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Obituary - Don Wieden

1931 – 2004

I was sorry to hear of the death of Don Wieden. I first met him when he went best in show at Southern Counties back when I had hair and the show was at Hickstead.

He was a 'one off' and I quickly came to admire that strength of character and clear idealism that was clearly evident in Any Other Business, his regular column which alternated with Speakers' Corner. He was very much his own man and his vision and determination did not do him any favours for he was fearless in his condemnation of those who he saw as power hungry or dictatorial.

He was passionate in his defence of those whose efforts were not recognised and in tilting at the windmills of thoughtless authority and unnecessary bureaucracy. I shall miss him.

David Cavill

It is with great sadness that I record the death of Don Wieden of the Sedeki Salukis on December 1st in Cincinatti. He was 73. I knew Don for a long time, he was my friend, a mentor to me in sighthounds, and made the best Manhattan cocktails I ever had. Don would agree I am sure!
The world of dogs has lost a great Saluki breeder, and an allround sighthound enthusiast, he was also active in Cavaliers and, I believe, Shar-pei. I remember also he had Peruvian Inca Orchids, a breed that I have actually judged over here in the US in rare breeds, but were never recognised by the KC. He had some beautiful ones too.

We were neighbours for the last couple of years, and had many enjoyable meals out in restaurants and at Don and Frank’s lovely home in Leominster. Don was always full of fun, we had some great times in their company. We kept in constant touch by phone when they moved to the states, we travelled to the airport together as their flight was just an hour before mine.

The world of dogs grows ever smaller, and we look to our own mortality...really life is too short. Maybe we should all take a moment to ponder the things we have said and done to others or not said and done that we should have, we really do only pass this way once.

Our thoughts and prayers with Frank, Don’s partner and Don’s sister at this time.

Maria Goodman

With Don's death, the international dog scene, and the Saluki world in particular, has lost one of its great characters, and one of its most knowledgeable breeders and judges. Don's involvement in dogs began when in his early twenties he owned and showed Bedlington Terriers. He then went on to own many breeds, including Shar pei and the rare Peruvian Inca Orchid, campaigning the first of this breed to its title in the USA, and latterly breeding and exhibiting CKCS. He awarded CCs in nine breeds and had judged in many countries. His last appointment was in April this year at the Northern Saluki Club championship show.

Don also bred and exhibited cats, notably Manx, and owned a number of Champions and Grand Champions. He kept exotic fish, cagebirds and poultry, was a highly talented artist and sculptor, and a keen gardener. However, he was primarily known for his involvement with Salukis which for some 44 years he bred under his Sedeki affix. Don was proud of his long-term association with his mentor in the breed, Gwendoline Angel, and many of his Salukis carried her Mazuri affix in addition to his own. Basing his kennel on these old English bloodlines, Don went on to breed many champions which greatly influenced the development of the breed in the USA and Canada, the UK and Scandinavia. He pioneered smooth Salukis and always kept both coat types in his kennel. His long line of champions include Int Ch Sedeki Barre, and his most recent UK champion was Ch Sedeki Irada.

As a breeder and judge, Don had very strong views which he expressed forcefully. These views reached a wider audience in recent years through his fortnightly column in Our Dogs. Don ruffled feathers and, it is fair to say, made enemies. But he also made a great many friends and had a network of close friends throughout the world who appreciated his honesty, however brutal, his irrepressible and irreverent sense of humour, and his passion for and deep knowledge about dogs, especially Salukis. Love him or loathe him, Don was undoubtedly a character, a one-off, an original.

Don was a close and valued friend from whom I learned a great deal. Contrary to the impression he often conveyed, particularly through his newspaper column, Don was someone with a great appetite for and enjoyment of life. He was a wonderful raconteur, a generous host and great fun. He was also a very sensitive man, who, in the final analysis can probably be summed up as someone who cared too much. I will miss his often outrageous humour, his Manhattans, which like him, were larger than life, and his idiosyncratic point of view. The world will be much duller without him.

Helen Graham

On behalf of the Officials, Committee and members of the Northern Saluki Club, I would like to extend condolences to Frank, Don's partner of 25 years, and his sister Gerry.

The death of Don Wieden has robbed the international show scene of one of its true individuals.
His ability to simplify arguments and then reflect the views of the ‘little people’ endeared him to OUR DOGS’ readers, who avidly sought his views on all matters canine.

He once thanked me for allowing him to write for the paper saying that it had been a cathartic experience, as once headlong on his 500 word bi-weekly column that it was difficult to stop! So much so that when he left for the states for the last time only three months ago, his parting shot was to e-mail enough material to last the year. Prophetically it did and he passed away with only two columns in hand.

Others have detailed his successes in the showring here and overseas and I can only add my condolences, and those of my colleagues on the editorial team who recognised his genius, to Frank, his family and friends at this sad time. The funeral was held last Monday December 6th.

William Moores

I had known Don and Frank for at least 25 - 30 years, since they used to live in the old windmill at Tring in Hertfordshire. Don was also a great friend of my late mother - Diana Berry, and we have all shared many hours together sharing the good times in the world of dogs.

Don owned the world famous prefix ‘Sedeki,’ and over the years owned and bred some very beautiful Salukis. Most likely his best known was Sedeki Barre. I believe I am right in saying that Don was the very first person to win BIS all breeds at a General Championship show with a Saluki.

As Secretary of Luton Canine Association I have had the pleasure of welcoming Don to judge for me over the years, as he always drew large entries and always gave an honest opinion.
It is the end of an era with yet another great dog person being lost, and I can only express my sincere condolences to Frank Farrar at this very sad time.

Ben Reynolds-Frost


We are asked by Mr Frank Farrar to convey his sincere thanks to everyone who sent floral tributes and messages of condolence over the past few days. He said Don loved flowers and would have been overwhelmed at the magnificent displays and messages sent in his memory.