By Margret A. Howes
Johnstounburn-Sehow Kennels, Sussex England 1969

 

I was asked to write down the story of the famous Johnstounburn Yorkshire Terriers who had such a great influence on our breed.
I will try my very best to tell you as I was told by Mrs. Crookshank, the original owner. 

In 1940 Mrs. Crookshank decided to acquire a Yorkshire Terrier. The breed wasn’t unfamiliar to her, as her mother, Mrs. Usher, always had one or two Yorkies.

One day in the High Street, Mrs. Crookshank’s attention was caught by a rather unkempt Yorkshire Terrier. She stopped her car and enquired whether the dog was for sale.
She was told the price would be L5, which she immediately paid and put the dog in her car.
She drove home and promptly gave her a bath. This was the beginning of a long and happy life of the bitch "Hazel" who lived in a beautiful house on the landed property of Johnstounburn,
where she spent most of her youth rabbit hunting. She lived for 17 years.

It happened that Hazy's breeder, Mr. Notman, had been breeding Yorkies for many years.
Hazy`s sire’s bloodline went back to Teviot Lad and the Hillchurch dogs. Her mother’s ancestors came from Armely line. Hazy was - what we would call nowadays - a good typical brood bitch. She had a heavy silk coat, rather light blue but with a good silk texture.
Her tan was the correct golden tan, which every Yorkie breeder should strive for.

At this time Mrs. Crookshank didn’t have any intention to breed Yorkshire Terriers.
She had considered showing Hazy, but someone told her that each bitch should have a least one litter and Mrs. Crookshank tried to find a compatible stud for her Hazel. Her investigations finally led her to Mr. William Bain in Edinburgh who owned a small male, "Fairy Prince", as a stud dog. This tiny boy had also wonderful silk coat and the same clear, shaded tan as Hazel.
The mating happened at the right time.
This was the beginning of the Johnstounburn Yorkshire Terrier bloodline.

Fairy Prince came from a bloodline which was well known before the Second World War.
The owner of the Lilyhill dogs was Mrs. Lowrie from the Scottish Lilyhill kennel.

Hazel produced, with Fairy Prince, as well as with his brother Midge’s Pal, many good bitches. These girls built up the foundation of the kennel. Among them were Misty, (the mother of Champion Myrtle - out of Vemair Principal boy), as well as Tufty who became Mrs. Crookshank’s very first Champion in the year 1949.
During the war there where no dog shows held, and consequently, in those years, there were no champion titles received.

One day Mrs. Crookshank was asked to take a look at a little bitch whose owner had died.
This bitch had a very tiny male puppy, looking more dead than alive. Mrs. Crookshank felt deeply sorry for both, and she took them home with her. With much patience and loving care, she finally managed to get the puppy back into a healthy condition. This little boy was Mr. Pim, who was to become one of the most famous dogs in the history of the Yorkshire Terrier breed.
His breeding is rather interesting, as it’s a good example of line breeding.

Mr. Pim was small, even at his peak he weighed only 3 English pounds. He had a wonderful, dark steel blue coat and a bright golden tan. I owned a picture of him and although the painting was done when he was 8 years old, he looked like he was just on his way into the show ring.
He won his first Res. CC as a puppy under Mrs. Winnie Barber, but his biggest triumph was his CC win at Crufts in 1950 under Mrs. Clenshaw, the Harringay expert, beating the best dogs of his time. I was in the Olympia Hall at this day to show one of my "Sehows" and I knew immediately that the Johnstounburn kennel would play a big part in my life.

Mr. Pim won 5 CCs and 9 Res. CCs, including those obligatory green stars to finish the Irish Champion title. This was a considerable achievement as he was in competition with Mrs. Swan's Champion Splendour of Invincia, who won 19 CCs.

Despite the fact that Little Flea had produced such an outstanding show dog, Mrs. Crookshank refused to breed her again, for fear of losing her during the birth process
(although Flea had given birth to Mr. Pim alone and without help).

As you can imagine, Mrs. Crookshank received many exceptional offers for Mr. Pim, including a "blank cheque", but naturally - he was not for sale – there was simply no price on him.
In the spring of 1953 Mrs. Crookshank asked me to come over to her at Johnstounburn.
At this time I was working at the famous Montflain Miniature Poodles. The incentive for me to travel to Scotland was the Yorkshire Terriers, and I went together with two of my own bitches, "Sehow Honey Sweet" and her daughter "Smiling Eyes" (the mother of Pagham Sehow Special who sired 3 English and a couple of American  Champions.)

