The Saxonsprings Legend… Setting the standard

published in the MLAA’s Yearbook 2001

The I980s saw the Saxonsprings Lhasa Apsos established as one of the country’s premier kennels of all-breeds with success at the highest level. Champions rolled off the Saxonsprings production line with enviable regularity; in I982 Fresno, considered by so many (but never by Jean) to be the ‘perfect’ Apso, stormed to Dog of the Year with a record number of points. Jean and Fresno however, never quite saw eye to eye and it was not until Jean asked Geoff Corish to take her on, that Fresno began to realise her potential.

It was Jean’s all time favourites ‘Hank’ alias Ch Saxonsprings Hackensack that was to bring the ultimate jewel to the Saxonsprings crown winning BIS at Crufts in I984. He too was handled by Geoff, but always lived with and was prepared for the ring by Jean on whose bed he slept until his death in I996.

Although many people thought Fresno should have been the one to receive the supreme award, Jean always believed it belonged to Hank; Be it storming round the ring in his own inimitable style, or playing on the lawn at home, he was simply a beautiful animal, a pleasure to watch and be around. Above all his winning and success as a sire, it was his sweet nature (he had never been known to show aggression to others be they human or canine), combining all the characteristics of the true Apso temperament, faithful without being demanding of attention, playful yet aloof, intelligent and with that streak of stubbornness that can make them so annoying at times! that has so endeared him to me. Certainly, both Hank and Fresno possessed that certain something that sent a tingle down the spine whenever they walked into the ring and were responsible for snaring more than one or two new enthusiasts, including this one!

Although strictly in awe of this seemingly formidable lady and her gorgeous dogs, I found that Jean always had a kind or encouraging word for we beginners. It was a source of great pride to her that so many of today’s outstanding kennels were founded on Saxonsprings bloodlines.

In I983 ‘Danny’ (Orland’s Intrepid) came back home to Saxonsprings, and in the nursery the foundations were being laid for the continuing success of the Saxonsprings, including in April of that year, what was probably the most successful litter of Apsos ever whelped, when Fresno produced to Hackensack. From the litter Flashback and Flair went to Australia where they enjoyed considerable success, Famous Flier went to Denmark where he twice won the coveted title of ‘Dog of the Year’ an award also won by Fol-De-Rol in his adopted homeland of Norway – both these dogs were to become outstanding sires.

A gold dog was sold to exhibitors in the UK, he was Saxonsprings Fun ‘N’ Games, made up as a junior. Jean’s own choice from the litter was a glamorous gold lady going by the name of Saxonsprings Frisco. At the beginning of I985 Jean sold her boarding/grooming business in Yorkshire and returned to her native Suffolk. The plan was to curtail the showing somewhat and gradually wind down her breeding programme. More of her best puppies became available to exhibitors including the BIS winners Ch Saxonsprings High Society and Ch Oriana of Saxonsprings.

It was at this point that I personally came to know Jean better and realised that the ‘dragon lady’ was in fact a most kind and generous person, always ready with a warm welcome for visitors and happy to let anyone with a genuine interest in Lhasas have ‘hands on’ access to the Saxonsprings, from young puppies through to the greatest of the great, she was proud of her dogs, their quality and style, without being blind to their faults. A visit to Saxonsprings was always a pleasure and a great privilege. Many hours could be spent over the table at

Saxonsprings Cottage talking Lhasas, and from the humblest beginner to the most skilled and experienced breeders, the conversation was always as equals, Jean listening intently to the opinions of others – no matter how misguided – without ever becoming condescending.

She was not one to offer direct advice, particularly when it was not asked for, but talking a problem through with Jean, somehow the answer always became apparent, sometimes after 2 or 3 weeks of mulling the conversation over!

The next couple of years following the move to Suffolk was a relatively quiet time as far as showing was concerned as Jean could no longer afford professional fees or kennel staff for the dogs at home, but Jefferson was made up for his new owners before departing for Norway and Madeleine Lewis campaigned the grey brindle dog Saxonsprings Periwinkle to his title on Jean’s behalf Jean herself, although never a very enthusiastic exhibitor, often coercing friends to show a dog for her (not that they took much persuading!) handled Hank to his 4th BIS at SWKA and campaigned Saxonsprings Buccaneer (Zako x Clovis) to his title including BIS at BUBA and LAC in I987.

‘Buck’ was a glamorous cream dog of outstanding conformation. He would probably have done more at group level if it were not for Jean’s reluctance as a handler. He was not campaigned much after his BUBA win, making way for an import, the gold/white Fol-De-Rol son Nor Ch Tanac’s Golden Glower who won 2CCS, ‘Steven’ was somewhat on the large side which probably accounted for him not gaining his title, but again of outstanding conformation and he left his mark as a sire producing BIS Ch Kutani Cincinnati. In I988 a litter was born by Buccaneer x Frisco. With Zako, Clovis, Hackensack and Fresno as the grandparents, the mating encapsulated all that was the very best in the Saxonsprings, and both the puppies, Francisco and Frederico, were to become champions. Francisco played an important role in the development of the Hashanah kennel, while Frederico provided the cornerstone not only for the current Saxonsprings, but many other, both established and fledgling kennels.

‘Fred’ is another whose conformation leaves little to be desired, sturdy without being coarse and not too big (the original outcross matings did increase size, but Jean always believed that with careful line breeding size would be stabilised) and the most gorgeous head which he has mostly stamped on his progeny. His one big fault was that of being a reluctant showman and he took some time to gain his title before adding BOB at Crufts to his credits, but his temperament at home, and that of his puppies, has won him many hearts!

As the decade drew to a close and she approached her 70th birthday with a couple of bouts of serious ill-health behind her, Jean began to take measures to radically cut down her breeding programme and the number of dogs she kept – she was always anxious never to appear on the front page of the Sunday newspapers for the wrong reason! On I8 June I990 a litter was born by Hackensack x the RCC winner Saxonsprings Lady-B-Good. The only bitch Lollipop was earmarked to stay at Saxonsprings, but the dogs were all for sale. Offered pick of the males I could not decide between Ladykiller and Lineka and eventually went for the former, having turned down the offer to ‘take both and pay me when you can’!!! Lothario eventually went to Madeleine Lewis. Somehow, Lineka stayed. Fate had played its hand as the next few months were to prove that Hackensack had become infertile and this was his last litter. Around this time Ken Woosnam, successful in his own right with the Pantulfs, began to help out with the young stock at home and at shows. What was to have been a quiet decade, seeing the coming to an end of the Saxonsprings kennel had changed – after all, there was a ‘Tradition’ to maintain!



