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.
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.”
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 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.
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’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.”
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.
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.