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Dodo Hunton Morgans
Dalati Welsh Springer Spaniels 4 October 1927 – 24 August 2005

Dodo Hunton Morgans and Sh Ch Dalati Rhian taking the RCC at Crufts 1975

It is with a very heavy heart I write that Dodo Hunton Morgans of the Dalati dynasty has died. Noel phoned me to say she had been in hospital for the last five weeks suffering with breathing and heart difficulties. She had a massive stroke and died in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Dodo was born in Buryport, Carmarthanshire and went to the local Primary School then Llanelli Girls before studying at Trinity College of Music, specialising in piano. She taught music at Ammanford Secondary Modern School and in retirement continued peripatetic teaching of rudimentary music and Spanish guitar in Carmarthanshire.

In 1964, Dodo and her husband Noel were granted the Dalati affix, meaning persevere in Welsh. Their first breed was Dalmatians, a breed in which they bred several overseas champions from their titled bitch. Their only son Rhys was born in 1982. Now living in Holland, he has carried on the breed interest with a highly successful kennel of winners.

In 1967, Freesia of Hearts was bought in from Hubert Arthur for Noel to train as a working gundog, but it was in the nursery that she excelled. A double granddaughter of Ch Statesman of Tregwillym, she was mated to Sh Ch Diplomat of Hearts and produced the Hunton Morgans first title holder, Sh Ch Dalati Anwylyd, herself dam of six show champions. Put to Hedley and Daisy Perkins’ Sh Ch Bruce of Brent, Freesia produced Sh Ch Dalati Swynwr, Sh Ch Dalati Helwr, Sh Ch Dalati Nanno and Dalati Sidan, in turn dam of the beautiful and clever Dalati Del.

Over the years I have often asked Dodo and Noel about their favourites – Noel usually chooses Ch Dalati Del, but Dodo always told me she adored Ch Dalati Rhian for her character as well as her looks. Rhian was another of Anwylyd’s daughter’s, but this time by Int Ch Dalati Dyma Fi, a combination of Sidan and Sh Ch Athelwood Daiperoxide bringing in further injections of Tregwillym bloodlines, and especially many more lines to Sh Ch Statesman of Tregwillym.

Without detailing every title holder, there were around 30 Dalati champions, including 2 full champions – Ch Dalati Del and her daughter Ch Dalati Fflur. In all around 65 title holders in the UK have either a sire or dam bearing the Dalati affix, and there are Dalati champions in 12 countries worldwide.

Dodo was a Vice President of the national Welsh Springer Spaniel Club, and of the Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of South Wales and was on the committee of the Welsh Kennel Club for many years, usually sharing the announcer’s job with Noel.

The first stud dog Dodo and Noel kept was Sh Ch Dalati Braint, sire of John Thirlwell’s two foundation bitches Sh Ch Dalati Hefin (ex Sidan) and Sh Ch Beaconside Siw (ex Emma Girl of Sharman) who went on to produce several of John’s 20 Ferndel champions. Braint was also behind my eight Northey Champions, four of them full Champions. Other kennels to have strong Dalati influences include Phil Green’s Tamaritz, starting with Dalati Cymro of Tamaritz (Sh Ch Dalati Helwr ex Del’s sister Sh Ch Dalati Delwen) Jock Beattie’s Knockmains, starting with Sh Ch Dalati Brig of Knockmains, who was by the prolific Sh Ch Progress of Pencelli ex Ch Dalati Fflur.

Mavis and Roy Harrison bought in Sh Ch Dalati Sbort, and mated to their Plattburn bred bitch produced the litter mate title holders Sh Ch Fiveacres Firecrest and Sh Ch Fiveacres Frivolity, and Denis Phillips produced two titled litter mates from his Sh Ch Dalati Gwawr. John and Joy Hartley have a good run of Weslave champions by starting with Dalati Dethol, a daughter of Braint ex the beautiful, but little shown Dalati Siani.

Then came Sh Ch Dalati Sioni, with grandparents Sh Ch Dalati Braint, Sh Ch Dalati Cerian, Sh Ch Roger of Pencelli (bringing in another line to Sh Ch Bruce of Brent) and Ch Dalati Del. Sioni was top stud for several years, winning the Dog World/North Light Top Stud Dog ALL breeds in 1992.

He sired 8 different CC winners winning 32 CCs with 11 offspring winning 27 Res CCs including the one time breed record holder Sh Ch Russethill Royal Salute over Nyliram. Our top CC winning bitch Sh Ch Northoaks Sea Mist of Menstonia also has a Dalati champion sire.

Several Dalati Welsh Springers won groups, including Sh Ch Dalati Sarian at Crufts in 1990, and later that year Sh Ch Dalati Sioned at the LKA, the year it was plagued by freak snowstorms. I remember the day of Crufts BIS well. A few of us arrived early to decorate the bench in the BIS collecting ring. Later that day we were walking around the balcony of Earls Court just above the area, looked down and there was Sarian reclined on her bench, and next to her two ladies – one was Dodo and the other Connie Christie from the States, who was staying with the Hunton Morgans at the time.

They were both so excited about the balloons and banners on the bench and dear Dodo was so modest and grateful we had come to watch. Fortunately I had a camera with me, and captured the moment as she looked up and saw us on the balcony. I sent a copy of this photo to her last month, with her monthly package of breed notes, and I hope it brought back happy memories.

Dodo first awarded CCs to Welsh Springers at Darlington in 1976, the year before Noel. Her winners on the day were Hughes’ Sh Ch Dalati Cador (this was in the days when you could judge dogs you bred) and Sh Ch Contessa of Tregwillym who was in her heyday and won yet another BOB. She also awarded CCs in English Springers (since 1977) Field Spaniels (since 1990) Clumber Spaniels (since 1992). She judged Crufts in 1988 and has twice judged the national WSSC championship show - in 1982 at Coombe Court when my Ch Northey Woodpecker won the DCC, and Margaret Powell’s Sh Ch Blorenge Megan won BIS, and in 1993 when the breed had been split into two sexes and I judged the dogs, she the bitches awarding the CC to Sh Ch Wainfelin Gelli Fawr.

Famous for their Welsh Springers, Dodo and Noel also had an interest in English Springers, and owned Sh Ch Hawkhill Humble Duty, by the immortal Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught. From her she bred down several winners, including three generations later Dalati Carys Sais, who is behind the Palmer's Roandew kennel. There were also a few winning Cairns and Pointers at Dalati.

Dodo was usually a very private person, but I will always feel privileged that she shared her keen sense of dry humour and extreme wit with me. My husband Andrew and I often visited Gorsddu Cottage, just outside Llandovery. Our first visit was in 1978 with my foundation bitch, who we mated to Sh Ch Dalati Braint. Dodo had made a wonderful meal (she was a great cook) which we both enjoyed. "You will have to thank Braint for that", she said. Our minds racked with visions of this wonderful show dog massacring the inhabitants of a chicken coup, and we must have looked a little shocked, until Dodo explained it was rabbit pie!

John Thirlwell recounts the time he first met Noel and Dodo. "I had spoken to them on the telephone and arranged to travel down by train to pick up Gwent. It took me all day and 3 changes to get there. Dodo was at a show and Noel picked me up at the station, Dodo arriving home much later that evening. The next day she told me that they had expected a much older person, and was quite surprised to see this young boy sitting there when she returned.

I was only about 17. Ever since that day they always made me feel at home whenever I visited. She always liked to here my news whenever we chatted on the phone or at shows. She has been sadly missed at shows for a number of years by me for her wisdom and help. I owe an awful lot to both of them for their talent as breeders, and yes she had a wicked sense of humour, Moray (Armstrong) and her got on really well!"

Another Springer person who has very fond memories is Gareth Lawler. Gareth says, "She once told me our daughter, Jessica, would be very forthright as she got older, very intelligent - and very interested in the dog game. When I enquired why she should say this as she had never met her - the reply was "because she's got the same birthday as me!" Typical Dodo, and just how I will remember her. God bless her.”

The funeral is at Llanelli Crematorium at 1.30pm. Express wish for no cut flowers – Dodo loved flowers growing in the garden or wild. Donations to Llandovery Cottage Hospital where she died, nursed by several of her old pupils. Llandovery Cottage Hospital, Llanfair Road, Llandovery, Carmarthanshire, SA20 0LA.