(Here is a great little story written by Hermine Munro about a Kerry purchased from Jean Underhill.)
I have always used a professional handler or perhaps a friend who could show. I am the type who gets stage fright for people I do not even know! But since I can’t do it, it does not mean that if I have an excellent Kerry who is a credit to the breed, I don’t want it in the ring.
I always had Kerrries as pets, but the show interest started with one from Jean Underhill. We were living in New Canaan, CT and saw Jean’s ad in the Times. She and Ed met us at the Katonah library and led us to their place. They had many Kerries in the kennels with large fields and runs, including a litter of five about 10 months. I now see that she was “running them on.” It was pretty impossible to tell one from the other as no one had really groomed them. I must have appreciated a good Kerry, but knew absolutely nothing. Jean saw that we couldn’t make up our minds, so she took us to see another bitch from that litter that was with her handler, Bob Forysth.
Bob was pretty startled when Jean asked him to bring Meg out for us to see. She was absolutely beautiful, groomed to the nines, plus totally well mannered and trained. Bob obviously picked her to show so she stayed at his kennel, not Jean’s. We bought her on the spot and took her home, not knowing that we had just taken away the Kerry that he had so carefully trained for the ring. But we took her back to him for grooming and it finally dawned on us. We realized that Meg and Bob deserved to be in that ring together. I’d take her over on a Thursday, see her at the weekend shows and bring her home Sundays for the week. She loved the ring – one of those Kerries who just turns on when they walk through that gate. We even went to the Chicago International – all of us! She finished in a few shows and, as “Queen Meg of the Jean”, was one of Jean’s four famous “Queen” champion bitches out of that litter.
I was bitten by the show bug, but shook with nervousness whenever I watched them in the ring! I still do. I think my answer to Jane’s question is that if you have a dog that exemplifies the standard, loves to show and you have a great handler, it is to the benefit of the breed that you try for a championship. Plus it can mean much to the breeder. Jean often reminisced about that litter, but she almost had just three “Queens of the Jean.”