Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Avengers first adventure outside...

The puppies are now 3 1/2 weeks old.  We took them outside yesterday for the some playtime.





A Collie history continued

It's been a while since I continued my posts about the collie history. Though I haven't written anything recently, I have been researching, researching, researching!

So let's review what I have learned so far. As I have written in earlier posts, CH Christopher is the ancestor of all the present day collies. I have traced my own collies all the way back to CH Christopher by looking only at the sires of each generation. This is called the "tail male" line of a pedigree. But I believe the bitch lines are just as important in a pedigree and I will be exploring those lines as well, but first, we return to CH Christopher and his ancestors.

Old Cockie was one of the first real show collies. He was also the first collie to have the beautiful sable coat color. He was bred by Mr W. White, and he was whelped in 1868. We don't know Old Cockie's pedigree, so we are unsure where he inherited his sable color. He didn't produce any sons that contibuted to the development of the collie breed, but his daughters played an important role. Old Cockie had a successful show career, and he was sold in 1875 to Mr G. Dean Tomlinson. He was then sold again, to Mr J. Bissell. Old Cockie was of better collie type and quality than Trefoil. He had a longer head, better body and a thicker coat.

Trefoil was whelped in Ireland, in 1873. He was bred by Mr S.E. Shirley. He had two brothers called Tartan and Tricolour. Tricolour was obviously a tricolor collie, with black, white and tan markings. Tartan was just black and white. Like Old Cockie, Tricolour's contribution to the breed was not seen through his sons, but through his daughters. All the dogs in Trefoil's pedigree were black and tans, black and whites or blue merles. These were the original coat colors of the collie. Again, it wasn't until Old Cockie that the sable coat color was seen.

CH Charlemagne was produced by breeding Trefoil to Maude, a daughter of Old Cockie. He was whelped in 1879, in England. He was bred by Mr. J Bissell, who had purchased Old Cockie around 1875. Charlemagne had a sable and white coat, which he inherited from Old Cockie. He had a profuse coat, a good head and expression. Though compared to today's collies, his head was much shorter. Collies at this time, were also much smaller than the collies we see today. They would have looked somewhat similar to the Border collie.

CH Charlemagne was bred to CH Madge I, which produced Sefton. He was whelped in 1884, and he was a tricolor. Sefton was bred to Minnie and that breeding produced CH Metchley Wonder. Wonder was whelped in 1886, and was bred by Mr. C.H. Wheeler. He was a sable and white collie, and he was white factored. Which means he was able to produce white collies. CH Metchley Wonder was larger than the collies of his time. He also had a longer head, and was considered to be a great example of the collie breed. He was bred to Peggy II, and that breeding produced CH Christopher.

CH Christopher was whelped in 1887, in England. He was bred by Rev. Hans F. Hamilton. He was exported to Mr. Mitchell Harrison of Phildelphia, PA. Christopher was sable and white. He had a great head, beautiful expression and a thick, profuse coat. CH Christopher produced two sons who were key to the development of the American collie, Stracathro Ralph and Edgbaston Marvel.

Stracathro Ralph
Heather Ralph
Ormskirk Emerald
Ormskirk Galopin
Heacham Galopin
Wishaw Clinker
Balgreggie Baronet
Squire of Tytton
Seedley Squire
Seedley Superior
Clarksfield Superior
Tonge Admiration


Edbaston Marvel
Soutport Perfection
Wellesbourne Councillor
Wellesbourne Conqueror
Parbold Piccolo


.............Magnet produced these two sons
Laund Legislator........Poplar Perfection
Laund Luke..............Eden Emerald
Laund Leno..............El Capitaine of Arken
Allsette Sande
Alsmot Aristocratic
Lodestone Landmark

...........Parbold Piccolo produced these two sons
Parbold Pierrot.............Anfield Model
Parbold Paganinni...........Master Willie
Ormskirk Foxall.............Parbold Picador
Parkside Pro Patria.........Laund Limit
Seedley Stirling............Laund Logic

