The History of Leahcim

Sheena the Alsatians

From History

This is a story that can’t be told without telling my own story. I was born in the north of England into a family of animal lovers. My parents first bred Alsatians and then bred Chows. On a trip with my parents in 1973 to the home of Mrs Phyllis Simpson of T’Saigon kennels, I saw my first Pekingese. They bought one of their foundation bitches from her. I think Mrs. Simpson was typical of many Chow breeders of the day in owning a few token Pekingese. Pekingese share a similar heritage with the Chows and therefore have similar temperaments. I played with these strange animals while sat on her kitchen floor. I was totally unaware of my future with the breed not yet realized.

Hazel Jane of T'saigon

From History

My family immigrated to Canada in 1974 bringing four Chows
 along, Hazel Jane was one of them. I learned how to show and handle them and showed several dogs for my parents. I finished a championship on one very spectacular male with an attitude. He did not enjoy being shown, but did enjoy my company. His name was Solid Gold.

CH. Kialin Solid Gold

From History
CH. Kialin Solid Gold with my dad taking a win under breeder/judge Fred Peddie

A few years later in 1986 my mother purchases a Pekingese from a man who had been hired as kennel help for the Chows. I ended up taking a black Pekingese from the same breeder as he did not want her because she had not turned out to be show quality, he required that she whelp a litter. She did have one litter and I learned very fast how much work a litter of Peke’s could be. She was my first peke and lived to be over 18.

Shortly after getting my first Peke I acquired the dam of my mothers Pekingese. “Class act” was a double, International champion CobblestonePuzin Julier, granddaughter, with Jamestown lineage thrown in for good measure. She was a great dog with excellent attitude. 

Coming from a dog breeding family, I understood her quality and the value of her pedigree. I bred her well and kept several of her children. This was the birth of Leahcim Pekingese Kennel’s. My first litter was in 1987 despite having whelped a Pekingese litter the year prior to this.

Mom and Janie

From History
My mom and Janie, her first peke.

I thoroughly love exploring pedigrees. I can still recite pedigrees on the old Ukwong Chows that my parents talked about. Why a child would memorize such a document is anyone’s guess. People say I have a great memory because I can recall a dog’s pedigree in detail. It's actually that I am just good at recalling pedigrees, my memory on other things is only average.

I enjoyed showing and breeding Pekingese. I feel that my geographical area is blessed with an excellent Pekingese gene pool and the mentorship of the world’s experts in the breed. I was thrilled to gain CKC recognition and receive the Pedigree Breeder’s Award in 1998 and 1999. It is an award granted to the CKC kennel name that has the greatest number of champions in that year. It was indeed an honour for me because I feel it is better to produce a number of quality dogs of consistent type rather than one top winning dog that is campaigned and makes a name in the breed. 

I don’t just want to see a nice dog; I want to see his dam, sire, siblings and the rest of the relatives. I feel there are many dogs sat in kennels around the world owned by breeders unable to invest what it takes to truly campaign a dog. I feel it is foolish to dismiss a dog from a breeding program because he has not won at a specialty or not had the backing needed to adorn the cover of various publications. We as breeders have the responsibility to care for this breed for the time we are on earth and must endeavour to leave the breed secure and able to withstand the future. We must carefully consider the changes we make today and not be led by fashion. 

My education as a Nurse assisted me in many ways with understanding the care of the Pekingese especially the newborns. I enjoy nothing more than being at home with a litter.

I had always wanted to return to school and gain my degree. I knew that for me to have the best future in my line of work I needed to do this as the entry to practice for nurses changed making a degree the basic level. I only had a college diploma and not a degree and was at risk for being left behind. The term they use is grandfathered. If I had been a few years away from retirement I might have accepted that, but was not prepared to be left behind in my profession at the age I was. 

For many reasons I had been unable to do this, but all of a sudden in mid August of 1999 the possibility emerged for it to happen. I scrambled and was able to gain entry to the University of my choice, bypassing the normal application process. I knew that at age 34 studying along side 20 year old was not going to be easy. I quickly contacted those breeders who I trusted and offered them dogs on co ownerships. I knew I would return to breeding again, but if I was ever going to achieve my personal goals I needed to put that very important part of my life on hold.

I discovered many things in that time, only a small portion of which was connected with my university studies. I learned that I definitely wanted to continue with breeding and show dogs and being away from them made that more clear to me. All the sleepless nights and stressful moments are worth it. I recommend a break from it all to everyone who ever has a doubt. It was the best choice I made. I returned to breeding with even more passion than before. 

I also learned sadly that there are many people who I once trusted and thought were supportive of my choice to return to school but who in actual fact were not. There were forgery of document taking my name of co-owned dogs and rumour mongering.

Happily however I also learned that some dog people do keep their word and do follow through on agreements. I have had two young good quality females returned to me from breeders who I entrusted my dogs to. Unfortunately a lot was lost and many agreements were not kept, but one starts with what they have and works from there. I returned to the world of exhibiting in the fall of 2004 and finished a dog and bitch. I find the world of Pekes still intact with many new dogs and new breeders, who have entered this world in my absence, to learn about. I find some of the old guard still there and carrying the torch. 

I had several ear infections during my time away from dogsresulting in increasing loss of hearing. I did not realize myself but according to my specialist I have been lip reading and reading other cues to fill in the spaces in what I hear for some time. I do not hear well in certain tone ranges. I was aware that phone calls had become increasingly difficult for me and I was trying to make them as short as possible, compared to the hours I once spent on the phone chatting about dogs. Please communicate with me via e mail, snail mail or in person and if I seem to ignore you when you speak to me in person, do not take it personally and know that I am not ignoring you. Just move into my visual field. 

Early in 2004 I purchased the country home on 10 acres that has been my parent’s home for over 25 years and the home I spent much of my childhood in. There is a kennel attached to the house that my father built equipped with conveniences that make raising dogs easier. I love the grooming space and raised bathtub; its heaven. 

Since my father premature death at age 51 my mother has not bred Chows. She has just two males left, a father and son, that represents 35 years of breeding quality Chows under the kennel name of Kialin. I bought a young, nicely line bred Chow female to ensure the continuation of the lineage. I will venture into the world of Chows with the hope that I can continue to produce the quality dogs that my parents were well known for. 

This is my story and the story of Leahcim Kennels so far. Wish me luck in the future and I wish you the same.

Regards Michael