Pom Exhibitors from Wales 1880- 1965
WRITTEN AND COMPILED BY VIVIENNE PETERSON & VYCKI BROCK
1880 - 1898
Mr D. P. Thomas of Upland Cottage, Pontypridd is the first known exhibitor of Pomeranians from Wales. In 1880 he bought Prince Charlie from Mr Burgess and gained a first place in a variety class at Swindon.
His next acquisition is of great interest as he bought the only Pom ever recorded as having been imported from Pomerania! Black Peter, imported by Mr Goas of Manchester, is recorded in the KC Stud Book as a black dog, born 15th October 1877 purchased from Mr A Seyfarth of Pomerania. Mr Seyfarth was a famous German dog breeder with a large establishment in Thuringia so it is unclear why Mr Goas believed his dog originated in Pomerania. Black Peter placed in 1878 and won many firsts in 1879 and when owned and shown by Mr Thomas in 1881 both he and Prince Charlie obtained first places at Crystal Palace in London.
After 1882 Mr Thomas no longer appears in the records but undoubtedly he may have bred from his two prize- winning dogs - his German import was probably quite expensive.
Interest in Pomeranians grew steadily helped by the foundation of the Pomeranian Club in 1891, the formation of the LKA (1894) encouraging women to compete and Queen Victoria’s late life interest in the breed after 1888. Black Peter was probably representative of the smaller (under 10lb with some as small as 4 ½ lb) type of Spitz bred in Germany and frequently imported until about 1900. The Queen and breeders like Mrs Hall Walker imported dogs from Italy where the breed was called a Volpino.
Afon Pomeranians - Mrs Louisa C.Dyer of Pantafon, Llangollen was an important breeder, exhibitor and judge. In 1899 she exhibited litter brother and sister Sweep and Zaida, bred by Miss Comer, both were black and weighed less than 8lb. They were by Herr Hans and Frau Gundelinda. Zaida placed at Birmingham, LKA and also at the Toy Dog and Kennel Club shows both at Crystal Palace. Sweep won at Birkenhead. Zaida and Sweep had typical recent German ancestry.
In 1901 Mrs Dyer campaigned her first home bred dog, Sweep’s son Fighting Bobs. He was a sable male born in 1899. His dam was Frau Senta born in 1895 a grand-daughter of the well known Fritz and Magna. By 1902 Mrs Dyer exhibited two more bitches one was Little Viscountess a granddaughter of Ch Prairie King and Frau Gundelinde – when bred to Fighting Bobs she produced show winner Nell of Old Drury. However the other bitch Lady Peggy, a daughter of Aigburth Prince and Frau Senta produced Mrs Dyer’s first champion.
In 1904 Mrs Dyer had the foresight to obtain a stud for Lady Peggy from Dragonfly – a rising star who would become the foundation dog of the orange shaded sable colour. Their offspring was an orange sable male called Monkey. Clearly happy with him Mrs Dyer repeated the mating in 1905 and now produced her first big winner – a 5lb orange sable bitch called Afon Gem (below) . Miss Ives, the breeder of Ch Dragonfly, noted Afon Gem was the first big winner of his stock. In April 1909 after gaining her 3rd CC under Miss Chell (Belper Poms), Ch Afon Gem was sold to the wealthy American Pom fancier Mrs Caner Wiederseim of Philadelphia (who also bought Ch Offley Bumble Bee for £80) – Gem soon became an international champion.
At this point it is worth explaining a little about the price of a Pom in this era. Winning dogs obtained much higher figures than bitches as they could sire numerous offspring and command lofty stud fees. Therefore it is understandable that Miss Ives was impressed when she noted Gem was sold ‘for the handsome sum, for a bitch, of £100’. The buying power of £100 in 1909 was about 65 times more than today – so Ch Afon Gem sold for approximately £6500 in today’s money!
Champion males could sell for up to £200 – the equivalent of £13000 today. With this sale Mrs Dyer joined the ranks of British breeders such as Miss Chell, Mrs Langton Dennis and Miss Ives who often exported Poms to America.
In 1909 Mrs Dyer exhibited Sabrinetta bred by Mr Kennerley, an orange shaded sable by Ch Dragonfly. After some show success she was sold to Mrs Mallory in Paris.
