Chris Lynch began
breeding Shelties (as Chris Meneley) in 1978
through 1995 as Westwind Shelties. She
bred/finished 16 champions including a ROM, CC,
all-breed Best In Show, multiple ASSA national
Award of Merit dogs, numerous ASSA placements
and specialty winners. She also provided
foundation breeding stock behind today's
beautiful sables of Laureate Shelties.
As a professional
photographer since 1978
has enjoyed shooting the ASSA National Specialty
show 9 different years.
She has also had the privilege of photographing
many of the breed's greats. She will next have
the honor of being ASSA photographer in 2010 in
Tucson, AZ. She was CCA show photographer in
Except when on the road
with photography, Chris lives at home in Rohnert
Park, CA, with Sheltie "Squishy," a blue merle,
and "Fuzz," an orange Pomeranian. She is
a retired Certified Nurse Midwife
(16 years) and
an AKC licensed judge.
Westwin Secret Agent - "Fuzz"
Ch. Contraband x Ch. Heritage Spirit
Owned by Kathie Tietjen
just a major to finish.
When did you
establish your kennel name and how did you come to choose it?
kennel was established in 1978. We lived in a city south of San
Francisco where the west wind blew constantly. Hence, Westwind
When did you
first become interested in showing and breeding dogs?
after graduating from nursing school at USF, getting married, and
having our daughter. In that order.
Why did you
I went to
the Golden Gate Kennel Club show in 1977, wandering through the
benching aisles looking for a breed that really caught my eye. I
had tried showing Pembrokes and Keeshonds and wanted a new-to-me
breed. A sable Sheltie was standing up, watching the crowds go by,
and we made eye contact. She had the most beautiful expression I'd
ever seen. That did it. I went home and scanned the catalog index
for any Sheltie exhibitors that lived in my area. I found Yvonne
Samuelson, Sea Haven, who lived just a few blocks away from me. She
graciously became my original mentor.
Am/Can Ch Benayr
Westwind Contraband ROM, at 7 months (right) and 2 years old (left)
Maker x Grelore Luscious Lilly
What dog or
line has helped you in your breeding program and why?
through Ch Sea Haven The Sorcerer, a Peter son, and later through
Benayr, Ch Benayr Peter Principle. Ron Lackey of Cahaba Shelties
provided me with some outstanding bitches to breed to my Am/Can Ch
Benayr Westwind Contraband ROM. These were daughters of Ch Wayanet's Magic Sandman ROM, and Ch Sunnybrook's Heritage Spirit
ROM. These kennels were dedicated to balance, beautiful soft
expression, great temperaments. Cahaba bitches, in particular,
How did you
first establish your kennel?
I purchased a
tri Sorcerer daughter from Yvonne and at her suggestion, bred her to
Shawn Dar's Ghost of a Chance for an all blue litter in
1978. Wonderful color and temperaments, but all 6 went oversize.
Can Ch Cahaba-Krystalyn Dream
West "Chelsea" at 8 mos.
Co-bred by me and Yvonne DeFreitas, Chelsea was sold by
me to Kim Aston as one of Kim's two sable foundation
bitches. Sired by Ch Contraband from his first litter.
She was very beautiful and absolutely sound.
What were you
looking for in foundation stock?
soundness, temperament, beautiful expression.
And how did
you obtain it?
I had noticed
Susan Bentley's dogs at shows. After several conversations I
purchased my first sable from her, a Can Ch Macdega Chesapeake
daughter. She was Benayr Heart's Desire, "Sara". While pointed,
never finished because she never grew sufficient length of coat.
But bred to Barb Linden's Ch September Searchlight, she produced 2
champions in her first litter: Am/Can Ch Westwind Party Lights AOM
and Ch Westwind City Lights, who later sired BIS BISS Ch Victory's
Hidden Treasure CC, and Ch Westwind Harbor Lights.
Where do you
draw the line in your breeding stock?
Benayr Heart's Desire,
"Sophie," a Ch Contraband daughter at 8 wks.
This was one of the first photos I used to advertise my
photography. Compliments on this photo came in from all
over the country!
How many dogs have you finished to date, and what was
your most enjoyable to finish?
16 finished. Most enjoyable for me personally was Ch
Westwind Starlight Promise, owner-handled to a 5 pt.
major over 81 bitches. Those were the days of huge
litters of puppies were born at your kennel per year?
