Wire Fox Terrier 'King' Rules The Westminster Ring

Wire Fox Terrier 'King' Rules the Westminster Ring

When a passionate terrier lover named Victor Malzoni Jr. was looking for a nice Wire Fox Terrier bitch in 2010, he asked another passionate terrier lover, pro handler Gabriel Rangel, to help him find one. The beautiful Belgian-bred bitch Gabriel had in mind, CH Gina Gee van Foliny Home, was not for sale, as she was soon to be bred to a famous Swedish male, WJW 08/INTL/AM CH/WW10/WW11 Crispy Legacy.

“We were fortunate that the breeder committed to selling us the pick male from the litter,” says Malzoni, of Malibu, California.

Rangel, of Rialto, California, snapped photos on his cellphone of the pick male called “King” while at the Crufts dog show in Birmingham, England, and sent them to Malzoni.

Not every day does a dog pictured in a cellphone snapshot become a Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show winner, but that is exactly the way this story goes. ENG/EUR/AM Multi-BIS/Multi-BISS GCH King Arthur van Foliny Home — King — won the favor of another passionate terrier lover, Peter Green, who was judging the 2019 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

“I thought he was very exciting,” Malzoni says, recalling seeing the photos of King from Rangel. “I called the breeder and asked about his plans for the dog and whether I could buy him. We made an agreement for me to buy King, though he would stay there to be shown first in Europe.”

Bred by Rony and Dieny de Munter-Uiterwijk of Dendermone, Belgium, King was handled by Warren Bradley in Europe. When he arrived in the U.S. in late 2017, King’s passport was filled with trips to European countries that corresponded with prominent dog show wins — gold stars on a distinguished resume.

A Crufts Best of Breed winner in 2014 and 2015, King also took Group First at Crufts in 2014 and Group Second in 2015. He took Group First at the World Dog Show in Helsinki and in Milan and Best in Show at the National Terrier Show and European Winner Show. King is the only dog in history to win the Wire Fox Terrier Association English Championship Show three times. 

New to American Kennel Club dog shows and new to handler Rangel, King set out on the circuit in 2018. This 7-year-old tricolor male exuded correct temperament. As described in the breed standard, a Wire Fox Terrier should be “on the tiptoe of expectation at the slightest provocation.”

The winningest terrier in the country in 2018, King with Rangel on the end of the lead took 35 Bests in Show and many Group Firsts. One of his first all-breed wins that year was the Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina, hosted by the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills, where he topped 1,200 dogs.  

The 15th Wire Fox Terrier to win Westminster — more than any other breed — King won under a tough terrier judge with a critical eye. More than 2,800 dogs, including 203 breeds and varieties from 50 states and several international countries, were in contention.

“The Wire Fox Terrier is a breed I know really well,” says Green, himself a four-time Westminster Best in Show handler. “He’s as good as it gets. The handler had him in perfect condition.”

Rangel handled his third Westminster Best in Show winner that night at the Garden. He won in 2014 with “Sky” (GCH Afterall Painting The Sky), a Wire Fox Terrier owned by Torie Steele of Malibu, California, and Malzoni, who lived in São Paulo, Brazil, at the time, and in 2010 with “Sadie” (CH Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot), a Scottish Terrier owned by Amelia Musser of Mackinac Island, Michigan.

An emotional Rangel said after the show that night, “We feel honored to be part of King’s legacy. He is truly a magnificent Wire Fox Terrier. To win under the most famous terrier man in the world makes this extra special.”

As the sole owner of King, Malzoni, too, counted the win as extra special.

A Love of All Dogs

A native of Brazil, Malzoni took to dogs and the sport of dog shows at a young age.  “My father bought a Rough Collie in 1957 from a kennel (Canil di Cambinao) in Italy that is well-known even today,” he says. “Then, my brother bought a Saint Bernard in 1965 from the Saint Bernard Monastery of Switzerland. This was the first dog we took to shows. Many years later, I got my first Wire Fox in 1992, and this is when my passion for terriers began.”

After graduating from college with a degree in economics, Malzoni joined his brothers working for the family’s construction and development company. Although he traveled frequently and there was little time to devote to showing dogs and building a breeding program, he kept his love of dogs in the back of his mind.

“Many times I was in Miami when the Westminster Kennel Club show was on TV,” he says. “I think watching this amazing show with such top-quality dogs is what sparked my interest again.”

Malzoni established his Hampton Court kennel outside São Paulo, naming it for the street of his home in Florida. The state-of-the-art kennel built on his farm in Itatiba had been his dream for a long time. He began with Cairn Terriers. “I just fell in love with the breed,” he says. “Then, I acquired my first Bedlington Terrier. As I started meeting more people, I became interested in other terrier breeds.”

He recalls meeting Rangel in 2004 in the benching area at Westminster. “He was back in the setups grooming the Sealyham Terrier, ‘Ben’ (CH Stonebroke Right On The Money),” Malzoni says. “He noticed I was standing close looking at him working on the dog. I told Gabriel I was a Cairn Terrier breeder from Brazil and I admired how he worked. I told him I hoped that someday he could show a Cairn for me. Then, a few years later, Gabriel showed the first Cairn for me.”

His connection to Rangel led to his meeting Diane Ryan, the owner of Sky, and partnering as a backer on the 2014 Westminster winner. “She really was a beautiful bitch,” Malzoni says. “She was the No. 1 dog in the U.S. in 2013, after winning an incredible 128 Bests in Show, and was a World, French and American Champion. Sky also won Best in Show at the 2013 Montgomery County (all terrier) show. In 2012, she won Bests in Show at the AKC National Championship and the National Dog Show.”

Malzoni is well-known to the dog fancy as a backer of important dogs that have had tremendous success. He supported the campaign of “Charlie” (GCH Cragsmoor Good Time Charlie), the winningest Skye Terrier of all time handled by Larry Cornelius to Terrier Group Firsts at Westminster in 2015 and 2016 and Reserve Best in Show in 2015 and Bests in Show at the 2014 AKC National Championship and the 2015 National Dog Show.

Malzoni also was the sole owner of the German Wirehaired Pointer “Oakley” (BRAZ/AM GCH Mt. View’s Ripsnorter’s Silver Charm), handled by Phil Booth to his Sporting Group First at Westminster in 2013 and a three-time winner of the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America National Specialty.

“I’ve been lucky to be included in some great dogs’ careers because sometimes a handler comes to me with a great opportunity,” Malzoni says. “As to backing a dog, first I have to like the breed, and second, it has to be a quality dog. Now, most importantly, I want to show the dogs I am breeding.”

That brings us to King. Once his Westminster celebrity appearances with Rangel are completed, King will retire to live at Malzoni’s home in Malibu. Of course, retirement will include being bred to select bitches. 

The year has brought changes. Along with moving his home to Malibu from Miami, Malzoni is moving his Hampton Court kennel to the States, so it will be closer to him.

“I am a breeder at heart, and the fact that in 2013 I was the No. 1 breeder in Brazil gave me enormous pleasure,” Malzoni says. “I am a big dog lover and have a lot of passion for dogs. I am learning all the time and have made so many wonderful friends all around the world through the sport of purebred dogs.”