The seeds of this series originated out of my ongoing project to "punch in" all the Champions of the Breed and their full pedigree linked back as fully as possible to the original imports and then as far back into France as I could/can go. Personally this is the single best educational tool I have ever undertaken on the breed. I began to notice and observe with unfailing regularity certain dogs and especially one kennel. The kennel is Quibbletown. The brood bitches are the primary subject of this series. Least many of you think I am some whacked out disciple of Quibbletown, I can tell you I certainly was not a disciple. I now wish I had been. Whacked out? Well, everything is relative. I knew and recognized Quibbletown as an important contributor to the breed, but had never recognized their contribution until I began my study. Reference Part 1 to see only a small part they have played in almost all breeding lines presently enjoyed in the country. In any event one of the first bitches I began to notice in pedigrees of the early Champions was Quibbletown Bouncing Bett.
Bouncing Bett was whelped May 12, 1951. She is a repeat breeding that produced Ch. Cote de Neige Ariette II that we reviewed in the initial installment. Bouncing Bett is out of Cote de Neige Actrice, who came to Quibbletown just after Ariette II and was then bred a second time to Ch. Cote de Neige Nivereau. Littermates of Bouncing Bett, there were only three puppies in the litter, are Ch. Quibbletown Mistigris and Ch. Quibbletown Millichop. Mistigris was the first group winner of Quibbletown fame and a "Top dog in this time period in the breed ... . ."(1).
From last issue I will essentially reproduce some information about the background. Since Bouncing Bett and Ariette II are full sisters, the information would apply to both. Bouncing Bett has a Coefficient of Inbreeding of 13.71. Estat & Estagel made up 28% of her gene pool, with 21% from Estat alone. The words of Edith Smith, " Via our Cote de Neige stock we had the type we wanted, since these early dogs were almost all close to the lovely Estat D'Argeles of Basquaerie."(2) With blood still fresh from those original great dogs, Estat, Estagel, Ibos, and one of the most important bitches Mary Crane imported, Champion J'Nive II de Langladure, being out of French Champion Ariel de Soum and by Champion Estagel d'Argeles. All of this just two, three, and four generations behind. I will give you her pedigree for four generations.
Ch. Estat d'Argeles
Ch. Basquaerie Boris
Ch. Basquaerie Nana
Ch. Cote de Neige Nivereau
Ch. Basquaerie Ibos O'Combermere
Ch. Cote de Neige Ariel
Ch. J'Nive II de Langladure
Ch. Basquaerie Houx de Noel
Ch. Lawrence of Combermere
Cote de Neige Actrice
Ch. Cote de Neige Bichon, CD
Ch. Cote de Neige Ariette
Ch. Cote de Neige Chansonette
Full siblings are Ch. Cote de Neige Ariette II (she led this series off ), Ch. Quibbletown Millichop, and Ch. Quibbletown Mistigris. Mistigris as mentioned above was one of the top early breed winners winning Best of Breed 105 times and Placing and/or winning the Working Group 37 times. (4)
Bouncing Bett was bred five times that produced seven Champion offspring. She was bred to Champion Bolero two times. This produced Champion Quibbletown Parfait and Champion Quibbletown Dutchess listed below. One time to Ch. Lorvaso de la Colina, Quibbletown Zephire, and Quibbletown Sunburst. Seaver and Edith knew that between Ariette II and Bouncing Bett they had the foundation to form a world class kennel. History has borne this out. Seaver tells me that Bouncing Bett was not the prettiest bitch they ever had at Quibbletown, but produced some of the most beautiful puppies ever to grace Quibbletown. She was the classic brood bitch. Seaver tells me she had 13 puppies in one litter and raised them all without a problem. It should come as no surprise that Bouncing Bett's daughter, Ch. Quibbletown Dutchess was and still is used as a "Visualization of the Standard".(3) Check it out.
