The Early History of the Border Collie Club of Gt. Britain
by Marion Hopkinson, formerly (Leigh)
September 1972 saw the nucleus of what has now become a wonderfully successful Breed Club.
The instigation of this group was caused by the Kennel Club refusing to register my very nicely bred Border Collie bitch on the Obedience register as anything other than "working sheepdog".
I was quite annoyed to say the least, and originally the first six of our group banded together with some "high falluting" notion that the breed ought to be recognised. After all, it is a British dog! We became 'The Border Collie Enthusiasts Club' - which said it all!
We promoted our cause through jumble sales, raffles and coffee mornings held at my home, giving the proceeds to Guide Dogs but collecting support on the way. In 1973 we had our first "large" event - a Sponsored Dog Sit of Border Collies which looked very impressive to our local public onlookers.
Harry Glover gave us wonderful support and lots of coverage in his column in Our Dogs, this proved to be a great turning point. He steered both me and the Club through the various procedures and his encouragement was never ending.
In the very early days, we hoped for support from the I.S.D.S. and to that end I, and one or two more, went to the Sheepdog trials - no such luck!
I personally was spat on, sworn at and generally given "the boot"! One or two were good to us and quite sympathetic, Alan Robers always stood by us and we had a lot to thank him for.
The Trial's men were "up in arms" against us and an enduring battle of words in letter form took place in Matt Mundell's Scottish Sheepdog Handler, a monthly publication for the Trials scene.
In September 1976 an Exemption Show combined with Sheepdog Trial to be held at the estate of the Earl of Scarborough, we had everything ready but were forced to cancel due to the I.S.D.S. threatening expulsion to its members if they took part - how narrow minded it seemed then and now. October 1976 saw The Border Collie Club of Great Britain title registered with the Kennel Club and in February 1977, a Founder Members' meeting was held at Blyth Parish Hall and the Australian Standard was adopted as our interim. 1978 saw the Club request that the amended standard be considered and the Club was also concerned that C.C. status should not come too quickly. In those days C.C.s were allocated on registration numbers and these rocketed, due largely to the Obedience dogs.
All this happened a long time ago and there will be very few who are in the breed now who will know how much hard work and dedication went into the forming of the 'Club' and recognition of the 'Breed'.
That it is so successful is testimony to our original aims and it was all down to my own Border bitch whom I felt should have had her just title.