From The Start
In 1975 during a trip overseas, I came upon my first Smooth Collie in the flesh. At that time I had been breeding and showing Old English Sheepdogs for a few years and decided another breed with much less coat would be a good adjunct to my ‘dog world’ activities. The Smooth Collie seemed to fit my requirements – a medium sized dog with a good, fun-loving temperament and minimal grooming. After seeing these dogs and spending some time with a few breeders, I was hooked, so I imported a pair to start a breeding program in Australia. The dog – CH COTSBELLE LING sadly only produced one litter, but did much to convince me of the worth of this breed. The bitch – CH FOXEARTH BLACK FAITH was to become a very important part of the establishment of the breed here although I did not imagine how important at that time.
“Bell” came to me as a 3-year-old, having already produced a couple of litters in England for her breeder, Trevor Hayward. A blue merle daughter from “Bell” – NOR., INT. & ENG. CH. FOXEARTH SILVER FOUNTAIN by Ch. Wingbelle Lain, shown by Trevor in England and later exported to Europe, also had a significant influence on the Breed’s history.
In Australia, “Bell” produced a total of 22 puppies from four litters. Six of these puppies gained their Championship titles including one Rough puppy. There were of course many grand children who went on to become Champions and if you look hard enough, she will appear in a few pedigrees of dogs being shown today, albeit 5 or 6 generations back.
She was not a great ‘show dog’, but was a tremendous ‘brood bitch’. A natural at mothering, she made it very easy for me to produce quality puppies. From her first litter by ‘Ch. Cotsbelle Ling’ came two tricolour Champions – “Averil” & “Apple”. In the second litter by the top winning Blue Merle Rough Collie, Ch. Abonnie True Blue, came a stunning blue bitch which I kept and who did exceptionally well in the show ring – CH FOXBELL BLUE BIBA.
Trevor Hayward made a comment upon seeing photos of “Biba” that she would win if shown in the ring in England. “Bell” produced a particularly elegant style of puppy, very sound in confirmation and most typical of the breed.
Her third litter produced both a Rough and a Smooth Show Champion. Two tricolour sisters – “Dena” & “Delight”, and from her fourth and final litter came the sable Champion CH FOXBELL GOLDEN GIRL. “Goldie” did much to educate both general public and dog show exhibitors as to just what a Smooth Collie was. At last they could see ‘Lassie’ without the long coat.
I will always be very grateful to both Trevor Hayward and Betty Hodgetts for letting me have “Bell” and “Mick” for without such a quality bitch as the foundation of my breeding stock; and the experience of knowing a truly regal representative of the breed, I may have given up years ago.