It is through CH Christopher's son, CH Stracathro Ralph, that CH Magnet descends. Magnet was bred by J.R. Morley, and he was imported to America by Eileen Moretta of Glen Falls, NY.  Magent had a beautiful, refined head and a wealth of coat.  Before he was imported to the States, he sired CH Poplar Perfection.  Perfection was whelped in 1916, and he sired CH Eden Emerald.  Emerald was whelped in England, in 1921.  He was imported in 1923 by Mrs. Lunt of Alstead Kennels, located in Rahway, NJ.  Emerald was later sold to Dr Bennett of Tazewell Kennels.  Emerald was the sire of El Capitaine of Arken.  The Arken collies, descended from El Capitaine, played an important role in the progress of the American collie.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Questionable temperaments in purebred collies?

Did you know that collies are notorious party animals?  True fact!  Just look at this picture of two of my collies, Lad and Holly!  They are gambling! Horrors!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our collies

I thought I would take a break from my posts about the history of the collie, and introduce my collies.


Abby at Sunnybank




Ryder and Kori

And the new additions to the family! (their names are temporary)





The puppies are just one week old.  All smooths, three boys and one girl. I am so in love with these puppies!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Westminster Dog Show

Probably the most well-known dog show, in the United States, is Westminster.  I grew up watching this dog show every year on TV, and I was fascinated by the glamour of it all.  What I didn't know, and didn't discover until many years later, is that what you see on TV is a very small part of that show.  Behind the scenes are the breed rings, where champions of every breed compete for Best of Breed and the chance to compete in the Group ring.  Also behind the scenes are thousands of spectators wandering around, trying to pet the dogs entered in the show.  Westminster is a benched dog show, which means unless you are in the breed ring competing, your dog has to be on display in his or her benching area. 

Westminster 1877

Westminster 1927

The benching area is a very small cubicle, where the dog is kept throughout the day.  The dogs are not permitted to leave the show until the end of the day, not even to go outside.  They have x-pens set up, with shavings, for the dogs to relieve themselves.  And the people who attend the show as spectators are everywhere.  Thousands and thousands of people, so many people that it is difficult to even walk from one area to another.  So many people, including animal rights groups, that the owners of the dogs fear to leave their dogs unattended for even one second.  At Westminster you can actually hire a guard for your dog.  And all of this is hard on the dogs, it's a very hot, very loud and very long day.

(photographer unknown)

But it is the premier dog show in our country, and an invitation for your dog to attend is a coveted honor.  We have entered Westminster twice, and I am not sure I would do it again.  So why would people enter their dogs in this show if it is so stressful?  Because to win Best In Show at Westminster is considered the "greatest honor in Dogdom."

My daughter, showing our collie, Holly, at Westminster.

In all the years since the Westminster dog show first began, a collie has only won Best In Show once.  The collie's name was Laund Loyalty of Bellhaven.  He won Best in Show at Westminster in 1929, and he was only 9 months old at the time.  Loyalty was imported by Mrs. Ilch of Belhaven Collies, a very well-known kennel of that time.  He was bred by R.F. Roberts of Ashtead Collies in England.  He was sired by Lucas of Ashtead out of Jean of Ashtead.  In his pedigree were multiple crosses to CH Magnet, from whom my own line of collies also descends. 

Westminster was Loyalty's first show in the United States.  Loyalty was handled by the Bellhaven kennel manager, Mike Kennedy.  He competed against 125 collies, and won Winners Dog and Best Collie.  Back in 1929, the collie was still part of the Working Group, and it was highly unusual for a collie to win this Group.  Best In Show at Westminster was usually judged by "Terrier Men," so terriers had won the show for many years.  But in 1929, the Best In Show judge was Dr Carlton Ford, a collie judge! 

Dr. Burrows, a columnist at the time, wrote a description of Loyalty for <i>Dog Fancier Magazine.</i>  He described Loyalty as "he is in full bloom, full of life, and has a sweet expression, carries a wealth of coat, good head and ears, is sound all over, and a good mover."  Mike Kennedy wrote about the experience, "I knew I was in the running for the cheers of the people told me that.  I showed him on a long lead, and that is the way you have to show a collie.  There is no posing or holding your collie's tail.  What there was to see of Mrs. Ilch's collie, everyone could see and that is why I am the proudest kennelman in the world today!  Loyalty was shown with a free hand - a long lead.  His tail and chin hadn't to be held.  The puppy won on his own merits."

