the Walkers' exhibiting of the Finnish Spitz, 1993 was a year of transition
from Norski to Marsu, another dog of their breeding. Since Norski
enjoyed shows so very much, the Walkers were not willing for him to have
to experience an abrupt retirement. Thus, he was exhibited occasionally
throughout the year; nevertheless, 1993 was Norski's year of retirement.
In March 1993, AKC, SKC, Mexican, and International Ch. Finkkila's Marsu
began to make his appearance in the group ring. After a near-death
bout with Corona early in the year, Marsu rejoined the circuit and, by
mid-year, became a strong competitor in both the breed and group rings.
His excellent conformation and super movement gave him a winning edge.
He was Best in Specialty Show at the second AKC approved Finnish Spitz
Specialty in October 1993 and, in spite of his late start in 1993, he was
Pedigree's Top Dog of the Breed winner for the year and came within a few
points of being the year's top-winning group placing Finnish Spitz.
His Canadian bitch cousin, who had been shown all year and who had been Best of Breed at Westminster, ended 1993 with
only a few points more than he.
In 1994, Marsu was Best of Breed at Westminster;
was the second Finnish Spitz to rank in the Top-20 Non-Sporting Dog show
winners; and was the top group-placing Finnish Spitz for the year.
1995 was hoped to be his big year; however as 1994 came to a close, the
Walkers faced the financial reality that they had kept one, and sometimes
two, Finnish Spitz on the circuit with a handler for the first 7 years
the breed had been eligible for point competition in AKC shows. Thus,
in early 1995, they semi-retired from regular and continuous campaigning
in the show ring and Marsu was placed on co-ownership with a young handler,
Crystal Adams of Pennsylvania, who wanted to learn the breed. Marsu
made the transition nicely from the Walkers' long-time agent, Clint Livingston,
to Crystal Adams. Crystal showed Marsu occasionally in 1995 and he
continued to make his presence known in the ring when shown. Marsu
was born 26 September 1986. He was returned to the Walkers on his twelth birthday and died on June 13, 1999.
CH. BROWN'S MIKKI
The Finnish Spitz male, Ch. Brown's 'Mikki' is pictured at
the time of one of his many Group I wins. He is exhibited
by Mrs. Kim Raleigh
who co-owns him with the Walkers.
Mikki is a three-time Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
winner Best of Breed (1995, 1996, 1997)
and a three-time Finnish
Spitz Club of America, Inc. Specialty Dog Show
Best in Specialty Show winner (1994, 1995, and 1996).
In July 1993, the Walkers were fortunate enough to
rescue from an undesirable situation three Finnish Spitz of their line--a
pup from each of three litters of a female of their breeding that they
had sold, already bred, in early 1991. The oldest of the three was
a 28 month old male that had been named Brown's
`Mikki' Another was a 21 month old female called Stormy whom
they registered as Finkkila's Arctic Storm. The third was a beautiful
pup that they placed with a family as a pet. In November 1993, both
`Mikki' and Stormy finished their AKC championship. Fortunately,
both, like their illustrious cousin, Norski, had inherited from their grandsire,
Thor, a love for the show world! In February 1996, Stormy went Best
of Opposite Sex at Westminster to her "rescued" brother, Brown's `Mikki'who
went Best of Breed for his second time. She was to have returned
to Westminster in 1997; however, her entry, sent by the handler who was
to exhibit her, missed the "first 2500 by one minute!"
Ashley Raleigh, age 10 years, winning Best Junior Handler at the
Hobbs, New Mexico, Kennel Club Dog Show with the Finnish Spitz
male, Ch. Brown's 'Mikki,' owned by Kim Raleigh and Tom T. Walker.
Although Mikki does not carry the Walkers' kennel
prefix, he is of their breeding and is a typical Finkkila's showman.
In early 1994, because of his super temperament and showmanship, the young
champion, Mikki, was placed on co-ownership with Kim Raleigh so that her
could show him in Junior Showmanship competition. In addition to
Ashley's beginning, almost immediately, to win with Mikki in Junior Showmanship,
her mother, Kim, began very shortly to be successful with him in Conformation.
By year's end Mikki had become recognized as a potential challenger to
the illustrious record of his then retired cousin, Norski.
In November 1994, Ashley and Mikki won best Junior
Handler and Kim and Mikki won Best in Specialty Show at the third AKC approved
Finnish Spitz National Specialty.
CH. BROWN'S 'MIKKI'
The Finnish Spitz male, Ch. Brown's 'Mikki' is pictured appearing
completely happy with himself after winning Best in Show at
the Rapid City, South Dakota, Kennel Club Dog Show on
21 October 1995. Mikki is pictured with Judge Ralph J. Ambrosio,
who awarded the Best in Show; Kim Raleigh, co-owner and
handler of Mikki; and Tom T. Walker, co-breeder and co-owner.
