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A Review of the Twentieth Century

Researched & compiled by Catherine Owen

No part of this article may be reproduced without permission from the author


The aim of this review is to bring together some historical data relating to a number of dogs, who, for various reasons have made an impression during the years which the West Highland has been allocated challenge certificates by The Kennel Club, namely 1907-2000 . However before embarking on this venture, while not wishing to disillusion the many disciples of these terriers who invariably indicate Col.E.D. Malcolm of Poltalloch, arid his ancestors as responsible for the development of the breed, that according to the show bench records it is apparent that the caliber of his dogs didn’t meet the standard description and code of points as approved by the former experts. The philosophy of Col.Malcolm was, his dogs should be fearless enough to attack any prey; fit enough to fight their way back out of lair; and hardy enough to withstand a rough life and rigorous climate. The elements required for a ‘beauty competition’ where not an asset for working terriers ! He also advocated they should be exhibited in “working dress merely tidied up, washed and brushed, and with their most valuable under coats on.” So much has been written regarding Ch Morven winning a Championship Prize at S.K.C., when only 7 month old, but the definition of this award indicates that it was for the best White West Highland Terrier Dog In the Show, and as the breed was not recognised by The Kennel Club at this time, it didn’t count towards his title. For the record it was at a Kennel Club meeting, held 20 th November 1906 that the application for a classification for the West Highland White Terrier to be placed on the register was approved, along with accepting the title for The West Highland White Terrier Club of England.


Unquestionably, one of the greatest pioneers in the breed was Provost Cohn Young who bred six of the first seventeen champions. His most outstanding dog CH Morven [‘07] originally registered as a Scottish Terrier, played a leading role in the early days of the West Highlands when they were developing as show dogs in their own right. He had the honour to be awarded the first challenge certificate at the National Terrier in January 1907 and went on to become a champion in three straight shows. Morven had a great influence on the breed winning a total of twelve certificates. Two of his progeny became champions plus another six achieved CC status, while a number of his grandchildren also figured in the top awards.The breed quickly made enormous strides both as regards the general quality of the terrier shown and their popularity. At most of the important show entries were good and the exhibits seem to appeared more even in type.The next dog to make his mark was Ch Morova [‘12] who notched up thirteen certificates, sired by Ch Moreso [‘14] and a daughter Swaites Culaig also gained a certificate.Two significant bitches during this era were Ch Runag [‘10] and Ch Chatty of Childwick [‘15]. The former became a celebrity in the breed accumulating thirteen CC’s and took the first big win by a West Highland when she was awarded BIS at The Terrier Association of Scotland 1914, she too was the dam of a certificate winning bitch. Chatty dominated the show ring in 1915 collecting the certificates at all eight shows she attended and the following year added another couple to her total.Through this eleven year period 125 Championship Shows were classified, although not all were allocated CC’s for both sexes. From these, 44 dogs, and 50 bitches won certificates; Twenty nine of which became champions. Unfortunately, Ornsay Vida who had been awarded three CC’s could not claim her title, as two were from the same judge. Although strenuous efforts had been made to keep the flag flying during the war, only the Caledonian and Crufts took place in 1917 before shows were suspended, and later that year The Kennel Club prohibited the registration of puppies, except under licence, until the cessation of the hostilities. With the signing of the Armistice in November 1918 it was anticipated that the harassing restriction upon dog-owners would be removed. However the outbreak of rabies at the close of the year resulted in the Government imposing partial muzzling order and only two Great Joint Terrier Championship shows were held in 1919.


