He was 10 years old 16.10.08
As the ”old” members of the Wheaten world probably remember, and the “new” don’t know, I imported Lontry Saffy’s son in 1986. He was 10 months old when he came from Pennsylvania to Brøttum near Lillehammer , after 4 month’s quarantine in Sweden. He became the most famous Wheaten in Norwayand a prominent
stud dog. When the breed first came to Norwaywe lacked dogs to breed from, because the few we had were all closely related. Zorba, as he was named, quickly becameInternationale ch. Norwegian ch. Swedish ch. Norwegian winner 98 Swedish winner 88 and the first Wheaten in Norway and Swedenwho was also placed in group finals at the Norwegian and Swedish International Club Shows. The Wheaten Terrier was not well-known in Norwayat the time and judges were naturally not very confident on judging them, and did not usually enter them in group finals.
What I specially remember is that I didn’t want to show him at the Norwegian Terrier Club’s special show because the judge was Irish, and Zorba was imported from USA. But I thought: It doesn’t matter, I’m going anyway so I’ll enter him. He became Best in Show!!
Zorba was a beautiful healthy Wheaten and sired many puppies in Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Then tragedy struck: he was knocked down and killed instantly by a car driving at 130 kms in an 80 km zone. It was a terrible shock for me and many others. The time afterwards was very difficult and I thought I would never get another dog who could match him and steal my heart like he had. He was my pride and joy, well-behaved and stable in all situations.
I saw Soft Hawk Benjamin (Rasmus), for the first time at a show in Swedenwhen he was a junior. Zorba had recently dead, and I saw how much Rasmus resembled his father. He was a beautiful dog and I followed him closely all the 13 years of his life, becoming a close friend of his owner, Stig Juren. Rasmus’s awards are: Swedishch, Norwegian ch, Danish ch, VDH kft, Nordic ch, Swedish Winner, Copenhagen Winner, European Winner og Derby Winner.
He is still, after his death, the Wheaten Terrier with the most awards in Norway and Sweden , and also in Scandinavia as far as I know.
After a while Stig became a breeder and imported a bitch from Margaret Siber-Møller, who owns the Wheaten Rebell kennel in Germany. Stig promised me the first choice of male puppy when he mated Wheaten Rebell’s Rock Me Roby with Rasmus. Two years later 5 dogs and two bitches were born in this combination. I travelled to Stockholmwhen the pups were almost old enough to go to their new homes and stayed with Stig. So I had plenty of time to make my choice. Classico came home to Norwaywith me.
From his litter 4 of the males became champions, of which 2 were both Nordic ch and International ch. Both bitches became Nordic ch. and “Molly” was also German ch. and Finich ch. The litter was fantastic.4 dogs have been bred from and have had a great influence on the breed, producing good-looking, healthy dogs.
Classico was a junior at a special show in Sweden, where Emily Holden (Amadens Kennel in USA) was judging. She and her friend, Lory Kromarch, fell in love with him and asked if they could have some sperm from him when he became adult. A year later he was tested very thoroughly and his sperm was sent to Pennsylvania.
For me this was a symbolic circle. Classico’s grandfather, ,Lontry’s Saffy Son,came to me from USAand now Classico’s genes had gone back there. The circle was complete and he has sired many American champions.
It was a thrill for me to show/handle his descendants at the world’s biggest terrier show at Montgomery, where about 200 Wheatens entered.
Classico has been a fantastic dog. He has never picked a fight and is well-behaved and eager when he meets other dogs. He can react if strange dogs aren’t well-behaved, which is fine, but is never the one to start trouble. If he meets a nervous dog he is very good at making contact and being friendly until the frightened dogfeels secure. It’s great to see him in those situations.
Classico became a fantastically good successor to Zorba and stole my heart just like his grandfather had done. Now he’s just turned 10 years of age, and is agile and healthy, with normal sight and hearing. He runs around with his grandchild Urbane Tanita, who is two, and keeps up with her. He enjoys visiting the vet. because he gets good treatment and a titbit. He doesn’t go for walks but runs, and has no idea he’s getting to be an old man. He’s never been ill in his life and none of his descendants have inherited any disease, something I’m really glad about. He is now sire and grandsire to many dogs in Norway , Sweden , USA and Russia, and therefore it would be sad if he had left anything but positive qualities.
He has sired many dogs in Norway , also 7 dogs in Russia – the Mast Poeta Kennel, all of them are Champions and 2 Derby winners. Two of them are the most award-winning Wheatens in Russia. I have 12 champions after Classico in my own kennel.
He is also grandfather of lots of champions.
Classico is Norwegian ch. Swedish ch. and Danish ch. (Called Nordic ch.). He is also Norwegian Winner 04 and International ch.
He was the most winning stud dog in Norway 04 in competition of all breeds this year. That is something
which no Wheaten has ever accomplished before, at least in Norway.
It feels like only yesterday that I acquired him and now he is suddenly ten, a fact that neither he or I have grasped.