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Obituary - Mr Alec Waters

Alec Waters died on October 9th at the age of 76. He was one of the greatest in the little Staffordshire Bull Terrier world.

They called him `Mr Stafford` in Germany. Whenever I was talking with Staffordshire breeders or fans, the phrase ‘Alec Waters said’ . . . or ‘Alec Waters wrote’ . . . would occur at least once. Alec Waters was an acknowledged authority for our Staffordshire Bull terrier community.

I first came to know him as a judge. Many times I translated his verdicts from English to German in the show ring; verdicts which have to be produced in Germany for all dogs exhibited, not just for the winners of each class. It rapidly became clear to me just how comprehensively he examined each dog. The scrutiny was not just about comparing the dog to the Breed Standard; his remarks about the relationship between anatomy and the mechanics of mobility, genetics, coat colour, growth and teeth, to mention but a few examples, were evidence of the depth of his knowledge of dogs in general. The exhibitors valued his competence.

Were anybody to ask me what makes a good judge, I would at once think of Alec Waters. It was not just his immense knowledge that convinced me. He was able to convince every exhibitor that he owned a magnificent dog, even if it was not the epitomy of beauty. His fairness towards dog and handler, his friendliness and warmth ensured that the atmosphere in the ring was very relaxed. Alec Waters was not only supremely competent, he was extremely popular. That was why he was always the must-have judge for the big German shows like the national or club champion.

It was one of Alec Waters’ great traits, that he was always ready to pass his knowledge on. And he would do this not only verbally; he was one of the sadly-dwindling few who wrote about the breed. Everyone should profit from his knowledge. Anyone who publishes anything exposes themselves to attack. Alec realised this; but he was always ready to do it. As the author of countless ‘Ashstock Notations’, most of which have appeared as translations in our Bull & Terrier Journal, Alec was famous not only in Germany as an acknowledged expert.

The word ‘friend’ has great significance in Germany. It is a title not lightly to be bestowed. I can say that Alec Waters was my friend. Apart from our shared passion for dogs, there was much more that bound us together. I liked his attitude to life and his honourable manner of dealing with people. Like me, he loved good food, good wine - and classical music. My wife and I often enjoyed Alec and Rita`s hospitality; we spent a lot of good times together.

Gregor von Dungen
Chairman of the Committee of the Gesellschaft der Bullterrier-Freunde

I FIRST met Alec as a nervous first time exhibitor (well, the nervous wife of a first time exhibitor!) at Birmingham National. Alec, even though he hadn’t a clue who I was, nor I he at the time, came and sat with me and proceeded to talk me through the goings on in the ring - I was overawed by his gentlemanly way and his genuine love of the breed.

We remained friends and spoke many times over the next few years, and I always enjoyed our chats at the shows about the breed, what dogs were doing what and who we thought would win.

I shall miss him and my sympathies to his family.

Ali Smith