The Larkwhistle Corgis

One always feels sorry for the owner of a dog who wins two challenge certificates but never achieves a third one to qualify it for the UK champion title. And especially so if it is unlucky circumstances which prevent the dog from getting its 'third' - for example the outbreak of war in the case of Spring Robin and a few other Pems. But the unluckiest of them all must surely be Larkwhistle Golden Vanity. Born in August 1938, she enjoyed an exciting puppy career and took the CC, aged 11 months, at Kensington show at London's Alexandra Palace in July 1939 under Vera Lister-Kaye (Lisaye).

Larkwhistle Golden Vanity at 14 months

This turned out to be the penultimate championship show before war broke out, and hardly anyone got to the final one.

Championship shows re-started in 1946 (and here we are today in Britain, grumbling at the gap of just over a year!) and Vanity was in good enough form to be campaigned once again. She was still holding her own in 1948, won a RCC at Liverpool and a month after her tenth birthday took her second CC at the Caledonian show in Edinburgh, judge Jessie Kite (Eggerness). Sadly her title never came but if ever the breed had an 'uncrowned champion' it must surely be Vanity.

She was bred and owned by Eveline ('Jo') Boyt, yet another of the young women who started in the breed in the mid 1930s and remained loyal to it during the conflict years. Her foundation bitch was Larkwhistle Pixie, linebred to Ch Bowhit Pepper. Like most English bitches of that era she was put to Ch Rozavel Red Dragon and this produced Golden Gorse. Miss Boyt then decided to do a half-brother to half-sister mating with Dragon as the common link, and mated Gorse to Ch Rozavel Scarlet Emperor who was gaining an excellent reputation as a sire before the war spoilt things. From this came Vanity.

Larkwhistle Vainglory

Following the time-honoured fashion, the closely-bred Vanity was mated for her early wartime litter to the closest thing there was to a top quality outcross, in the shape of Teekay Perfection. From this came the dog Larkwhistle Vainglory and the bitch Valerie who became one of the two main foundation bitches of the very important Cowfold line.

Teekay Burnet

Anne Biddlecombe then opted to use Vainglory on her beautiful Dragon daughter Ch Teekay's Crawleycrow Hazelnut and bred Teekay Burnet and Bramble. Miss Boyt took Burnet who sired the sensational first post-war champion Formakin Orangeman, while the bitch Bramble was the dam of the only other male to win a CC in 1946, Ch Broom of Ballybentra, himself a major stud dog of that era.

Larkwhistle Lucinda

Miss Boyt, formerly from Hampshire, then moved to the breed's native region, based at Wolfsdale near Haverfordwest where she spent the rest of her life. In the early '50s, she did make up a champion in Crufts CC winner Ch Larkwhistle Lucinda of Almadee, descended from both Bramble and Burnet. She was bred by Mrs Couchman, and her sister Lavinia was an influential brood. Lucinda too produced some winners including L Lothario, Lustre and Lucilla, the latter whelping UK and Irish champions for the Cockrow kennel. Lucinda's daughter Lucia and double granddaughter Am Ch Luciana went to Rowland and Virginia Darnell's Llantwood kennel in California and founded their line.

Ch. Broom of Ballybentra

Thereafter Miss Boyt became better known for Chihuahuas, breeding four champions including one owned by Thelma Gray and another by Daphne Slark, Mrs Gray's very experienced kennel manageress who played a big part in Rozavel's later successes.
Miss Boyt, who judged at Crufts and WCL shows, never lost her interest in Pembrokes, however, and in the late 1980s obtained a Ch Belroyd Nut Cracker daughter whom she mated to Ch Pinelake Rhoulette of Rossacre. A dog from this, Larkwhistle Iolo Goch, did some good winning though not shown widely. He is behind some of the Cerandas.
When Mrs Gray decided late in life to emigrate to Australia, Daphne moved to Pembrokeshire to join Miss Boyt at Wolfsdale, taking with her a number of Chihuahuas and the last Rozavel Cardigans. From Ch R Blue Lamp she bred the tricolour Kerridas Ianto who had a major impact on blue merle Cardi lines, and more recently had a couple of champions with Margaret and Brian Neal (Foxydale). She was also secretary of the local dog club for a good many years.

Simon Parsons