The other co-breeder is Marg G. Walker. Mikki is only the second
Finnish to win a Best in Show in an AKC all-breed show.
ended the year as the top winning group-placing Finnish Spitz and also
received Pedigree's 1994 Top Dog of the Breed award. In February
1995, Mikki was Best of Breed at Westminster and, later in the year, became
the third Finnish Spitz to rank in the Top-20 Non-Sporting Dogs show winners.
On 13 October 1995, he again won Best in Specialty Show at the Finnish
Spitz National Specialty and, on 21 October 1995, became the second Finnish
Spitz to win Best in Show at an AKC all-breed show. Then, in February
1996, Mikki again was Best of Breed at Westminster. Also, at the
1996 Westminster show, he was awarded a Group III. Thus, he became
the first Finnish Spitz to place in group at Westminster. At the
November 1996 Finnish Spitz Specialty, Mikki was again BISS and Ashley
again won Best Junior Handler. In February 1997, Mikki again went
Best of Breed at Westminster and became the first Finnish Spitz to be exhibited
in Junior Showmanship at Westminster. He, of course, was handled
in Junior Showmanship by Ashley Raleigh. A Norski daughter went Best
of Opposite to Mikki at the 1997 Westminster Show. After his 1997
Westminster win (which was his third), Mikki was retired from regular competition--at
least, for a year--but continued to be shown in Junior Showmanship until Ashley graduated from Junior Handling.
Tom and Marg are long-time members of the Austin,
Texas, Kennel Club where both have served in various places of responsibility,
including president and show chair. Also, long ago, Tom served as
president of the Texas Dog Show Circuit when that organization was active.
Both Tom and Marg have been active members of the breed club, Finnish
Spitz Club of America, Inc. (FSCA), since 1979 and both have served the
club in various capacities. Marg served as member of the AKC/FSCA
Video Committee that guided the production of the AKC's video on the breed
and has served as breed club representative to both CERF and OFA; as membership
chair; as treasurer; as secretary; as Vice-President; and as a member of the Board. Tom has served
as breed club representative to both CERF and OFA; as a member of the Board
for about 10 years; as treasurer; and as president. They are the FSCA's
longest tenured members (continuous membership).
Since 1985, Tom has traveled to Finland, the homeland
of the Finnish Spitz, nine times and to Sweden one time (for a total of
about 27 weeks) to study the breed and to select breeding stock.
The Walkers have imported ten Finnish Spitz from Finland and one from Sweden
for their breeding program. Among the 10 imported from Finland are
three males who are in the pedigrees of many Finkkila Finnish Spitz.
The three are AKC Ch. Eerik, imported in 1987 as a puppy; Finnish Hunting
and Show and AKC Ch. Ukkoherran Taika, imported in 1990 at 9 1/2 years
of age; and Finnish Best in Show and AKC Ch. Jasmir [Yassoo], imported
in 1996 at 7 1/2 years of age.
In May 1990, the Walkers imported the only Finnish
champion imported, thus far, into North America. He was Finnish Hunting
and Finnish Show Ch. Ukkoherran Taika [Taika] (10/16/80 to 11/03/94).
In November 1990, in his 11th year, Taika finished his AKC championship.
When the Walkers saw the quality of pups that Taika was producing, they
made the decision to store semen for future breedings. It is their
understanding that this was the first time that the semen of a Finnish
Spitz had been stored. On 11 January 1996, the Walkers bred a daughter
of their Ch. Finkkila's Norski to Ch. Ukkoherran Taika using stored semen.
This breeding, which was done by surgical insemination, produced 5 lovely
puppies born on 13 March 1996--the average size litter for a Finnish Spitz
is 4. According to available information, this was the first breeding
in the world of a Finnish Spitz with sperm from a dog that had already
died. Also, it was the first breeding of a Finnish Spitz by surgical
insemination. From this litter, the Walkers kept a male whom they
named Fjiordlund's Finkkila Yuri. At 10 months of age, Yuri, received
a Group IV placement in an AKC show and, at 19 months of age finished his
AKC championship. Upon finishing his championship, he traveled to
The Netherlands for two years. While there he won numerous European titles and Championships and sired several
litters of puppies. Yuri is now back in the United States with the Walkers.
Tom and Marg continue to show their Finnish Spitz to the Championships; however, they have retired from campaigning a Special.
The Walkers extend to any reputable young fancier
of dogs who is interested in Junior Showmanship the offer of a show potential
puppy for Junior Showmanship at no cost. Also, they extend an open invitation to spend a day at their place in a hands-on breed seminar to anyone
interested in the breed.
One can see Finnish Spitz that represent the first lines imported from
Finland into the U. S. (1966 to 1970), the first breeding pair imported
from England into the U. S. (1974), and Walker imports.
The Walkers continue to do some breeding of the Finnish Spitz.
They accept deposits for puppies from future breeders.
Please feel free to contact them with any interest you may have.