My records reveal that 54 out of 96 Best of Breed or Best of Opposite Sex at Great Pyrenees Club of America National Specialty winners are descendants of Bouncing Bett. In the Top Producers category, 93 out of 128 descendants came to us from Bouncing Bett.
Ch. Quibbletown Parfait and Ch. Quibbletown Dutchess won Best of the Opposite Sex five times at Great Pyrenees Club of America National Specialties. Parfait won in 1956, and 1958. Dutchess won in 1957, 1960, and 1961.
Lets drop some names. Descendants of Quibbletown Bouncing Bett are Ch. Kobil's Louis Pastoure, Ch. Maranatha Space Commander, Ch. Tip'N Chip Sonny's Side Up, Ch. Sunshine of Karolaska, Ch. Karolaska Bristol Bay, Ch. Karolaska Kaballero Kid, Ch. Euzkari's Kaskadian Everstar, Ch. Euzkotar Dire Straits, Ch. Karolaska Glacier, Ch. Karolaska Polar Nero, Ch. Karolaska Polar Bonni Bear, Ch. Rivergrove's Ivory Princess, Ch. Rivergrove's Run for the Roses, Ch Trottenfox Sheza Tuf Tip'N Chip, Am&Can Ch. Kaskadian's Idyll Gossip, Ch. Kaskadian's Whitehope Timber, Ch. VilleVieux Le Roi, Ch. Rolling Hills Keep the Faith, Ch. Tip'N Chip Roxanne, Ch. Shadowrun Chance, Ch. Wyndsong's Whitney, Ch. Pyrson K'Laska of Summerhill, Ch. Starlaxy Benjamin Indus, Ch. Tip'N Chip Sonny's Image, Ch. Tip'N Chip Sonny's Reflection, Ch. Tip'N Chip Sonny's Sundance Kid, Jacqueline of Ralfrans, Am&Can Ch. Kaskadian's Skookumchuk Kid and many other Quibbletown, Limberlost, and Cavalier dogs.
Quite a record that is the classic example of how a true breeder would use their stock. Bouncing Bett might have been overlooked in many peoples hands. Edith and Seaver knew, as breeders of the highest order, what she would give them. History now tells us she was one of the top brood bitches the breed has ever known. While it may be important how many Champions a particular dog or bitch produces, this can be manipulated by efforts and influence. The true proof of what a dog is cannot be fully known for a few generations. Our next dog may be an example of this and we will switch genders here.
This is a "must do" dog. Seaver was so taken with this dog when he and Edith saw him at 11 or 12 years of age, he cannot stop talking about him some almost fifty years later. I will quote from a recent letter from Seaver.
"Edie and I went up to La Colina for a Great Pyrenees Match show sometime in 1953 or 1954. For those days it was a relatively good turnout of both dogs and people. La Colina itself sat at the top of a hill just outside Goshen, NY and you drove up a winding gravel road from the main road to reach the house. Before you reached the Spanish Mission style house you drove by several small buildings in the same style which were quest cottages.
Dr. and Mrs. Seward were marvelous hosts and lunch on the terrace of the main house was spectacular. Dr. Seward also showed us some of his collection of Mexican artifacts - all carefully catalogued. I don't remember who judged the Match; however, Mary and Francis Crane and Marjorie Butcher, as well as a number of other people were there.
The Match itself was held in a little tree-lined glen just down from the main house, and beautiful indeed was the setting. After all the judging was done Mary asked one of the kennel girls to bring out Lawrence of Combermere who at that time was between ten and twelve years old. When he was set up in the middle of the glen he owned us all. In my opinion, he was one of the all-time great dogs in the history of the breed. He had elegance, the marvelous far-away look which you rarely see any more. He had elegance, proper balance and substance and even at his age could get around the ring with style. It was an experience neither Edie nor I ever forgot."(5)
Champion Lawrence of Combermere was born a June 5, 1938. He was bred by George M. Lord, Combermere Island in Canada. He was owned by Dr. and Mrs. F. W. Seward of La Colina Kennels.
