Ch. Rozavel Red Dragon
A Famous Pembroke Ancestor

Great Britain is the country of origin of the corgis and in 1925 The Kennel Club recognised them as one breed, Welsh Corgi.

According to Thelma Gray (The Welsh Corgi, 3rd ed. 1947) most of the present-day dogs trace their lineage back to the same dogs. As far as she could figure out, all Pembroke corgis are descended from six different bitches and three different dogs.

One of them, Bob, was the foundation sire of a very influential line which included Ch. Crymmych President born on 13.08.1929, a successful stud who among many others sired the famous Red Dragon with Felcourt Flame. Red Dragon was even more successful than his father and sired so many progeny that if you are able to trace your Pembroke corgi's pedigree back far enough you will most probably find the name of Ch. Red Dragon.

Rozavel Red Dragon
Ch. Rozavel Red Dragon

Red Dragon was born on 15 August 1932 and at the age of 6 weeks his breeder Mr. Gwyn Jones sold him to Miss Thelma Evans (later Mrs Thelma Gray). He was originally to be registered as Rozavel Buster Brown, but he turned out so beautiful and such a marvellous bright red in colour that the name was deemed unsuitable and he was accordingly called Red Dragon, a red dragon rampant being the crest of Wales.

He had a meteor-like show career and as a stud dog, he has sired many champions both in England and abroad. Known to all his friends as Buster, he has passed on his character and intelligence as well as his show points. He was a natural worker and would retrieve a 2-lb. dumbell with ease while still a puppy.

Dragon with dumbell

Many tempting offers from all over the world were refused for him, but he was not for sale at any price. The decision to keep him in the country at all costs was a fortunate one, for one cannot imagine where the breed would be without his influence.

Dragon lived a happy and healthy life to a ripe old age, and when approaching his 15th year, looked less than half his age and retained much of his alertness, energy and fire, plus all his good looks.

The Rozavel Red Dragon Memorial Trophy,
awarded to BOB at the annual League Show

Obituary by Mrs. Barbara Douglas-Redding in the League's Handbook 1950:

"To me has fallen the honourable task of writing an obituary to our famous Ch. Rozavel Red Dragon who, much lamented, passed peacefully away in January 1950, aged 17 and 15 months.

Apart from his owner, Mr. and Mrs. Sonley and his immediate home circle I suppose I can be counted as one of his oldest friends, having known him "man and boy" right from the start.

As a youngster, from the word "go" he was obviously a "character" and a bit of a "card". He picked his friends carefully with the air of a connoisseur, and although he acknowledged them like the great little gentleman he always was, one felt that he had conferred an honour on one as he answered a greeting remark. He was reserved without being in the least shy and kept his entire allegiance and great integrity of heart for his owner and his adored guardians Mr. and Mrs. Sonley with whom he always lived. He was their first consideration and pride, and they were so obviously his in return. Buster shared their whole life. He was an honoured and welcome patron at the cinema when they went, and travelled about the countryside with joy and poise on the back of Mr. Sonley's motor cycle. He was never left out of anything.

Mrs. Sonley always had his favourite dinner of spaghetti with cheese and tomato sauce ready for him on his return from shows, and it was she who knitted him those beautifully fitting emerald green coats that became his colouring so well when he went to shows in cold weather.

He was never off colour or dull. Always on his toes whether in the ring or out of it. He loved to play ball and would retrieve and work seriously as well. A more brilliant vital personality in the canine world either as a showman or a stud force it would be hard to find. He went "all out" in the ring. A dymanic small figure right on its toes. Rich flaming red and white; impossible to overlook; he won literally everywhere under everybody. They just couldn't do anything else.

In writing this short tribute I am not concerned with making a detailed list of his all too well known triumphs, or the stupendous effect he had on the breed as a sire, or listing the names of his progeny who have made history following in the footsteps of their illustrious sire. I want this to be just a small and inadequate tribute to an old personal friend.

It will not be easy to get used to the thought that he is not still with us.

Rest in peace little Buster in your doggy "Valhalla" and "happy hunting." We shall always remember you.

- - - -
I feel perhaps it may amuse some readers who knew Buster in the old days, as well as others, if I publicly confess about a very ageing incident we went through together in his younger days in 1934, before he became a champion. Had this "incident" not happily ended the right way it might have resulted in there being NO CH. ROZAVEL RED DRAGON and thus the entire rhythm and progress of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi World would have been completely altered and entirely different. It would have undoubtedly meant my fleeing the country heavily disguised to seek sanctuary in foreign climes.

For some reason which I can't now remember Rozavel were unable to take Buster to Abergavenny Championship Show, and as their personal friend and one who knew him well I was given the weighty responsibility of taking him with me as well as my own "Dearwest" (Later Ch. Wolfox Garbo,) to this Show.

I was then in the Isle of Wight and it was arranged that Buster should come over and stay with me beforehand.

In due course he arrived safely in his box at Ryde Esplanade, where I was waiting to "take over". I spoke to him and let him smell my fingers through the bars so that he should know it was someone he knew quite well at home. Very carefully I eased the door open enough to slip my hand round to take hold of his collar, when he suddenly flung himself against the door with surprising force and slipped through my hands and legs like greased lightning and made for the platform which he found thoroughly alarming; lost his head and was deaf to my frantic attempts to renew sensible contact and bolted into the street, where always ahead of me I eventually lost track of him altogether.

I need hardly describe my feelings and "what to do for the best". Should I telephone at once to Mrs. Gray (then Miss Evans)? "No, no, not yet you bungling fool" my brain telegraphed back to me.

The police, printed hand-bills and a notice in the local paper were all attacked quickly. I have one of those handbills to this day. I knew it would be useless to describe the truant as a corgi, as they were still not universally known in England, so this is what was printed "LOST, Monday Sept. 3rd, about 3 p.m. near ESPLANADE, RYDE, SMALL RED-BROWN DOG. FOXY HEAD, NO TAIL, NAME BUSTER. Finder will be rewarded on taking same to RYDE POLICE STATION."

I was the best part of 4 miles from home but fortunately petrol was not rationed then and 1 scoured the country side like a mad thing all round the purlieus of Ryde. Darkness came and I was defeated. I think I must have had some message from the police as to direction the following morning.

I can't now remember, but the next day was spent on the Downs behind Ryde, and it seemed as if all was again lost when on coming into the outskirts of the town from Haven St. I caught a glimpse of the small figure I had been searching for the last 24 hours. There is a little bit of public park there with a strip of path and seats along one side. My car was a narrow open sports affair and fortunately not too wide to squeeze up the path much to the horror of the outraged occupants of the seats. I knew I had to be quick and waste no time getting there from the main road, and risk any drama or consequences from the Council if reported.

I jumped out of the car and with a flying rugger tackle caught young Buster under one of the seats.

With a rather "Oh it's you is it," and "was it me you wanted" expression from Buster we returned to the car and home in triumph. He was none the worse and quite cheerful. I need hardly add that I felt positively ill with relief.

The evening of the following day we started off to Abergavenny. A shocking journey which after the boat, consisted of incessantly changing trains and immense periods in between, spent by Buster, "Dearwest" and myself on hard waiting-room benches throughout a very long night. Both little people behaved perfectly, and made it considerably easier than it might have been.

However no more matters. Eventually Buster returned home to the unsuspecting bosom of Rozavel and being the real little sport that he always was he promised me not to say a word to anyone about the "incident" and neither did I.