Cornelia King grew up with dogs on her grand parents’ farm in Memphis, Tennessee, but she never suspected that one of her pets would later become a world champion.
Now living in Radford, she has produced titleholder after titleholder. King owns Skansen’s Holy Knight, a giant schnauzer that was ranked number one in the world at his prime.
“I fell in love with the breed of giant schnauzers. When I first saw one, I knew I had to have one,” King said.
The breed is a cross between a standard schnauzer and a great Dane, measuring as high as three feet in height when fully grown.
In 1995, King introduced her first schnauzer to her home with no plans for a show dog. She started going to dog shows and all of that changed, and in came Knight as King caught the bug.
Knight was very successful as he became the number one giant schnauzer in the U.S. In 2011, he won best in show at several shows and was named best in breed at the Westminster Dog Show in 2015 and was declared the show’s Grand Champion. He has over 325 trophies and plaques hanging from the wall of King’s basement. The dog was named best in show three times and has since retired.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the National Dog Show caught the attention of television viewers, and the Westminster is slated for later this month and again will take to the airways. King’s new show dog will be there and again, and she is hoping for another championship.
King has now purchased a female giant schnauzer named Skansen’s Miss Me. At two years old, she has taken on the grueling show schedule that brought Knight so many honors. She is doing 10-12 shows a month.
In 2010, Knight came from the Skansen kennel in California that is considered one of the top breeders in the world. Miss Me came from the same kennel.
By 10 months, Knight had become AKC Champion of Record and climbed up the ladder to be Grand Champion.
Knight officially retired after his 2015 win at Westminster when King said he deserved to just be a dog.
This past week, Knight stood proudly as King groomed him acting like a normal dog whimpering for attention for visitors. He also barked at a bird on the back deck.
“He has the control of the house just like any other dog,” King said.
Meme as King calls her new schnauzer has picked up where Knight left off. Already, she has been ranked number one for her breed as a female giant schnauzer.
“I think she will do well,” King said with a big smile.
When Meme walks the ring, King will be there cheering her on and maybe, she will bring home to Radford another world title.