The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 AKC® Lifetime Achievement Awards: Peter Green (Conformation), Betty Winthers (Companion Events) and Jim Basham (Performance).
The Awards, created by AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung, are presented in recognition of outstanding participation and achievement within the dog sport. The finalists and winners are nominated by AKC member clubs and have impacted the sport on a national level through club involvement, judging, exhibiting, breeding and teaching.
Peter Green of Bowmansville, Pennsylvania, was born in Neath, Wales at the cusp of World War II. At age 11, he started showing Welsh and Wire Fox Terriers at his uncle’s famous Felstead Kennel. Developing a passion for the sport, he came to Malibu, California in 1958, attended Westminster in 1960, but chose to return home to the United Kingdom, where he achieved great success as a handler.
Peter immigrated for a second time to work privately at Pool Forge Kennels in 1963, where his career flourished. In 1967 he established Greenfield Kennels in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Peter won four Best in Show titles at Westminster, Best in Show at Montgomery County on nine occasions and earned the top dog all breeds in the United States six times. Peter was one of only two handlers to receive Best in Show honors at both Crufts and Westminster.
Peter’s many awards include four Kennel Review Handler of the Year; two Gaines Handler of the Year, Nature’s Recipe Handler of the Year, and BowTie Dogs in Review Lifetime Advancement Award.
After retiring from handling in 2006, he started his journey in judging. He was approved as a Terrier Group Judge by AKC and later approved for the Toy and Herding Groups and for several Non-Sporting breeds.
Peter has judged dog shows at the highest level throughout the world – including Best in Show at Montgomery County Kennel Club, Westminster Kennel Club and Crufts.
At his Greenfield kennel, Peter has mentored some of the most influential people in the dog fancy.
Betty M. Winthers, of Lynnwood, Washington, has been active in the sport for more than 60 years, encompassing a wide range of experience as breeder, exhibitor, trainer, judge, and as an AKC Executive Field Representative of Obedience, Tracking and Rally.
Betty is an AKC Breeder of Merit who has bred and exhibited Champion German Shepherd Dogs with Obedience titles including CD, CDX, UD, and the first UDT in Washington state; a Champion CDX Miniature Poodle, a CDX Papillon as well as many Champion Papillons including a Best in Show winner.
She became an AKC-approved judge in 1969 and is now approved to judge Obedience, Tracking, Rally, Conformation and Junior Showmanship. Betty has judged throughout the United States, Canada and overseas.
She is an active club member, serving as an officer and Board member for the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, German Shepherd Dog Club of Washington, the Washington State Obedience Training Club, (class trainer for 12 years), and Olympic Kennel Club and is also a Life Member for those clubs. Betty served as show secretary for the German Shepherd Dog Club of America for seven years and is a member of the Papillon Club of America and Papillon Association of Puget Sound. She was the AKC Delegate for the Olympic Kennel Club from 1987 until 1992 and became their Delegate again in 2014 – March 2021.
During her tenure as a Field Rep she conducted seminars and worked with prospective judges to expand AKC judges’ base. By educating judges to conform to AKC Rules and Regulations, she helped to create exceptional judges.
Betty was nominated for the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and is the recipient of the Gaines Sportsman award for the German Shepherd Dog Club of Washington State. She is also the recipient of the D’Ambrisi award from the Association of Obedience Judges.
James (Jim) Basham (posthumous)
In 1968 Jim and Beverly bought their first Irish Setter, Basham’s Tipparrary Red CDX. Tippy was the family dog and personal hunting companion. He had earned eight bench points before a leg injury ended his show career. In 1969 Jim started training some his friends hunting dogs and was successful enough that in 1972, he decided to train professionally when they moved out of the city and bought a farm in Nova, Ohio.
Jim started with five kennel runs and two clients with young Irish Setters. Two years later he finished both dog’s field championships, and his training business took off. Jim still worked full time at the steel plant at night and trained bird dogs during the day. English and Gordons came next, and before long, all pointing breeds – full time with a new boarding and training kennel.
Jim appreciated and finished many dual champions. His first Dual was Irish Setter DCH Shane’s Irish High Noon, owned by Jim Haupt This was followed by Dual Gordons, German Wirehair Pointers, Weimaraners, German Shorthaired Pointers, Vizslas, Pointers, and Brittanys.
To his credit Jim never ran any dogs of his own. He felt competing with his clients was against his principals as the client’s dogs had to come first. He also donated his grounds for hunt tests free of charge and gave several complimentary training seminars for various clubs. In 2007 he retired as a professional trainer.
During his career, Jim finished well over 75 field championship titles, among them, 25 Gordon Setter duals and 45 Gordon field champions, including an American Field National Gordon Setter Champion, several AKC Gordon Setter National Field Champions. He also won Tri-Setter and Irish Setter Quail Classics. He put Master Hunter Titles on many of the Field and Dual Champions that he trained.
Jim delighted in training owners to handle their own dogs and always had time to help someone in need. He is remembered in the field trial community as a gentleman, a great sportsman and competitor.
The honorees, who were selected from votes cast by AKC member clubs, will receive engraved Revere bowls. A presentation will be held in conjunction with the quarterly Delegates Meeting on June 8, 2021.
For more information on the recipients and all of the nominees, visit https://www.akc.org/about/awards-and-honors/lifetime-achievement/nominees/2021-lifetime-achievement-award-nominees/.