OUR DOGS’ Helen Davenport asks the all-important questions of well-known figure
around the world of dogs, Peter Jolley (Rubio)
Q Peter, If it is not too rude a questions, how old are you?
A. I am 63! I am a Pisces I wear my heart on my sleeve.
Q Did you grow up in a doggy family?
A. Yes, we always had dogs at home and my Grandma had a Wire Fox Terrier, called Queenie, who unfortunately was run over by a milk float. I was born in Morden, Surrey, (the end of the Northern Line) and at an early age I remember the family GP gave me a Lurcher, whom we called "Bing", after the singer! Growing up I always remember having a dog at my heels and this cemented my love of dogs. I also had another great interest and that was flowers. Dogs and flowers.
Q. When did you first become interested in pedigree dogs?
A. I used to own the largest hotel in Epsom and my business partner wanted a large dog to look after his wife and son. After some research he purchased a Great Dane, thinking the size etc., would put people off. He was fortunate in acquiring a six month old bitch from Kaye Stephens, Bonnoakleigh kennel, namely Bonnoakleigh Biarma. She was called after the filly that won the Oaks at Epsom, and Biarma came to live in Epsom! She stayed with me, never going to live with the wife and family! She was the first bitch I went into the ring with. Once bitten with the showing bug I purchased from the same breeder Bonnoakleigh Derby Lady, a blue Dane bitch. I qualified her for Crufts, at Southern Counties when that show was held at Hickstead.
Q. What are the origins of your affix?
A. "Rubio" is a Spanish word meaning, "blonde and fair". I was called that by the Spanish mother of my business partner, she did not speak a word of English. I remembered it!
Q.Who were your mentors/advisors?
A. Margaret Everton, has always been there for me, I was introduced to her by Kaye Stephens and she is someone I trust and have no secrets from. We are the best of friends and I admire her greatly. The man I have the greatest respect for and whom I always refer as "Sir", is the gentleman, Leonard Pagliero OBE. Who is, I understand, is a Freeman of the City of London as I am.
Q. You have had such an interesting and varied life. What makes the "dog world" so fascinating for you and how does it compare to the "World of Glamour"?
A. As far as my life is concerned the competitiveness of dancing and dogs is the same. To be successful, both disciplines require presentation, showmanship,confidence and flair. Having been so avidly involved in the dancing world, it prepared me for my entry, so to speak "into dogs". It gave me the confidence needed to enter a ring since I was used to escorting the Miss World contestants onto the podium etc., I also judged the Miss Ireland Competition on two occasions. When I was teaching dancing, I had to look at the way the dancers moved and their deportment. For example, Oriental girls do not walk in the same way and British girls. Judging dogs is somewhat similar. Not all girls walk alike and not all dogs move in the same way!
Q You commentate at some events. Which ones are they?
A. I am the commentator for the International Junior Handler at Crufts which is held in the Special Events ring. Last year I judged Portugal’s International Junior Handler of the Year, who represented his country in the competition at Crufts 2004. I also commentate at Midland Counties Ch show each year, I enjoy it and look forward to doing it.
Q. You award CCs in 16 breeds, covering 5 out of the 7 groups, including the Toy Group. When did you first judge/award CCs and for whom?
A. Under FCI rules I do 20 breeds, and I have just been passed for Group 9. I started judging in l983, Great Danes, it was for Thelma Lowe at Kensington Society. I awarded tickets for the first time at SKC in l992, and the breed, of course, was Great Danes. I must mention here that I did handle a Great Dane for Karina Le Mare to Dane of the Year in 1987. That was the most beautiful female harlequin, Ch Imperial Measure of Helmlake.
Q. What were your hopes and dreams when you started out in dogs?
A. I wasn’t terribly ambitious as I have had such an interesting and varied life, owned my own hotel largest hotel in Epsom, a fruit juice company, etc.,etc. I just enjoyed judging and going over dogs and the experiences that come about through travelling and meeting different people.
Q. Have you ever been a breeder/exhibitor?
A. Not on a large scale, I mention exhibiting above and I have bred two Min Pin Champions, Ch Rubio Cockney Sparrow and the Ch Rubio Bow Bells. (Both my parents were true Cockneys!)
Q With a busy schedule how often do you judge abroad?
A. This year I have been to Finland twice; I am booked to judge in Portugal the first weekend in April, then at the end of Apri I am going to Australia to judge the New South Wales Boxer Club. I am so fortunate.
Q. Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions in dogs?
A. I would like to be passed to judge the Working and Utility Group plus of course I would love to be passed to judge BIS.
Q. What hobbies do you have and how do you like to relax when not judging?
A. I sit in my conservatory and watch the birds. Ornithology is a passion too! I used to breed canaries and I still have two to this day, "Parvaroti" who has a large chest and an excellent voice and a pretty looking hen bird, I call "Diana".
Q. What has been your biggest disappointment?
A. I was the first person asked to award CCs in Leonbergers. It was a great honour. It was a week day and I had the largest entry for one judge at that show. I am more than disappointed that I do not now appear on the Leonberger Club judging list. I have been involved with the breed for many years during which time I gave ring classes at "Kinghern, " home of Fred Inwood and Jenny Kennish. I also visited Leonberg, at my own expense, to gain experience and to see the breed at first hand in its homeland.
Q. Apart from breed standards, obviously, do you ever read books on dogs?
A. Yes, I do and I am always revising and honing and tuning, since one can never stop learning in this game.
Q. What breed of dog do you own at present?
A. None, I lost both my lovely dogs as a result of fireworks last Bonfire night. They were both elderly, one was a Peke and the other a Min Pin. Sadly, I am now without a dog, but with a very busy schedule I would not sell myself a dog since I am at home infrequently and have too many commitments.
Q. Have you any advice to pass on?
A. Yes, when invited to judge I always consider it a great honour as they could always ask somebody else.
Q. How would you like to be remembered?
A. Not to be forgotten I hope and that I will be remembered in a favourable fashion.