Beameups' Star-Studded Scottish Terriers

beameups-star-studded-scottish-terriers

Smiling, Rebecca Cross sizes up a 14-week-old black female Scottie puppy stacked on a grooming table. Cobby-bodied with bushy eyebrows and a wispy, growing beard, she is one of three potential show dogs out of a granddaughter of the 2015 Crufts Best in Show winner, “Knopa” (INTL/RUS/AM GCH McVan’s To Russia With Love), whom Rebecca handled to international fame besting 21,500 dogs. 

Choosing the “keeper” is an exercise in nitpicking.

All three are lovely, requiring a tougher test. They are turned loose in the fenced exercise yard with Rosie. The bubbly, fun-loving 4-year-old daughter of Rebecca runs, cuddles and tumbles with the terriers, as her mom and grandmother, Dorene Cross, watch the interactive play. One spirited puppy stands out. 

Longtime friends of Dorene and Rebecca and the litter’s co-breeders, Helen and Norman Prince of Princescot Scotties in Maryland, raised the puppies and have brought them to the Beameups Scottish Terrier kennel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

“Rebecca is a perfectionist,” says Helen, president of the Scottish Terrier Club of Washington, D.C. “She takes seriously things others may not. These are all nice puppies, but she is parting the sea, looking for the best.”

“Puppy C will stay here,” says
Rebecca, scooping up the rowdy Scottie. “She is smaller, more compact and lower to the ground. She has a bigger, longer head. She’s also more reactive.”

Wearing a pink grooming apron monogramed with her name, a favorite color and perhaps a symbol of girl power, Rebecca has an eye for picking show dogs. Feisty terrier temperament turned on in a show ring becomes a dog “on fire,” one that commands your attention, she knows.

With a temperament similar to the independent, bold terriers she shows, Rebecca has blazed a trail to the top with important international and specialty wins. Besides taking Best in Show at Crufts with Knopa, Rebecca handled the bitch to Best of Breed at the 2013 and 2014 Montgomery County Scottish Terrier Club of America (STCA) National Specialties and at the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club show.

Rebecca’s status as a world-class competitor was recognized again when she won Best in Show at the 2018 Benelux Winner World Dog Show in Amsterdam with “Bopper” (BIS/Multi-BISS GCH McVan’s Big Bopper At Beameups). Months earlier at the largest all-breed dog show in the world, Bopper won the Terrier Group at Crufts in Birmingham, England.

Only two months after the World Dog Show, after being stripped and growing a new coat, an amazingly quick turnaround for terrier coat, Bopper won Best of Breed at the Montgomery County STCA National Specialty under esteemed terrier judge Bergit Coady Kabel. It was his third STCA National Best of Breed, having won the Montgomery County National in 2017 and the roving National in April 2016. 

“I was praying we could pull it off,” says Rebecca. “I spent a lot of time brushing Bopper’s topcoat with a boar bristle brush to stimulate the natural oils in the coat.”

Bopper and Knopa are closely related to “Max” (AM/JAP/SWE CH Land Rose R. JP All Right), whom Rebecca bought while living in Japan and imported to the U.S. He became an important sire of the Beameups’ breeding program, producing 26 show champions. Max is the maternal grandsire and paternal great-grandsire of Bopper and the sire of Knopa, who is Bopper’s aunt.

Taking in the puppy excitement from outside the fence is Dorene. She began Beameups Scottish Terriers 40 years ago, starting with pet-quality Scotties and gradually producing star-studded show dogs. Dorene’s passion for breeding and showing this most ancient breed of the Scottish Highland terriers is contagious.

“Becca has a talent that can’t be taught,” says Dorene. “She knows what it takes to make a dog look better and transform it to a great dog. She has a competitiveness and nerves of steel. The harder it gets, the more she loves it.”

Picking up Puppy A and Puppy B, assistant Meri Tanskanen of Vihti, Finland, is soon to finish her third apprenticeship working for Rebecca at her show kennel. They met when Meri was working for Veli-Pekka Kumpum¨aki of Perhaps Scottish Terriers in Helsinki, and Rebecca was in Japan.