What is heartbreaking, is that this was Laund Loyalty of Bellhaven's only American show.  He retired after Westminster, and never finished his championship.  He retired amid threats to his life and rumors that acid had been thrown into his eyes.  Mrs. Ilch wrote a letter on September 3, 1974 about Loyalty.  "He was as near perfection as any collie could be and to think that after his great win, he was blinded, never to be shown again.  Someday I will hunt up a clipping of the dreadful death of the jealous fiend who did it - a person who from my first success, tried in every possible way to drive me out of collies."  No one knows the true story of what happened, or the name of the "fiend" who blinded the beautiful puppy, if that is what actually happened.

Loyalty, who was called Don, was not used much as a stud dog.  His stud fee was so high, that during that time, the time of the Great Depression, few could afford to breed to him.  (his fee was $150.00)  Laund Loyalty sired only one champion, a dog who played an important role in founding the Tokalon family of collies.  His son, CH Bellhaven Loyalty II, sired Tokalon Loyalson. (CH Bellhaven Loyalty II x Phyllis of Beechtree) Tokalon Loyalson is behind almost all the Tokalon collies.

Even though Laund Loyalty never became a champion, he will always be remembered because of his famous win, Best In Show at Westminster.

Holly, on the train ride home from Westminster.

Look to the past when choosing your future...

As I look at the faces of my newborn collie puppies, I see not only this current generation, but also the faces of the collies of the past.  Knowing the names of all the collies in my puppies’ pedigree, I can't help imagining how each of those dogs contributed to the creation of this litter.  Will these puppies have CH Magnet’s outstanding temperament?  Will they have the beauty and elegance of the Parader collies?  Will they have the sweet, lovely expression of the Marnus collies?

When breeding a collie, or any dog, it should never be about profit.  Instead every litter that is bred should ultimately be a labor of love.  Most dog breeders if they breed responsibly and carefully raise their puppies to be healthy and well-socialized, will be lucky to break even.  When I chose to breed my collie, I did so cautiously, with concern for choosing the perfect stud dog.  Knowing I would not have many litters, I chose to follow some advice I once read, "breed each litter as if it were going to be your only litter."  I did the research, I studied pedigrees, I evaluated temperaments, and I looked at the puppies the dogs were producing.  Then I took a leap of faith and bred the litter.  And it was a leap of faith, because there are no guarantees in dog breeding.

The evening the puppies were born I sat terrified, waiting anxiously for each puppy to be born.  After the first pup was born, it was a long wait for the second puppy to arrive.  And as the minutes passed, my apprehension grew until I began tearfully pacing, fearing the worst.  Fortunately, the second puppy arrived, large and healthy, followed almost immediately by his sister.  Finally, as the evening wore on, the fourth and final puppy arrived.  The fear and worry I felt waiting for those four puppies to be born was overwhelming, I don't know how others can do this multiple times, over 20, 30 or even 50 years.  But without all those reputable breeders of the past,  I wouldn't have my own beloved collies.  Breeding a litter should never be done without careful consideration of exactly what you are hoping to produce.  And to do that, to know where you want to go with your line of collies, you have to educate yourself on where your collies came from - by looking to the past.

Frustrated by a lack of info...

As discussed earlier, all the best blood lines of Great Britain’s collies were imported to America around the turn of the century.  All of the various sire lines in England were descended from Trefoil.  The two main sire lines were formed by his Great-Great-Grandson, Ch Christopher.  The pedigrees of all American collies trace back to Ch Christopher, which I have proven with my own collies.  There isn’t a lot of information to be gathered about Ch Christopher.  The first of the two main lines was started with his son, Ch Stracathro Ralph, and the second with Edgbaston Marvel.  From the Stracathro line, after 12 generations, Ch Magnet was born.  From the Edgbaston line, after 8 generations, Ch Laund Limit was born.

