This week I have the sad news that one of our Patrons, Founder Club Member and great supporter of the breed Alf Dobson died on the 23rd of January, just 2 days before his 90th birthday, having been born on Burns Night 25th January 1931. I am sure you will all want me to send our condolences to his wife Shirley, daughter Rachel and granddaughters.
Buhunds came into the country just after the last war and article was written about them by Croxton Smith chairman of the Kennel Club in Country Life in 1947.In 1950 Alf wrote “My first introduction to the Norwegian Buhund was a photograph of Mrs Powys-Lybbe’s Ryfjelds Truls in a book by A Croxton called Dogs Since 1900,” published in that year. Shirley and Alf were involved with breed from then on and in the 60’s Shirley imported the bitch Sonja, who produced Ch Fossfell Eric Bright Eyes who was a Wolf Sable & Fossfell Helga who was also Wolf Sable. The Buhund club was officially recognised by the KC in March 1968 and Alf agreed to be Secretary, he printed the first club newsletter and circulated it to all members. He also wrote a booklet entitled the ‘Norwegian Buhund The Sheep and General Farm Dog of Norway’; price 2/6 post free. It included the history of the breed by Kitty Heffer, The Norwegian Breed Standard and a list of the Kennels that were breeding Buhunds. He also produced a list of KC registrations of the breed from the 1st imports to the 60s. In 1969 registrations had risen so the first set of CCs was granted for 1970, 8 sets in all, and a bitch bred by Shirley, a masked wheaten Fossfell Cora became the first Ch bitch winning 6 of the 8CCs she also won the first Junior Warrant in the breed, she was owned by Michael Quinney and Terry McHaffie. Alf stayed as club secretary until 1989 when he became club chairman a position he held until 1998, he was also President from 1986-89. He was KC Breed Liaison Representative for many years also from 1989. Shirley and Alf both awarded CCs in the breed, Alf judging for the first time in 1973 at Welks, he would go onto judge 17 times including Crufts in 1980, and the last time at LKA 2018.Although they both lived busy lives, they still found time to go round clubs giving talks and testing candidates on KC Rules & Regs for anyone wanting to judge.
More recently they were the proud owners of Ch/Ir Ch Arnscroft Di To Be A Sailor (Sirius), although Sirius lived with breeder Di Stirling, they would always be at the shows to support him and the breed, Sirius has 22 CCs & 12RCCs, and they were thrilled when Sirius was Best in Show at the Working and Pastoral Breeds Ch Show in 2015.
Alf did National Service in Germany and was immensely proud to serve in the Royal Scots Greys, on returning home in 1950 he went to teacher training college and met Shirley, they were married in 1956. He went on to obtain a law degree and was called to the Bar of England & Wales in November 1974. He did not practice as a Barrister but became a lecturer on law.
In his 60-70s he still enjoyed taking his grandchildren out and had great pleasure in seeing them enjoy the outings. He had many interests apart of course from Buhunds these included history, philosophy, geology, biology, birds, book fairs photography and of course baking, he would bring lovely cakes especially chocolate ones to the shows and meetings for everyone to enjoy.
Shirley and Alf were made Patrons of the club and enjoyed the Club 50th Anniversary show and Dinner on 22nd July 2017. They were presented with a framed Certificate acknowledging their loyalty and service to the breed in August 2019, which said ‘The Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK would like to say thank you and to warmly honour the loyalty and service you both have given to the Breed and Club’. A fine tribute and so thoroughly deserved for 70 years of dedicated service. A truly remarkable achievement for which the club gives heartfelt thanks.
A lovely photograph of them both at the Anniversary Dinner and the certificate are in the Autumn Bu News 2019.
The funeral was held on Friday 5th February in Sheffield, our Chairman Anne Smith attended as a friend and to represent the club. Rachel read her Eulogy which included mention of Buhunds and the Reverend googled them to see what they looked like, which was a lovely touch. The service ended with the playing of Glen Miller’s Chattanooga Choo Choo.
If anyone wishes, donations can be made to the “Martin House Hospice” and can be sent to Adam Heath John Heath & Sons, 4-16, Earsham Street, Sheffield, S4 7LS or made online at www.JohnHeath.co.uk
Stay safe everyone.
Margaret Deuchar firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in Margaret’s Breed Notes are hers and hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK.