By Jeanne A. Rice – February 1, 2012
(as originally submitted to Anna Katherine Nicholas for the book The Dachshund with additional content added)
Grace Hill was born in Bardin, Florida on December 24, 1902. After graduating high school, she traveled the country selling, of all things, encyclopedias, textbooks and graduation caps and gowns. While in New York, she met and later married William Burr Hill, Jr., the son of a banker-lawyer who had been admitted to the United States Supreme Court Bar in the late 1890s. It was in New York City that Grace acquired her first dachshund, Penelope deSangpur, from Berthold “Alec” J. D’Alexander. Mr. D’Alexander had acquired a red longhaired female puppy he named Ruby deSangpur from Heinz L. Karger, who had imported Ruby’s dam, Susi v. Wladenau, already in whelp to Ferro v. Abtsdorf. Around 1940, Mr. Karger had imported a son of World and Derby Champion Winnetou v. Zinnowitz – Achat v.d. Walleck – who attained his Championship in 1941. Ruby deSangpur was bred to Ch. Achat v.d.Walleck and produced Penny, who was purchased by Grace.
William Burr Hill, Jr. kept a handwritten journal in the early days that told of the coats, various characteristics and dispositions of their dogs, and even the occasional bouts with distemper that plagued many breeders in those days and wiped out breeding stock in major kennels. This is the first entry in William’s journal:
Gracie fell in love with Penny (Penelope deSangpur) when she first saw her, and after considerable argument with William and Alec, she purchased her and thereafter was seen constantly at her bridge games with Penny in tow. Penny was devoted to Gracie and was never entirely happy out of her sight.
Mr. D’Alexandre repeated this breeding and another litter of four was born on April 27, 1943. William wrote:
When Gracie saw them, she wanted one as a companion for Penny. Alec was somewhat reluctant to sell, but finally agreed and decided he would let go of Billy, who he considered the poorest dog in the litter. Here he made an error, because Billy turned out to be the best one of them all.
The Hills purchased Billy on June 10, 1943, at the tender age of six weeks and two days of age.
These two litters were the only ones with which Mr. D’Alexandre used the prefix “deSangpur.” His succeeding litters were registered under “Golden Paw” and Gracie was given the deSangpur name, which means “of pure blood”. The Hills began their breeding program in May of 1944 with Penny; Billy – Ch. William deSangpur– was first used at stud in May of 1945, and he earned his Championship title in April of 1946 with five majors. His greatest winning was in the year he turned five years old and he became the top winning longhair of the 40s, a record which stood for many years. At over nine years of age, he took Best of Variety at the Dachshund Association of Long Island Specialty over a large entry of thirty-three specials and went on to a Hound Group third. A little less than three months before his death on September 21, 1956, at thirteen years of age, Billy placed first in a competitive Veterans class. Ch. William deSangpur attained a show record of sixty-five BOVs, including the Dachshund Club of America Parent Specialty in 1946 and 1948, Morris and Essex in 1946, 1947 and 1948 and Westminster Kennel Club in 1948.
It is believed that Ch. William deSangpur was the sire of thirty-eight champions, including several multiple BOV winners and Ch. Saqui de Sangpur, who was Best In Show at Mount Ogden in 1949. Saqui was the foundation longhair stud of Donia Cline’s Crespi Kennels in California.
From the first litter of puppies sired by Champion William, Grace chose a bitch puppy, Lolli, who was bred to Seppel v Sollinge III and produced Nancy deSangpur. Nancy was bred back to her grandfather, Ch. William deSangpur, and produced Shantee Linda deSangpur. In January of 1950, Grace purchased a black and tan miniature longhair, Tinyteckel Black Silk (out of English imports Smokeyhole Rolfi x Gracechurch Fairy Dream) from Avis Mary Earle of California and later bred him to Shantee Linda de Sangpur, which resulted in a litter of six that included a lovely black and tan bitch who Grace kept. In 1954, this bitch, Ch. De Sangpur Wee Allene, became the first American-bred longhaired miniature champion. She followed in her grandfather’s winning footsteps by accumulating twenty-seven BOVs and six Group placements including a Hound Group first. She was BOV at the 1956 DCA Parent Specialty in 1956 and went on to a Hound Group third.
Grace and William purchased their first smooth dachshund in 1946; a six-week-old black and tan named Little Bit of Gulnare from Mrs. Stanley Woodward of Princeton, NJ. William’s journal lists Little Bit as weighing twenty-two and a half pounds at only five and a half months of age, but he was the third generation down from the thirty-five pound English import Am/Eng Ch. Dimas Earthstopper! Later, they acquired a red standard smooth bitch they named Burrhill Donna, whose sire was Ch. Cinnamon V Dachshafen II, the paternal grandsire of Little Bit. A breeding of these two produced Burrhill Annie, a red smooth who carried the Marienlust, White Gables, Lakelands, Werderhavelstrand and Flottenberg bloodlines. In the first few years of breeding smooths, Grace used the “Burrhill” prefix, but eventually all of her Dachshunds were registered with the De Sangpur prefix.
Burrhill Annie was bred to Rotfink von Kargollheim II, who also carried the Marienlust lines and produced De Sangpur Impchen. Impchen was bred to the miniature smooth Chota’s Achilles and produced De Sangpur Wee Impchen, who was then bred to Ida and Frtiz Kroeff’s Jeetzel von Osterholz. This breeding produced the first red smooth miniature male champion, the eight and a half pound Ch. De Sangpur Wee Lancelot, who reached his title in 1958 with five majors, two BOVs and a Hound Group fourth. Grace was also the breeder of the third smooth miniature – and first red – champion: De Sangpur Wee Memmy, owned by Mr. and Mrs. James Bell.
The Hill’s first wirehaired dachshund was Georgette Fanelle, whelped April 7, 1947. Georgette was a standard brindle whose sire was Ch. Erich Hubertus, a son of Ch. Leutnant v Marienlust. On her dam’s side, she went back to the Swedish brindle standard wirehair, Ch. Sports Buster. In 1955, Georgette was bred to the miniature smooth Fant v Osterholz CD, owned by Grace Hill and Ida Kroeff. This breeding produced De Sangpur Adela, who was bred to Ch. Tubac’s Hornet MW and produced Ch. De Sangpur Wee Ad-Lib MW. Ad-Lib’s championship in 1964 put Grace Hill into the record books as being the first person to have bred and shown champion standards and miniatures in all three coats in the United States. She had succeeded in breeding miniature champions who were descendents of her foundation standard stock.
Over the years, Grace’s sister, Mary Gore, was an integral part of De Sangpur, always being there to help care for the dogs, assist in whelpings and to socialize puppies. Mary’s love for dachshunds was as great as her sister’s. She helped Grace to continue after William Burr Hill’s sudden death on March 5, 1957.
Ch. Midas’ Fancy Decision, Murphy, (Ch. Hans Sachs v d Isar x Ch. Steele’s Mrs. Malaprop) was whelped in 1963 and was owned by Grace. After her move to Jacksonville, FL in 1968, Murphy was co-owned with Thomas R. Dunk, Jr. Murphy, a heavily-shaded red standard longhair, became the top-winning longhair of 1968 and 1969. He could trace his ancestry back to Ruby De Sangpur, the dam of Grace’s beloved first dachshunds, Penny and William. Murphy was BOV at the DCA parent specialty in 1969, and he was the last dachshund that Grace campaigned widely.
The Dachshund fancy lost one of its most enthusiastic and dedicated supporters and breeders when Grace B. Hill died on February 29, 1980. Grace is buried in a small church cemetery in Palatka, FL.