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Blue blood among the 'Beardies'
by Edward Hart
This article appeared in the
Yorkshire Post on September/October 1998.
Mr. Hart, a Countryside Writer and Bookseller, authored the article.
He has given permission for it to be retyped and appear on this website.
If anyone wishes to contact Mr. Hart, please write to him at
Ground Floor Flat, Caynham House, Ludlow, Shropshire SYk 4JZ. He will
be happy to discuss with anyone either this article or about any of
his other writings, or his used book collection on sheep and sheepdogs.
The picture that accompanied the article will appear below the
"A dog named Roy was a source of constant attention
at the International Sheep Dog Trials at Armathwaite, Cumbria, and he
wasn't even a runner. He was a Bearded Collie, or 'Beardie', a type that
dog men always appreciate even though they don't own one.
Stuart Eccles, Bromplon by Sawdon, Scarborough,
keeps three, all registered with the International Sheep Dog Society.
Like most modern Beardies, Roy harks back to Paul
Turnbull's Blue, registered on merit by ISDS.
Roy has Blue blood on both sides of his pedigree.
Mated to Paul Turnbull's Pam, Blue sired Morland's Stump, so named on
account of her stumpy tail.
To J. Paterson's Scottish National winner York,
Stump produced Rob 186397, who proved a tremendous work dog for R E
Cornforth. Roy was bred from the mating of Rob and Stuart Eccles's Tess,
whose maternal grandsire was Blue.
Derrick Robinson of Wilton, Pickering, is Stuart's
father-in-law and an enthusiastic Beardie advocate.
Two of his present three trainees are Beardies.
"They are good, faithful dogs, very strong on sheep and excellent
herding dogs. I like their temperament and they are good for trials,"
said Mr. Robinson.
He did a lot of trialling till his eyesight began
to fail, but always preferred bringing on young dogs, usually having
something reliable for sale.
Sydney Moorhouse in The British Sheepdog, 1950,
wrote" "There is no doubting the ancient lineage of the Bearded Collie
and, in all probability, it is an older animal than the Border Collie
that has ousted it from the majority of sheep farms."
The International Trials at Armathwaite were a
great success, and the local committee did a tremendous job. The same
cannot be said of International Sheep Dog Society organisers, whose
programme omitted any acknowledgement to George Hutton for the loan of
No man in Britain puts forward better trialling
sheep than Mr. Hutton. He and two shepherds spent a full week gathering
and sorting his several different lots of Swaledale sheep admittedly
marking for the draft ewe sales at the same time. Each of his many
hundreds of sheep is known individually, and any likely to give a dog an
unfair trial are rejected.
George Hutton's reward? Not even an acknowledgement
in the expensive programme, no free entry tickets for his shepherds, no
invitation to the annual dinner for his family.
The Society has a reputation among its members for
being money grubbing, a point borne out by the timing of the raffle
draw. This comes immediately after the last run of the International's
final day when spectators are agog to know who has won, and then start
their journeys home. By the time the lengthy raffle had been drawn, the
atmosphere and some of the spectators have gone.
Imagine drawing a raffle after the Derby winner has
passed the post but before the Royal presentation! Or after the final
whistle of the FA Cup Final, but before the trophy is lifted on high!
Think again, ISDS!"