A New Collie Fancier

Written by James Watson. Published in the August 1, 1913 issue of Country Life in America, the "Dogs" department.


Knocklayde Queen Mary is a big one, but devoid of the coarseness which usually accompanies size in one of her sex

The blue merle, Knocklayde Queen Letty. She is particulary noticeable for her well carried out face, excellent ear carriage, heavy coat, and well placed shoulders

WHEN a new comer gets prominently into the limelight of the judging ring, probably the first thought of go per cent. of the well-tried men who have years of experience in connection with the exhibiting of dogs is "will he stick?" We have had so many of the ephemeral kind who rush in, buy a few good dogs, and then rush out again. Others linger a little longer, but lose interest after a while and drop out. Still there are a goodly lot whom we all respect as well as admire for the pertinacity with which they stick, and we call them true fanciers. With the quiet and undemonstrative advent of Mr. Thomas P. Hunter into the collie arena, the question is again revived, and I feel every assurance in predicting a long reign for the Knocklaydes, for that is the prefix for his collies, the name being taken from a mountain near where Mr. Hunter first saw the light of day in County Antrim.

It was my impression when first I heard of Mr. Hunter as a collie man and that that excellent manager of a collie kennel, Mr. Joe Burrell, was in charge, was that the manager was the man who had started the kennel right. I was happily undeceived on this point when I learned that Mr. Hunter himself had started with a collie, not of any particularly high grade, but which when mated to his liking produced the puppy Knocklayde King Bob, which at the Philaaelphia collie show of May was thus described by the judge: "This puppy is an exceedingly promising one and if he continues the way he has started will make a sure champion. It seemed ridiculous to give a six-months-old puppy the blue in such a large class, but he so far surpassed the others in quality that I had no hesitation in doing so."

It happens to very few men to breed a probable champion at the first attempt.

Since coming to the determination to go in for show collies, Mr. Hunter, unaided by advice from any one, has bought Queen Prim, Queen Ada, and Queen Marv, all bearing the prefix of Knocklayde. Queen Prim won the special for the best collie at this Philadelphia show, beating the king-pin dogs at the New York show of February last. Queen Mary is, in my opinion, the best collie bitch that I know of in the country to-day. She was not shown at Philadelphia because she was out of coat, and my liking for her was formed from seeing her at the kennels, racing and posing in an acre lot. She is a big one but devoid of anything like the coarseness or doggy character that one is apt to find in a large one of her sex. Her outline is perfection, her head a study, set off as it is with neat, perfectly carried ears. Since the manager arrived at the kennel, the more important of the acquisitions have been the dog King Jack, and Queen Letty, a blue merte in color, thus making it the strongest aggregation of show collies we have in the country to-day.

The kennels occupy a tract of eight acres within a short walk of the trolley station of Broomall, near Philadelphia. The whole area is enclosed with an upright fence 8 feet high, and 2 feet additional of inward-leaning top netting, as are also the sectional yards, making it impossible for the ablest fence-scaler to get out of any enclosure. The present kennel is a new three-floored barn, the first and second floors being cut up into roomy compartments as large as ordinary box stalls. The top floor is used as a store room and for temporary accommodation of any dogs requiring seclusion. Up in that top loft I saw a very ingenious contrivance for easily handling sawdust for the downstairs kennels. Sawdust is hoisted to the top floor in bags and dumped into a large bin in which there is a chute such as is in use for supplying fced to the lower floors for horses or cattle. When sawdust is wanted, it is shoveled into the chute and liberated at whichever of the two lower floors it is needed.

A wide porch extends all around the barn, and is enclosed and partly boarded pretty well up. This is a rainy day or bad weather exercise yard, for use when it would not be well to let the dogs out into the open. A new additional kennel has doubtless been built by this time, as the plans had all been prepared on the occasion of my visit at the end of April. It will be a one-story with a range of ten kennels and runs for each. It is to be built of hollow tile, and every effort will be made to keep it as cool as possible, for as Mr. Burrell said, "You don't need t about temperature in the winter for collies-it is the summer that worries us."

Queen Letty has so far only been mentioned by name. Her photograph will show what "merle" means to those who are not acquainted with collie colors. It is usually a bluish-gray body color mottled with a darker shade and frequently with tan on the face. Then white on face, white frill and collar, and white legs, this marking varying as usual in white marked dogs. Letty is particularly noticeable for her well carried out face - eye to nose - her excellent ear carriage, her wealth of coat, and her remarkably well placed shoulders. The latter is a point almost always overlooked by collie judges. Two not present at the Philadelphia show were a very good tricolor named Queen Alice - good color, ears and forelegs - and Champion Tyttonian, who will have to retain that name, having been so registered before passing into Mr. Hunter's possession. She is a splendid collie with a grand quality coat. She was at home nursing a little bunch of hoped-to-be champions.

Always on the lookout for novelties or good suggestions, I picked up one in the upstairs large room where there was a batch of young three-months-old puppies, some perhaps little older. In the centre of the room was the same style of boards we have in the centre of the judging rings, and as Mr. Burrell stood closely facing this raised platform, the youngsters hopped up on to it and, all active attention, got some little bits from the manager's pockets. This does away with that peculiar timidity in even some grown dogs to step on to the boards when being judged. It is a useful hint to those who rear show puppies.

At Mr. Hunter's Haverford residence his fancier spirit turns to flowers and poultry, where he has prize winning collections of both, so we need not fear that he will be a mere transient in the dog line.

J. W.

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