|REFLECTIONS - by Hugh Jones (Seafire U.K.)|
|Having now reached the age of Wisdom (74) I am often asked if there have been any changes during my time in dogs? The answer is most certainly YES, and not in my opinion for the best. When I bought my first Rough Collie as a teenager in 1947, the dog showing scene had just started up again after four years of war and dog shows were very scarce. Only a handful of people had managed to keep their kennels operative and I was lucky to have one of those people living nearby. This person was a Mr Harold Cliffe of the Lyncliffe prefix, he had been able to have a small number of Collies residing on his premises. His prefix you will find in almost all the post war pedigrees and along with his great friend Mrs George of the famous Beulah prefix had still managed to breed Colliesthat became the foundation stock for all the new kennels springing up in the late Forties and early Fifties.
It was in this company that I got introduced to all the well known Collie folk of the day, little did I realise that their names would become legends of the Breed later on. One big change that has taken place from those days is in the way folk now travel to the shows. There were no Motorways then and nobody could even consider owning a car. Many is the time I had to travel to the shows with my dogs on the bus or train, hoping they would still be available when the show was over. Some of my fellow exhibitors even came on motorcycle and sidecar. At quite a number of the larger Championship shows you were not allowed to leave until late in the day. How different it is today everyone having one or two cars apiece and in many instances Mobile Homes that resemble a beauty salon. Another big change has been the eradication of the large well known kennels to be replaced by hundreds of kennels comprising of around twelve dogs only. The days of 100 Collies controlled by kennel managers and staff has now vanished altogether, and very few people can afford the upkeep and differing lifestyle that exists today. When I started in Collies and for twenty years after you could recognise kennels by the type of Collie they were producing. The breeders then never mixed up the bloodlines like we see today and what had been good enough for there forefathers before them was certainly good enough for them. This observation and respect of traditional bloodlines, ensured continuity of breed type and no deviations were encouraged. Today I see so called Rough Collies that make me wish judges would do the right thing and take a revolver in the ring and rectify accordingly. Certain breeders and judges are completely ignoring what this lovely breed is all about, and providing there is good rewards, both financially and further appointments, are prepared to sacrifice it all in there own lifetime.
The way exhibitors dress in the ring has also changed dramatically. We used to see the ladies wearing lovely White or specially coloured overalls or jackets, whilst the men had very smart jackets a matching trousers. Today the women come in looking as though they have just fell out of bed and the men look as though they are the result of an explosion. No longer does there appear to be any pride in ones appearance, and this has now enveloped the way even some judges are turning up for their appointments.
Finally we have the way in which exhibitors are preparing and showing their dogs. At one time exhibitors had to learn how to hand strip a Collies ears and coat so that one could see the dog to its full potential. There is nothing nicer than a clean well presented NATURAL coated Collie, the use nowadays of all this cosmetic rubbish really gets up my nose. I will not go into what is happening in other countries, suffice to say get out there and learn your trade off people who are still around, and willing if asked to advise. I feel privileged to have known the best and hope that in years to come there may have been folks who have listened to us silly old timers and have been able to rectify most of the wrongs.
Hugh Jones (Seafire Collies).