The Dalmatian Club of America
There can be no review of the beginning days of the
Dalmatian Club of America without much recognition of one of the early
pillars of the DCA, Mrs. Flora MacDonald Bonney. Her influence was felt
in the Dalmatian world in many areas. Since the vast majority of DCA members
today know only her name, it might be interesting to share a few stories
An unpretentious person, Mrs. Bonney usually sat in
the benching area with the other exhibitors, or enjoyed sharing a tailgate
picnic. The photo below was taken in 1962 at the Somerset Hills KC show
in New Jersey. Mrs. Bonney, in the center of the group, is seen visiting
with Evelyn Nelson White, Dagny Nelson Darling, Amy and Elli Lipschutz,
Mrs. Bonney was ever thoughtful and generous. If it
came to her attention that a DCA member were ill or hospitalized, a bouquet
of flowers was often delivered in her name.
In Mrs. Bonney's time, the DCA offered at every show,
an award for BOB, WD and WB. This consisted of a $2.50 cash award. One
could accumulate cash awards which could be deducted from the annual dues.
Many times these awards were paid out of Mrs. Bonney's pocket when DCA
treasury funds were low.
By the early 1960's, Mrs. Bonney's judging was quite
limited due to mobility problems. When she did judge, there was usually
an impressive entry for her. The following picture, form the Best of Breed
class at the Windham County KC show in Connecticut in 1963, was typical.
Many modern pedigrees boast lineage of these dogs.
Mrs. Bonney is seen judging a class of "specials",
from left to right as follows:
Ch. Rickways's Topper
Ch. Dottidale Jo Jo
Ch. Banco Regis In The Valley
Ch. Skipper of Rabbit Run
Ch. Williamsview Calculator
Mrs. Bonney was most influential in her day, often
quite forceful in her way of getting things done. Her personal accomplishments
in the breed were definitely a part of the base from which breeding programs
took off. Above all, she was a most gracious lady, and the Dal breed today
owes a great debt to her, as one of its pioneers.
Her kennel was started at her home in Flushing, New
York. It was in 1912 that Mrs. Bonney acquired her first Dalmatian, Windholme's
Kip. A creditable, though not great show dog, it was his success at Nassau
County KC at Belmont Park in 1912, that started the Tally-Ho kennel.
Pictured below was the Tally-Ho kennel,
originally the stable and carriage house of the
All the dogs were mainly pets, but the dogs stayed
in the kennel
building at night. Below is a picture of Mrs. Bonney
with her pets.
Amoung Mrs. Bonney's great dogs were the following:
Ch. Talley-Ho Last of Sunstar (dog) & Ch. Talley-Ho
Star of Sonia (bitch)
Eng. Ch. Midstone Ebony (bitch, Eng. import) &
Ch. Eng. Ch. Atta Boy of Stubbington (dog, Eng. import)
The care of her "pets" was a serious matter to Mrs.
Bonney, who employed a resident kennel manager and assistant. Aside from
the main kennel building, were special "colony houses" for bitches with
puppies, as well as several huge enclosed paddock areas. Proper nutrition
was of prime concern to Mrs. Bonney and she maintained a small herd of
Guernsey cows whose milk was incorporated in the dogs' diet.
Mrs. Bonney's involvement with her dogs was not limited
to the Dalmatians themselves, but extended into the area of fine arts.
Her collection of Paintings was extensive and well known.
Oil on canvas of unidentifed bitch belonging to
Mrs. Bonney. Artist: Dorthy Lola Kekler From the personal
collection of Dr. N. Sidney Remmele
Mrs. Bonney found a great deal of pleasure in running
her Tally-Ho Kennels and in breeding Dalmatians along with some famous
Chow Chows. As late as the 1960's Mrs. Bonney was still actively importing
dogs from England. However, she often stated that she did not want to breed
solely for the purpose of turning out successful show specimens and that
there were other things to consider as well. She felt that a hobby is something
which fulfills its purpose only as long as it is entertaining. When one
becomes too competitive or too serious or tries to be too professional
to the point that all the fun is gone, she believed, a hobby is no longer
The preceeding was adapted for the public on the
World Wide Web from an article written by Amy S. Lipshutz, DCA Historian,
that appeared in the Spring 1990 issue of the Spotter, the official publication
of the Dalmatian Club of America. It should be noted that in Mrs. Bonney's
day, Dalmatians were still somewhat of a rare breed.
Note: Special thanks to DCA member, Glenda C. Hall, who provided
material from the American Kennel Gazzette, Vol. 50, No. 9, Sept. 1, 1933,
from which text and pictures have been excerpted.
Thanks also to Dr. N. Sidney Remmele for sharing his Kekler painting