Perhaps Mrs Dyer’s most famous dog was shown in 1910 and he was Ch Afon Bolo, a son of Starlight of Rozelle. He was pure white, slightly over 8lb and born in 1909. He titled quickly with CCs at SKC, the KC show and the Toy Dog show at Westminster in London. He was then sold to Mrs Frank Smythe of Swiss Mountain Kennel in America who was the first President of the American Pomeranian Club (founded in 1900). He gained his title there and became Mrs Dyer’s 2nd international champion.
Mrs Dyer judges the first American Pomeranian Club show in 1911
In 1910 Mrs Dyer had the great honour to be invited to judge the first American Pomeranian Club Show, to be held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on January 11th 1911. She accepted the appointment and braving the winter seas arrived in New York December 1910. This was decidedly a society event, well covered in write-ups in the New York Times and some of America’s top socialites and debutantes were in attendance such as Mrs Frederick Vanderbilt, Miss Eleanor Sears, Mrs Earl Dodge, Mrs George Russell Peabody and the indomitable Mrs Stuyvesant Fish.
There were 262 entries provided by 138 exhibits with 62 Classes structured by colour, gender, weight and age.
Additionally there was an AKC recorded Champion’s Class for each gender and a Special open for Poms bred in America or Canada. The proviso of ‘AKC recorded’ effectively eliminated incoming British Champs who had yet to gain an American title. A comment was made‘ the fact that a dog is imported does not necessarily mean that it is better than our American bred dogs’.
The New York Times wrote a review of this show and commented that many were ‘as tiny as kittens’ and ‘ some of them looked like muffs of soft silken fur, with a little pink nose and two small eyes’. Colours noted were – white, sable, black, cinnamon, chocolate, blue, beaver, orange, cream and brown.
However Mrs Dyer’s judging was rather controversial …
It was noted in the New York Times she was ‘more severe in her decisions than the American Judges’. In fact early in the show she decided none of the exhibits in some classes were of a good enough standard for a first place blue ribbon ‘in these classes she gave but a second, and in some cases only a third’. The NY Times article states ‘This way of judging was somewhat of a surprise to the exhibitors.’
The “upset” started almost immediately by withholding 1st place in Class 4 for Open Dog, black. Again in Class 16 – Open Dog or Bitch White – the first place was withheld. In Class 24 for orange or cream Poms under 8 lb in weight Mrs Allard, whose Ch Tip Toes was favoured to take the ribbon, refused to accept her ribbon for 3rd place! Apparently Ch Tip Toes had ‘never known defeat’. Miss Sands’ 3lb black bitch Pom Patch Belper Tossie imported from Miss Chell’s kennel in England was a first prize- winner but eventually the Best in Show was awarded to the APC Club President Mrs Smythe’s dog Ch Banner Prince Charming.
Mrs Dyer’s over-view was that the standard was very high but she was very critical of the presentation. She did not approve of their beautiful coats being trimmed so closely behind the ears, and thought this ‘practice is decidedly overdone in this country’. It seems ‘the chances of some exhibits was lessened by bad trimming’.
Afon Poms figure in KC records continually until show year 1923 with perhaps Afon Blackthorn being the last dog she exhibited. Other winners bred or owned by Mrs Dyer included Afon Squinny sold to Mrs Smythe for £80, Afon Ginger exported to America, Afon Girlie, Afon Molly, Afon Bebe, Afon Brown Nut, Afon Dandy and Afon Tictac. Afon Cracker was considered by Miss Ives to be second only to Ch Afon Gem in quality – he was a shaded sable dog sold for a high price after gaining his first CC. Afon Squib sold to Mrs Finney in America was a BIS winner in January 1918 and was also BOB at the 42nd Westminster show in February 1918 – he was a shaded sable born in 1915 and was described as superior in size and type to the other exhibits, lighter in bone and more fox like in face.
Miss Ives noted in 1919 that Mrs Dyer was ‘one of the oldest and most extensive breeders, keeping all colours, and always showing a good dog’.
1922 – 1929
By 1923 Miss Bland of the famous Marland kennel had moved to Milford Haven. Her first champion was the black dog Ch Marland King born in 1899 and titled by 1901. Other Marland Poms included Queen, Cefn, Berry, Filbert, Dusk, Topaz and her last Pom shown from the Milford Haven address was a wolf shaded sable bitch Marland Xmas.
