An Interview with Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm

Carol Harris of the Ocala, Florida, area passed away on August 7, 2021 at age 98. She was amazing to work with while creating the following article, and an incredible woman of Quarter Horse fame as well as Whippets and Italian Greyhounds. The Bo-Bett farm was such a beautiful place—and Carol’s favorite place to be. Our sympathy to her children and friends in the dog and horse fancy; she will be missed by all of us.

 

 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
Carol and pups. (Taking puppy pictures is always interesting… the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.)
 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
One of Carol’s favorite photos; “Dario” is pictured with two judges who liked him enough to give him the Group and then BIS—Vera Bistrim and Mrs. Denny Canino, respectively.

“Ruby” and “Dario” produced 22 Champion pups together.

This article previously appeared in TNT and is being reprinted to honor Ms. Harris’ memory.

Carol Harris, breeder of 500 champions and the matriarch of Bo-Bett Farms, became charmed with dogs when she was given a Collie at age ten. Her interest continued after much success in Quarter Horses, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Dalmatians, and Whippets. Her interest in Italian Greyhounds was a result of her love of Whippets, and gave her the knowledge to see structure and understand function as well as utilize strong points in pedigrees. Carol was voted by her peers in 2009, (and a second time in 2012) as “Outstanding Breeder of the Year”—an honor achieved by few. It’s interesting that she says, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

 

 

 

 

“Opie”

 

 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
“Barbara Ann”
 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
“Barbara Ann”
 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
“Barbara Ann”
“Red”

It was her attitude and acquired knowledge that positioned Carol to purchase Tekoneva’s Dario in 1990. “Dario” became the breed’s all-time top-producing sire with 108 champions to his name. He was purchased sight unseen and was campaigned to 9 Bests in Show, 3 Best in Specialty wins and 59 Group Firsts. This Italian Greyhound is felt by many to have changed and improved the breed more than any male sire could have ever accomplished.

Next, Carol searched for a foundation bitch, and acquired Ch. Windrider Ruby Tuesday, “Ruby.” She was bred to Dario and together they produced 22 champions. After their fifth and final litter, they decided to renew their wedding vows. Six of their offspring were in attendance that day; some went on to become champions. Ruby is the breed’s top-producing dam.

 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
“Barbara Ann”
 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
“Opie”
“Dario”
“Dario” in the office at Bo Bo H, sitting in Rugged Lark’s 1987 Super Horse trophy.
 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
“Dario” in 1993 with Judge Mrs. M. Fairwethers.

Carol also owned a male, Ch. Bo-Bett Perry Peridot, who sired 32 champions. One of his sons, Ch. Bo-Bett’s Bachelor Buttons, “Batch,” won the Italian Greyhound Club of America’s Top Producer in 2009—with 16 champion get. He sired Platinum GCh. Bo-Bett’s Open Button, “Opie,” a multiple Best in Show winner and the #1 IG in both 2010 and 2011.

“Dario” with two sons: Left to right: Ch. BoBett’s Tommy Topaz, “Dario” & BISS Ch. BoBett’s Peter Platinum.

Batch also sired Ch. Bo-Bett’s Red Buttons. “Red” became the #2 dog in South Africa in 2007, and was sold to a prominent IG breeder in South Africa. He remains South Africa’s top-winning IG of all time—no IG in South Africa has even come close. His record includes Top Toy for 2008 with 32 Toy Group Firsts, 14 Toy Group Placements, 2 Reserve Best in Show All-Breeds, and 5 Best in Show All-Breeds. Red was handled by his owner, but more often by Ian Allison in Johannesburg, and he is still siring beautiful puppies.

 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
“Dario” in 1993; winning one of many national specialties. Handled by Davin McAteer.
“Dario”

Carol’s current success is the #1 IG and #8 Toy dog, GCh. Marchwind Barbara Ann, bred by Marchwind Kennels and handled by Justin Smithey.

Carol feels conformation and mental stability are very important, as well as knowing what works in terms of pedigrees (why it worked—or not) and keeping very specific notes. Photographs should be included with all records because “pictures don’t lie.”

