My best friend, confidant, mentor is gone. Words cannot begin to express the sorrow and the hole in my heart.
God speed my friend. I miss you so much.
Sharon Abmeyer, beloved breeder of Welsh Terriers and distinguished member, former interim president, and most recently, chair of hospitality for The Welsh Terrier Club of America, passed suddenly, but peacefully, in her home on Saturday, October 17, 2020. The legendary breeder holds the record for breeding and owning the most Welsh Terrier champions in modern history.
Early in her life with dogs, Sharon Abmeyer bred Airedales, beginning with a litter sired by the renowned Stone Ridge Kennel. It was her passion for the noble, intrepid, and indefatigable Welsh Terriers, however, that captured her heart.
Over thirty-five years of breeding and exhibiting Welsh Terriers is a career of hard work, dedication, and perseverance mixed with passion and sportsmanship that can lead to extraordinary results. Carefully planning over many years, dog to dog, pedigree to pedigree, to produce healthy dogs with great temperaments that epitomize the breed standard was her goal. Achieving confirmation of her work in the ring by judges awarding her dogs titles was an overwhelming honor and thrill. She did it hundreds of times with nearly 100 of her own homebred dogs. Therein, the record is held for the late Sharon Abmeyer (Shaireab’s, then Shaireab’s Bayleigh), who has contemporarily bred and owned the most Welsh Terrier champions of record.
Rarely does a dog measure up to every specification of its breed standard. It is the conceptualization of the standard that guides the imaginations of those seriously interested in the breeding, exhibition, and performance of purebred dogs. Sharon Abmeyer cherished teamwork as her guiding force, and has credited her partner in Welsh of 20 years (1998-2018), Keith Bailey (Shaireab’s Bayleigh, then Bayleigh), with whom they produced 61 of the near 100 Champions, 13 Grand Champions (including GCh. Ch. Bayleigh Shaireab’s Super Hero, “Spyder,” the first Welsh Terrier Grand Champion; the Top Winning Welsh Terrier Bitch of All Time, GCh. Ch. Shaireab’s Bayleigh Maid of Honor, “Jennie”; and the Number One Terrier in America 2017, GCh. Ch. Shaireab’s Bayleigh Daenerys Stormborn, “Khaleesi”); and overall 100+ Best in Show wins. Together, Sharon Abmeyer and Keith Bailey bred and owned the No. 1 Welsh Terrier in the country in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017.
Sharon Abmeyer was the breeder of the Number One All-Time Most Titled Welsh Terrier, Internationally—PACH ATCHC IACS IWACS Shaireab’s You’re Under Arrest MXPB MJP4 MJPB PAX MFPB TQXP T2BP2 CGCA CGCU TKP TDCH EXSTGOLD ESJGOLD EXGGOLD EXSGOLD EXTRSILVER ESSCSILVER EXCHBRONZE VSA GOLD, “Miles.”
Sharon Abmeyer treasured, too, her professional handler Tracy Szaras, and subsequently her spouse and partner, Luiz Antonio Abreu. The collective team’s willingness to evaluate puppies and dogs, to discuss differences of opinion, and to work together openly to achieve their goals, was a hallmark of their accomplishments.
This successful team follows previous record holders, such as Judge Walter S. Glynn, who bred and owned more Welsh Terrier champions than anyone else at the turn of the century in the period 1887 until his death on April 17, 1933. They complement other record-holding breeders and owners, who achieved pinnacles with extra special dogs and exceptional resolve, and set records that have become new standards of achievement, elevating the Welsh Terrier breed and ideals to the highest level—The Welsh Terrier Record Holders.
Denise Yates, founder of The Welsh Terrier Record Holders, expresses deepest sympathies to Sharon Abmeyer’s family—husband Bob Abmeyer; daughter Julie Fox and son-in-law Fred Fox; son Steve Abmeyer and daughter-in-law Dawn Abmeyer; and grandchildren Jared Fox, Jordan and Taylor Abmeyer.
Denise Yates is especially grateful to own the last dog Sharon Abmeyer raised in her home, GCh. Ch. Shaireab’s Bayleigh Enough Said, “George.”
For more information on Welsh Terrier Record Holders, visit www.welshterrierrecordholders.com.
—Denise Yates, October 18, 2020
Yesterday I walked Miles to the mailbox and dropped a birthday card in for my friend Sharon, who would be turning 80 soon. A few hours later, Keith called me to tell me that Sharon had passed away peacefully in her home. I felt a wave of disbelief and saddness. It always feels like we will have more time with those we love. At the same time, my mind flooded with warm thoughts of who Sharon was.
Sharon Abmeyer has left a great legacy in the world of Welsh Terriers. Her understanding of structure was fascinating. She had a visual eye and could pinpoint the most minute nuances in gait and movement. She had a talent that is one-of-a-kind.
In 2012 as an unknown dog trainer, I was nominated for a dog training article award. I didn’t have the resources to go to NYC to attend the Dog Writers Association of America Banquet, so I asked Sharon if she would go in my place. To my surprise she agreed and ended up going to the banquet, not knowing a soul! She sat there for hours upon hours, unsure if I would even win! That was the kind of friend Sharon was. She celebrated my first Maxwell Award with me with immense excitement that made me feel so special.
Over the years, we shared some tears of sadness, and far more tears of joy. Sharon was the kindest person I have ever met. Sharon was a cheerleader of my endeavors with Miles no matter what they were, or no matter how we did. I remember breathlessly giving Miles treats after an agility run last December and Sharon said, “Seeing an owner cherish and love one of my dogs for years and years, that is all I can ask for as a breeder.” She knew what was important in life: respect, humor, passion, hard work, and love.
When people talk about choosing a dog breeder, they often say to me, “It doesn’t really matter as long as I get a good dog.” I can’t tell you what it feels like to have your dog’s breeder, the one who held your dog as a puppy, many years later see that dog with you and feel pride and joy for that relationship. It meant everything to me.