BRITISH & IRISH DOG BREEDS PRESERVATION TRUST
An Interview With Billy Browne-Cole
Fionnuala Malone Introduces Roger Good
Fionnuala Malone Introduces Tony Manning
Fionnuala Malone Introduces Ted Barry
Fionnuala Malone Introduces John Foley
Fionnuala Malone Introduces Don Munro
My Bull Terrier 'Fan'
An introduction to Tony Manning (Lescareiot)
Although Tony's first Kerry Blue was bought in 1973 he has spent a lifetime with dogs.
His grandfather was a great “Terrier Man” and throughout Tony's Childhood there was always a couple of dogs about the house, along with Homing Pigeons and poultry. His grandfather bred wires, which were sold at market in the fifties, and Tony fondly remembers him trimming wires and dyeing patches on them to ensure a quick sale with any he was stuck with.
During his childhood his playground was an area of bombed houses and buildings, which had been devastated during the blitz. It was a treat to take a tramcar ride to the end of the line and go hunting with a terrier; at a place that they called the country.
As he grew older Tony developed a passion for sight hounds. Hunting with Hounds and Lurchers was something that he did as a lad, with many trips ending at secure holdings for questioning about taking Game without permission.
Being born into a family of seafarers it was inevitable that he ended up on the big Passanger Liners at fourteen and a half years old, after nine weeks at a Sea Training College in Gravesend Kent. A few years on and he was back ashore working on the building sites, in and around Liverpool. Tony still retained his passion for dogs and hunting and as luck would have it an uncle of his himself a retired seaman, had started to breed and show whippets, he had sight hounds to hunt with again. This proved a little unpopular with his uncle because of the injuries that can be picked up coursing on rough ground.
He had no real interest in showing dogs at that time, much preferring to show the Old English Game Bantams that They also kept. An injury that Tony's uncle picked up prevented him from driving; consequently he became his chauffeur and accompanied him as an observer at local and Championship Shows.
Watching hounds being exhibited became somewhat boring for him and increasingly he spent more time at the terrier rings. Tony had heard all of the myths and folklore in Liverpool about Kerry Blue Terriers and was pleasantly surprised to see a well-groomed and trimmed Kerry. At this time the late Malachy McGeown would have been exhibiting his foundation bitch Ch. Navy Blue. Sadly his uncle became ill and after a long illness expired. His spouse sold all of his whippets and Tony lost touch with the show scene, preferring to watch working terrier’s being shown, at the likes of The Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate.
Tony had half-bred Peke, which belonged to his wife and was the family pet. This was her sentinel for knocks at the door. Sadly the dog bolted out of the house one day and was hit by a car, which was heartbreaking for the family; this was at the end of 1973. They had to have another dog and his wife insisted it be one that did not shed hair. Remembering the Kerry [Navy Blue] from the show scene, he decided this was to be the dog for both of them
At this time Tony was putting a roof on a new school and a joiner on the site knew of a docker who bred Kerrys. This man turned out to be Steve Warrilow whom he had seen at the shows some years previous. As luck would have it, Steve had a litter ready to go. Tony had done some reading about the Kerry and went to look at the pups. After a lot of deliberation he finally asked Steve which was the one that he would choose. He picked one out which had a white blaze on his chest, what is it they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing! Tony didn’t want that one. Tony was mistaken, thinking of tan and chose as he says" This sort of odd-looking male with a long neck, who was not as short as the other pup." Tanjax Jasper was his kennel name by Granemore Dundrum ex Kennick Aroon.
Steve was very helpful to Tony with trimming and general advice and he was into the show scene. Tony did very well at the shows considering this was his first Kerry, a C.C. and a few reserve C.C’s to go with it and numerous wins and best in show at open show level, the bug had well and truly bitten hm.
Tony decided that he must have a bitch and purchased Clogherheads Boulavogue of Lescareiot by Ch. Music’s Final Goal ex Granemore. This beautiful bitch became his first champion winning her first two tickets in 1978 under Albert Langley and Malachy McGeown and her third 1979 from Frank Gale. This bitch was actually caught in her first season by Jasper. All the litter was sold as he didn’t have the room for more than two dogs; however there was a very promising puppy in the litter Lescareiot’s Charley Boy whom Tonyhad let go cheaply to a friend as long as he could show him. The bug had also started to bite towards his interest in handling. Incidentally, Ch. Clogherheads Boulavogue of Lescareiot is the only animal that he has attached his affix to.(Two others had it at the behest of the owners)" I would never do it again because I believe that the breeders should have all of the credit from the dogs that they have produced."
In 1978 Tony decided to buy a smaller terrier for his son from the late Graham Pomfret who bred Lakeland and Border Terriers. he had decided to get him a Border," because I think they are a real little boy’s dog," however Graham didn’t have any but had a Lakie bitch pup which he let him have. She was Gralene Celebrity by
Int. Ch. Viscum Vibart of Foxden ex Ch. Rudy of Aryee. Tony's first litter from this bitch mated to Ch. Ravelsaye Reflector of Barmaud produced Int. Ch. Lescareiot Hermes. Hermes a double group winner in the U.K. was exported to Japan where he became top terrier. His litter sister Int. Ch. Lescareiot’s Chipper was also exported, she going to Italy.
Another very good Lakie he bred was Ch. Lescareiot Eisenhower.
Eisenhower was sold as a puppy to Wendy Bower and the late Herbert Atkinson, [Tony's best friend] who campaigned him, winning eleven C.C.s.
