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Fionnuala Introduces John Foley
An introduction to John Foley - Arranshire Kerry Blues.
Over the forthcoming issues, I hope to do brief interviews with some people in the breed. Nothing I could write about these people will ever do justice to the knowledge, passion and experience they have of our wonderful breed. I would like to thank each of them for finding time to share their opinions with us. Thanks to John Foley for being my guinea pig !
Since his birth John has been associated with Kerry Blues as his father before him always kept them. As was typical of the time the Kerry was a jack of all trades dog, watchdog and family pet during the week and at weekends they were taken hunting. His first litter was bred in 1947, Adolf x Mrs Joe. As John was still quite young, both were registered in his Fathers name but the bitch since birth, had always been his. During his early days in Tralee John also owned a Wire Fox Terrier and perhaps this accounts for the Wire being his second favourite breed. While at school he knew Billy Johnston who has also shown Kerries and has a litter sister to Int Ch Arranshire Heather.
John lived for a time in South Africa and it was not until he returned that his show career commenced, with his introduction to the ring at the St Patricks Day show, 1969. At this time he campaigned a dog, Warrior Of Rathmines, bred by his sister Maureen Mc Carthy, who incidentally was Secretary of the Dublin Irish Blue Terrier Club for many years.
Later he moved to Galway and within the first week of arriving there he took RBIS at a Limited Show with Warrior Of Rathmines. Immediately following the show a committee meeting was held and John was elected as an officer. They ran two Championship shows while John was Chairman but unfortunately shortly after his return to Dublin the club disbanded.
Throughout the years John has always maintained a low profile at shows and he believes few people really know him. Although he has not been prominent in the ring in recent years, he has continued to breed good, quality stock and exports all over the world under the Arranshire prefix, which was first registered in 1970.
Johns first judging appointment was in 1978 at a Dublin Kerry Blue All Breeds Limited show, since then he has progressed through the Terrier breeds and officiated over the group on a few occasions. He regularly judges in Gt. Britain and in the Scandinavian countries, where his opinion and professionalism are obviously well thought of, as he has been invitied back once again to Sweden next year to judge more of their Terrier breeds.
His association and friendship for many years with Noel and Mary Reidy, of the Louisburgh kennel, considerably improved his knowledge and passion for the breed. It also gave him the opportunity of acquiring the quality and standard he desires in the breed. First to mind is Louisburgh Tango, who started to gain recognition in the ring at an early age. After winning the Limit bitch class at Crufts in her teen months in 1989, she was purchased by the Granemore kennel. She went on to be Top Kerry in England after only a short few months of leaving our shores. Among the winning stock John has bred are Ir and Eng Ch Arranshire Pioneer, who won BOB at Crufts in 1997, Int Ch Arranshire Heather and Fin Ch Arranshire Voice. He also hopes to make a comeback in the ring next year with the latest Arranshire stock.
John believes that at present, points of the Breed Standard are being overlooked by some judges. He would be concerned that all too many people are judging the breed without having full knowledge of the breed standard and therefore not doing justice to the breed. One of the main worries he has is that new people coming into the breed will be influenced by these decisions and this in turn will lead the breed off in many directions. Another concern he voiced was people outside of Ireland trying to impose their rules upon us. The Kerry Blue is an Irish breed and therefore the Irish standard and desires for our breed must be recognised as being superlative.
He likes a dog/bitch to be within the height standard and they must also have a soft wavy blue coat. “Small, of beautiful type and silver” in his own words. They should be well balanced dogs and not over exaggerated as is sometimes the case in other countries. Obviously we should not breed solely for coat and colour to the detriment of conformation but coat and colour should not be ignored. He likes animated dogs, full of expression and oozing with ring charisma.
Since his arrival back in this country John has changed locations often and apart from his family the one constant in his life has always been his Kerry Blues. He now believes that Louisburgh Misneach, although never shown, has brought to his kennel and breeding programme all the points he most desires and admires in Kerry Blues.
“ You can breed many a pup but few will reach your own personal standards. ”