Matchbook courtesy of Mary Mallory.
Pets bring happiness to people’s lives, giving unconditional love and support, truly man’s best friend. From the beginning of time, pets have served an integral part of people’s lives, shown off and treated as members of the family.
From 1928 to 1950, Studio City served as home to one of Southern California’s top dog breeders and groomers, Chris Shuttleworth, a bow-wow lover since childhood. The area would turn out gorgeous puppies just as it did motion pictures.
Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.
Born in Bolton, England March 26, 1884, Shuttleworth immigrated to the United States with his wife, Agnes, via Liverpool, England, arriving in New York February 6, 1909. A January 26, 1953, El Paso Herald story reported that Shuttleworth showed dogs at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which led to a job managing a kennel in San Francisco. By March 25,1912, Shuttleworth managed a kennel in Yountville, where he announced his intentions to become a United States citizen.
Over the next several years, Shuttleworth continued submitting a variety of dog breeds to shows, with the March 1, 1912 San Francisco Call reporting that he entered 10 cocker spaniels in the San Francisco Dog Show. Shuttleworth entered pups in shows around Northern and Central California for the next few years, as well as entering poultry and racing pigeons in fairs and shows. The October 25, 1913, San Francisco Call stated that he would soon announce “the openings of boarding, grooming, and breeding kennels,” in Millbrae, California. The ambitious and driven Shuttleworth soon began judging breeds at dog shows all over California as well as owning and editing the magazine “The Kennel Advocate.”
Shuttleworth’s outstanding reputation as a fair and accurate judge and breeder of fine animals led Mrs. Anita Baldwin, daughter and heir of “Lucky” Baldwin, to hire him in 1916 to manage her personal Anoakia kennel in Santa Anita, where she raised Russian wolfhounds, bulldogs, sheep dogs, and Airedales. Thanks to his success, dog shows in Arizona soon asked him to judge shows there as well. Shuttleworth would alternate with showing dogs one year, and then judging the next.
Baldwin trusted him so much that in January 1917 he organized and managed the shipping of 18 of her best show dogs to the prestigious Westminster Dog Show in New York City via special rail cars with the help of two attendants. In 1921, Shuttleworth would even travel to England on Baldwin’s behalf and bring back dogs via the White Star Line Celtic, per the New York Sun.
Thanks to his stellar character, Shuttleworth would serve as judge at top dog shows all across California and Arizona as well as Canada and New York’s Westminster Dog Show, with the January 1, 1917 Arizona Republic calling him “the best judge of dogs on the coast.” At the 1918 Arizona dog show, Shuttleworth entered and won with Lady Queen, a male bull dog who looked fierce and wild but actually possessed a mild, friendly disposition, which newspapers called a star of Mack Sennett comedies and in Charlie Chaplin films.
Shuttleworth’s prestige for breeding and caring for dogs led comedy kings Al and Charles Christie to hire him as manager of their own kennels, recognized as one of Los Angeles’ outstanding kennels in the late 1920s. The Christies appear to have been as successful raising dogs as they were in churning out hilarious one and two-reel short comedies.
The 1928 Los Angeles City Directory lists Shuttleworth as manager of the Christie kennel and residing at 12203 Ventura Boulevard, North Hollywood with a phone number of 1053 in the San Fernando Valley.
Shuttleworth set up his own kennel by 1930, still residing on Ventura Boulevard and advertising Shuttleworth Kennel via ads and matchbooks, proclaiming his service at providing excellent grooming through “plucking, bathing, grooming,” as well as puppies for sale. Over the next 17 years, Shuttleworth would operate his grooming and breeding kennels here, as well as continuing his stellar service as judge at premiere dog shows. Shuttleworth would judge one year and then exhibit dogs the next, covering every type from bull dog to collie to dachshund to poodle to German Shepherd.
In 1950, the Studio City area of North Hollywood was transforming from rural outpost to successful suburb thanks to its thriving Republic Studios. What had once served as a small ranch and homesite now found itself surrounded by commercial businesses. Shuttleworth sold his property and moved to Sun Valley, with 12203 Ventura Blvd. converted into a furniture store. The space now operates as the National Conference of Jewish Women Los Angeles’ store.
The young at heart and gentle loving Shuttleworth remained active as show judge through at least 1967, with newspaper stories proclaiming his participation and service across the country, even at the Westminster Dog Show. Social Security records only note that Shuttleworth passed away in January 1970, followed by burial at Glendale’s Forest Lawn.
Chris Shuttleworth provided quality and restrained British service in grooming dogs, unlike the sometimes over-the-top and elaborate services and doggie day care offered today.