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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 retyped text.

"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 sheep.

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!"


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