Mrs. Bonita Jean
and Mother of the American Hairless Terrier
If there ever was a
Mother of a Breed it has to be Mrs. Bonita Jean (Bonnie) Turner of Flinthill Kennel. Through her insight and vast knowledge base Mrs. Bonita Jean Turner did more to influence and shape the American Hairless Terrier than most have had the opportunity to participate in during their lifetimes.
Bonnie and I met some 14 years ago and quickly formed an alliance. We shared the same goals and dreams for the AHT breed for we knew would impact many lives that otherwise would not have been able to own a dog in their lives, either because of their own allergies or those of their family members.
We knew we were beginning with a breed whose Founder's main goal was that of keeping its hairless qualities alive. This alone was a tremendous gift to us. However, it was in need of some serious structural improvements, as we saw it.
Mrs. Turner's years in raising livestock, competing herself, followed by her daughters in 4H, and her 30+ years as a Veterinary technician gave her a keen insight into what those structural faults were along with my many years in the AKC conformatin ring with Keeshonden and Chinese Cresteds.
Now the work began!
It was also about the same time United Kennel Club (UKC) was to include the Rat Terrier into their registry. Genetically, the only difference between the American Hairless Terrier and the Rat Terrier at the time was the hair coat or lack of it. Due to this commonality, UKC decided to admit the American Hairless Terrier into the fold as the hairless variety of the Rat Terrier. Knowing fully that one day the AHT would petition to separate from the Rat Terrier and once again be known as our original namesake, the American Hairless Terrier. This breed is one of a few breeds whose origin can truly be called "American Made".
Mrs. Turner's home and kennel were quite lovely and spacious, giving the AHT a Home-place that could accommodate what she had in mind to do. Mrs. Turner was able to keep siblings long enough to decide which dogs were worthy of moving forward in the American Hairless Terrier breeding program. Those who were not worthy were altered and placed. Because of this, Flinthill AHT quickly began to change the outline of the breed to one of sturdy elegance.
My role was initially to add to the gene pool on a more limited basis and to take the Flinthill dogs into the show ring for Mrs. Turner. Due to some changes that life can toss at you, my exhibiting days were drastically reduced. However, my role was instrumental in moving the American Hairless Terrier Club (Rare Breed) to UKC as the first Rat Terrier licensed club known as the American Hairless Rat Terrier Association. Then onto breed separation from the Rat terrier within UKC as originally planned. The UKC club is known as the American Hairless Terrier Association (AHTA). Presently the breed has moved into AKC/FSS - American Hairless Terrier Club of America (AHTCA). The final goal is full AKC recognition.
The years passed bringing about a close working relationship and an even closer friendship. Mrs. Turner often stated she wanted to be known for the "Outcross Program" she formulated and implemented based on her years of experience in livestock. She would bring in new Rat Terrier lines to the American Hairless Terrier lines, offering with it a more genetic diversity and to improve the AHT conformation more quickly. Today, this has proven to be a very successful process due largely to Mrs. Turner’s diligence in doing so.
She also was a strong proponent of DNA profiling in order for the breed to maintain its parental integrity and for health testing breeding stock.
The American Hairless Terrier (AHT) as we know it today would not be where it is without Mrs. Bonita Jean (Bonnie) Turner and her vast contribution ensuring its future for generations to come.
This is a breed growing rapidly in popularity throughout the World. AHT's have been recognized by Countries who have since recognized them in FCI Group 7 and are earning FCI Champion titles and whose puppies are being FCI litter registered as well as maintaining their United Kennel Club registration status. A Flinthill AHT earned a European Reserve Best in Show title over an entry of 2,500 dogs in the Czech Republic. Followed by an AHT from the Flinthill line, bred by Kidd Kennel earned a FCI Group 5 with a 4,000 dog entry. More recntly, FCI Jr CH 'PR'Kalon's Blue Christmas, won BIS with an entry of over 4,500 dogs in the Czech Republic, owned by Romana Dyntrova and bred by Lynn K Poston. Adam's sire and dam are WudNshu and Flinthill breeding. Wins such as this are a direct result of planned breeding with a keen attention to conformation and health.
Bonnie and Mike Turner are founding members of the American Hairless Terrier Association (AHTA) and are loved by all within the breed.
Sadly, on Saturday, March 15, 2008, tragedy struck Michael and Bonnie when a tornado struck their home. Bonnie was killed in this tragedy and Michael was critically injured. Their entire house and their kennels were destroyed along with everything they owned. Most of their dogs were also killed, however some survived with varying injuries. Mike underwent major surgery and faced a long and difficult recovery.
We are happy to say Mike Turner recovered and went on to promote and Judge a UKC performance Event called Terrier racing.
The AHT world is where it
is today because of the strong foundation laid by Bonnie Turner.
We can truely call her "The Mother of the Breed".