THE OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
CLUB OF SCOTLAND
The Club's History, (1932 - .....)
By Lew and Margaret McWilliam
The Old English Sheepdog
Club of Scotland held its first ever club show in conjunction with the Ayr championship
show in April 1933. The Rev. W. B. C. Buchanan, Secretary, had managed to obtain
an extra four classes to make a total of ten classes. He was also given three
new silver trophies and a number of valuable special prizes which were added
to annually. Most, if not all, of this interest was generated by the secretary
himself. He was an outspoken man who sometimes forgot that he was not in the
pulpit and he also fully understood that the "Pen is Mightier than the
Sword" as he took to task those who dared criticise the breed unfairly.
It did not matter to him what status his opponents had and on several occasions
he took the 0. E.S. Parent Club to task over its policy of high subscriptions
and too few guarantees. He also criticised the great H. A. Tilley for stating
that "all things being equal a dog should be given first place before the
bitch due to the dogs natural dominance". Such then was this 'man of god'
who first entered the breed in 1927 with a bitch called 'Candida Casu' which
he transferred in 1930 to Mr. A. D. Erskine Hill M.P. where she remained as
a family pet until her death in 1938. She was the dam of 'Candida Actre', who
was the best bitch at the first club show, Ayr and narrowly beaten by Miss Betty
Davidson's 'Samson' for Best of Breed. At this first club show in Ayr, there
were no fewer than 25 dogs benched for the judge Miss McTurk to go over. Mrs.
Sheffield did exceptionally well with her nine months puppy, bred in Scotland
by the Rev. Buchanan as did Dr. McKerrow with his team. Miss Flint obtained
a first in varieties and the Rev. Buchanan several seconds and thirds. Large
coverage of the event was given in the local newspaper which helped to fuel
the already growing interest in the breed, and at this time, fresh stock was
being sought out - Dr. McKerrow, St. Andrews bought a charming bitch by Champion
'Courtesy' from Mr. Sanders, of the Pensford Kennels. Rev. Buchanan purchased
'Dermod Mac Ac of Slane', a son of Champion 'Happy Go Lucky' and 'Newcote Blue
Bell'. Mr. and Mrs. Ure, Alloway, Ayr, sold puppies to clients in Giffnock,
Lanark, and Essex. Miss Davidson, Eskbank, sold puppies to Mr. A. R. Davidson,
the President of the club and also to Mrs Wallace, Edinburgh, and Mr. Deans,
In September 1933 the first ever club dinner was held at the Royal Hotel on the night of the first day of the S.K.C. Show and it was well attended by members and friends. This was also the year that the Rev. Buchanan obtained his fist judging appointment at Leeds Open Show. The second club open show was again held in conjunction with the Ayr championship show on April 25th and 26th 1934 with the usual trophies and specials on offer. However, and more importantly, the first Challenge Certificate in Scotland had been won at the Scottish Kennel Club Show in September at Waverley Market, Edinburgh by Rev. Buchanan's bitch 'Hillgarth Blue Scilla'. Scilla beat Miss Davidson's 'Thyrza' and 'Bobbin of Samson' into second and third places respectively under the well known specialist judge, Mrs. M. Sheffield. However, it should be noted that although 'Hillgarth' was the affix of Mrs. Sheffield, 'Scilla' was in fact bred by Mr. and Mrs. MacMillan.
That same month, Dr. McKerrow had his judging debut at Perth open show where two classes, open dog and open bitch were scheduled. He was also nominated as club President for the' 1934-1935 season and, appointed judge elect for the Clubs forthcoming third open show at Ayr in April 1935. There seemed to be no stopping this human dynamo who was once an international class rugby player in his 'university' days. However, the Rev. Buchanan was also making great strides forward in spreading the 'Gospel' to newcomers, with the sale of a few puppies to members such as Mr. Purdie, Giffnock. Mrs. Plain, Dundee. Mr. Knox, Stirling and to clients in Kirriemuir and Greenock. He also kept one himself called 'Cairbre Mac Ana Life' This dog was to be the nearest that Rev. Buchanan would ever get to owning a Champion - it won a few reserve and two Challenge Certificates. However, the litter sister which was sold to the client in Greenock turned out later to be none other than Champion 'Dinah of Woodburn' - the first of many champions to be owned or bred by Mr. and Mrs. J. Nicol of the now world famous Squarefour Kennels'. Just eight years after owning his first bobtail, Rev. Buchanan was awarding Challenge Certificates at the September 1935 S.K.C. Show in Edinburgh where he awarded both certificates to Champion 'Bobs Son of Pickhurst' and Champion 'Saucy Girl of Pickhurst', both belonging to Mr. and Mrs. T. E T. Shanks. On September 25th, 1935, the club held its A.G.M. where the retiring president and chairman, was Dr. McKerrow. Captain R. M. Reid of Tillyrie farm, Milnathort was elected President for the forthcoming term and the membership now stood at forty-five which enabled the club to continue guaranteeing classes at the principal open and championship shows in Scotland.
By the time 1936 arrived there were five shows in Scotland which had classes for Old English Sheepdogs including Edinburgh and Glasgow where challenge certificates were on offer. The latter of these shows was judged in February by Mr. H. A. Tilley of 'Shepton Kennels' who later presented the' 'Tilley Cup' to the club as a token of remembrance of his Scottish judging appointment. This trophy, made of hallmark silver, stands over a foot high and is probably the most valuable of all our club trophies today. At the S.K.C. Edinburgh show where Mrs. T. E. T. Shanks of 'Pickhurst' fame was judging, a grand entry of fifty-two was made from twenty-six exhibits, sixteen of which came from Scottish kennels. Miss Russell, Kilmacolm and Mrs. Johnston, Troon joined the club - the latter buying a puppy dog out of champion 'Rag Tag of Pickhurst'. Mr. G. Gourlay-Dick of Cardenden, Fife strengthened his kennel with several new additions. It was hoped that Mr. Gourlay-Dick, a farmer, would be interested in training his sheepdogs to work as well as selling his puppies to others in the farming community since they would make ideal general-utility dogs on Scottish working farms. Mr. Gourlay-Dick was elected onto the committee for 1937-38 season and became Vice-President the following year.
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OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG CLUB OF SCOTLAND
Secretary: Mrs. Margaret Strachan
31 Fortieth Avenue, Whitehills, East Kilbride G75 0SS