“I am not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine.” Fritz Perls
“It seems that different people have an idea of what I am, and what I should be. And then there’s me” Ani Difranco
It all started in 1987 with the Dalmatians. Call it what you will – the show bug, the virus, the madness! All I wanted was a dog. When we chose the Dalmatian Ian said “why don’t we show?” Little did we know what we were letting ourselves in for! Not only were we hooked, but we suddenly found that our whole life was revolving around dogs!
Our Kennel Club prefix, “Babrees”, came from our middle names, Barbara and Rees, and was first granted on 1st January 1989.
Since 1987 I have always been extremely active in voluntary work within the dog world, and have been involved with various breed clubs and canine organisations. Over the years I have acted in the capacity Breed Note Writer, Cup Steward, Newsletter Editor, Committee Member, Secretary, Treasurer and Chairman. I was also breed advisor for the magazine, Dogs Today. Whilst I have occasionally judged, that was never a pursuit that I particularly wished to follow. I have attended many seminars on canine matters, and have studied and researched (and continue to do so) canine genetics, health, behaviour and nutrition.
I admit that I am somewhat of an old fashioned person, believing in many of the old ways, and certainly that clubs and organisations should be run by the book and in a democratic way by committees, not just one or two people. I tend to speak my mind, so if you don’t really want to know exactly what my opinion is — don’t ask!
It was in 1996 that we saw an advertisement for a litter of Canaan Dogs. I had been interested in this breed when I first saw them at a seminar about 5 years before then, when Mary MacPhail talked about them; so we decided to make enquiries. Naturally, we fell in love with the breed, and of course the puppies! So it was that Evie eventually came home and stayed with us.
The following year, Myrna Shiboleth, in Israel, was having to rehome some of her dogs due to poor health at that time. Amongst them was a young black bitch called Layla. Ian and I felt that this bitch would be good for the genetic pool here in the UK and therefore started to make enquiries. It was in April 1997 that Layla was imported and placed in quarantine for 6 months. We were very lucky as there was a quarantine kennel just 10 minutes away, who already had experience with Canaan Dogs. Being so close meant that we could visit every day and get to know our little black girl. We were very apprehensive about our first visit – what was she like? would we like her? would she like us? But we needn’t have worried – she was gorgeous! Her release from quarantine came in October 1997 and she certainly took the show scene by storm! Just three days out of quarantine we took her with us to the Rare Breed Match, just to socialise but put her in as a Reserve for the team. At the end of the day they had a match for the Reserves and we were thrilled when the judge, Mike Stockman, awarded Layla the Best of Reserves! Her first Championship show was BUBA in December 1997, when Ann Arch awarded her Best of Breed, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Whilst the Babrees Canaan Dogs have not been shown extensively, they have nevertheless done very well in the show ring both in the UK and around the world and have won many Best of Breeds, Best of Sexes, Best Puppies and Group placings. We are also proud that we bred the first UK bred American Champion, the first UK bred Swedish Champion, and even the first UK bred Canaan Dog to be printed on a stamp!!
In order to try and share information with other Canaan Dog breeders, I set up a website, Canaan Dogs Around the World, and I am proud that it has received lots of praise from Canaan Dog people around the world. This site has now been take over by the British Canaan Dog Society.
In the same vein, I am continually building up a personal archive of all things concerning Canaan Dog, always on the look-out for new articles, health results, photographs, newsletters, pedigrees, and anything else to include. I am always more than happy to share this information with others who are interested.
We are now retired and living overseas in Fuerteventura. Sadly we lost our last Canaan Dog in 2020, Rene, and miss them terribly.