Patricia Craige Trotter’s gift to the purebred dog fancy is one that will be cherished for generations.
When I first had the idea to start a monthly dog book review, I reached out to several breeders, judges, and handlers in the Canadian dog world whom I respect and asked for their dog book recommendations. It quickly became apparent that at the top of almost everyone’s must-read list was Born to Win: Breed to Succeed by Patricia Craige Trotter.
Widely considered the most comprehensive dog book of our time, Born to Win is so widely read that while Mrs. Trotter was in the Best in Show ring at Westminster for the ELEVENTH time in 2017, showing one of her famous Vin-Melca dogs, “BORN TO WIN!” was shouted repeatedly from spectators in the stands!
So, who is Patricia Craige Trotter, and what makes her an authority on purebred dogs, dog breeding, genetics, inheritance, successful showing, and more?
In the past 50 years, Patricia Craige Trotter of Carmel, California, has stepped into the Best in Show ring at The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 11 times with her world-famous Norwegian Elkhounds.* In June, Trotter will return for the twelfth time — as the 145th annual Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show judge. An event the entire fancy is looking forward to.
As a retired 8th grade American History teacher, Trotter expresses herself flawlessly, using her background as an educator to skillfully arrange information in her book.
Topics include pedigree examination, movement, and anatomy, as well as theories in genetics. Lessons and information are weaved together seamlessly, with doses of Mrs. Trotter’s signature charm sprinkled throughout.
In Born to Win: Breed to Succeed, Trotter provides insight on many aspects of breeding fantastic dogs as well as tips and inside information on the presentation of show dogs, including how a judge evaluates dogs in their ring. Trotter explains the importance of working together and how others in the fancy can contribute to your success.
This isn’t the type of book you rent from a library or borrow from a friend. You’ll want to buy your own hard copy. Mine is highlighted and underlined throughout, and there are post-it notes sticking out of it. It’s a book you will want to go back to time and time again. I will say it’s a lot to take in. Several times I’ve been reading it and said out loud, “sorry, I have to read that paragraph again”. Take your time and take it all in because by doing so, you will learn how master breeders achieve their goals in and out of the show ring.
I don’t know of a successful breeder, handler, or judge that hasn’t read and loved this book’s depth and clarity. It belongs on every serious dog person’s bookshelf!
All photos courtesy of Pat Trotter and Jen Reed.
*Vin-Melca Westminster Group Winners
1970 and 1971 • Ch. Vin Melca's Vagabond
1974 • Ch. Vin-Melca's Homesteader
1977 and 1979 • Ch. Vin-Melca's Nimbus
1986 • Ch.Vin-Melca's Call to Arms
1989 and 1990 • Ch. Vin-Melca's Calista
1994 and 1995 • Ch. Vin-Melca's Marketta
2017 • GCh. Vin-Melca’s Daggarwood Delight