My family of collies comes from both of these lines, as both Ch Magnet and Ch Laund Limit are in our collies pedigrees.  On paper we can learn when these collies were born, we can learn about their get, but what we cannot discover is what they were like.  And since I have successfully traced my collies back to Ch Christopher, and Christopher was Trefoil's Great-great-Grandson, I have traced my collies back to Trefoil! But knowing that these collies are my own collies ancestors, I want to know more about them.  Was Ch Christopher a sweet boy?  What did he enjoy doing?  Did he herd sheep?  Or did he spend most of his days as someone’s beloved companion?  I wish there was more information about these historical collies.

As you can tell, I am passionate about collies.  My house is almost a shrine to the collie breed.  My bookshelves are full of books about collies, books that are both fictional and nonfiction.  The internet provides a great resource for meeting and learning about other collie breeders and their beloved collies.  But I still want to know more...

The Proof

I've written previous posts about how I traced our collies back through the generations to the first collies imported to America, and all the way beyond to the first collie, CH Trefoil.  And so to prove it, here is just one of the ways I can trace my collies back to these famous collies, as they can be traced back through many of the dogs in their pedigrees.

CH Signet's Twice Is Nice, ROM (CH Marnus Golden Ruler, ROM x CH Signet's Hopelessly In Love, ROM)
CH Marnus Golden Ruler, ROM (CH Overland Everlasting II x Marnus Golden Rule)
CH Overland Everlasting II (CH Clouddawn's Grandeur Promise x CH Overland Imari)
CH Clouddawn's Grandeur Promise (CH Twin Creeks Grand Master x Clouddawn's Promise O' Twin Oaks)
CH Twin Creeks Grand Master (CH Twin Creeks Head Master x CH Twin Creeks C.O.D.)
CH Twin Creeks Head Master (Twin Creeks Post Master x CH Joius The Last Farewell)
Twin Creeks Post Master (CH Twin Creeks Post Script x CH Joius Amber Dream)***
CH Twin Creeks Post Script (Ch Twin Creeks True Grit x CH Twin Creeks Nitty Gritty)
Ch Twin Creeks True Grit (Ch Lochlomun's Interlock x CH Lee Aire's Amazing Grace)
Ch Lochlomun's Interlock (Ch Vi-Lee's Myster Mac x Lochlomun's N Lee Aire's Virgo)
Ch Vi-Lee's Myster Mac (Vi-Lee's Classic Contender x Vi-Lee's Tenth Thyme)
Vi-Lee's Classic Contender (CH Vi-Lee's Jubilant Jonathon x Vi-Lee's Jovial Jewell)
CH Vi-Lee's Jubilant Jonathon (Ch Vi-Lee's Redd Robbyn x Vi-Lee's Jeanne Belle)
Ch Vi-Lee's Redd Robbyn (Vi-Lee's Country Chipper x Bonneja's Trooper)
Vi-Lee's Country Chipper (Vi-Lee's Parading Chieftain x Vi-Lee's Tweedle O'Twill Parade)
Vi-Lee's Parading Chieftain (CH Silver Ho Shining Arrow x Lodestone Bandolieara II)
CH Silver Ho Shining Arrow (Honeybrook Big Parade x Silhouette of Silver Ho)
<b>Honeybrook Big Parade</b> (Ch Future of Arken x Honeybrook Helen)**
Ch Future of Arken (Ch El Troubadour of Arken x Nymf of Arken)
Ch El Troubadour of Arken (El Capitaine of Arken x Gailly Arrayed of Arken)
El Capitaine of Arken (CH Eden Emerald x CH Halbury Jean)
<b>CH Eden Emerald</b> (CH Poplar Perfection x CH Eden Elenora)
CH Poplar Perfection (Ch Magnet x Pickwick Peeper)
<b>Ch Magnet</b> (Tonge Admiration x <b>Southport Seal</b>)****
Tonge Admiration (Clarksfield Superior x Clarksfield Countess)
Clarksfield Superior (CH Seedley Superior x countess of Clarksfield)
CH Seedley Superior (Seedley Squire x Seedley Constance)
Seedley Squire (CH Squire of Tytton x Southport Sissie)
CH Squire of Tytton (CH Balgreggie Baronet x Helle of Boston)
CH Balgreggie Baronet (CH Wishaw Clinker x Old Hall Duchess)
CH Wishaw Clinker (Heacham Galopin x Last Rose)
Heacham Galopin (Ormskirk Galopin x Wishaw Dolly)
Ormskirk Galopin (CH Ormskirk Emerald x CH Ormskirk Memoir)
CH Ormskirk Emerald (Heather Ralph x Aughton Bessie)
Heather Ralph (CH Stracathro Ralph x Apple Blossm Heather Ralph)
<b>CH Stracathro Ralph</b> (<b>Ch Christopher</b> x Stracathro Fancy)
CH Christopher (CH Metchley Wonder x Ch Peggie II)
CH Metchley Wonder (Sefton x Minnie)
Sefton (<b>CH Charlemagne</b> x CH Madge I)
Ch Charlemagne (<b>Trefoil</b> x Maude)