The Saxonsprings Legend – The Early Years by Glenys Dolphin

published in MLAA 1999 Year Book

“I was fortunate, together with my mother the late Thelma Morgan, to know Jean Blyth well, especially in the very early years when she was developing her kennel and her blood line.  Visits to Jean were always fun, the welcome genuinely warm, and always stock to see and discuss.  I hope in the coming years that through a series of articles some of you can gain an insight and a knowledge of this remarkable woman and her breeding achievements, from her friends and those she helped start in the breed….”

When Jean Blyth acquired her first trio of Lhasa Apsos in the late 1960’s she had no inkling of the success or the impact that the “Saxonsprings” dogs would have on the breed.  The first Saxonsprings champion in 1974, a black and tan bitch bred by Mrs Evans.   Her name was Ch Annakappelli of Saxonsprings, not at all “flashy”, she was sound and well coated with plenty of substance.  Interestingly, she was a grand-daughter of Hamilton Dewatas imported from America by the Hon. Mrs Bailey, perhaps a hint of things to come?

The first homebred champion followed in the same year and obviously gave Jean great pleasure.  Ch Saxonsprings Lobsang was bred from the foundation stock of Mrs Anne Matthews (Hardacre) and was an attractively marked gold and white with a lovely size.  A willing showman, with a masculine head, he was slow to gain his mature white coat.  With this success Jean decided to increase her Lhasa bloodlines and, after keeping a few young bitches from her foundation stock, decided to buy a young dog from my mother, a son of Ch Wyrley Hermes ex Ch Hera of Torrens, called Morgan of Saxonsprings.

She successfully used him on Saxonsprings Dze-Tu to produce her next homebred Ch Saxonsprings Zako.  This solid grey dog, with a delightful head and expression, also being only about 10 inches high, was very typey and had a heavy coat, took a lot of campaigning to gain his title.  In fact I believe he easily won a double figure of reserve CCs, but perseverance paid off and he proved to be quite an influential stud dog.

Jean had a far easier time gaining Ch Hardacre Not So Dusty at Saxonspring’s title.  This very glamourous and elegant solid grey bitch was bred by Anne Matthews and was admired and coveted by us all.  She was so sound, stylish with a wonderful coat that was straight and heavy.  She could be slightly temperamental when showing, but actually gained her title before Zako in 1977.  In fact 1977 proved to be a memorable year for Jean because of the crowning of a third home bred champion, Saxonsprings Chussekuan, a daughter of her first champion (Annakapelli), and a half sister to Dusty (they were both daughters of Hardacre Pied Piper).  Again Chussekuan was a solid grey bitch with a lovely coat, sweet head and expression, and was a very sound mover.

Jean was now in a very enviable position, three champions who were alike in type and size, both bitches being only two years old and young to win their titles.  However, they were all very closely related because Zako’s grandsire, Namista Norbu, was a litter brother to Hardacre Namista Khan, the grandsire of both bitches through Pied Piper.  Jean realised she needed fresh blood.  English purchases had not been successful in quality and she felt she needed to inject fresh blood.

When the chance to accompany Mrs Anne Matthews to America came, Jean grabbed it and, after long discussions with my mother and other breeders, she was even more determined and set forth with a list of potential assets needed by any male import into the breed.  I know that top of the list was style, then shape, mouth etc, but when Jean saw the dogs in America she also added colour.. Gold!

Typically, Jean didn’t just look at the winning kennels on that day, she followed her own instinct and so met Joan Kendall of the famous Orlane’s kennel.  The result was of course Ch Orlane’s Intrepid and a lifelong friendship with Joan.  “Danny” had not been shown in the States and his bloodline was equally important to his breeder/owner.  She did not want to lose it completely and would only allow him to come to England for two years, but so that Jean could make full use of the bloodline, Joan suggested that she should have two bitches as well.

I well remember Jean’s excitement as this young trio did their six months quarantine.  She desperately wanted my mother to see them, so she drove down to the Midlands, collected Mum, drove back up to the Oakenshaw Quarantine Kennels in Yorkshire, drove back down to bring Mum home, stayed overnight with me and drove home first thing the next morning.   She was exhausted, they had talked solidly the whole time!

The beggining of 1978 saw the Orlane’s trio released from quarantine.  Sadly, one bitch died a few days later, but happily on the good side Saxonsprings Choula was in season and “Danny” had his first mating to an English bitch.  The first litter was awaited with eager anticipation.

Danny made his debut in the English ring at Southern Counties and a nervous Jean told me she hoped he would get a placing. He actually gained a third that day, but it was not long before he won BIS at Blackpool Ch Show under the eminent allrounder Mr Owen Grindey.

