Moonswift is by
far one of the most influential Chinese Crested kennels today. Founded in 1978, Moonswift Cresteds have garnered titles and
provided foundation dogs for successful breeding programs throughout the world.
acquired her first show dog, a Dalmatian from the Towpath kennel, in 1947. In 1958, she began breeding and showing Afghan
Hounds and ultimately produced eight English champions. She has awarded Challenge Certificates in the breed since 1968. She
has judged Afghans at every major championship show in England, along with specialties in Australia,
New Zealand, South Africa,
Denmark and Germany.
After 20 years of
breeding, exhibiting and judging Afghans, Diana began searching for a smaller, less demanding breed. Like many Afghan fanciers,
she became captivated by the Chinese Crested’s “pony like” appearance.
She soon acquired Cannybuff Casanova of Moonswift (Staround Wee Wo X Cannybuff Cala) and Heathermount Pharaoh of Moonswift
(Cannybuff Cilva X Winerlea Moon Goddess of Heathermount), who became her first Crested champion in 1983.
The Moonswift line
was originally based on a combination Staround, Winterlea and Cannybuff- some of England’s oldest foundation bloodlines. And most of these foundation lines
trace back to the original Crested bloodlines established in the 1960s, by Debora Wood (Crest Haven) and Gypsy Rose Lee (Lee).
These are the oldest, documented Crested bloodlines.
opinion, Staround Ahn Ahn Lee, bred by Gypsy Rose Lee and imported into England
by Ruth Harris (Staround), proved to be the key to establishing the breed in England.
Mrs. Ruth Harris, the first breeder to import Cresteds into England
originally attempted to establish a viable breeding program from five Crest Haven dogs, beginning with Alta of Crest Haven,
imported in whelp, in 1965. No puppies survived from the first five litters whelped
At that point, another
breeder, Mrs. Dorothy Tyler learned of the Lee line after discovering a photo of Gypsy and her Cresteds in magazine. She arranged
to acquire additional stock from the only other major US
breeder of the era, the famed entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee. Shortly before her death in 1969, Gypsy traveled to England with three of her dogs, including Ahn Ahn Lee. This
ten-month-old dog was considered so valuable that Gypsy stayed to watch over him throughout his six-month quarantine. Their
hopes were well founded. Ahn Ahn Lee provided the crucial outcross that led to the establishment of the Staround, Heathermount,
Winterlea, Cannybuff and Clogeen bloodlines.
Among the notable
Staround dogs produced by Ruth Harris were Staround Quanto and his brother Staround Romeo ( Staround Ko Ko X Staround Hunta). These two brothers were double grandsons of Ahn Ahn Lee. Quanto was considered the epitome
of breed type for nearly a decade. He began his show career winning Best in Show at the CCC Championship Show in 1974 at just
seven months of age. He repeated this performance in 1975 and 1976, and earned
the title of “Crested of the Year” from 1973-1978.
Quanto’s brother, Staround Romeo, owned by Diana, sired
3 CC winners, including one of her early champions, Ch. Moonswift Mr. Wu of Apoco Deodar. Along with Romeo, Ch. Kojak Kavalier, who also traces
back to Ahn Ahn Lee, also made a great contribution to the Moonswift breeding
program. Diana took the opportunity to breed three of her bitches to this influential dog shortly before he was exported to
South Africa in 1990. From one of these
breedings, she got Moonswift Conquistador, who has transmitted his soundness and elegance to many generations of his descendants.
recent English champions include Ch. Moonswift Desertwind and Ch. Moonswift Sparking Star, who were BOB and BOS at the 2003
Chinese Crested Dog Club show in 2003. In 2004, Moonswift Lone Eagle of Habiba was the top toy stud dog in England.
Since 1978, Diana
has produced nine generations of Moonswift Chinese Cresteds and judged the breed at several UK championship shows including Crufts, and the American national specialty. She
has undeniably put her stamp on the breed as one of the few toy breeders to successfully combine flash and soundness. Moonswift
is one of the most consistent and instantly recognizable bloodlines in the breed today.
Her dogs are especially noted for their phenomenal shoulder layback, flawless fronts, flashy markings, incomparable
hair texture and good health.
As a breeder/judge,
she has very definite opinions about what constitutes correct Crested breed type. Whether she is evaluating her own puppies
or a large specialty class, her foremost priority is soundness. Even though this is a toy breed, she wants to see good angulation,
reach and drive and a level topline. She prefers dogs with a reasonable amount of furnishings. She looks for moderate size
and strongly faults coarseness that detracts from the breed’s elegance. Nor does she care for excessively small specimens.
Some of her pet
peeves include soft ears, black crests, excessive body hair, short tails, and coarse head type. She does include some powderpuffs in her breeding program. However, she feels that many breeders place
undue faith in the powderpuff’s ability to correct problems such as structural faults or improper dentition. She sees
no justification for the practice of breeding powderpuff to powderpuff.