William B. Kklimkiewicz-“Ben” to his friends- was born in Washington, D.C. in 1914. Prior to starting a breeding and boarding kennel in 1943, he worked as a cabinetmaker in his father’s lumber mill.
In 1942 he showed his first Dachshund, Schatzie v Beinig, in Obedience and got her CD degree. On June 10,1943 he finished his first champion in conformation, CH Bencelia’s John and on November 10, 1944, CH Bencelia’s Hana.
His more recent notable dogs were CH Bencelia’s Native Dancer and CH Bemcelia’s Intent (BB, DCA in 1961). CH Intenet is still living at Bencelia Kennels-he’s old and grey-but Ben’s wife, Peggy, tells me that he never misses a meal. His son, Intentionally, is carrying on, and a lovely red dog, Northern Dancer. They have those correct Bencelia “fronts” as well as other good points.
Ben was a Director of DCA at one time. He was an early advocate of having Specialty Shows and Annual Meeting in different parts of the country -a practice which now is in effect. He was more recently a Director of the PHA. I first met Ben in March 1953 when I was looking for a handler to show my longhaired Dachshund. That was the beginning of a friendship that lasted until the end. At that time I was a complete novice in the dog world and Ben had so much to offer in breeding knowledge. Ben was always a “front” man: if a Dachshund didn’t have a good front end it was no good. This part of the anatomy in Longhairs was pretty poor in those days with only a few exceptions, so he set my first task to improve fronts, saying that it would take at least 10 years of selective breeding and giving me the admonition, “Never compromise during this period-use the best available in dog and bitch”. I must admit I had little success until I hit on the idea of producing my own recessive Longs by using his sound Smooth stock. This also took time, but the results were worth it.
I used his Native Dancer and then Intent and we spent many an hour selecting the best puppies. “Watch them feeding”, he would say. “The lines should flow back from the neck smoothly with no bumps.” I still follow that advice.
Ben was always a great admirer of CH Gunther v Marienlust and when he had an exceptionally fine puppy he would describe it as “the greatest thing since Gunther”. this is why, when I had the opportunity to buy two nice black and tan puppies for a song. I called him up and told him I had a show dog for him with his favorite Gunther close in the pedigree. This pup turned out to be CH Brett of Mari-Dox, a lovely “clean” dog with a perfect front end. He later bought Valiant from the same lady.
It is a pity that, being a handler, Ben was not able to do more judging than he did-DALI, Nor-Port DC and, I believe Midwest DC, I remember one lady thinking he would not put up a certain dog up as it was her breeding. Ben’s answer to that was ” I think too much of the Breed not to put up the best dog no matter whose it is.”
As a breeder he was essentially honest. I remember him standing up at an Old Dominion KC meeting and announcing that he was withdrawing a certain dog from public stud as he’s produced some monorchids-an example to be followed.
When it came to the Standard of Perfection, for Ben it was ‘NO COMPROMISE,” not my standard, not your standard, but THE standard. It is in this tradition that his wife Peggy and his son William will carry on the breeding program of Bencelia Kennels.
Ben maintained a good balance of life. He ran a successful business for 30 years. He was proud of his family and saw to it that they had the education they desired. (Kathleen has her Master’s in Biology and Genetics.)
The last few years tested Ben’s courage. Continual periods in the hospital, and a constant need of oxygen apparatus, but in between he’d attend to business and play a little golf-until on August 18 his life ended.
Ben kept no secrets on the science of breeding. He gave advice freely and frankly. To see that others learned the principles he, along with Jack O. King, Jean Smith and Mary Howell founded the Metropolitan Washington Dachshund Club and became the first President. The record of its members shows the effect of unwavering tolerance over the years to these principles.
Mary Howell of Bayard Kennels
Appearing in the October 1973 of The American Dachshund