Kumpum¨aki had sold a black Scottie named “Marco” (INTL/AM CH Perhaps Sugardaddy) to Japanese breeder and pro handler Hiroshi Tsuyuki of Tokyo, with whom Rebecca was working. She and Dorene became co-owners with Tsuyuki of the standout male who was Rebecca’s biggest winner in 2006 when he took Best of Breed at the Montgomery County Scottish Terrier Club of America National Specialty.

Being rugged and persistent has earned the Scottie the nickname “Diehard.” In many ways, Rebecca conveys diehard determination. “It still amazes me Becca picked this career and stuck with it,” says Dorene.  

Facing life’s forks in the road with clarity and purpose, Rebecca has achieved many milestones. Stubbornness has gone a long way in helping her earn the wins she believes her dogs deserve. “The world needs to see this dog!” she often says exuberantly.

Starting Out in Alaska

Sled dogs were a way of life in Salcha, Alaska, where Brian and Dorene Cross lived in the 1980s and ‘90s, bringing up their only child, Rebecca Sarah Joy Cross. They had retired sled dog racers and used them to haul water and supplies, which was particularly helpful during the long weeks when Brian was working on the Trans-Atlantic Pipeline System.

 “We had a 3-acre homestead on which I raised much of our food, growing cabbage, carrots, beets, and potatoes,” Dorene says. “Brian hunted moose and deer and fished for salmon and halibut.”

Dorene grew up with a Scottish Terrier and longed to get another. When she found a female Scottie available from a breeder in Oregon, she bought the dog and entered a show. She did not know about conditioning and stripping the coat or training the dog in conformation.

“I went to the Tanana Valley Kennel Club show in Fairbanks (Alaska) Memorial Day weekend 1985,” recalls Dorene. “There were four women showing Scotties. I realized, wow, my dog doesn’t look like that. The judge told me I probably wanted a better dog for showing. I decided then and there I wanted to do this.”

An early mentor, Irene McCauley of Wasilla, Alaska, began teaching Dorene what it takes to develop a show Scottish Terrier. She helped her understand how to strip the hard, wiry coat and groom the legs and lower body furnishings.

Meanwhile, the hunt for a show-quality Scottish Terrier proved challenging. “No one wanted to sell a quality dog,” says Dorene. “I saw an ad in Dog World in 1990 for a 3-year-old retired AKC champion. He was being sold because the owner had too many males. I just loved him so much.”

Dorene began training her new male in obedience. “He loved to heel, though he would not retrieve,” she says. “I put CD (Companion Dog) titles on him in four registries.”

Proud of his obedience accomplishments, Dorene put an ad in The Bagpiper promoting “Flood” (CH Anstamm Flash Flood CD). Although she was unaware, Flood was well-bred. He came from the Anstamm Scottie line of Cindy Cooke and Miriam “Buffy” Stamm.

Dorene now wanted a Scottie bitch to breed to Flood, which she found through Phyllis Selby Dabbs of Stonecroft Scotties in California. Dabbs introduced Dorene to show handler Bergit Coady Kabel of Bonnie Briar Kennels in Sun Valley, California. This led to Dorene getting “Tasha” (Stonecroft’s Black Watch UD).

“Tasha didn’t like conformation, but she loved obedience,” Dorene says. “She was so good at retrieving, probably because she was brought up with Labrador Retrievers.”

Dorene bred her first litter, a cross between Flood and Tasha. “They taught me how hard it is to breed show dogs and that I had a lot to learn,” she says.

Rebecca was getting involved in junior showmanship, going to Monday night conformation class with her mom. “My first junior dog was a Labrador Retriever named ‘Crystal,’” Rebecca says. “I didn’t like the Scotties as much as the bigger dogs, but I did the most winning with them. Beameups Black Mr. Spock out of mom’s first homebred litter was the worst show dog, but we did well.”

