Lucas-Lucas with her Cocker, Sixshot Sugar Bird, and Mr Hunt
who was the referee at the championship show held at Ascot
THE CENTENARY celebrations of the Cocker Spaniel Club coincided
with the 70th anniversary of its first independent championship
show. The Club had organised members shows from as early as
1910, and had held championship events in conjunction with
two or three general societies.
The year 1930 saw the introduction of a summer open show which
was repeated the following year and the success of these led,
in 1932, to championship status which the club has enjoyed,
with the exception of the war years, ever since.
Although some aspects of the show scene seem to have changed
little over the years, others were obviously very different.
It seems strange to realise that the show was held on a Tuesday,
the day before a general championship show at Windsor; most
exhibitors attended both shows.
The classification was fairly extensive with 17 classes for
each sex, 12 of which were divided by colour, and ten more
for members only. The prize money and entry fees for the main
classes were standard for the time £2, £1
and 10 shillings for a half guinea entry per class, but the
members classes had reduced entry fees for increased prize
money to fifth place. No doubt this helped draw the 562 entries
claimed as a world record at the time. Second, third or more
repeat entries were common so the number of individual dogs
would have been far short of this years amazing total.
The show, which was held at Silverlands, Chertsey, on 7th
June enjoyed brilliant sunshine. Mr Lloyd had already been
secretary for 11 years, would the sun dare to do anything
but shine? There was, apparently, just one ring with bitches
judged first. Mr F Bloxham judged these and was obviously
pleased with the quality and believed that at least a score
deserved the CC.
Surprisingly, few went on to win one. Sh Ch Falconers Caraway
won on the day, but more interesting n the younger entry were
Falconers Chita, who won her title as a junior the next day
and later played a part in developing an already influential
bitch line, Vanity of Misbourne and the winner of the black
puppy class, Treetops Treasure Trove, who carved her own place
in the history of solids. All three would be well represented
in the extended pedigrees of this years entry.
C V Barraclough judged dogs and started at 4pm! He had 204
entries, with the members classes to follow so had no time
to make notes. Notes or not, he still managed to write a considered
and constructive report which would put many of the present
day to shame. His top winner, and eventual BIS was Sh Ch Whoopee
It is safe to say that all of this years entry, solid
or parti-colours or the blacks seem to have become major stud
forces but the red/golden classes produced some which made
their mark on the colour in Gold Standard of Ware, Woodcock
Promise, Overdale Attaboy and two Ottershaws, Cedar and Gigolo.
At that time the colour would have been at an interesting
stage of its development, and both judges, particularly Mr
Bloxham, praised exhibits for being rich or dark in colour,
with one bitch being criticised for not having the colour
of the winners. The Red and Golden Club was just four years
old; it had some PR work ahead.
Two more shows were held at Silverlands with the classification
being extended to 55 classes including a special section for
orange/lemon and white or roan. Two rings were in use by this
time, but late finishes were still the order of the day. Mrs
Jamieson Higgins, judging bitches in 1934, insisted this was
not her fault, but due to the inability of exhibitors to be
in two places at once. They are still working on that!
In 1935, the club moved the show to Ascot Wood which was to
become its home, with just one excursion, for the next 35
years. Classifications varied a little, entries increased
steadily and Field Trial Classes were introduced for the first
time. Then, as later, support for these was patchy. Five shows
were held there before the war and saw Whoopee complete three
victories to be followed by his daughter, Sh Ch Exquisite
Model of Ware, who won three years in succession up to the
war, the only other dog to feature more than once was Ch Golhill
at that time were nominated and elected by the members, and
of the eight shows held pre-war, Mrs Jamieson Higgens judged
three and Mr A B Nicol.son two. Most of the the other appointments
went to older, established judges but in 1939, a young Mrs
W de Casembroot was elected to judge bitches the first
of many such engagements with the club.
When championship shows resumed in 1946, the shortage of benching
meant that only breed clubs were granted status that year.
The first to hold its show was , appropriately, the parent
club. The early Jude mid-week date was retained and Mr H Scott,
judging here for the second time, took dogs and Mrs Jamieson
Higgins (again!) bitches. Hyperion of Ware won in dogs and
Mrs Ethel McGladery from Belfast won her first ever CC with
Harmac Hycilla. Both dogs and bitch went on to make up but
sadly neither is represented in modern day pedigrees.
The 1940s and 50s saw Sh Ch Tracey Witch of Ware and Ch Oxshott
Marxedes win three certificates each and brought first CC
wins for Mr G Dance (Cartref) and Mrs M Wright (Dalcross).
Miss Macmillan made up her first bitch in 1950, the golden
Sh Ch Lochranza Lisbon Story, whose descendants were to give
the kennel a string of successes in later years.
