Australian Cavaliers
Jeanie Montford
3rd March 2001
Many of you in this room will have visited Australia and New Zealand. For those who have not yet had the pleasure of visiting our shores I hope that the recent burst of publicity surrounding the Olympics in Sydney will at least give you an idea of where we are and possibly just how wonderful our part of the world really is.

We might be "Down Under" but in this day and age of fast travel and almost instant communication, Distance is relative! Twenty four hours will see you on the other side of the world.

Just to set the scene, Australia has approximately 19 million people There are less people than California in a continent the size of the entire United States. The vast majority of our population live mainly in 6 big cities spread around the coast. We are one of the most urbanized populations in the world - lovers of water and surf and with a nearly empty middle! New Zealand, some 3½ hours flying time away, has about 4 million people living on two breathtakingly beautiful and spectacular islands.

This year, Australia celebrates the 100th anniversary of Federation - when the independent colonies agreed to become a single nation. However we still work within this legacy and State issues still dictate and influence the way our dog world is organized and functions.

The umbrella body is the Australian National Kennel Council, composed of delegates from each of the States. Each State has its own controlling body which supervises rules and regulations, the competitive aspects of dog activities, registrations and transfers, judges training etc and which jealously guards its own traditional ways of doing things. Changes need a majority of the States to agree which, in some cases, is expecting the impossible!. Most breed clubs are state based. It is possible to have a National Breed Council but this is only possible if there are a minimum number of breed clubs.

So not only geography of Australia, for instance Perth is closer to Singapore than Sydney, Sydney is closer to NZ than Perth!, our vast size the same as the United States of America and its small population, but the very structure of the dog world in Australia tends to fragment us and lead to regionalized activities.

Our conformation shows are run on a similar basis to those in England - we compete for CCs but those are worth points depending on the number of dogs exhibited on the day. The best of Breed winner will take the accumulated points for both sexes (similar to Best of Winners taking a major in the States) One must accumulate 100 points of which 25 must be gained AFTER the age of 12 months. If a dog continues to accumulate points up to 1000, then it will become a Grand Champion. There is no separate class for champions as in America, they compete in whatever class for which they may be eligible from Junior (12 months) onwards.


The Ladies Pet

Undoubtedly there were small spaniels which came to Australia with the early European settlers - indeed we have a painting of one such - a blenheim entitled "The Ladies Pet" painted in 1855 (photo 1) in Sydney by William Dexter. A very typical blenheim who could probably win well in the showrings today. Obviously pampered and spoiled by a wealthy mistress whose fine lawn handkerchief and silver mounted riding crop await her.

Australia and NZ are rabies free, in fact free of many dreadful pests and diseases. To maintain our status, we have strict regulations which require animals to undergo quarantine periods from 30 days up depending on their point of origin. We indeed ban the import of animals from areas of the world where rabies is endemic - i.e. Africa. Its always been a sore point with us people Down Under that in spite of being "clean and green" as we now call it, Britain has always required dogs from us to undergo the full 6 months quarantine. This has understandably inhibited the flow of Cavaliers INTO the UK until the advent of the pets passport scheme and even then it rankled that you would accept dogs from Europe (which has rabies) but not from us who are so pure!

However under the latest procedures, it will be most interesting to see the flow of Cavaliers around the world and the expansion of choice that we now can enjoy.


There was sufficient interest in the breed for a club to be formed in Sydney in 1968, in Melbourne in 1972, in Canberra in 1991 and in Adelaide in 1993. These clubs are very active in all aspects associated with the Cavaliers, holding shows, educational days, assisting with the training of new judges, providing a rescue service and in more recent years, holding heart and eye clinics.

These clubs have championship and open shows each year judged by a mixture of local and international specialist judges, predominantly British but recently widening in scope to include respected specialists from other parts of the world.

Entries range from 50-60- up to 250 plus. It's a pretty healthy scene with intense competition! Cavaliers are one of the most popular breeds here in Australia, with a large following. They are high on the list of registrations and are usually recommended (along with Golden retrievers) on lifestyle programs as being the ideal family companion dog.

I know that over the years there have been a number of really outstanding dogs imported into both Australia and New Zealand who have had successful show careers and been influential in breeding programs but I hope you will forgive me if today I try to concentrate on our homebred Cavaliers!