Although Dorene’s first litter did not bring her the ring success she wanted, she was meeting terrier enthusiasts by going to shows in Oregon and California. In the late 1980s, Dorene met Dr. Vandra Huber of McVan Scotties in Woodinville, Washington, a business professor at the University of Washington who would become a mentor. Their mutual love of the breed led to many collaborations, including Knopa and Bopper. 

The Scottie world lit up with excitement when a 4-year-old black bitch Vandra owned, bred by Camille Partridge, won Best in Show at the 1995 Westminster Kennel Club show. Handled by Maripi Wooldridge, “Peggy Sue” (Multi-BIS/Multi-BISS AM/CAN CH Gaelforce Post Script) also made a mark as the all-time top Specialty-winning Scottie, with 21 Bests in Specialty Show, including a record six STCA National wins.  

“Vandra helped me find a bitch puppy from her lines,” Dorene says. “She also helped me finish the dog. When I bred the dog, Vandra would get to pick a puppy.”

The black brindle bitch out of the McVan bloodline was named “Nugget” (CH Victoria’s Alaskan Gold NAJ). Whelped in 1998, she came from Al Alaniz (Victoria’s Scotties) of Yucaipa, California. Nugget’s sire, “Trevor” (AM/CAN Multi-BISS CH McVan’s Canned Heat), was a top-winning Scottie who won the breed at Westminster at 13 months of age handled by Maripi.

About this time, Rebecca came to a fork in the road. Having lived in Alaska all her life, when she graduated from high school, she was ready to see the world. “All the handlers in Alaska had jobs during the week,” she says. “Making a career of handling dogs never crossed my mind.”

In 1997, she joined the Air Force.

A World’s Eye View of Showing Dogs

During her eight years in the Air Force, Rebecca worked as a computer operator, specializing in combat communications, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in information technology. She spent time at air bases in Oklahoma City, South Korea, Germany, and Japan.

While in Germany, Rebecca got involved in Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) shows, a registry recognizing 344 breeds. FCI shows gave Rebecca a different perspective about how dogs are judged and groomed, as dogs are shown strictly in their natural condition. She also found that European Scotties had more bone and substance than what she was used to, which would come to play in helping to balance her U.S. bloodlines.  

In Germany, she befriended Martina Warner of Arabella Scotties. When Martina had a litter in 2001, Rebecca got a wheaten male named “Polo” (INTL CH Arabella’s Voyager). “We never would have gotten Knopa or her sister, ‘Betsy,’ if not for Polo,” Rebecca says.

Rebecca sent Polo to Dorene, who bred him to Nugget. When the litter was born in 2003, Vandra, who had helped Dorene get Nugget, chose “Anna Nicole” (AM/CAN CH Beameups McVan’s Gold Digger ROM) as her puppy back.

Vandra bred Anna Nicole to “Jimmy” (AM/CAN Multi-BISS CH McVan’s Light My Fire), whose maternal great-granddam was Peggy Sue. A bitch from that litter, “Carrie” (AM/CAN BIS/Multi-BISS CH McVan’s Firestarter), was bred to Max, producing Knopa and Betsy (BIS/BISS GCH McVan’s Be Bop Baby), two phenomenal Scottie bitches.

Rebecca, now stationed in Japan, began working with Hiroshi Tsuyuki, a pro handler who had trained seven years in the U.S. with terrier pros Clay and Bergit Coady, as well as dog show icon Anne Rogers Clark and terrier great Ric Chashoudian.

“Hiroshi was my biggest mentor,” Rebecca says. “He took me to a whole different level, teaching me about blending, conditioning, bathing and blow drying the coat, and finish trimming. I learned to be consistent.”

Handling dogs part time under Sarahjoy professional handling, Rebecca made history in Japan. Polo, her own dog from Germany, set a record as the first wheaten Scottish Terrier to win Best in Show in Japan. She campaigned another wheaten, “Goldie” (Multi-BIS CH Beameups Solid Gold), a sister of Anna Nicole, winning five Bests in Show and handling her to No. 1 Terrier and No. 5 in all-breed rankings.