The adverse conditions had inevitably taken its toll on the world of dogdom, so many men served in the armed forces and the women were employed in other war work, food had been difficult to obtain so through necessity a number of had been sold abroad or put to sleep to avoid suffering from starvation, consequently a number of the pioneering kennels were disbanded.Nevertheless, breeders were quickly encouraged to revive dog breeding and exhibiting.The prominent dog of this decade has to be Ch Highclere Rhalet [‘20], the first postwar champion who amassed a total of eighteen CC’s. He also went on to sire three champions including Ch Harviestoun Mab [‘23] who took Best Bitch in Show at the Scottish Joint Terrier Show in 1924, along with other certificate winners. During this period the legendary Wolvey kennel owned by Mrs. May Pacey came into prominence and claimed sixteen of the fifty seven champions. Unlike modern times it was customary to retire a dog after it had gained its title, and make way for the new young hopeful who was waiting in the wings, although three Wolvey’s, Perseus [‘22], Fanny [‘23] and Patrician [‘26] did collect eight certificates each. The latter also won Best in Show at Birmingham National 1927 and the following year at LKA. Additionally, along with his litter brother Ch Wolvey Patrol [‘27], he took the prize for Best Brace in Show at The Kennel Club Show in 1926. The award for top brood bitch went to their dam, yet another Wolvey champion, namely Wolvey Clover [‘24] and she produced three titled children. Holding the record for leading sire was Ch Chiel of Childwick [‘24] who accounted for five champion offspring. While Ornsay Bobs and Ch Chum of Childwick both had 4 to their credit. In November 1924 The Kennel Club Committee passed a resolution to prevent interbreeding between Cairn and West Highland White Terriers. Until then it was common practice resulting in litters with both coloured and white puppies. The total number of registrations for 1920 was 244, and the average number of exhibits at the 18 shows was 15. By 1929 registration had increased to 663 and 38 was the average number of exhibits at the 17 shows.


Once more the spot light focused on the Wolvey kennel. Ch Wolvey Pepper [‘30], the first champion of the1930’s and went on to win eight certificates, and left his stamp upon the blood of the breed being the sire of three champions, including Ch Wolvey Peacock [‘34] who contributed to a further six champions. The other prepotent stud of this time was the aforementioned Patrician who sired many great West Highlands; in union with Binny of Rushmoor he produced four champions, so bringing his total to six. His grandaughter Ch Wolvey Pintail [‘36] at eleven month made her debut at the National Terrier, won her six classes from Puppy to Open, and went to the Surpreme Honour of the show (BIS) Three month later she was successful again, taking BIS at the LKA. Last but no mean least Ch Wolvey Pattern [‘38] had his share of glory,winning Res. BIS at the LKA in 1938 before crossing the water and collecting the ultimate prize at Westminster 1942. On September 3rd 1939 the blow fell, war was declared and all dog activities were abruptly curtailed. Harrogate, held the day before, was the final championship fixture held and here Craigside Cadet and Columbine Ciora won their first certificates.  Registration which for the year 1930 stood at 639 fell to 424 in 1939. From the sixty eight champions, the Wolvey kennel again owned the lion’s share, accounting for sixteen. 


With the uncertainty as how long the war would last, and fearing there would be further shortage of food, a precautionary restraint on the part of the breeders to overstock their kennels was inevitable. The anxiety by many exhibitors involved having to make decisions on the wisest course of action to adopt in the dispersal of valuable stock, consequently, in many instances several top dogs were exported. However, although a difficult time, a limited number of quality dogs capable of building a skeleton breeding programme did survive, ensuring an admirable gathering of West Hughlands when shows recommended. Initially it was not possible to hold General Championship Shows and only Specialist Breed Clubs were licensed, so the show activity quickly regained its old interest. In July 1946 the WHWTCE hosted the inaugural post war show, where the top honours were awarded to Ch Timoshenko of the Roe [‘47] and Ch Macairn Jeminma [‘48]. The first to capture her coveted crown was Ch Freshney Fiametta [‘47] who along with her six CC’s won BIS at Cambridge . Other notable winners of this era were Ch Macconachie Tiena Joy [‘48] 12 CC’s , Ch Hookwood Mentor [‘48] 11 CC’s and Ch Simoncliff Simon [‘47] 10 CC’s; the latter winning Reserve in the Sporting Group at Crufts and BIS at the SKC 1950. Both dogs went on to proof themselves at stud, Mentor with seven champions offspring, and Simon was responsible for six. Twenty one new title holders were created in the three years, four of them sired by Freshney Andy. The matriarchs of note at this time were Walney Thistle who produced three champions all by different studs (none made up in 1951) arid Wolvey Poise was the dam of two. Registrations had jumped from 138 in 1940 to 1193 in 1949.