Meanwhile in Yorkshire he was kept busy with stud work and there were another two litters by him. Jean had decided that, to keep a record of his litters, she would register them in alphabetical order and that if possible she would give them names with an American theme. That summer Mum and I made the trip to Saxon springs to see the progeny. The first litter to Choula were amazing, we had never seen anything like them. They were rather angular puppies, very lively, much more gregarious in nature and their coat texture was different. This was the ‘A’ litter and definitely a young male stood out for conformation and boldness. He was to become Ch Saxonsprings Alamo who would win BIS in both this country, Europe and America. It seems strange to me now that neither Jean nor my mother, or for that matter myself, did not at this time realise his potential, we just knew he was different. In fact, he was not campaigned until puppies from the ‘B’ and ‘C’ litters had been shown. In the ‘B’ litter from Annakapelli there were seven, again all solid gold and this from a black and tan mother. In this litter the two that stood out went on to become Ch Saxonsprings Beverley and Aust Ch Saxonsprings Beaver. They were slightly fluffy in appearance and indeed had very profuse coats. Beverley herself became a champion at about 18 months old. The ‘C’ litter was perhaps to us the most interesting at that time, as their MLAA 1999 Year Book mother was the American import Orlane’s Lightline 0′ Lamplite (a daughter of Am Ch Orlane’s Inimitable). The two puppies, a dog and a bitch, were very pretty and the bitch obviously feminine. The dog was to become Ch Saxonsprings Cascade and the bitch, Saxonsprings Clovis, never really shown. They were bright gold and fluffy with the promise of the most beautiful coats. At this visit I left Saxonsprings Tai-Ki, a grey and white Morgan of Saxonsprings daughter, to be mated to Intrepid. Meanwhile, that summer Intrepid took the showring by storm and the breed awaited the debut of his progeny with interest. At home in Yorkshire, Jean had her hands full, so many heavy coated young dogs to be kept in show coat and a busy boarding kennel to run. She learned by trial and error and soon mastered the new method of presentation, the bathing and the weekly oiling in the revolutionary new product Wu-pi. In fact when I collected Tai-Ki puppies that autumn (Ch Yankee Doodle Dandy and Dynamic Dinah), I also left with Jean’s old power drier and a bottle of Wu-pi with full instructions about weekly bathing. Life would never be the same again! In October 1978 the ‘F’ litter was born, arguably one of the most famous, for it contained Ch Saxonsprings Florence and Ch Saxonsprings Fresno. Jean always said that it was the strength of her bitch line that enabled Intrepid to sire such oustanding stock and in my opinion it was never more true than in this litter. You only have to look at the picture of their mother Ch Hardacre Not So Dusty at Saxonsprings and then at her two daughters to see the style and type, and then look and Intrepid to see how he emphasised this. Florence, in Ann Matthews hands, was the first to gain her title. So feminine, balanced and a lovely mover, she was a great favourite with breed specialists, but Jean always favoured Fresno who was slightly slower maturing and who had a typical Apso temperament – sometimes she would show, sometimes not – and as Fresno was nearly impossible to fault, fitting the standard in every aspect, their just had to be a problem and it was her stubbornness. Jean showed her to her title but could never build up the necessary rapport with her to get the showing reliability needed in a top winner. Jean approached Geoff Corish to handle her and “history was made”. Fresno adored Geoff, and Geoff adored Fresno. Together they made a winning team. She became a breed CC record holder 20 and a Top Dog all breeds. Admired by all she reigned supreme in the showring for several years and, when mated to Ch Saxonsprings Hackensack, became a superb brood. Ch Saxonsprings Hackensack was most definitely Jean’s all time favourite. Not only did he bring her the success of a Crufts BIS win, but he was also a character in his own right. ‘Hank’ was the son of her other famous grey champion bitch, Ch Saxonsprings Chussekuan and again if you study the photographs of mother and son, you can see the importance of a strong bitch line. Larger than his father, he had the bone and substance needed in a prepotent sire, and he was used by most of the important kennels of the time. A tremendous showman, he proved a great ambassador for the breed and his Crufts BIS win brought in another generation of Lhasa enthusiasts. Because Jean had an imported bitch in ‘Belle’, she was able to reverse the bloodlines by using Zako with Belle and one of the most successful early champions produced by this combination was Ch Saxonsprings Bright Rod who became a champion for his owners Rob Posthuma and Terry Young at the tender age of 18 months. , With all this success it was inevitable that from early on other kennels would wish to use either Intrepid, or his sons Cascade and Hackensack. Hopefully, in the issues to follow, some of these kennels will continue this story, for the Saxonsprings legend involves more than one kennel.


Glenys Dolphin

The Jean Blyth Story by Ken Woosnam

I can remember very well the first time I met Jean, it was at Leeds Championship show where the late Thelma Morgan introduced me to her, Thelma was a great friend of Jean’s with who’s help and advise in those early years soon got Jean established in the breed, in those days you did not walk into a breed, you had to do a long apprenticeship, and have a lot of respect for the people who had worked so hard establishing the breed, and Jean was no exception.
It wasn’t very long following this meeting that Jean and I developed, what was to become along and lasting friendship over many years, in those days I had very few dogs to show so Jean was always happy for me to give a hand even if it was just to pull the trolley from the car to the show ring, there was no benching in those early days!
Jean always used to get very worked up before showing her dogs, she was always very dedicated, but if any body approached her while grooming or prior to judging they would get the sharp end of her tongue, I haven’t got time to speak to you now, I will speak to you later was always her reply, so you soon learnt, there was a time and a place to talk to Jean.
It was always a great honour to be invited up to IlkIey to see a kennel full of wonderful Apso’s in immaculate condition.

It was when Jean moved south to Suffolk to be nearer her family that I became more involved, living in West London near Heathrow Airport I would occasionally get a phone call from Jean saying she was going to Australia or Sweden for a judging appointment and, could I get her to the airport and pick her up; Jean so loved to travel, and she was lucky to have a good friend in Phyl Alsop who would always step in to look after Jean’s dogs in her absence. Alamo and Clarissa

Jean had been plagued with the big ‘C’ for several years, on her return from Australia she discovered a lymphoma had developed needing immediate surgery, and it was after this, that I received a call from Jean asking if I could come up to help with the gardening, Jean loved her garden and, was very distressed that she couldn’t maintain it as she always had, I was only allowed to cut the lawns and tidy up, Jean said I was too heavy handed to be trusted with the secatures, but it wasn’t long before I would spend every weekend at Saxonsprings.
Jean was still into dog showing, but only on a very limited basis, because she didn’t like driving long distances especially at night, so I became her chauffeur!
The Saxonsprings Kennel was full of quality dogs, Ch Saxonsprings Buccaneer was looking fantastic along with Hank, Jean’s beloved companion and, others which included Ch Saxonsprings Fresno

Jean had become very restricted due to the discomfort in her knees, and was not keen to show the dogs anymore, I will never forget the last time Jean entered the ring at The Pedigree Chum Stakes final with Ire & Eng. Ch Saxonsprings Hackensack (at the age of thirteen), Hank took Jean around the ring at the rate of knots to finish 3rd, both Jean and Hank retired from the show ring that day;& Saxonsprings Fredrico, who had won a ticket at an early age but was not the best showman, he hated men, but he had a super nature, Jean wasn’t happy showing him, so she suggested he spent sometime with me in London to get more socialised, this I did, and we soon bonded, I would take him to a training club in London run by Lynn Church, and ‘Freddie’ soon started to enjoy his Thursday evenings out!.
Jean only had her pension, so I used to help out with the entry fees, and soon made Freddie into Ch Saxonsprings Fredrico, he was still a little fearful of men judges, but I was privileged to get BOB at Crufts with him, I honestly was so petrified going into that big ring for the first time, with the worlds TV cameras on you knowing it was a male judge (Mr Jordan), but in Freddie rose to the occasion and put up a splendid performance to finish fourth the group; Freddie went on to win nine tickets.
Jean still liked to get to the shows whenever she could and Phyl Alsop would kennel sit so we could have the occasional night out which was a great treat for Jean. Phyl had a great bitch of her own called Saxonsprings High Society, which I was, privileged to campaign to her title, group and best in show at Driffield.

Shortly after Jean had to go into hospital for a knee replacement, and Jean, being totally incapacitated found life very frustrating, she broke every rule in the book, how that operation was a success I will never know to this day, instead of resting and doing exercises she would be bathing and grooming dogs! !