When Rebecca moved back to the states in 2008, she settled in Glen Burnie, Maryland, close to Fort Meade and her job as a civilian military contractor. Showing dogs on the weekends, she kept up her international contacts. She also stayed active in FCI shows, particularly Crufts and the World Dog Show. Betsy and Knopa were among her stars; Betsy won the breed at the 2012 Crufts show, and Knopa won in 2013.

In 2014, Rebecca faced another fork in the road. Her contractor job ended after Rosie was born. She decided to go full time as a professional dog handler and bought a house in Gettysburg with a kennel in the back. Dorene moved in to help out.

“I had a couple of clients but no assistant,” Rebecca says. “I figured I needed two clients to make my house payment.” 

By 2015, Rebecca had grown her business, taking in some of her best U.S. clients today as well as overseas clients who wanted AKC titles on their dogs. In March, Rebecca won Crufts with Knopa on the eve of her retirement after being campaigned in the U.S. to No. 1 Scottie in 2013 and 2014 and No. 3 Terrier in 2014.

“Knopa is a clone of Nugget,” says Dorene. “I cried watching on TV. Knopa was on fire, showing so beautifully.”  

Rebecca recalls the thrill of winning. “Did this just happen?” she exclaimed to herself.

Betsy, too, was a major force in Scottie circles. She won 22 Bests in Specialty Show, passing Peggy Sue’s record to become the breed’s all-time top Specialty winner. Betsy was bred to “Drake” (CH Chyscott’s Behind The Mask), whose sire GCH Dynasty’s BR Donald Rockfeller, a Max son, won the Montgomery County STCA National Specialty Best of Breed in 2016.

Out of the Betsy-Drake litter came Bopper. Among his standout qualities, Bopper has the cobby body of his Best in Show mother Betsy and the long, clean head of his Crufts Best in Show aunt Knopa.

If all goes well, Puppy C, who spent her first night at Beameups snuggled next to Dorene, will exhibit some of those traits. Looking back at how far they’ve come, Dorene says, “I feel fortunate to have met the right people at the right time.”

In her stubborn way, Rebecca has been pivotal to the success of Beameups Scottish Terriers. She turns show rings on fire when she believes, “The world needs to see this dog!”   n

THE ALL-AROUND CARE OF THE SIMON-PURE HIGHLAND TERRIER

As described in the Scottish Terrier breed standard, the original, dyed-in-the-wool, simon-pure Highland terrier is a rugged, sturdy dog bred to go to ground hunting badgers, fox and vermin. The Scottie is the only breed that has lived in the White House two times, with Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush. A popular breed, the Scottie ranks 58th among the 190 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Beameups Scottish Terrier breeder and professional handler Rebecca Cross loves helping others learn how to care for their terriers’ coats, including doing the tedious finish work. In her “Rebecca Cross Grooming Seminar for Scotties and Westies,” held once or twice a year, she offers hands-on training and tips for owners. These are an offshoot of grooming seminars Rebecca presented in conjunction with Scottish Terrier clubs in the U.K., Italy, Greece, and Denmark when living overseas. 

Here are some of Rebecca’s best practices:

  • For starters, you must feed your dog properly. High-energy terriers require optimal nutrition. At Beameups, we feed our Scotties Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Chicken Rice Formula blended with Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula.
  • Exercise and fresh air are important to reduce the risk of a terrier becoming overweight.
  • Developing a terrier coat takes patience and hard work, as it involves a lot of pulling and stripping of the wiry topcoat. It generally takes 12 weeks for a new terrier coat to grow in — eight weeks for the dead coat to fall out and four weeks for new growth to come in.
  • Be careful of wet environmental conditions, which can blow a coat by opening it up. Likewise, the heat and humidity of summer can dull a terrier’s coat.
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