"Doggie" Hubbard

Obituary for Mr Clifford L.B. Hubbard (1913-2000)
By Paul Keevil

Clifford L.B. Hubbard

With the passing of 'Doggie' Hubbard on 16 June, the world of dogs said goodbye to a totally unique and irreplaceable character. With the Doggie Hubbard Bookshop he became a familiar face to thousands of collectors throughout the world. He first took his bookshop on the road in the early 1970s and made a point of attending as many Championship Shows as he could until ill health forced him to make Crufts 1999 his final show.

His knowledge of antiquarian dog books was encyclopaedic, and without a shadow of doubt he was the greatest expert on this subject that the world has ever seen. He had started work on a bibliography of canine books and literature back in the 1940s, but it was never completed. However, we do have the benefit of nearly 60 articles written by him and serialised over the last few years in Kennel Gazette, and these features have been cherished for their depth of knowledge and amusing anecdotal content by all collectors. He was also an author and contributor to numerous other canine publications over the years, starting in 1948 with his Literature of British Dogs, now a collector's item. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Dog Lovers Library series of books and also wrote the first editions of The Observer Book Of Dogs, which was many people's first introduction to the world of dogs and dog books. I recollect him telling me about the time he was granted an audience with the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) during his research for The Cardiganshire Corgi Handbook. The story goes that she was being fitted for her wedding dress by Norman Hartnell who had a mouthful of pins at the time and did not take kindly to Doggie interrupting the fitting session with his questions about Corgis!

Welsh born and bred, Doggie had built up an amazing collection of over 25,000 dog books over the years, a collection he donated to the National Library of Wales to be preserved for the nation. Many of his finest finds were made during his time and travels with Harrods and he was responsible for establishing their rare book department.

There was always a warm welcome for friends old and new on his stand at the shows, and for many years we stalled out next to each other at Windsor. I will always remember one occasion on which he managed to persuade a group of Japanese tourists to load up his van for him ready for the long journey back to Wales. They did this with great enthusiasm and then insisted I take numerous photographs of them with the legendary Doggie!

Doggie had planned to write 100 articles for Kennel Gazette on notable dog books, but sadly he only got to complete 58. However, he once told me, with a twinkle in his eye, that the 100th would be Cecil Aldin's autobiography Time I Was Dead.

Doggie's funeral was held at St David's Church, Aberaeron on Friday 23 June. He is survived by his wife Siiri and his three children. So long Doggie, we will miss you.

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The Pembrokeshire Corgi Handbook, Nicholson & Watson, London, 1952
The Cardiganshire Corgi Handbook, Nicholson & Watson, London, 1952