I am sure Jean had worn her knees out scrubbing kennel floors, she was appalled when I arrived with a mop and bucket to make life easier, it took about six months to convert her from scrubbing floors to using a mop!! She said you couldn’t get into the corners with a mop a scrubbing brush is the answer, however she did find it less strenuous on the knees.
Jean did so enjoy the Pedigree Chum Stakes finals held at the Metropole Hotel Birmingham, she loved getting dressed up for the odd social occasion, she had so much success with, .Ch Saxonsprings Fresno, Ch Saxonsprings Hackensack and later Ch Saxonsprings Tradition taking top honours which enabled her to enjoy these prestigious occasions, Hackensack and his son Ch Saxonsprings Lineka won the veterans finals, we have been very lucky to have qualified so many times over the years; Ch Saxonsprings Buccaneer also qualified several times over the years.
Jean still had the occasional litter, Hank was mated to Lady-B-Good which produced the ‘L , litter this proved to be one of those exceptional litters producing Lineka, Lotherio, Ladykiller and Lollipop, Jean wasn’t going to keep anything from this litter with the exception of Lollipop, so Madeline Lewis chose Lotherio and Victoria Watterson chose Ladykiller, no one came along for Lineka so he also remained at Saxonspring; he and Lotherio dominated the puppy classes that year, also Ladykiller did a lot of winning, Lollipop didn’t take to the show world, so she was kept as a brood bitch.

Lineka won his first ticket at an early age out of junior, Jean always used to say, this was the kiss of death, because a dog in junior is not fully mature at that age, he was then taken out of the ring until he matured, he was then soon made up, going on to win 20cc’ s, several groups and best in show at the Welsh Kennel club.

The next major success came with Saxonsprings Treacle Toffey, a result of a Lollipop/Fredrico mating, Jean thought very highly of Saxonsprings Treacle Toffey, on several occasions she expressed that she was the best bitch she had ever bred, but Toffy, being a typical Lhasa Apso female had two ways of showing, either she did or either she didn’t!! But with a lot of encouragement she did manage to gain her title and a total of nine cc’ s, and then was retired from the ring later producing some incredible stock.
Jean was so pleased with the success we were having, she often said ‘1 wish we had got together earlier, I would have been a lot better off not having to pay a professional handler at times. ,
Jean decided she would like new blood introduced, she thought at the time it was too late to have another dog from Joan Kendall, so she decided to have a puppy from Flo Fahey and Fr Jo Shire so, Bentarsna Ecclesiastical (Casey) joined the Saxonsprings Kennel in partnership with Jean to be campaigned by myself, being black and white, and being a little colour prejudice later in life Jean didn’t feel he fitted into the Saxonsprings kennel, so he became my London companion, Jean didn’t have much faith in the dog, but I always thought he had potential, Jean said I would never make him up, but on this occasion she was proved wrong, as he won 3cc’s at consecutive shows.
Casey didn’t do himself any favours, he was a typical Irishman, enjoying a fight whenever he had the chance, which did not go down well in the Saxonsprings household; I always remember at SKC where he gained his title and BOB Jean and myself were waiting for the group, I was grooming the dog when a gentleman approached me asking if Jean Blyth was still showing because he would like to meet her, so I replied yes she is sitting beside me, he then introduced himself to Jean asking did she remember him, as it transpired, Jean was his tutor many years ago and now he was a successful Company Director, he went on to ask her if she remembered the incident at the beginning of term when she was in charge of the 61h form boys class, it was a maths lesson he recalled and they had given Jean a bad time, this was in the days of the peashooter! After constant warnings the boys continued to misbehave, the following day Jean had the same boys for the last lesson of the day, when the bell rang for home time, the boys of course were in an hurry to leave, at which point Jean produced a 2lb bag of dried peas and scattered them around the classroom floor, and then told the boys, they could leave for home only when every pea had been picked up, which took several hours, it gave Jean great pleasure seeing this unruly mob down on their hands and knees, the ex pupil said, after this episode Jean was one of the most respected members of staff, and the class went on to get a 90% pass rate in both subjects taught by Jean, and he put all of his success down to Jean, and invited her back to his company for lunch.
Going back to Ecclesiastical, it was agreed Casey would return to Ireland after Crufts, Jean soon realised I was heartbroken, so she Jean promised me a puppy out of the next litter which was to be a mating between Ch Saxonsprings Lineka and Ch Saxonsprings Treacle Toffy, five puppies duly arrived.
Jean kept her word, as she always did, and at a very early age we both fell in love with a dog and bitch, so it was decided both would stay, these two puppies turned out to be Trady and Tilly both came to live with me in London after weaning; Tilly was a constant winner in puppy bitch classes, but it was Trady who had a spectacular puppy career winning 18 BPIS awards, he also qualified for the Pup of the year stakes final out of which he was short listed., it was at this prestigious occasion Jean received the Tom Homer memorial trophy for outstanding achievements in the dog world, it was a very emotional occasion when Fefy Hamilton read out all Jean’s achievements, it wasn’t until halfway though the speech that Jean realised they were talking about her, because this award was kept very secret until the day, but at the end of the speech Jean rose to receive the crystal trophy to a standing ovation from the high ranks of the dog world.

Jean became increasingly worse so I called the family doctor, who admitted her into Addenbrookes’ Hospital, were they carried out intensive tests which took over three weeks, Jeans arms were black and blue having daily blood tests, on one of my twice daily visits I was called into the ward sister’s office, to be told Jean was terminally ill and that she had not long been told, although something serious was expected it was still a great shock to me, so I waited a while to pluck up courage before going to see Jean expecting her to be very depressed and down hearted, instead when I walked into the ward she was reading her favourite paper the daily telegraph, greeted me with hello Ken was there any interesting post this morning, we continued in general conversation, but it wasn’t until later she revealed that she had the results and the prognosis was not good, she had to remain in hospital for another week to have Radium treatment I was then called in to discuss Jean’s future, they had offered her a Hospice bed but of course Jean would rather come home, Jean unfortunately had lost her sister shortly after moving down from the north, so there was only a brother-in-law, a niece and a nephew, all of which were unable to offer any help, so there was no alternative for Jean to come home, as was her wish, to be with the dogs, I had seven sleepless nights worrying how I would cope, so social services were contacted and a package of care was set up, rearrangement of the house was needed, Jean’s bed was brought downstairs to enable her to keep an eye on things, she was still very much interested in the dogs. Jean returned home and was delighted to be back, and it wasn’t long before she started organising things, Jean being a very private person found it very difficult to accept compromises, as she was unable to get upstairs to the bathroom we converted the back room into a toilet and washing area with separate bedroom which Jean was delighted with. In the days and weeks to come Jean had daily visits from friends who kept her spirits up, she had carers night and morning, and daily visits from the District Nurse, Jean gave some of the carers & a very hard time if they took any short cuts; life became very much a routine, I had an intercom installed so if there were any problems in the night Jean could call me, it was always up at seven cup of tea, daily paper and the post, the carers would arrive at nine to get Jean dressed, and then breakfast, which for the next seven months was a baked apple and toast! ! ! On several occasions I was told off because it was either over cooked or undercooked, meals on wheels were accepted but only lasted two days, because they didn’t meet Jean’s requirements.
As we all new Ken effortlessly in the showring one with his dog, here with Trad
A few days out of puppy we attended Bath Championship show, Tradition was in junior and Lineka was in open, Zena Thorn-Andrews was the judge, always a great admirer along with husband Terry, Trady won his class and Lineka won open, so we had two to challenge, Joe House took over Trady and I showed Lineka, but it was Trady who won the cc with Lineka getting reserve cc, Trady went on to get BOB and then the group and Best in Show, he later went on to make history by taking BIS at this show for three consecutive years running; 10 days later Trady became another Saxonsprings Champion and a spectacular career was to follow, 8 BIS, 3RBIS, 18 group wins, 40 cc’s and 5 rcc’s he also gained his Irish title, he won the Contest of Champions, also Wales and the West Contest of Champions, Pedigree Chum Stakes final, he was also Top Dog All Breeds, and his litter sister Tillandsia also went on to gain her title.
My health was not good at the time so I decided to take early retirement and move to Saxonsprings from London to spend more time with the dogs, Jeans health was also in decline, and when she said she didn’t want to go to the shows anymore alarm bells began to ring, because it had to be something very special to keep Jean away, she started to get problems with breathlessness and could not walk great distances anymore, Jean went into Papworth Chest Hospital for tests which took two weeks (not a happy bunny), Jean was a terrible patient, thank goodness no heart problems, but they found fluid on the lungs which was promptly drained leaving Jean more active again, but at Christmas 1997 Jean became unwell again and in the new year several hospital visits and tests proved negative, which was to make Jean very frustrated because she was in a lot of pain , and she used to say to me ‘is it in my mind Ken’, I used to say ‘it can’t be anything serious or they would have found it’ my health now wasn’t at its best and Jean was very worried about me coping with a kennel full of dogs.