In 1951, stud dog and brood bitch classes were introduced.
The bitch section was poorly supported but the dogs created
a great deal of interest and provided one unexpected problem
when Mrs Golds Marxedes, entered with his own progeny,
was required in his sires team. For the first, and probably
only, time an exhibitor mastered the art of being in two places
at once. Mrs Higgens did not live to see it, but would surely
Falconers Mark of Ware was the winner with Treetops Foxbar
Cognac as runner up. Some indication of the impact this class
had at the time can be seen in the advertisements for the
ensuing year; Mark was advertised as the leading sire and
Cognac as the top solid stud. No league tables then
it was the Cocker Clubs stud dog classes that counted.
Cognac won in 1952 so that took care of another years
advertising. These classes drew varied support over the year,
were dropped, revived and dropped again. It is good to see
them back in the schedule for the centenary show; perhaps
they will become a regular feature again.
its golden jubilee show in 1952, the club moved forward to
May 27th, but retained the Tuesday tradition with the annual
dinner held on the eve of the show. Thirty-nine classes attracted
641 entries, and the list of specials, while not equalling
that in this years schedule, was very impressive for
an early post-war show. M Daniel-Lacombe, from France, judged
dogs and Mr A H Gold bitches. M Lacombe had judged in England
b efore but this was the first time that many spectators had
seen him in action. The image of a large judge sitting on
a small stool in the middle of the ring is not easily forgotten.
BIS was Sh Ch Joywyns Blueboy of Ware who went on to become
an influential sire and the winning b itch, Sh Ch Broomleaf
Ballet Shoes, played an important part in developing a line
which provided many future Cocker Club winners for Mrs Doxford.
Judging was not completed until 8pm.
In 1953, in common with many others, the club could not resist
calling its show the Coronation Championship. For the first
item the club moved from Tuesday to Friday, the day before
the revived Windsor championship show and for this single
occasion shared Ascot Wood with the Labrador Retrieve Clubs
championship show. The dinner, still termed the banquet, was
held on the Thursday evening; it must have been a slightly
different affair from those we are used to today. replying
to the toast to the club president, Capt George commented
that cockers of the day were no better than they had been
30 years earlier; long backs, flat sides and bad hind action
were much too prevalent and in his opinion judging had not
He was probably glad to get that off his chest; maybe he got
his answer the next day when the judges, Miss Hahn (dogs)
and Mr J H Braddon came up with a pair of short-backed, big-ribbed,
strong quartered cockers in Ch Colinwood Haybury Howitzer
and Sh Ch Sixshot Sugar Bird. They required the services of
the referee, who that year was Mr J Hunt Hicken, the only
surviving founder-member of the club. He awarded BIS to Sugar
Bird, surprisingly the only major cocker club win for Sixshot;
Howitzers was the first of many for Colinwood.
The show stayed at Ascot until the late 1960s and the list
of winners over these years reads as the history of the breed
Broomleaf, Cochise, Colinwood, Dellah, Gatehampton,
Glencora, Quettadene, Ronfil, Springbank, Ware and Weirdene
all feature in the major awards, but that period provided
first CC wins for prefixes which were to become household
names. In 1954, Miss D Robinson won BIS with Golden filed
Benito and repeated the win the following year with his half-sister
Sh Ch G Merry Maiden. Mrs M Robinson won the first Craigleith
CC in 1957 with Geisha Girl and 1959 saw two first-timers
in Mr L McCormacks Lyncrst Lanza and Mr & Mrs Wises
Astrawin Aphrodite who was BIS and returned to win another
certificate in 1963. The other newcomer in this period was
Mrs E Caffyn with Carmabar Glengharrie in 1962. Following
the death of his owner, the dog changed hands and returned
two years later to become the first Sh Ch for Jack and Ron
Clarke (Cornbow). The Ascot years saw Ch Collinwood Silver
Lariot join the select list of those who won BIS on three
occasions and, in 1961, the last of Mr Lloyds major
winners, Mighty Rare of Ware.
Judges at this time were still nominated and elected by the
members, a practice which continued up to the early 1970s.
The most frequently selected were Mrs de Casembroot, Mrs Gold
and Miss Hahn. All three ladies were championship show judges
before the war. Then, as now, there were complaints about
the same old faces judging but, given the opportunity
to choose their own judges, members invariably voted for the
tried and trusted.
Ascot has always been remembered as the garden party show
in sunshine and usually it was, but in 1968 the weather was
unkind in the extreme, and the shortcomings of the venue were
seen for the first time. The entry required two marquees and
th path between them soon resembled the Cresta run.