At this time, the recognition in the world of dogs was reaching new heights. Mr. Bain's "Midge's Pal" produced Ch. Firhill Fairy, Ch. Vemar Spider and the Champions Tufty and Medium of Johnstounburn. Mr. Pim was the sire of Ch. Myrtle of Johnstounburn and Ch. Wee Event of Yadnum.

In 1954 "Lady of the Lake", a granddaughter of Fairy Price & Hazel, was mated to Mr. Pim.
The result from this mating was Pimbron of Johnstounburn. A repeat mating resulted in Prim and Prism of Johnstounburn. Prism developed into an extraordinary brood bitch. In ownership of
Mrs. Groom and mated to Ch. Burghwallis Little Nip, she produced Pagnell Prima Donna of Whiske and Burgwallis Vikki in her first litter. A repeat mating produced Ch. Pagnell Peter Pan. Prima Donna & Peter Pan were (at the time of writing) the only Yorkies to win Best in Show at an All Breed Championship show after the war. Peter Pan also won Toy Group at Crufts 1964. Other champions produced by Mr. Pim include Ch. Burantbea's Angel Bright, Ch. Burantbea's Doutelle, and also the Irish Champion Count of Johnstounburn.

My bad health caused me to leave Johnstounburn for a while. Mrs. Lowrie took over and helped out as Mrs. Crookshank became ill. However, Mrs. Lowrie needed to return home to restart her own kennel "Lilyhill" and I returned to Johnstounburn.

It was saddening to see Mrs. Crookshank, despite being constant pain,
taking care of her dogs and visiting dog shows. She passed away in June 1960.

I was blessed with the misfortune to put the Champions Mr. Pim, Medium, Tufty, Pixie and the small Little Flea to sleep. It was Mrs Crookshank’s final wish, as they were too old to get used to a new home. However, with the younger dogs, I was allowed to do what I wanted. I asked
Mrs. Lowrie if she would like to have Mr. Pimbron, as I knew she admired him. She already owned Minerva, a daughter of Pimbron out of Muffit and a granddaughter of Misty. I kept Muffit for myself, but unfortunately she died early.
Mrs. Lowrie kindly left Minette (who was a Minerva daughter) for me.

Now I am here with Maimee, Minette's daughter out of Pagnell Punchinello of Johnstounburn,
a male which I got from Mrs. Groom (as he was a double grandson of Ch. Pagnell Peter Pan and therefore line bred to Mr. Pim). These 3, together with Joss, a daughter out of "My Precious Joss"
(a son of Pimbron) are the core of my present Johnstounburn kennel.
I am unable to, nor do I want to, breed very much.

Yorkies are not in order for me to make money.
I deplore the “business” that the breed has become, both here and abroad. I am longing for the day when the people will just have Yorkies to love and simply enjoy them as real companions. 

The names Mrs. Crookshank & Johnstounburn will remain as my ideal forever. Hazy, Mr Pim and others feature in the ancestors of many of the well known kennels of today - Pagnell, the (new) Lilyhills, Silverknown, Buranthea, Yorkfolk, Beechrise, Toloarne, Murose to name a few.

One of the happiest days in my life was Crufts 1964 when Pagnell Peter Pan won the male CC at Crufts and also the Toy Group. Ch. Minerva of Johnstounburn won the bitches CC and Millfield Mandy (granddaughter of Prim) took the bitches Res. CC. I wished so much that Mrs. Crookshank could have been there - perhaps she was present in spirit… I hope so! In addition, Ch. Pimbron's son, Ch. My Precious Joss won the CC at Crufts in the following two years (1965/1966).
Not a bad achievement!

Although some may have found fault with the lighter blue coat, at least they were not black!
I don't know what Mrs. Crookshank would have been said to those black, woolly ones with tan that has not cleared, which are frequently seen in the show rings today. The late Mr. Leo Wilson once told me that, while judging, he could recognize a Johnstounburn at the moment the dog walked into the ring. The all over outline, particularly the lay back of shoulder and neck in combination with the long silky coat and bright gold Tan, immediately made them stand out from the others.

I am proud to be connected to this line, and I will do my very best to justify the confidence that the Crookshank family placed in me by granting their permission for me to continue breeding with the prefix Johnstounburn.

Translation by B.A. (Nov.2008)
Co-edited by Carol Campbell

We would like to say "Thank you" to Mr. Roman Alraun (Highclass Yorkshire-Terrier)/Germany,
who kindly forwarded this article with permission to be published at Webvision.
In the upcoming article he will tell us his impressions while visiting
Margaret A. Howes & the Johnstounburn Yorkies in summer 1977!