Jean was an hoarder being on several committees and the breed representative at the Kennel Club, the drawers were full of confidential paperwork which she managed to sort out because she did not want to leave me this job, after several weeks the drawers were clear , the next thing she invited Madeline Lewis and her niece to come and clear all her clothes out this was the most difficult time for me because as Madeline and Caroline were putting her clothes into black bags, I had left them to get on with this job, I was working in the back but Jean called me in on several occasions to say, ‘remember Ken when I wore this dress’ it brought back so many happy memories, at this point I could not cope, so I had to leave the room to have a good cry, Jean was living on her memories of a lot of special occasions, many dresses like the queen, had only been worn once, but each one represented a special occasion, the courage of this special lady in not shedding a tear at this particular time was incredible, it was then the house contents, and special memorabelia4 room by room Jean ploughed through, putting labels on articles which she wanted to go to her friends on her departure, so everything was in order and as Jean wished, she didn’t want to leave me the job of all the sorting out, because you will have all your work cut out looking after the dogs when I am not here she would say.

Her dear friend Anne Matthews ( Hardacre) spent a lot of private time with Jean discussing what was to happen to the dogs, after long discussions it was decided that all the dogs would be left in my charge, and I was to remain here at Saxonsprings.
During this time Trady was on a roll and Jean insisted, much against my wish, that I should continue to go to the shows because Trady was in contention at the time of being top dog, it was a close run race because many outstanding dogs were also in contention.

Foot note: Jean remained reasonably well with no pain, Jean wanted me to have some respite, so would attend the day Hospice once a week on a Wednesday which she enjoyed, they used to make such a fuss of her, she would come home looking so glamorous having had her nails polished, a facial, hair set, massage etc, some of the colours of the nail varnish left a bit to be desired!! But it was Jean’s choice,
Jean always liked her close friends who visited her to come on a Thursday so she could show of her new nails or hairdo; The show season was corning to an end and Trady was neck and neck for top dog all breeds, the result of LKA would be the deciding factor, Margaret Mclaughlin was down from Scotland, to spend some time with Jean. While I went to LKA Trady got the points required to make him top dog all breeds, of course Jean was on cloud nine! Margaret was to go home shortly, so she decided to cook a Christmas dinner for Jean and myself, we all thoroughly enjoyed it, Jean also indulged in a glass of wine or two, Jean was having visitors in the afternoon, Alan and Theresa Weihe, Margaret Jennings and Joe House all had a good time talking dogs of course which went on until early evening, the carers as usual came to get Jean ready for bed, but instead she insisted staying up quite late which was quite unusual for Jean because she would be very tired by early evening, our guests left and Jean got very involved in a nature programme on the TV which she insisted watching until the end, she then decided to go to bed and read the newspaper, I myself was very tired, so Jean said ‘get yourself off to bed’ because it will soon be morning, this I did.
I arose at seven Jean would always hear me coming down the stairs and would shout ‘morning Ken’ I would proceed to make tea and deliver the paper, on this occasion there was no call from Jean, I didn’t take any notice because she had such a late night, there was a peep hole from the kitchen to the bedroom I look through and saw Jean sitting on the side of the bed bending down putting her slipper on, so I took the tea in only to find Jean, this very special lady had passed away.

Unfortunately Ken Woosnam died 2yrs later so he did not have long to carry on the Saxonsprings Tradition. But Jean left a wonderful legacy to the Lhasa Apso exhibitors and breeders in the UK that still carry on her lines to this day!!

Saxonsprings story by Jean Blyth



My interest in dogs goes back to my school days before the war, when my mother bred and showed Scottish Terriers and puppies were far more fascinating to play with than dolls. One of my earliest memories is of my grandmother coming with here two Westies to say goodbye before she immigrated to Australia. I still have the pages from the Sydney Royal Show catalogues of the early twenties listing the winnings of her dogs out there. My mother’s ill health, the war, and my career as a teacher in London altered the pattern and I was out of the dog world until my husband gave me a Basset Hound puppy as a wedding present. We lived in a small house in the suburbs.
Her first litter was ten, we could not sell them and the tide of Bassets grew deeper and deeper. The wonder is that my husband and I survived to breed many more litters and to enjoy doing it.

After a few years we moved north and we were able to increase the pack. I loved the Basset character. Trying to breed sound Bassets is a very difficult task but my experiences with them taught me a great deal that has helped with the Apsos. I sometimes think that all breeders of coated dogs ought first to serve an apprenticeship with a breed where all faults of construction and movement are impossible to miss.

Jean_Blyth_house_on_Ilkey_Moors_Bartat__1981_West_Yorkshire_England copy

My first Basset champion, Kimble was a rich tri-colour and was made up in 1964. His name appears in many pedigrees of the northern show dogs of today. I still retain my interest in the breed and enjoy judging them. However, advancing age, coupled with some necessary deep x-ray treatment made the bathing, loading reluctant hounds into the tackle with pleasure. Anyone who had been owned by these beautiful but stubborn hounds will know just what I mean!

