Dogs of Importance…
5 – 6 – 7
Token, or as most people knew she was called; Tweed, “was one of the great ones”. In the early notes Leon wrote about her (his normal write-ups at 6 and 12 months) that she showed early brilliance.
In her best seasons she was unbeaten in the Pheasant Championships. She was the top dog in 1996 & 1997 and again in 1999 and 2000. She won the 1994 and 1999 New Zealand Championship. She won the 1997 North Island Championship with her litter brother Tex second. In 2000 she was second both in the North Island and in the New Zealand Championship. She got her Grand FTCh-title in 2001 and was retired soon after that.
Tweed was a special dog for Leon. She was small in size (coming from her double grand-sire Sharnberry Quin), but was a great bird dog. She was an exceptional hunting dog on quail and pheasants, tough and hardy, became the most winning dog ever, and produced two litters of pups (with Wingfield Quill and Berryfield Digger). She had near fatal complications but made a remarkable recovery. Leon wanted to make a strong outbreeding with her and imported semen from the top Norwegian sire and worker Vinsterfjellets Bobby. That would have been extremely interesting, but unfortunately he never got pups from that semen, neither from Tweed nor from two other bitches.
Leon with Token (left) and her older sister Sioux after a day’s shooting.
The first mating between Balas and Lace gave several good dogs. Skeet (the pup Leon is pictured with on the opening page of this website, got her Q.C.), Song, Silk (sold to Australia where she produced a dog who was that country’s best setter in modern times)**. The best dog in the litter though was Leon’s own Sioux. She was a brilliant dog and was soon a FTCh. Among her most important wins were the 1994 New Zealand Championship (1st equal with her younger sister Token) and also in 1994 she won the same Pheasant Championship that her mother Lace (see below) won in 1991, that time with Sioux placing third.
Unfortunately, Sioux had a skin condition, with an allergy to pollen. This was something Leon always had culled heavily for, so he didn’t breed from Sioux. Instead he did the re-mating of Balas x Lace producing among others Tex and of course Token. The T-litter was born in November 1991, exactly three years younger than Sioux. Those bitches, Sioux and Token, made up another formidable team from the Wingfield kennel, and it was perhaps the zenith of Leon and Joy’s great work. In the mid to late 1990s they had a team including Sioux & Token and pointers Alibi & Banner, all of them FTCh.
Lace’s mother Wingfield Jemima “Smoke” was by Sharnberry Shooter and the Australian import Blackwall Lucky Star. “She lacked the speed and range to make a top trial dog. ‘Smoke’ was an excellent brood bitch. I took one litter from her, and then sold her to the North where she made a reputation for leaving good bird dogs.” Leon’s litter left four good dogs; Lark, Lad, Tom Zachariassen’s Lady and Leon’s Lace. Lace on a good day was brilliant and very fast. She became a FTCh, winning the NZGDT Associations Jubilee Trial in 1986, the New Zealand Championship in 1988 and finished her career by winning a challenge point in 1991. Though it is as a brood bitch she really stood out. Leon bred from her four times; with Sharnberry Shooter, Wingfield Quill and twice with Game Ridge Balas. Among her progeny were Wingfield Ruf, Skeet, Silk, Sioux, Tex and Token.
Judge’s comment after Lace’s 1991 win: “She handled quail and pheasant with confidence and showed pace and style in her groundwork. She was always under control and doing the job for her handler and her manners were faultless, even under the severe provocation of her bracemate stealing her point and busting birds!”