The Isabel S. Kurth Award was established by the Board of the Newfoundland Club of America in 1993 to honor an extraordinary woman whose service to the club, dedication to the principles on which it stands and devotion to the breed is legendary. This award recognizes that member who best captures the spirit and exemplifies the standards of excellence in service and devotion to the breed that Isabel Kurth had so tirelessly set.
1997 - Betty McDonnell- by John Adams, Awards Chairperson
At the 1997 National, the Isabel S. Kurth Award was presented to Betty McDonnell. Betty is the second recipient of this prestigious award. For more than 25 years, she has served the NCA in a variety of capacities, including many years as a Board member and multiple terms as its president. Among her committee appointments, some of which she has chaired, are Working, Grievance, Judges' Education, Standard, Illustrated Guide and National Specialty Show Committee.
As a breeder, Betty has been responsible for consistently producing dogs of excellent quality, and the evidence of these accomplishments has been noted and admired repeatedly in the conformation rings, as well as in obedience trials and working tests. She has bred two National Specialty Best of Breed winners, a National Specialty Best of Opposite Sex winner and a Best of Winners. Dogs of her breeding have been awarded Selects at Nationals and she has had numerous class winners and placements along with puppy sweepstakes winners. Perhaps of even more significance are the seven of her Newfoundlands listed as ROMS in the recently published Register of Merit publication. In short, Betty McDonnell has been encouraging and promoting top quality in breeding Newfoundlands for generations.
In addition to Betty's outstanding success in the conformation ring, she has proved to be a pace setter year in and year out in both working and obedience. She has earned an AKC Companion Dog Title on over 22 dogs, a Companion Dog Excellent Title on 16 and a Utility Dog Title on 13, as well as 12 NCA Water Dog and 10 Water Rescue Dog titles. From these successes in addition to four Tracking Titles and one Tracking Dog Excellent Title, it is quickly obvious that Betty is an active competitor in both working and obedience. The number of times that she has achieved High Scoring Dog in Trial at the Nationals, including this year's National, seems countless.
Most, if not all, of her champions also have multiple working and obedience titles. When choosing puppies to keep, with an eye toward the ring and breeding, conformation is the obvious factor, but Betty assumes each puppy will be just as capable of performing as a working and obedience dog. With ten Versatile Newfoundlands to her credit, she has over and over demonstrated that conformation and performance can be two halves of the same whole, and that it is not necessary to breed separate strains for "bench and field." That remarkable lesson in itself has proved to be a major contribution to the breed and exemplifies the standard to be followed.
It was with a great deal of pleasure that we presented the Isabel Kurth Award to Betty McDonnell.
reprinted from Newf Tide 3Q 1997