My love affair with the Lhasa Apso started in 1967. I was at a meeting in London of the Basset Hound Club when I mentioned to Anne Matthews, already a friend and fellow Basset breeder, that I would like a smaller breed, preferably coated. I liked the Lhasa Apsos she had at Hardacre, and although at that time I knew nothing of their history nor of the Kennel Club Standard, I loved the temperaments of her Lhasas. She promised she would find a foundation bitch for me. I heard nothing for several months until she rang one day and asked if I was still interested in Apsos. She had taken over a number of Jack Lord’s Namista dogs when his wife had died suddenly and offered two dogs and a bitch.

Namista Norbu and Kiushu were by Ch. Namista Yasi and been winning steadily, while the second bitch had Ch. Gunga Din of Verles behind her. She was big and had a character to match. Her temperament was, to me, the perfect Tibetan, reserved, yet full of fun, never fussy, yet always there and with a delightful way of lifting one lip and leering at you when she was pleased. I am always delighted when I see her loving ways reappearing in the present day litters.

From these I bred my first Apso champion, Saxonsprings Lobsang, and a bitch Dze-Tu who produced many winners. Dze at twelve years of age still has a perfect mouth, wide with the correct bite and a complete set of teeth as strong now as when she was youngster. I wish I could produce mouths like that in every puppy today.

A breed that numbers among its top exhibitors experienced and knowledgeable people ready to help and guide the novice is very fortunate. This has certainly been the case with the English Apso and I am indebted to Thelma Morgan, Anne Matthews, Daphne Hesketh Williams, And Beryl Prince ( Harding) for their help in understanding the breed. The Namista dogs were developed from Thelma Morgan’s stock so I went back to her for advice and as always she was most helpful. From Thelma came a white and grey dog puppy very typical of her line. He was named Morgan of Saxonsprings and looked most promising. I returned one day from a show to find him with a badly bruised eye. The cause was never found, although we suspected that a kitchen stool may have fallen on him. After several weeks the eye had to be removed and his show career was over.  However, he sired some excellent litters; from him and Dze-Tu cam Ch. Saxonsprings Zako, typically English in style, with a strong, well constructed body and a beautiful head and good mouth.

Later from Anne Matthews came Not So Dusty, chosen at five weeks. I wish I could claim this was skilled insight, but it really was luck! Anne’s dog champion, Hardacre Ang Tharkey, a son of Hamilton Dewartus, sired a black and tan bitch who was Ch. Annakapelli of Saxonsprings and took Best In Show at the breed championship show under Beryl Harding. She was mated to Hardacre Pied Piper, now in Australia, who was also Dusty’s sire, and produced Chussekuan.

So, in 1977 I made up my three grey champions. At that time nearly all the dogs in the ring were grey brindle or grey and white parti-coloured.

The next chapter in the Saxonsprings saga came when I went with Anne Matthews to Westminster. My first sight of that ring full of the most beautiful gold dogs with flowing coats sweeping the ground, immaculately presented, is one I shall never forget! I resolved there and then I would add the colour, the high held head carriage, the free movement and extra elusive quality and style to my English line.

At the benches I met Margery Lang and Joan Kendall who invited me back to Delaware overnight. We talked and talked and found it was the same language. There are two sorts of people in the dog world: exhibitors who also breed and breeders for whom the show ring is important but not their prime fascination. The latter are my sort, I love to trace the generations back and to plan improvements for the future. The ability to see the faults and accept the mistakes
is vital. I learned a great deal about the American Lhasas that night and shall always be grateful to Joan for her help and advice. I wrote to Joan when I returned home and asked her to find me a dog carrying the qualities who knew I had admired and needed.

The result was Eng. BIS & Am. BIS Ch. Orlane’s Intrepid -only then he was a young puppy called Danny. With him came two young bitches, also line bred to Everglo’s Spark of Gold. All three came to six months solitary confinement. Our quarantine laws are very strict. All dogs are taken in special vans direct from the airport to the kennels under Ministry supervision. They are extremely well cared for with daily visits from the vets, but the isolation is very hard. I always felt so sorry for the dearly loved and cosseted pets whose owners were returning home after serving abroad. But we have no rabies in Britain, and dread the thought of it arriving, decimating the wild life and causing havoc among the domesticated animals before it became endemic. Visitors are allowed after two weeks and you can imagine how anxiously I waited to see the new arrivals. I went several times a week during the winter months, grooming and bathing them and getting to know and love them. Danny quickly became the favoured pet of all the staff and owners, themselves well known breeders and exhibitors of Saint Bernards. No kennel club registration is possible without the quarantine certificate, so smuggling would be useless and among the dog fancy would be considered socially unacceptable. One of the results of this law is that we cannot show our dogs on the Continent unless we are prepared to leave them and quarantine them afterwards. The English show scene is thus restricted and it would be lovely to see a wider variation and to try to conquer new fields.

All three Americans came home to Saxon Lodge at the end of January in the middle of a tremendous snowstorm. Tragedy struck when two mornings later I found one of the bitches dead from Haemorrhagic Enteritis. The other two, Intrepid and Orlane’s Liteline O’Lamplite, settled quickly into their new life. Danny mated a bitch on his second day – that litter produced Ch. Saxonsprings Alamo, now Holland Champion and Best In Show at this year’s Winner’s Show (the Crufts of Holland) and group winner at the World Show at Dortmund!

The introduction of this new American blood into the English lines has started very well indeed. I have tried to follow Joan Kendall’s advice, to keep the puppies from this complete outcross that have the features that I want, working to breed out in later generations any faults that may appear. The second crosses are now in the ring. That’s the pleasure and frustration of breeding – success is always just around the corner and perfection is in the next litter!

The introduction of this new American blood into the English lines has started very well indeed.  I have tried to follow Joan Kendall’s advice, to keep the puppies from this complete outcross that have the features that I want, working to breed out in later generations any faults that may appear.  The second crosses are now in the ring. That’s the pleasure and frustration of breeding – success is always just around the corner and perfection is in the next litter!

Spotlight on Jean Blyth

Question: Having been in the breed for eighteen years now,
how do you feel it has progressed?

Answer: An exhibitor, returning to the ringside after a twenty year absence would be astonished at the large number of expertly presented, eye-catching dogs, with glamorous coats sweeping the ground as they move confidently and freely around the ring. While I doubt if there is that much essential difference between the best dogs of the past and those of today, except
in preparation and presentation, it is true that the quality is far deeper now so that the lower classes often have more good dogs in each than were in the whole entry years ago,
and many of yesterday’s winners would have to go cardless today. The breed has been fortunate in having a number of dedicated kennels with the facilities to bring in new blood, to try new matings, to run on young stock and to campaign their dogs extensively.
Dominant top winning sires have been widely used with a great deal of line breeding, and as a result there have grown up divergences in type, obvious to the eye and differences in balance, head shape and even in coat colour, but all within the laid-down standard.

Question: What are the features you feel are the most important
when (a) planning breedings?, (b) selecting puppies?

Answer: (a) My guiding rule has been to plan positively, that is to bring in and to set in, the features that I feel are essentially correct and that I want to appear in my puppies, rather than
negatively discarding stock with good points for the sake of some things I do not like, always of course not repeating major faults or problems. No dog is perfect and a good dog with one poor feature is far better in my book than a nondescript one with nothing bad but nothing good either. One can breed to a better skull shape or tailset if the main balance and construction are pleasing.

(b) The computer that is in my brain must do the work for me because I seldom analyse my puppies at an early age, but rather prefer to look at them as a whole, eating, playing, even sleeping, and often say “I like that” without thinking, and sometimes not knowing, why. I suppose I look for the puppy that ‘fits together’ well, that is strong on its legs and just ‘looks right’. I picked Chussenkuan, Fresno and Hackensack as well as Dusty like that, so it must work for me. My mother and grandmother bred and showed dogs in a small way, there were always animals about the house and my father came from farming stock so it may be bred in me.

Question: What do you consider to be the major problems today?

Answer: The major problems stem from the fact that Apsos are young in terms of selective breeding to the modern standard and have come to us from a huge area where there must have been many variations in type. We are extremely fortunate in that they are a hardy breed
with none of the hereditary diseases that plague many other breeds, maybe partly because they have no major abnormalities, apart from the bite, bred in.

As far as breeding the perfect prototype of the standard is concerned, the chief problems must be sizes and mouths. Variations in size can be the result of hybrid strength but I would point out that
size has never been stabilized. Many of the early champions were oversized. Some very small dogs are also produced that are as exaggerated in their way, especially in lightness of bone and
“prettiness’, the standard does require a ‘sturdy’ or ‘solid’ dog, not verging on the toy. I would not condemn an oversized or undersized dog, provided it is correctly proportioned and balanced
but excessive length of leg combined with shortness of back can throw a dog out of type and must be guarded against. One of the difficulties here in selecting a puppy lies in the varying growth
patterns. I sometimes despair over getting and holding the perfect bite. My old fifteen year young girl has a perfect bite and correct dentition still, which cannot be said for every mouth one looks at today. But still we persevere trying to produce the required abnormality.

In all lines there has been a great improvement to coat texture. No longer do we often see the duo-coat, correct over the shoulders but a mass of frizz over the hindquarters. The frizzy, wavy coat has almost disappeared, no longer do we see exhibitors in odd corners spraying and powdering each layer in turn to straighten out the crinkles and frizz. Gold coats with no brindle factor are often full and soft in the puppy stage but harden as the dog matures.
Pigment has improved in that pink noses with light eyes are not often seen. Hernias too, are far less, never a problem in the American lines as in this country. In spite of some close inbreeding
of my import and English lines, I have yet to see any Spaniel, flat coats or prapsos and only linked with one English line have I met any shortening of tails: I would be the first to admit round
eye which can no way give the correct Tibetan expression, so hard to describe but easy to recognise. However, heads can be improved. While I feel that the ugly shovel jaw, far undershot in bite -where incidentally there is a great early loss of teeth – and very narrow head is equally undesirable, selective breeding should, in time, produce the perfect skull, bite and expression – at least we can go on trying!

One point of disagreement frequently occurs, that of correct movement with comments made by those who have never gone over the dogs nor seen a cut-down dog move, ringside criticism is not of much value in a coated. Intrepid and Liteline both had hips x-rayed before they
came to me and both American and English experts commented on the high standard of their hip structure. Incidentally, one of the reasons for the early experimental freezing of Spark of Gold’s sperm was the excellence of his back assembly. To my knowledge no problem
associated with hip structure has come from the imports mated to my stock. As to movement itself. The dogs I remembered in my early days in the breed moved with plenty of drive, soundly covering the ground easily, but a stilted action with a short stride and minimum
use of the back legs has crept. My own Ch. Zako had his movement and he was not the only one. The Orlane dogs use their hocks, driving with power but completely in rhythm with the front assembly. Their outstanding top lines prove this, held immaculately standing
and on the move. There is no excess energy at the rear giving the dreaded ‘flick’ but there is, as there must be, a follow through and the faster the dog moves the more pad it must show. All of these facts are difficult to see in a heavily coated dog, but Clovis and Cassidy both clipped down can prove the pint. It may be of interest to note that having lived in the Yorkshire Dales until recently and having a kennel built on a steep moorside, my dogs had ample
opportunity to demonstrate their ability to move on rocky and rough terrain. The dogs I was campaigning were not allowed to climb of course but many, many puppies were sold to families whose pastime was hill walking and who often called at the kennels after a long and tiring hike with their adult Apso still ready for more.

Question: What advice do you offer to breeders of Lhasa Apsos today?

Answer: Be positive, don’t be kennel-blind and aim for what you see as the perfect Apso not what you feel will win in the ring. Study the breed carefully, read all you can about the dogs of past years, talk to all the experienced breeders, visiting their kennels if possible, go to as many shows as you can, in fact, soak up all the knowledge possible. Look at your own stock with a critical eye, getting a friend to give her honest opinion, look at the dogs behind the possible studs and what they and others from the same line are producing. Having done all this, forget it and follow your hunch! I have been so lucky in my breeding programme in that I have been
able to work with a complete outcross and have had the opportunity to try out matings. I think you must be positive always, aiming for the chief features that you feel are essential, even if in so doing you have to accept some faults which, when the positive is established, you can work to improve.

Question: What are your feelings on Breed Specialist judges and All
round judges when judging at breed level?

Answer: I am sure both are needed to give the detailed as well as the general view of the breed. One of the advantages of growth in numbers and successes in the big ring is that most all rounders do at least recognise the Apso now. Our present system does not allow the young or novice judges to gain experience and so increase the pool of specialists. Some method of teaching and testing as is the way in many countries could be the answer removing any question of pressure or favouritism. The ways of the Kennel Club in choosing who is passed to grant CCs are quite incomprehensible.

Question: Do you feel that politics are involved at the breed level
or at Dog Shows in general?

Answer: Dog fanciers are of two kinds: those whose prime interest is in trying to breed the perfect animal, using the show ring as a test of their success, and those whose one desire is to be top of every line. The first group can admire a beautiful dog shown by a rival exhibitor while the second hates to be beaten by anything. It is from the second group that the ‘politics’ spring and envy leads to questionable actions and backbiting and unkind gossip that can do a breed so much harm. Competition is so keen in the big ring that a weak or unsure judge may be influenced. However, I am sure that a good dog will succeed and cannot always be kept down. No one has
ever tried to bribe me although I have had calls meant to frighten, but there must be many subtle ways in which suggestions can be made to judges. Maybe I am too dim to see them and enquiries about using my stud dogs just before I am due to judge are not so innocent after all! Judges at breed level are fundamentally honest and odd placings are the result of poor assessing rather than dishonesty.