Caddy, judging dogs, managed to keep her ring an island of
green in a sea of mud, but Mr Thomas, judging on the lower
part of the ground was less fortunate. It must have taken
all the skills of Mrs Marion France and team Macmillan to
present Ch Peelers Cornbow Myth and Sh Ch Lochranza Strollaway
(BIS) in such pristine condition at the end of that day. This
was the first time the club included PRA testing as part of
the show. Mrs Cloke lent her caravan to be used for this,
it was towed out of the mud sometime the next week. Ascot
Wood had served the club well for over thirty years, but the
facilities would not meet the requirements of todays
exhibitor or even those of a friendly Field Officer. It was
time to retain the happy memories and move on.
The first move to Windlesham fared no better. Another day
of heavy rain saw the water rising and bitch judging was completed
between the benches the only dryish spot.
Obedience classes for cockers were included at this show.
they were not repeated; anyone who has seen the expression
on the face of a cocker asked to do a down-stay in two inches
of water will understand why.
Strollaway scored a second BIS and the Wises won in
bitches with Astrawin Airsprite. Apart from these two owners,
the happiest person was Mrs Cameron (Lochnell) who was able
to resurrect her rally-driving skills to leave the car park.
Nearly everyone else relied on the help of Richmond Weir and/or
a tractor to get them on the road.
One last visit to Ascot, when the sun shone all day to remind
us of what we would be missing, was followed by a trip to
a rather gloomy hall in Slough over which it is better to
draw a veil.
In 1972, the show moved to Cheltenham racecourse, where it
settled happily for a few years. The first shows here saw
the remarkable double act of Sh Ch Lochranza Newsprint and
Ch Bournehouse Starshine who won the certificates for three
years in a row.
Starshine missed the next year but came back to take a fourth
CC (with BIS) in 1976. That is a record which will take some
beating. Other prefixes to figure in the major awards at this
time were Bitcon (with three different bitches), Broomleaf,
Misbourne, Quettadene, Ronfil, Sorbrook, Styvechale and Westdyke.
Miss O Tennant collected her first CC in 1977.
Two other venues were tried at this time first a sports
centre where Mrs D Barney became the first person to breed
both winners in her own, Sh Ch Cilleine Echelon and the Websters
Sh Ch gemma of Asquanne. BIS went to the one that got away.
Next came Newark showground for the 80th anniversary celebrations
which produced another memorable show with endless specials
but rather disappointing support. Cocker exhibitors probably
dont like too much change for both shows, one
or two arrived red faced, breathless and late, having been
to Cheltenham first. Echelon won another ticket at Newark
with BIS going to Miss P Beckers Olanza Pure Magic who
was just out of puppy.
to the racecourse left the club looking for a new venue, so,
after one more show at Cheltenham, it was on to Malvern where,
with a few exceptions, it has been ever since. Even the Ascotphiles
are beginning to think of it as home; the neighbours can be
a little odd at time, but maybe they think the same of us!
In 1984, Mrs S Hackett was the first to win a Cocker Club
ticket with a puppy in Lindridge Gypsy girl. The BIS that
day, Mr P Lesters Quettadene Emblem was not much older.
Between them these two have been responsible for many subsequent
winners. The following years saw Echelon collect his third
Cocker Club CC, Mrs S young won BIS with a puppy in Canyonn
Carolina Moon and, in 1990, Mrs Hackett achieved the double
the first since 1937 and the only time both
were home bred. This was with Sh Ch Lindridge Salute and Sh
Ch Lindridge Vanity Fair, a son and grand-daughter of Gypsy
Girl. In later years, Vanity Fairs son, Sh Ch Lindridge
Topgun scored twice and the two blacks who dominated the bitch
ring for so long won a BIS apiece in the Websters Sh
Asquannes Grainne and Mrs Lesters Sh Ch Quettadane
As you come up to date, everyone will have their memories
of recent years. Perhaps these will include Sh Ch Canigou
Cambrais retirement BIS,.when a presentation
was made to mark his achievement of BIS at Crufts or Sh Ch
Wiljana Waterfall going BIS before she went on to almost achieve
the same, or Sh Ch Perrytree Sun Creamer collecting BIS on
his way to the record for a golden cocker. Other prefixes,
some old and some new, to reach the top in recent years include
Bitcon, Cardamine, Cassom, Classicway, Cosalta, Judika, Lochdene,
Lynwater, Matterhorn, Mistfall, Olanza, Platonstonw, Sorbrook,
Teifi, Wensum, Whipspan and Withiflor and in 1995 mrs S Pudney
won her first ever CC with Cascadia Caution to the Wind. The
new century opened with Sh Ch Charbonnel Warlord winning BIS
Of course the Cocker Spaniel Club does much more than organise
its show, and although a centenary is a tempting time to look
back, its a better time to look forward. In the coming
years, the officers and committee will have to face problems
the founding fathers could not have imagined. They will cope,
they always have. Lets wish them well.