I bred about
3 litters a year.
What would you
feel is important in conditioning a dog for the ring?
socialized puppies make the best bomb-proof showdogs. Raw food diet
maximizes genetic potential. Also avoiding all unnecessary
With all of the talk about
diets and what works for our dogs, what do you feed your dogs, and
do you use supplements?
I first fed
Solid Gold, then became an immediate convert to the raw food diet
when I learned of its overwhelming benefits. I used some
supplements like fish oil. Also used homeopathy and acupuncture
extensively. I actually lectured at the National in Orlando, FL, on
these subjects because the holistic vet scheduled to lecture there
could not come.
When did you
begin to photograph Shelties?
Started with a German made 35mm, later graduated to Pentax 6x7-
medium format, and did all developing in my own color darkroom.
Finally in 2008 I've switched to digital and have a 10.1 MP Canon
and am pleased with its performance. I've also learned the basics
of Photoshop, so continue to process and print my own photos.
professional photographer, what would you say best describes the
Sheltie you like to picture? ie: Good structure? Head detail,
What would you say is most challenging about being a
breeder/photographer today in the breed?
make subjects appear balanced.
What has been
the best experience as a photographer?
show photographer nine years.
What dog or dogs
would you say were the most beautiful to photograph?
memorable, but BIS BISS Ch Homewood Hurricane CC ROM is especially
memorable because I was invited by the Skinners to photograph him
throughout his career. He has his own Gallery on my website,
Ch Westwind Just A Love Song
at 11 wks.
A Ch Contraband x Ch Sandman daughter. This is
what the good ones look like when they're young!
finished by Sharlene DeFee and Lynn Moore. Litter
brother, Ch Westwind Word Of Honor, UDTX HS PT VCX was owned and finished by Rita Carr Crawford and
became the first Sheltie in the history of the breed
to receive a
VCX title from ASSA. His first conformation win was
a 5 pt. Specialty major at San Diego SSC.
"Abbey," Ch Westwind One Fine Day.
Ch Westwind Somewhere In Time
Ch Contraband x Ch Westwind Party
She was litter sister to Ch Westwind
Starlight Promise who finished with 3
specialty majors. Mira was finished and
owned by Karen Lohman, Oregon.
Photo at 9
By Ch Noradel Cimarron ROM x a double
Ch Contraband granddaughter.
Finished with 2 specialty majors.
Am/Can Ch Westwind Party Lights AOM, dam of 2
champions by Ch Contraband ROM. She was 2 in this
photo. Finished with 3 specialty majors under Dorothy
Christiansen, Katie Gammill and Sandy MacIntosh.
Upon A Star 7 pts. 1 major.
Photo at 8 months.
Sired by Ch Contraband x Ch Westwind Party Lights continued the
emphasis on balance, outline, soundness.
could you give the sheltie exhibitor about taking pictures of their
competent handler/groomer! Be very picky about backgrounds. Keep
the sun at your back. No midday photography; too many shadows
under the ears and eyes. Use a black or brown lead. Analyze
conformation to achieve flattering angles.
How do you feel the breed has changed over the years?
The good? The bad?
Shelties have become long, low hair machines.
"Standard" caliber balance is very hard to find.
you say the breed needs most improvement on?
Balance, balance, balance.
Ch Westwind Fire Up
North exemplifies "Standard-caliber" balance. He is THE definition
of correct length of head to length of neck to length of back to
length of leg. Judge Judy Brown, when awarding him '98 ASSA WD,
said: "I'd love to have this one in my backyard. I could watch him
move all day." He fits exactly what our Standard calls for in
movement and balance. To newcomers, this photo is worth committing
to memory. This is the type of dog I bred for and what I look for
when judging. He's from the very last litter I bred.
The most unforgettable moment:
Ch Westwind Fire Up North
going WD at '98 ASSA under Judy Brown for owner
Linda Churchill. This dog was exceptionally sound and
breeding program, which dog do you feel was most influential to your
Pumpkin. Then in my own line, Am/Can Ch Benayr Westwind Contraband
ROM. Justin produced beautiful faces, excellent bone, good fronts
when bred to the right bitches. He was an absolute sweetheart, a
good friend, good listener. He was litter brother to Ch Benayr Here
Comes Trouble ROM. Quite a caveat for Susan Bentley, 2 ROMs in one
If you could
go back and bring a certain dog into your breeding program, who
would it be and why?
