C.D. ROM, and Covy’s Flanigan of Tucker Hill, who needed a major to finish and belonged to a client who decided she didn't want to show dogs anymore. Flanigan was a very large dog, with a beautiful head, temperament and a character like his mother. Flanigan was Manhattan's sire. Cappy and I bred Ch. Tucker Hill's Angelique to Grand Victor Ch. Lakeside's Harrigan ROM; he was a brother to Gilligan and lived in Washington at Von Naussau kennel. He was owned by the Mesdags. This produced the famous Spice litter. Much is written about them. We bred the Contessa and Angelique lines together many times to produce many champions. The ultimate female from this breeding was G.V.Ch. Covy's Rosemary of Tucker Hill ROM, who we bred to Flanigan to line-breed on the famous brothers Gilligan and Harrigan, while combining our two female lines.
Manhattan was a big, dark puppy, full of the joy of life. He was not a large dog, but well proportioned. We sold a co-ownership in him at 8 months to a show home. I finished his championship with a five point major at a specialty show, and his co-owner showed him at the Golden Gate Kennel Cub show, where he won first in the group. Manhattan had an exceptionally strong temperament, and a character that could not be overlooked. His character drew attention wherever he went, people and judges loved him. Our co-owners were getting a divorce, and decided they had to sell Manhattan. Douglas Crane bought him for Shirley Braunstein and later a co-ownership was sold to Jane Firestone by James Moses. James Moses was his ultimate handler. We would go to as many shows as we could just to see him. He never forgot Cappy and I, and always greeted us with enthusiasm. He was such a star and James Moses trained, handled, and showed him, with the help of Sharon Dwier Newcomb, to absolute perfection. They were an amazing team.
I went when he was shown and won the group at Westminster, before he won the big show. Then Jim told us that Cappy and I should fly back to watch him show for the last time at Westminster. It was, to put it mildly, the thrill of a lifetime. Connie Beckhardt was with us on that night. I can't say enough about Manhattan’s character, and he loved getting attention from everyone, and people just loved him. At the Santa Barbara show I was sitting by a woman who told her neighbor that if the judge didn't put Manhattan BIS, the crowd would run her out of town. He won and everyone went wild with joy, including Manhattan, his tail never stopped wagging. We were all worried that at 8 years, in his final attempt at Westminister that he might not win, but the crowd went wild and he was selected as the winner. The memory gives me chills to this day. Manhattan lives on in our hearts and in the hearts of everyone who had the good fortune to know him, or spend some time with him.
- 1987 Westminster Best in Show
- #1 Male Show Dog of all time, all breeds.
- #4 Show Dog of All Time, all breeds
- 201 All-Breed Best in Shows