The revival in the breed was short lived and the registrations took a sudden change in direction, the nadir being 1953 when only 895 were registered, but by the end of this period there had been a steady improvement and 1785 were recorded. Although the breed was enjoying greater popularity,an article published giving a comparison between pre and post-war West Highlands suggested the breed was “landsliding” away from the standard! Nevertheless the respectable number of one hundred champions emerged some of which were destined to make history. Out in front with show wins was Ch Calluna The Poacher [‘53] a ten certificate winner and sire of five title holders. Following on came Ch Barrister of Branston [‘50] and his son Ch Eoghan of Kendrum [‘54] each with eight certificates to their credit. The former also affirmed himself as a great stud force leaving ten champion offspring , three dual certificate winners and another with a CC. His litter sister Ch Lynwood Branston Blue [‘51] up-held the female side producing three champions from successive litters. Furzefield Piper although not a champion justified himself by siring nine champions. Three bitches shared the limelight with six certificates each, namely, Ch Maree of Kendrum [‘50] who went on to Reserve Best in Show at Birmingham National 1950, Ch Wolvey Piquet [‘52] and Ch Shiningcliff Sugar Plum [‘53]. The bountifull brood bitch of this time was Ch. Wolvey Peach [‘53], a litter sister to Piquet and she was the dam of five champions from three litters. Incidentally, Piquet continued her successful show career in America, where she also produced five champions.


The passing of Mrs May Pacey in December 1963, left a great void in the world of West Highlands, for she had been actively involved with the breed for over fifty years, and her breeding programme had shown exceptional results. The “Wolvey” kennel had survived two world wars, and from the first champion, Ch Wolvey Piper [‘61] to the last, Ch Wolvey Paperman [‘63] there had been fifty eight UK titleholders in the breed. Making a name for himself in the showring was Ch Quakertown Quistador [‘64] who notched up sixteen certificates, and as a bonus headed the Terrier Group at Birmingham National and Reserve Best in Show at L.K.A., plus he sired a couple of champions. Four years on, his dam, Ch Quakertown Querida [‘68] who was then within three weeks of her eight birthday also gained her crown. In bitches, it was Ch Phelo of Petriburg [’65] who was winning the certificates, and she retired with eleven to her credit before producing a champion daughter. Competition in the ring had added interest when Ch Monsieur Aus Der Flerlage [‘66] from Germany made his brief sojourn to Britain before continuing his successful career in the USA. Along with his numerous European titles Monsieur collected five certificates here, and for good measure secured the Terrier Group at the S. Counties and Best in Show at Belfast in 1966. Two other West Highlands took top honours by winning reserve Best in Show, namely, Ch Banner of Branston [‘62] at Southern Counties 1962 and Ch Pillerton Peterman [‘66] who had notched up nine certificates, Peterborough 1966. On the stud front, Ch Petriburg Mark of Polteana [‘63] had found favour with six champion offspring to his credit. The previously mentioned Peterman was making headway as a sire as was the illustrious Ch Famecheck Hallmark [‘67], however, their full potential was not recognized until the 1970’s. Once again another champion bitch was extremely productive of quality stock, this was Ch Famecheck Lucky Mascot [‘57] who was accountable for five champions from four litters by the same dog. Furthermore her own litter sister Ch Famecheck Lucky Charm [‘54] was the dam of three champions, while a full sister Ch Famecheck Lucky Choice [‘58] was the dam of one. Registrations more than doubled from the 1960 total which was 2070 to 4837 in 1969. The number of champions had slightly increased to one hundred and five.


Both Ch Pillerton Peterman and Ch Famecheck Hallmark continued to play an essential role as dominate sires, the former accounted for nine champions in Britain before accompanying his owner to the U.S.A. where a number of his progeny had already made great reputations, while Hallmark abdicated with an impressive tally of eleven. In the whelping box four bitches affirmed their worth, each producing three champions, Ch Whitebriar Jillan [‘67], Ch Birkfell Solitude [‘69], Birkfell Screech Owl and Whitebriar Jesca. During the 1970’s the West Highland certainly became a top contender for group and best in show honours at all breed championship shows. Four carried of the ultimate prize, while eight more won groups. Ch Checkbar Tommy Quite Right [‘71] was the first to hit the headlines; along with his eight certificates he was awarded best in show at Bath 1971. Next came Ch Milburn Mandy [‘74] who collected seven certificates, took best in show at National Terrier and Belfast, plus the group at S.K.C. 1974. Following on came Ch Dianthus Buttons [‘74], the holder of eleven certificates, who won groups at Three Counties and East of England in 1974 before being the first in the breed to go best in show at Crufts 1976. Finally, forging ahead in the breed ring was Ch Glenalwyne Sonny Boy [‘75] who romped away with an impressive 33 certificates, nine groups, one reserve best in show and three best in shows. Representing the females in the C.C. league table was Ch Glengordon Hannah [‘75] who claimed twelve. Two more International Champions arrived over here seeking the UK title to add to their laurels. Int. & Dutch Ch Lasara Lots of Fun [‘78] returned home after a successful carrier on the Continent and soon gained his crown. Furthermore, three of his offspring made it to the upperhouse. The other import was the Swedish bred Int. & Nordic Ch Tweed Tartan Caledonier [‘79] and it was not long before he received high honours and after siring a champion daughter returned to his homeland. The popularity of the West Highland remained high and it maintained the top terrier position in Kennel Club registrations, in 1970 the figure recorded was 4933 and at the close of 1979 the total listed was 4725. The number of dogs to make championship grade amounted to one hundred and ten.