There wouldn't be just one certain dog. Many dogs have
desirable attributes. It's very difficult to breed
"Standard-correct" Shelties. I wanted my bitches to be
"the big picture," or "the cake," as I called them.
Then breed to different studs who had strong female-tail
lines for "frosting." This greatly oversimplifies the
decisions that go into breeding dogs, but in general
this was the thinking behind Westwind Shelties.
Ch Westwind Masterpiece
Reggie at 8 months, head study
"Reggie" deserved his name. He finished very quickly
with 3- 5 pt. majors for owner Linda Sanders (Shamont).
Ch Westwind Masterpiece was absolute
Ch Noradel Cimarron ROM x Ch
Reggie body shot at 8 months. He sired 6 champions.
Litter brother Am/Can Ch Westwind The Poet Laureate
finished both titles quickly for owners Kim Aston and
Pete Culumovic. "Robbie" spent his retirement years
with dear friend Rita (Carr) Crawford where he lived to
What do you find
to be the most rewarding aspect of this sport?
was breeding Shelties other breeders used or wanted in their
programs because of the strengths of their pedigrees.
What do you
enjoy most about it?
photography. It continues to document the development of the
breed. I have always considered it a privilege to be asked to
photography anyone's Shelties.
would you give a novice or a person just starting in the breed?
experienced (15 yr. +) breeder to mentor you with whom you are
compatible and ideally, lives nearby, and is willing to be available
Who was your
first true mentor? Who has influenced you the most? Whom do you
Samuelson (Sea Haven). I continue to admire the overall quality of
her Shelties. Ron Lackey (Cahaba) was always willing to share his
extensive experience in breeding strong female-tail lines down from
Peter and how to use dogs to cross-fault the bitches.
What do you feel
has been the one key to your continuing success?
I love photography. I especially love the happiness clients derive
from beautiful photos. These are memories they'll have all their
lives, documenting their own career in the breed. I get excited for
owners who will receive my work. I always do my best.
motivated you to become a judge?
I was actively breeding and wanted to observe trends in the breed
across the country. I also wanted to "make a difference" at that
time, hoping to send a message of soundness and balance to
onlookers. I love to teach; a judge is a teacher to those who want
to learn. Judges have to put up with ringside rudeness or
negativity but to those watching who are learning the breed, the
effect on their learning curve can be significant. Example: Kim
Aston approached me after seeing my (unfinished at the time)
Westwind Party Lights in the open sable class at the '87 National.
She asked if I would sell her. No. Did I have any other bitches
like her? Yes, later. And Kim kept after me until I sold her my
co-bred Cahaba-Krystalyn Dream West, a Ch Contraband daughter and
later double Ch Contraband daughter, Krystalyn Just An Illusion.
The rest is Laureate history.
Am/Can Ch Westwind Party Lights, AOM
the pluses and minuses of being a judge?
If one is an active breeder, that judge is expected to put up dogs
similar to what she/he is producing in their own breeding program.
I gained a reputation for measuring, soundness, balance and clean
teeth! No color preference. And consistency. Because of my own
success as a breeder I haven't forgotten what a good Sheltie looks
like. It's gotten very difficult to see our Standard reflected in
breeding programs across the country these days. This I know as a
30. Do you think a breeder
judge is a more rounded, better equipped judge or are the two
completely different things?
is the desired result, and breeder/exhibitors expect that. I think
most judges today have that as their goal. Sometimes politics
override good judgment. In a given area some breeders won't enter
under certain judges, knowing politics may rear its ugly head. Many
breeders have not committed to breeding to the Standard, but breed
"heads." Many breeders don't know the Standard. They've simply
followed the direction of their chosen mentors who may not know the
Standard and its emphasis on overall balance. A beautiful head and
expression on an unsound Sheltie is no credit to the breed.
31. What do you recommend breeders
in US to help the breed head in the right direction?
Standard. Choose mentors to guide you that have a long history of
success in the ring. Have the whole Sheltie in mind when choosing
dogs for a certain breeding. Definitely crossfault (and one has to
know the Standard to properly crossfault) with particular emphasis
on the female tail side of the pedigree of both sire and dam. We
have several very good books like Sheltie Talk, and Linda
Churchill's educational material that can be accessed to educate
oneself. Charlotte Clem McGowan's book also clearly illustrates
correct attributes in Shelties. With soundness and balance comes
good health. Dogs with known genetic diseases/defects should be
neutered. No excuses.