Another good friend,the Late Frank Kellet exhibited Hermes for Tony [ " Fankie never took a penny from me for handling" ] and Chipper was sold as a puppy. The last lakie that Tony had in the show ring was Lescareiot New Yorker who won two C.C.s and a couple of reserves.
Judging dogs is not a pleasure for Tony, he very much prefers to show them,. Moreover, he let it be known and gave up judging for three or four years. " I was eventually persuaded to return and reluctantly agreed and one of the main reasons for this was the infiltration of incompetent judges awarding C.Cs in Kerrys." Tony awards C.Cs in Lakies and Kerrys in the U.K. and in Eire he has awarded Green Stars in the entire terrier breeds.
Points that he likes to see in a Kerry? " Whenever you become involved in any breed of dog there are always one or two things that you hate. I myself cannot stand a low set tail, wooly coats and stuffy necks. A well-balanced dog of the correct size is always a joy to behold; however, they are few and far between. Ring presence and showmanship is something to be admired in any animal even if it has a number of faults. The correct coat texture and color are essential in a breed that portrays color in its name. There is nothing more beautiful for me than to see lovely blue Kerry with dark points, showing its head off."
Worries that he has for the breed? " It both worries and annoys me when I read about people who have been in the breed a long time dismissing coat and color as only of minor importance. Being a Professional Handler I would never take on a dog just for the sake of it… it has to have the potential to be made up. I will take on a Kerry correct the trimming, enhance the good points and disguise the faults; then and only then, can there be justification if it starts to win and take top honors. It worries me that old and new exhibitors alike can observe a handler come to the side of the ring, take the lead of a previously low placed animal and not even comb the dog never mind trim it; and then go on to get best of breed. This cannot be right and will eventually drive exhibitors away. Bullying judges is also something that I don’t like to see when a top winner has been beaten; no dog can reign supreme forever. More recently a very worrying development has crept into Kerry Blues; this is that some breeders are endorsing their pups registrations with the Kennel Club so that the new owners of the puppy cannot register any litters from either a dog or a bitch with the Kennel Club. Kerry Blue Terriers are classed as a Vulnerable breed for goodness sake! These so called custodians of the breed are at best misguided, at worst they are hell bent on keeping the numbers of KC registered Kerry Blues low, thus inflating the price of puppies...in a word...Greed! "
Tony has owned a number of breeds in his time Kerrys and Lakies being the obvious." Breeding and exhibiting Smooth Fox was an experience " Says Tony " I couldn’t stand the howling and screaming. I have also bred Wires, Welsh, and Norfolk, but didn’t deem any of them good enough for the show ring." Among the terriers in Tony's house when he was a boy were an English Bull and a Black Scottie.
There are three Kerrys, which Tony has owned that remain special in his memory, Ch. Aran Enniskerry,
Ch. Princess Kimbeller both bitches and Ch. The Master. " Enniskerry did not like the show ring very much, however confirmation wise she was almost perfect; to watch her go around the ring was a sight to behold, she covered the ground effortlessly." Says Tony.
"You know it never ceases to amuse me when I stand at the ringside and listen to people who have been in dogs for a long time, praising the movement of a dog taking hundreds of steps and getting nowhere fast."
Kimbeller was Tony's first Best of Breed at Crufts; " She [Kimbeller] was another well-constructed bitch sired by the great, Ch. Bluefires double Trouble of Fermoy. The Master was Tony's favorite show dog;"He [The Master] would never let you down in any department; he was a pleasure to show.
Interestingly, 'Lescareiot' Tony's prefix, was an error on the part of the Kennel Club. He applied for the name
Le Escargot, because throughout his life he worked with alacrity and efficiency and thought that the irony of the name
' The Snail ' quite amusing
" The most inspirational person involved in dogs in my life has to be my grandfather; he had a natural affinity with any animal, I suppose that is where I get it from. Other people have also made an impact on me, all handlers. George Wright now in America; he stayed with me for three months some years ago. What a clever guy. The late Frank Kellet, a great man with an endearing character in the Terrier World. The late Herbert Atkinson, he could condition and prepare a dog to the highest standards and was also a very clever Terrier Man, and a great cook. The irish Wizard Harry ODonoghue's knowledge of Terriers is vast; ' If Harry doesn't know it, it's not worth knowing! '
Finally, Don Munro. Don, besides being an extremely good handler, taught Tony [by example] to be magnanimous in victory and in defeat. Also if you watch him [Don] you will see that he never gets flustered or upset and he will always shake your hand if you beat him."
" I will also do the same with one exception; I will not shake the hand of a violinist; there are many, too many, ‘fiddlers’ in the world of Show Dogs."
Tony has had a wonderfully interesting life, one he enjoys immensely. During his time he has worked on the ships, a life passed from generation to generation through his family. He has also worked as a Roofer, a Taxi Driver and now as a Terrier Handler. One thing you could never accuse him of is being boring. While working as a Roofer Tony bacame a Shop Steward and fought the underdog's cause regularly. And, although it was a thankless job it was a necessary one; " The meek and the weak must have a voice to speak for them, they have to be protected." His ardent struggle for better working conditions did not lead to popularity with his company's management. But he continued to battle for his colleagues until he left the company. Believe me, some of the stories that Tony has told me would make ' Best Seller ' status straight from the presses!
Before judging commences he can appear aloof and austere, but once his days work is done he is a transformed man. This is the man who has been barred from microphones all over Liverpool by his wife Collette, as he is liable to burst into song with little or no prompting. If you want a sing song and no one is willing to get the ball rolling,
Tony Manning's your man!