Once again the breed sailed on the crest of the wave, and the coveted top award frequently went the West Highland way. Ch Furzeleigh Star Trek [‘80] received the final nod in the best in show ring at Paignton 1980 and Ch Ballacoar Jinny is Justrite [‘85] took top honours at the National Terrier in 1986. However; the dog with the most impressive show record and, who continually beat all comers was the famous Ch Olac Moonpilot [‘87], his achievements encompass 10 B.I.S (including Crufts 1991), 6 Res B.I.S. 18 terrier Groups and 48 C.C.s. Additionally, three champions own him as their sire. In spite of Moonpilots supremacy, nine other dogs were declared victorious in the group ring, one being Ch Jaimont of Whitebriar [‘83] who topped Crufts 1984. Claiming another record was Ch Halfmoon of Olac [‘80], as a youngster, she was the outright winner of the 1980 Pup of the Year Competition, and remained in the limelight to take fifteen certificates. Yet again an overseas champion returned home to seek British approval, and this time it was a bitch, namely Sp. Ch Grierson Fancy [‘80]. As a sire Ch Haweswalton Houdini [‘81] clearly demonstrated himself as a dog of importance; seven of his progeny became champions during the 1980’s with a further four finishing in the 1990’s. Houdini had also fared well in competition taking a couple of groups along with his eleven certificates. Proving themselves as worthy matrons were Ch Famecheck Holy Orders [‘78] and Haweswalton High Society , both of which accounted for three champions. Registrations amounted to 4595 in 1980 but due to the introduction of the single tier system in April 1989 the volume of registrations increased by approximately 50%, and so had escalated to 15,604 in 1989. Within this span of time the breed mustered an all time high of one hundred and twenty two champions.


So to the final decade of the century, and the name of the latest dog to have a profound effect on the West Highland is Ch Ashgate Sinclair [‘92]. He first came into a successful show career where he picked up eighteen certificates. However it is following the conclusion of his campaign in competition that perhaps has given him greater fame by establishing himself as the record sire of all time, and to date fifteen of his progeny are titled. On the distaff side Ch Hemishor Highland Fling of Rotella [‘93] has the reputation of being the leader in the field with nineteen certificates, an all time record. Ch & Ir Ch Glenveagh Gabriella [‘90] was awarded BIS at Scottish Breed 1990 and went on to produce three champions in one litter, and nine other dogs had the good fortune to top the group. The brood bitch who accounted for four champions is Ashgate Bleaval of Fernforest and these have come from two litters sired by Sinclair. Another extraordinary event in the history of the breed came about when Ch Birkfell Student Prince [‘91] was awarded his third certificate nearly eight years after his first, by which time he was 11 1/4 years old.During this span, one hundred and eighteen have graduated to champion status, Ch Vallange Blue Moon [‘99] being the final West Highland to qualify. Registration for 1990 were 18,688 but by the close of 1999 it will noticed that there has been a considerable drop and now number 14,419. So, what will the effect be on the twenty first century? Time alone holds the answer 

To attempt to name all the dogs in the breed and chronicle all the contributions would take a major survey, so hopefully the selections of facts within this article might be of interest to the reader and they will find it worthwhile.To the best of my knowledge the data given is accurate; it is regretted if there are any omissions or inaccuracies

Researched & compiled by Catherine Owen

No part of this article may be reproduced without permission from the author.