Miss Watkins of Cyril Crescent, Cardiff owned the black Cyril Billie – bred by Mr A G Watkins and shown by Mrs Watkins he placed in Cardiff June 1922.
Mrs A Evans of The Nook, Whitebrook, Mon., exhibited Dinah of Troy, an orange sable daughter of Ch Gold Premium in 1924. Dinah was probably quite expensive as a 1920s advert noted an unshown son of Ch Gold Premium had sold for £200 cash.
Madame G Barjona of Hamilton Street, Cardiff had a wonderful show year in 1926. Her orange sable Sunniest Girl, bred by Mr Easton, won 4CCs – at Worcester, S. Counties, Maidstone and Bristol and became Champion Sunniest Girl. She was a daughter of Ch Sunniest Sunbright by Ch Gold Premium and Cheriton Susan a daughter of Ch Sunbright Tatcho. Tatcho “lives” on as a stuffed dog at the Natural History Museum in Tring!
Mr and Mrs W.J. Harper of Mayfield Street, Port Talbot had some success in 1928 with Premmies Pride, a red sable grandson of Ch Gold Premium. Their affix was Nubian but it is unclear if this is connected with the late Victorian ‘Nubian’ kennel of Mr Fred Crang.
Miss Nabbs of Apsley, S. Parade, Llandudno exhibited Apsley Dandy in 1928 and 1929 – a black dog bred by her in 1926.
Mrs A. Smith of Claremont, Rhiw Road, Colwyn Bay won a CC in Edinburgh in 1929 with Goldcrest Fairy Queen (born Dec 1927). She was bred by Mrs Smith and was a granddaughter of both Ch Goldspeck Flashaway and Ch Minegold Monsieur.
Between 1929 and 1936 Mrs A. Walsh of Avondale, Ystradgynbis, Swansea is often noted in the KC Stud Books – she had some wins in 1929 with Little Golden Owl a grandson of Ch Gold Premium. In 1931 she exhibited her home bred shaded sable Little Juanita born in 1929 – her parents, Jiggs and Girlie, were unregistered Poms and this was not uncommon until about 1971 when amendments in KC regulations made the registration of unregistered dogs much stricter. Mrs Walsh bought Little Meistersinger bred by Mr and Mrs Harper of Port Talbot and he was 2nd in Limit at Crufts 1933. She then bought Owl from the Harpers and he won a 3rd place at Crufts 1935. Mrs Walsh seems to end her show career with a 2nd at Crufts in 1936 with her home bred orange dog Little Golden Gleam (by Owl and Ritakins).
1930 – 1954
1930 marked the arrival on the show scene of a well known breeder, exhibitor and judge Mr Alfred Britton whose affix was Britona. He lived in Cardiff originally on King’s Road, then at Cowbridge Road and finally at Newport Road. He established the Britona affix in 1937.
Mr Britton’s first Pom was titled in 1931 – her name was Ch Dainty Bet. After winning a CC at Richmond in 1930 she then won the CC at the Pomeranian Club in Nov. 1931 and her final CC in December at Birmingham under Mrs Gatehouse (Blackacre). Dainty Bet bred by Mr Easton in 1929 was an orange daughter of Ch Goldspeck Sun and the unregistered brood bitch Queen’s Pride. Dainty Bet was the dam of Red Mite’s Double (by Bournville Red Mite) and Another Dainty born April 1931 – so Dainty Bet titled about six months after whelping. Another Dainty won a CC at Taunton
By 1933 he had purchased orange sable Our Doll from Mrs Fay – winner of
Open Bitch at Crystal Palace in 1933 but not the CC. The immortal Bonny Ideal (considered a pillar of the breed) was 2nd in Open dog at the same show. Our Doll was a granddaughter of Ch Gold Sun of Sunbright and her dam was of Riverleigh ancestry. She was sold in 1934 to Mrs Blackburn of Newport, Mon., shown once then retired.
Note – In the 1937 edition of Mrs Parker’s book it says that Ch Gold Sun of Sunbright was the only Toy Dog (as of 1937) to ever win the Marples 80 guinea Challenge Cup at the Kennel Club show. This perfect little 2 ½ lb dog was a very popular stud dog.