His Litter brother, Combermere Grenadier appears to have gone out west as I find him in what appears to be a central gene contributor to Pyr- Haven, and subsequently Euskaldum through Champion Princess Carla de Mont. A full sister of a repeat breeding, Sunshine of Combermere, ended up with Jack and Dorothy Magoffin in Kansas and what eventually became Soleil. Sunshine, the first dog and for whom the line was named, and her inbred daughter, Champion Lady Jeanne, was the foundation of the whole Soleil line from the dam side.(7)
Champion Lawrence of Combermere was Best of the Opposite Sex at the 1942 Great Pyrenees Club of America National Specialty. He is a Grandfather of Ch. Lorvaso de la Colina, Ch. Cote de Neige Ariette II, and Quibbletown Bouncing Bett. Little wonder Seaver and Edith chose Lorvaso when they did. More on him another time. In my view and most importantly genetically he is a Grandson of Ch. Ibos de Val d'Aure, being out of Ch. Houx de la Noel. Houx and his Litter brother, Ch. Gui de la Noel are arguably the two most important litter brothers bred in this Country. Generally Houx went to Canada and Gui stayed here in the States. My records show Lawrence was bred five times. Lawrence was not just another "pretty face". He was a genetic juggernaut. Sixty five descendants of Lawrence have been either Best of Breed or Best of the Opposite Sex at Great Pyrenees Club of America National Specialties. One hundred fifteen descendant dogs and bitches now appear on the Top producer list. From the accounts I find in the literature, Lawrence appears to have been a dog that was universally admired by the fancy . He was one of those once in a lifetime or breed dogs. A precious gift and legacy, from Mr. and Mrs. Crane.
Lawrence has a Coefficient of Inbreeding of 6.12. Lawrence may not have initially been appreciated as a stud dog. I will quote a passage from Paul Strang's book, "As it turned out, Lawrence of Combermere became not only a pillar of the breed, but a testimonial to the fact that good breeders, such as Dr. and Mrs. Seward, with grit and perseverance, can turn adversity into success." (6) Did Lawrence get a "bad rap" as a stud? Maybe his eventual success was a result of talented breeders as Paul states. From a genetic pedigree analysis, this dog appears to have been a "can't miss" dog. Can you imagine having a beautiful stud dog fresh from the best of de Soum, de Langladure, and a small amount of Pic du Jer, that features Tri-International and American Champion Estat d'Argeles and Toy de Soum as central gene contributors. WOW!! Lawrence is a great dog, a once in a breed dog. When someone like Seaver cannot forget seeing an old dog after the thousands of dogs he has known, we must take notice. Take note of how Quibbletown lines went directly through this gene pool. As Edith told us, as quoted earlier, and it is important to repeat, " Via our Cote de Neige stock we had the type we wanted, since these early dogs were almost all close to the lovely Estat D'Argeles of Basquaerie."(2).
1. International Great Pyrenees Review, Volume 5, Number 1, February, 1976, Quibbletown, Edith K. Smith, Page 2.
2. International Great Pyrenees Review, Volume 5, Number 1, February, 1976, Quibbletown, Edith K. Smith, Page 4.
3. The Complete Great Pyrenees, Howell Book House, Inc., First Edition, First Printing, 1977, p. 98, Paul D. Strang and James M. Giffin.
4. The Complete Great Pyrenees, Howell Book House, Inc., First Edition, First Printing, 1977, pp. 116- 119, Paul D. Strang and James M. Giffin.
5. Letter dated September 8, 1995 from C. Seaver Smith to the Author.
6. The Complete Great Pyrenees, Howell Book House, Inc., First Edition, First Printing, 1977, p.70, Paul D. Strang and James M. Giffin.
7. International Great Pyrenees Review, Volume 3, Number 2, June, 1974, Soleil, Dorothy Magoffin, pp 2-4.