Another “Ruby” litter: Left to right: Ch. Amy Amethyst, Timmy Tanzanite, Ch. Precious Pearl, Ch. Jamie Jade and Tiny Turquoise.
Carol’s friend, Barbara Angelio, holding “Red” on the left and Barbara’s Champion, Penny Perridot, on the right.
Carol with three young Whippets that would become champions: Left to right: Casha, Multi BIS Quick Pick and Treasure.

Perky Peridot winning IG National Specialty in 1999 under Judge Jimmie Mitchell.
“Red”
“Barbara Ann”
 Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm
Carol with three young Whippets that would become champions: Left to right: Casha, Multi BIS Quick Pick and Treasure.

She has inbred, outcrossed, and line-bred, but feels her success comes from knowing why and how she accomplished what she was seeking in a particular breeding. Carol has not done very much importing and feels the European IGs are different from the those we see here in the United States.

The IG puppies are whelped and raised in the bedroom to allow constant observation and socializing at the earliest age. Carol feels that handling by many different people at all ages prevents shyness and makes them a much better show dog or pet. She is a proponent of hand feeding, and does so as a way of training because it allows for correction and ensures better temperaments,
appetites, better attention span, and success in the show ring. They also learn good manners and patience. She also says, this way she has practically no pans to wash… just her hands. She very much enjoys the hand feeding. Carol Harris is able to determine personality types and suitability for shows or pet homes in the hand feeding and growing up process.

An all-champion litter by “Dario” and “Ruby.”
Ch. BoBett’s Speed Bump now lives with Champion Jr. Handler, Carly McNellie, in Medina, Ohio.
One of Carol’s favorite “Dario” sons, Ch BoBett’s Peter Platinum. He also won a National IG Specialty in 1996 like his sire and brother did.
“Batch” pictured at 6 months. He was an excellent show dog and sire for BoBett.
Rio 8

Show prospects are determined between 12 and 14 weeks, with pets being carefully sold to selected families with whom Carol Harris stays in contact.

Some of her show potential puppies go to Junior Handlers, as this is an
important part of Carol’s philosophy. It brings interested young people into our sport and offers an opportunity to succeed in the show ring with a quality puppy. Some could become professional handlers in time while others learn confidence, handling skills, and can qualify for scholarship opportunities as Junior Handlers. Love of dogs is essential!

Carol Harris owes success to her early experience as a judge of Quarter Horses—her homebred stallion, Rugged Lark, won the Super Horse award at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show in 1985 and 1987. Lark sired two Super Horses, The Lark Ascending and Look Who’s Larkin—the only stallion to do so.

Carol Harris, a woman who has accomplished so much—successful breeder of many champion dogs in several breeds, horse judge, dog judge, successful horse breeder—is still a worthy opponent in the show ring with her Italian Greyhounds and Whippets.

An Interview with Carol Harris | Bo-Bett Farm

Note from the Author:

It was a pleasure to spend time interviewing Carol. My personal thank you to her for her knowledge, the time spent, and the wonderful photos she provided for this interview and article.

  • For 10 years, Bonnie Guggenheim has been the force behind Top Notch Toys. Her introduction and commitment to the Toy Group and Breeds began in 1969 when she met Shih Tzu Breeder Jay Ammon. Bonnie has always had a special love for Shih Tzus which she bred herself until 1985 breeding many Champions and Specialty Winners. The enthusiastic support from her National Breed Club members as a 4-time chosen Specialty Judge, encouraged her to pursue becoming an AKC Judge for additional Toy Breeds. She also bred and showed Japanese Chins, falling in love with their flat faces. She was also Vice President of the American Shih Tzu Club, and an active member of the Western Reserve KC, Medina KC, and the Lakeland KC. Bonnie always volunteered to help her clubs including being Show Chair for several of them over the years. In 2011, Duane Doll & Joe McGinnis asked Ms. Guggenheim to head up Top Notch Toys and decided to place her judges license on emeritus status so that she could pursue her true passion of helping the fancy, the breeds, and educating the community.

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