In 1935 Mr Britton campaigned Mrs Morton Smith’s Shamrock Tip Toes and by 1938 he was showing Gold Girl – a daughter of Bonny Ideal by a g’daughter of Ch Gold Sun of Sunbright – at only 9 months old she was 3rd in Open Bitch at Crystal Palace.
After WWII Mr Britton acquired two Poms from Mrs Mckinstry of Belfast – IKA Ch. Kelvin Admiration and Kelvin Charming both orange. In 1948 he had a little show success with Brilliant Boy born 1942. He advertised Ch Kelvin Admiration and Brilliant Boy for Stud in 1948 along with Orblater Superior. At some point he must have exported some of his stock as one Britona Pom can be found in Australian pedigrees.
In 1949 he exhibited the orange dog Oldnall Sunset a grandson of Hadleigh’s Pride and was fortunate enough to make up his second champion – Ch Miss Muffett of Troy in 1950. She was a granddaughter of Mrs Jeffrey’s Suncherub who undoubtedly would have been a champion had he not been born in 1940 and died in 1946. There were no championship shows during the war. Suncherub is a distant ancestor of most of today’s top Pomeranians.
Ch Britona Fledermaus was titled in 1951 having gained 4CCs in that year. She was bred by Mr Britton and was by his Brilliant Boy and Pontvane Biddy and was orange in colour. In 1953 he titled his last dog Ch Oldderry Derigold a golden orange dog born in 1950. One of the judges Mr Gascoyne (Morrell) had placed Derigold 2nd in Limit the previous year but this time he gave him the CC at Leeds and the bitch CC went to Ch Sweet Lady of Hadleigh.
Mrs Dorothy J Hardy took over the Britona affix in 1954. Mrs Hardy was by then resident at Mr Britton’s Newport Road address and may well have been a close relative. She showed Derigold at Manchester in 1954 but he was 2nd in Open Dog to Ch Hadleigh Shining Gold - and ironically when Mrs Hardy judged Poms later in the year at SWKA ,she awarded the CC to Ch Hadleigh Shining Gold herself. Mrs Hardy exhibited Oldderry Daimon, 3rd in Open Dog at Crufts in 1958. Her last Stud Book entry was in 1965 exhibiting Oldderry Danae, an orange male.Ch Britona Fledermaus was titled in 1951 having gained 4CCs in that year. She was bred by Mr Britton and was by his Brilliant Boy and Pontvane Biddy and was orange in colour. In 1953 he titled his last dog
Ch Oldderry Derigold a golden orange dog born in 1950. One of the judges Mr Gascoyne (Morrell) had placed Derigold 2nd in Limit the previous year but this time he gave him the CC at Leeds and the bitch CC went to Ch Sweet Lady of Hadleigh.
Mrs Hardy once owned a Pomeranian superstar - Int Ch Pixietown Serenade of Hadleigh! Robin was bred by Mrs Cross in 1958 but was owned by Mrs Hardy. She showed him at Crufts and the April Pom Club Show in 1959 - unfortunately Robin did not place higher than 2nd in his classes. Mrs Hardy sold Robin to her friend Mrs Gladys Dyke (who had admired him at Crufts) and by July he won his first CC at the South Wales Kennel Association Show in Cardiff. In February 1960 he was Reserve Best in Show at Crufts - a truly wonderful achievement. About 8 months later, after winning his 9th CC, he was sold to Lady Florence Conyers in Bermuda who organised a successful show and stud career for him in North America.
Mrs V. Bush of Mackintosh Place Cardiff (affix Verdella) exhibited an orange grandson of Mr Britton’s Ch Oldderry Derigold called Wee Robin of Verdella. He was bred by Mrs Bush in 1954 and won the RCC under Mrs Hardy at SWKA in 1956. Mrs Hardy clearly liked Mrs Millward’s Oldderry Poms as she gave the BCC to Oldderry Dutch at the same show.
In 1961 Miss R Gwynne of Pentwyn Farm, Michaelston y Vedw exhibited home bred Wiffinpoofs So Sweet a golden orange of Passfield ancestry and a RCC winner under judge Stanley Dangerfield at Birmingham. Wiffinpoofs Honey Sweet born in 1960 (by Wiffinpoofs Bright Spark x Passfield Pacquita) – was awarded the BCC at Manchester in 1962 and gained a second CC in 1963 when Mrs Weed judged the Pomeranian Club championship show.