Farewell To A Canine Champion: 65-Year-Old Dog Show Legend Kaz Hosaka No More

Sadly, the news comes just a month after his retirement!

The dog shows world legend Kaz Hosaka has unexpectedly passed away at age 65. The poodle handler is survived by wife, Roxanne Wolf.

We at Amy-movie would like to extend our heartfelt condolences on the passing of the legendary dog show legend Kaz Hosaka. May his soul rest in peace!!

Key Takeaways

  • Renowned poodle handler Kaz Hosaka passed away unexpectedly at 65, just one month after retiring from an illustrious 45-year career in dog shows.
  • Hosaka’s legacy includes seven group wins for poodles at Westminster and two “Best in Show” victories. His final triumph came in May 2024 with his miniature poodle, Sage.
  • The dog show community mourns Hosaka’s de*th, remembering him for his dedication, talent, and the indelible mark he left on the world of competitive dog handling.

Westminster Kennel Club announced the news on Instagram with the caption,

We are all deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Kaz Hosaka, a legendary handler and cherished member of the Westminster family.
Kaz’s kindness, dedication, passion, and exceptional talent left an indelible mark on the world of dog shows. Our deepest condolences to his wife Roxanne and their family, and all who knew and loved him.

Westminster Kennel Club

Kaz Hosaka, the protege of the late great Anne Rogers Clark, was known for his dedication and talent in the dog show world.

His miniature poodle, Sage, had recently won a top prize at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The 65-year-old handler was from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and started at Westminster when he was 20, after coming to the US from Japan in 1977.

Anne Clark and her husband James met Kaz in Tokyo in 1979 when he participated in a specialty show, and they were impressed.

Months later, they called him and asked if he wanted to be a professional dog handler.

Hence, he arrived in the US to be Mrs. Clark’s apprentice, and they treated him like their own son.

Mr. and Mrs. Clark were like my parents. He was like my father, teaching me how to live in this country. Mrs. Clark taught me everything about the dogs. She was very strict and had a focused nervousness the day before we went to a show. Everything had to be perfect.

Kaz Hosaka

In 1982, Kaz returned to Japan and became a top handler there for a year, but lost interest due to lower competition and returned to America.

Kaz Hosaka Retired In May

Sadly, the news comes just a month after his retirement.

I’ve been here for 45 years in America. I’ve been lucky. Did a lot, especially at Westminster. This is my seventh group win for poodles. That’s more than I could ask for.

Kaz Hosaka

This is my perfect end. I cannot ask for more than this,” said Hosaka after his last show held in May 2024.

The handler won ‘first best in the dog show‘ two times. After winning his second one in May, he said,

This is my 45th Westminster. It took me 22 years to win the first best in show. Took me another 22 years, today, to win second best in show.

Kaz Hosaka

He was also proud of his poodle,

She did it for me today, and she did it yesterday. Poodles are not easy. Sometimes they pick the day [they feel like showing]. But she did it yesterday and today. And even in best in show, with all the echoes and a lot of people applauding, it’s not easy but she managed it. I was more nervous than maybe she was, but I’m so excited.

Kaz Hosaka

Fans were saddened by the news and expressed their condolences through social media.

One Reddit user wrote,

Kaz will be missed by the dog show world including me. So sad, a month after he retired. I will miss him.

Another one followed,

This is so sad, I’m glad he got to win right before it happened but wow.

Similarly, a Facebook user said,

One of the greatest ever to hold the lead of a show dog. My thoughts and prayers are with all who knew him, loved him, and learned from him.

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • Kaz Hosaka started professionally in 1984.
  • On May 16, 1982, he won Best in Show for the first time.
  • His kennel was named Sakura.
  1. I will remember Kaz as the ultimate professional — dogs always beautifully prepared and beautifully presented. No matter the size of the show or the level of his competition Kaz always brought his A-game. For me that level of professionalism reflected his profound respect for not only the game but also the people in it. He will be missed.


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