It wasn’t until high school that Peggy Beisel‑McIlwaine discovered the world of dog shows. After graduating in 1973, she bought her first show dog, an Old English Sheepdog. She continued her education by attending the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay, and showing her dog on weekends.
In 1977 Peggy began a three year apprenticeship with Terrier master George Ward, where she discovered her love for terriers, specifically Wire Fox Terriers. It was also during her apprenticeship with Ward that Peggy met her husband to be, Sandy McIlwaine. They married in 1980, establishing Foxairn Kennels in Ann Arbor, specializing in Wire Fox and Cairn terriers. One notable handling client, among others in their thriving business, was the legendary Cairn breeder Mrs. Betty Hyslop, of Ontario, Canada.
Peggy and Sandy have three sons, Patrick, Trevor and Ian, and one daughter in law, Cara. In 1996 she retired from the demands of professional handling and was approved to judge the Terrier Group and Junior Showmanship. She is also approved to judge the Sporting and Herding Groups, and several additional breeds. She has judged internationally, with assignments in the UK, Australia, Scandinavia, the Philippines, South America, Mexico, Spain, South Korea and China. She has judged at Westminster on many occasions, and in 2006 judged the terrier group. She has judged at the AKC/Eukanuba Invitational show on a few occasions and judged the terrier group in 2012. She has judged breeds at the famous Montgomery County Terrier show on several occasions and in 2010 she was honored by judging best in show at this famous terrier show.
In her spare time, Peggy’s time is consumed with her family, her kennel and judging. In addition, Peggy is an avid sports fan, her favorites being the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons, Tigers and the University of Michigan. She also enjoys reading and movies. Peggy is a member of the Westchester Kennel Club where she serves a chief ring steward. She also belongs to several of their breed clubs. Peggy and Sandy no longer breed Cairns or Wires and now share their home with a colored bull terrier named Sport and a white bull bitch named Lily.
— Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine