Chow chows at the LKA

By: Nick Waters


Chow chows at the LKA

‘THE SECOND show was held on June 11 and 12 in the park of Holland House by kind permission of Lord and Lady Ilchester. Royalty was to be present and the police estimated there were around 5,000 people packing the grounds. It was reported that the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Princesses Victoria and Maud were present, together with royalties from Spain and Russia and at least half the British peerage.’ (The Ladies Kennel Association: The First Hundred Years by Peggy Grayson).

  The show attracted 1,753 entries made by 514 lady exhibitors and a band played throughout the day.

  In 1881 the Prince of Wales exhibited a ‘Chinese Dog’ named Chang whose colour was given as ‘chestnut’, undoubtedly a Chow. In the 1840s his mother, Queen Victoria, owned three ‘Chinese Dogs’, Betty, Hong Shoo and Akoe, and if these were Chows they could represent the first known and named dogs of the breed in Britain.

  Regular readers of my column will know how much I enjoy old photographs, not just for their artistic quality but they are great social records.

  The one I feature this time shows the judge with the dogs entered in the Chow Chow puppy class at that second LKA show in 1896. They are left to right: ‘Keeper’ with the Duchess of Wellington’s littermates, Strathfieldsaye Tain and Hai, both of whom won VHCs, Miss Armyne Gordon with Peritas (VHC), Miss ‘F’ with Lady Granville Gordon’s Black but Comely (third), Mrs Sophia Cook with Chow (first), Mrs M C Moseley with Miss Cheeky (reserve), Mrs K Marshall with Taipan (commended), Mrs R Fenner with Queen of Cromer (second), Mrs Skewes-Cox with Richmond Si Lung (VHC) and ‘Keeper’ with Mrs Skewes-Cox Sam Sah (commended). 

  Their ages ranged from three months old to ten months old, although the winner’s date of birth, breeder and pedigree are unknown. Presumably everyone accepted in good faith that the dog was still a puppy. The breeder and pedigree of the second prize winner are also unknown but Queen of Cromer’s date of birth is given as the September 1 1895. This poses the question, if it was known exactly when she was born, why does no one know who bred her?

  Queen of Cromer was for sale in the catalogue for £200, Peritas at £25 and Strathfieldsaye Tain and Hai at £5.5s and £10.10s respectively.

  The judge was Mr W R Temple who first showed a Chow at Brighton show in 1890. Although he owned and exhibited dogs of many breeds he soon started to specialise in Chows and his Leyswood prefix was the first prefix to be used in the breed. He was responsible for the formation of the Chow Chow Club in 1895, chairing its first meeting where he was appointed secretary. He was also responsible for the compilation of the breed’s first Standard.

  Temple was one of the many owners of Ch Chow VIII, the first champion in the breed. He passed through many hands during a long show career, one theory being his poor temperament, at times proving difficult to handle. The breed Standard was based on this dog.