Ch Westwind Wildfire
"Jody," going BOB over 5 specials.
sired Ch Westwind Fire Up North, '98 ASSA WD. Jody was
one of 6 champions sired by Ch Westwind Masterpiece. He
was as sound and balanced as he looks in this photo.
His rear angulation was exceptional in that he was not
overangulated as many Shelties are today.
you think Shelties are still good working/herding dogs or is their
temperament becoming more of a toy dog temperament?
The Standard describes
temperament as "reserved toward strangers." That doesn't mean they
hit the deck or flee under a bed when a stranger or little child
approaches. That doesn't mean they are all over strangers like
Golden Retrievers. Neither should they need drugging to be steady in
the ring. Shelties continue to exhibit herding/working behavior
when given the opportunity. Shelties continue to be versatile, but
most conformation breeders do not expand into herding, tracking,
agility or obedience. This has created two communities as in other
breeds: Breeders are either "show/conformation" people or
"performance" breeders. The best of both is to breed mentally
sound, balanced individuals exhibiting correct conformation which
will enable them to perform. More than a few Westwind Shelties were
very versatile and have multiple titles in performance along with
Ch Westwind Harbor Lights
Co-owned by Glenda Henson and Katie Gammill.
Champion sire for Katie.
breedings were particularly successful for you?
I suggested the breeding to Vicky Jackson that produced BIS BISS Ch
Victory's Hidden Treasure CC AOM. I tried to buy her as a puppy
but Johanna Primeaux and Yvonne Samuelson beat me to her and gave
her the stellar career that made "Vanessa" a showstopper across the
country for hundreds of Sheltie people to admire.
I also suggested the breedings and co-breedings to Yvonne DeFreitas
which strengthened her sable foundation stock, giving her Ch
Contraband ROM kids to build on. I later owned/sold several of
these bitches to Kim Aston and husband Pete Culumovic, establishing
their original sable line. These included "Holly," Am/Can Ch
Krystalyn Just An Illusion ROM ROMC, a double Ch Contraband
granddaughter, and Can Ch Cahaba-Krystalyn Dream West, a Ch
Contraband daughter. Their Am/Can Ch Laureate Santana, a Ch
Contraband grandson, was their first sable merle. Stunning dog!
Am/Can Ch Laureate Santana
A Ch Contraband grandson. I had the pleasure of
awarding this beautiful dog his last American major to
I chose the bitch Yvonne DeFreitas bought from Ron
Lackey, Tempo's Cactus Flower O' Cahaba, who later
produced national winner Am/Can Ch Krystalyn Windswept
when bred to Ch Sunnybrook's Heritage Spirit ROM. I
leased her from Yvonne, bred her to my Ch Contraband and
got a stunning bitch who became dam to BIS BISS Am/Can
Ch Westwind Heartbreaker CC AOM, the best male I ever
bred who went on to a wonderful show career with Boyd
Smith, also producing two champions.
BIS BISS Am/Can Ch Westwind Heartbreaker CC AOM
'95 ASSA 1st Open Sable: He was special right
out of the box. Four months old on the ad on left. He fulfilled early
promise by going 1st in Open Sable at '95 ASSA. He
later was owned by Boyd Smith who guided him to Century
Club status and an all-breed Best In Show. Absolutely
sound, correctly proportioned and balanced with a
I am very proud of having contributed sound, balanced Shelties to
breeding programs across the country. If I had it to do over again,
I'd have used Ch Westwind City Lights (Ch September Searchlight x my
original sable from Susan Bentley, Benayr Heart's Desire) more. I
didn't appreciate his ability to produce at the time. But he
reflected my basic plan, take Benayr to Cahaba and September,
crossfault, keep the best, early spay/neuter the rest to keep
numbers down. I later added in Ch Noradel Cimarron ROM, to "loosen
up" the pedigrees which were headed in too-tight a direction.
In all, my Westwind champions produced 32 more champions for other
What do you find
to be the
highlight of your career?
Finally having a website where
potential clients can peruse my work. It's
your great successes, what other goal may there be for you?
here to visit Chris on the web!
Pedigree Lines to find all dogs mentioned here and see
And study the
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