Question: In order of importance, what do you look for when you judge
Lhasa Apsos?

Answer: I look for type, sound construction and temperament in that order. By type I mean especially balance, skull shape and expression. Eye shape and colour, size and shape of lower jaw and bite will be right if the correct Apso look is there. A winning dog must be able to move freely, using its rear assembly strongly and holding a level topline standing and on the move. Above all I try to judge positively giving credit for the good rather than penalising the poor.
Even the best dogs have faults, none are perfect and to condemn an exhibit otherwise of top quality for one feature not to one’s liking is a sure way to mediocrity.

Question: Give us your opinion of the English versus American

Answer: This is an entirely artificial controversy introduced by those who cannot know the history of the development of today’s Apso and could do more damage to the breed than any other factor. The breed is Tibetan, originating in this country and others in the West, from a very few imports. New blood must be introduced from time to time, no longer can it come from their native land. There have been at least a dozen Tibetan, European and American imports that have contributed to the modern Lhasa, all have played their part although it is from America, from the Hamilton, Licos, Kinderland, Anbara, Marlo and Orlane dogs that the greatest influences have come. The successes I have had with the Orlane dogs must come chiefly from the clever
line breeding behind them, enabling them to pass on the very qualities I felt my kennel needed, but it is also due to the sound, typy bitches and dogs that were awaiting them in England, many of them already carrying outcross blood. For example, Fresno, a bitch that few breeders have been able to fault, has behind her dam, Hardacre Bhu-Sun, from the Kinderlands line and from whom she takes the texture and colour of her coat and her perfect mouth. It should also be remembered that two bitches came with Intrepid. One died two days out of quarantine, the other, Orlane’s Liteline of Lamplite, mated to Intrepid, produced Cascade, Clovis, Cassidy and the new Singapore Champion Cody, among others. Cascade, thus all American in breeding, sired champions in this country before going on to become a great influence in Northern Europe, and can be found in the top winning stock of many of the leading English kennels. Sound, well constructed stock with flair and showmanship, not in the least exaggerated, has come from mating Zako to the American bitch line. No one should be aiming to breed ‘American’ or ‘English’ dogs, all are Lhasa Apsos. There can be very few dogs alive today who carry solely the blood lines brought to this country by Hon. Mrs. Bailey. Surely the aim should be to weave the various strands together to produce your interpretation of the perfect specimen.

Question: What made you decide to import a dog from the USA and what
particularly drew you to the type and kennel from which it came?

Answer: My first sight of the Apsos in the ring at Westminster was heart-stopping, so many beautiful dogs all immaculately presented, so many gold coats sweeping around the ring, proud heads held high, all moving freely, a really lovely picture. I already had a strong kennel at home, I has made up two bitches and a dog the year before but there were qualities that were missing in my line. I met Joan Kendall there, went home with her and talked dogs all through that
night. She understood just what I wanted and I could see her stock certainly carried the qualities I so much admired and Intrepid and Liteline were the result. She wrote me many letters before they actually arrived and I shall always be so grateful for all she taught me and for her courage in sending me Intrepid. He was the product of her many years of clever breeding and his influence on the breed has been tremendous.

Question: You have shown and made up the Saxonsprings Lhasa Champions
owned by yourself, what made you decide to place Fresno and Hackensack
with a handler after they gained their titles?

Answer: Geoff Corish took over Fresno after much heart searching. She used to take the breed easily with me but then became temperamental in the big ring, especially when handled by male judges. I just knew she was good enough to go to the top but we were not in tune and she would not give for me. I felt a spell with a male handler might be the answer. She fell in love with Geoff, felt he was what she wanted and fluttered her eyelashes at him. He fell for her and
the love affair continues. When she was retired to produce her litter I felt Hackensack, always my favourite, should have his chance. He had often been held back for her during her ‘Top Dog’ year. My only back up was Sue Roberts and although she was a great help at shows she was needed to look after the boarders. It is very difficult to campaign a top dog and a young team without help at the shows and that is why Geoff took over although Hank has always lived with me and I got him ready before the shows.

Question: What for you was your most memorable win?

Answer: It must of course be Crufts, nothing can quite touch that, although as Lesley Howard said “you want to do it all over again and have time to enjoy it”. As a breeder I must also be proud of Fresno as she had to win many Best in Shows to gain her Top Dog title.

Question: Did you find any particular resentment from others after
your tremendous success?

Answer: It is sad that all success in any competition brings out jealousy and spite but one learns not to be too hurt. The majority in the breed took great pride in Hank’s success and there are very few who are not Fresno fans. My greatest joy has come from the pleasure that Hank’s win has given to people in other breeds who love the sight of a beautiful creature and to so many do lovers who never go to a show but watched him on television. It is seldom that any criticism
of my dogs is levelled directly at me. I hope I take what is constructive because surely this is a way to learn, but I do find that which is reported to me second or third hand most hurtful and
disturbing chiefly because there is no opportunity to reply. All my dogs can always be seen and examined, it is most helpful to go over one’s dogs with a knowledgeable breeder, sometimes one
finds new faults as well as virtues!

Question: How many Champions has Saxonsprings now produced?

Answer: I think the total to date is fourteen, several of whom have gone on to gain their titles in Scandinavia, Western Europe and America and there are six or seven abroad who left before becoming champions at home.

Question: Which other Lhasas, not owned or bred by yourself, have
you particularly admired?

Answer: It was Ann Matthews’ Apsos, including Tungwei and Puti who first attracted me to the breed, but I can still remember the beauty of Bobette and Hera, the latter especially I remember seeing at one of the early shows at Oxford. Of all the beautiful dogs I saw in the States the one I most admired, with all the qualities I most wanted, was Am.Ch. Orlanes Brandywyne, mother of Intrepid and daughter of the great Am.Ch. Barcons the Avenger. All the top winners of the past
years, including Alexander, Piperman, Gregor, Bhu-Sun, Hitchcock, Malcolm and Pepper were good Apsos, correct to the standard, who had the extra something which made them stand out.

Question: What do you Lhasa Apso breeders of the future will remember
as your greatest contribution to the breed, or haven’t you achieved it

Answer: I should like to feel I was instrumental in weaving together a few of the various strands and I feel very proud when I see winning dogs in whose pedigree my prefix appears, but it is also good to think of the many puppies from Saxonsprings, free from major faults, whose
beauty, love and charming characters have given so much pleasure and let so many people appreciate our lovely breed.