**I'm going to come back to Honeybrook Big Parade in a future post.

***It's through CH Joius Amber Dream that I can trace my collies back to the Sunnybank collies.

****Southport Seal is a dam, and this pedigree above only goes back through 40 generations, tail-male.  This doesn't even begin to cover all the collies that my own collies are related to through the bitches.

Southport Seal (Parbold Picador x Leyland Lucy)
Parbold Picador (Master Willie x Moss Hill Vera)
Master Willie (CH Anfield Model x Sweet Mary)
Ch Anfield Model (CH Parbold Piccolo x Bellfield Beauty)
<b>CH Parbold Piccolo</b> (CH Wellesbourne Conqueror x Parbold Pinafore)
CH Wellesbourne Conqueror (Wellesbourne Councillor x Wellesbourne Beauty)
Wellesbourne Councillor (CH Southport Perfection x Wellesbourne Chirstabelle)
Ch Southport Perfection (CH Edgbaston Marvel x Tabley Rose)
<b>CH Edgbaston Marvel</b> (Ch Christopher x Sweet Marie)

And this is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  There are hundreds of other collies in our pedigree that I haven't begun to trace!

Our relation to the collies of the past...

I did four posts yesterday about the history of the American collie.  I find it fascinating, though I don’t suppose anyone without a collie would be as interested.  All of my posts were based on information I was able to obtain on the internet, from very trustworthy sources.

Today I decided to experiment, and see just how far back I could trace my collie, Abby's pedigree.  And as Holly is Abby's niece, and Ryder and Kori are her children, my findings could also be applied to them, as they all have the same dogs in their pedigrees.

It took some research, but what I found amazed me.  Looking at only a small group of collies in her pedigree, I was able to trace Abby's pedigree all the way back to many of the collies I wrote about yesterday!  In Abby’s pedigree is Ch Future of Arken, Ch Honeybrook Big Parade, Ch Halbury Jean, Ch Southport Sample, El Capitaine of Arken, Ch Eden Emerald, Ch Laund Limit, Ch Magnet, Ch Parbold Piccolo, Ch Anfield Model, Ch Squire of Tytton and Ch Christopher.

I had previously researched Abby's pedigree, to trace her family back to the Sunnybank collies.  When I did that project I found that Abby had many Sunnybank collies in her pedigree:
Ch Sunnybank Thane
Ch Sunnybank Goldsmith - Bruce
Sunnybank Gray Dawn
Ch Sunnybank Sigurd - Treve
Sunnybank Sandstorm
Anyone who is a fan of Albert Payson Terhune's books about the Sunnybank collies, will be familiar with Bruce, Gray Dawn and Treve.  They each had a fictional book written about them.  Gray Dawn and Lad were my two of my favorite Sunnybank books.  I was excited to discover that my collies were related to Gray Dawn.  I've visited Sunnybank many times, including the graves of all the Sunnybank collies.  There is just something magical about walking among the trees, over the rolling lawns of Sunnybank, while surrounded by collies.  It's like stepping into the pages of a favorite book.

I am going to continue my research into my collies ancestry, and I will share my findings.  For now, I am going to go home and put my hands on Abby's belly, and feel the next generation of collies as they gently move and grow.  For me, this is what it's all about, being connected to a rich and wonderful history, the history of the collie.