It would be wonderful to know some more about the very early "Cavalier" arrivals but once dogs started to be registered, the first official arrival was a bitch from New Zealand, Soyland Begonia ( by NZ Ch Pargeter Pennypost) who arrived in whelp to Angelo of Crustadele. She became Australia's first champion Cavalier. She was closely followed by Scarlett (Cavalilera Rusticana X Tabitha of Turnworth thus providing an amazing link with the present as our dear Katie Eldred now in Canada currently has an Australian Cavalier! Scarlett was brought out by Mr & Mrs. Philpott.. As was Lovage of Ttiweh (by Ch Raoul X Ch Oyster Pattie) Doug remained a stalwart of the Cavalier scene until his passing in January of this year In Sydney Mr. & Mrs. Dixon brought Justice of Eyeworth, the first wholecolour Suntop Ida and the first ruby dog Louis of Ulting. These dogs, together with a number from NZ, a number of Moerangis from Mollie Grocott, which went to Betty Patterson and Betty Reading of the Pellemelle Cavs in Perth, formed the basis of the breed in Australia. The 2 Betties imported the first English Champion, Pargeter Trillium of Ttiweh who gained his title in 1964 and who had a wide influence.

The 60's pioneers also included Myra Leach (Leagay), Helena Hendry (Gaysprite) most notably with Ch Gaysprite Ariel, The Dixons (Dai Jon) and Shirlee Leach Garaig who is still active with Cavaliers today and a much loved Life Member and Patron of the Sydney Club. These prefixes dominated the early years. The Open Dog class (photo 2) at Sydney Royal Show 1969 l to r Ch Pellemelle Ramble, Ch Pargeter Mazuranti, Ch Gaysprite Ariel, Ch Louis of Ulting, Ch Daijon Walkabout and Ch Daijon Jaimie Stuart.
Sydney Royal Show

Moving into the 70's Australia had its first All Breed BIS winner in 1971, Ch Gaysprite the Regent. We find the first Le Chevalier champion for Margaret Franze who has been wonderfully successful over the years, the Grosvenors of Eunice Edwards in Queensland, the Ridgeviews of Lyn and Ivan Domjahn and the Gaycrests of Gloria Dollin. And Jacquie Blackalls Est dogs. One of the most consistently successful dogs of that period was Ch Furbari Rev Barnaby, bred by Helen Furber who won a number of specialty BIS. In Victoria, Merv Bergmann bred his first champion Inverglen and is still actively breeding and exhibiting today. The mainly wholecolour Braganzars of Denis Montford and my own Elvenhomes also began to be successful around that time.

Ch Garaig Henrietta
Numbers were growing rapidly by this time with the Sydney Club drawing an entry of 211 for its 10th anniversary show in 1978 judged by Club Patron, Lady Forwood. Bitch CC Ch Garaig Henrietta, bred and owned by Shirlee Leach. (photo 3)

Ch Braganzar Phineas During the 80's the first Royal Show BIS was at Canberra in 1981 when Eng Aust Ch Amantra Bohemian Rhapsody hit the top. Later in 1984, Ch Braganzar Scarteen B&T was the first Cavalier and first wholecolour to win a Royal Best in Group and Ch Braganzar Phineas B&T (photo 4) the first Australian bred wholecolour to win an all breed BIS.

During this decade quite a few currently well known kennels came to prominence - the Farnsmeres, Richard Gilmour Smith, Marilyn Madigans Mersyports, the Henrys Quaylbeaus, Maryanne Sylvesters Marcavans, most notably her very lovely Ch Marcarvan Magic Bells who dominated the rings in the late 80s early 90s, the Elfkings of Janice Paznikov, Lyn Costellos Winaways, John Connell down in Tasmania with his Portcons, Kim Brooksbys Cavashons who is currently winning consistently at BIS level with Ch Bryemoor Rainman, Helen Porter and her Barodaleys in South Australia, and the Leisureviews of Karen Paul and her mother May Fox. And the Melloways of Jenny and Bill Egan.

Ch Est Royal WindsorSome of our major winners during this time were the very much admired Ch Est Royal Windsor (photo 5) who had a string of BIS wins at specialties and who had a wide influence at stud, and a Kiwi (or NZ) dog Aust & NZ Ch Prestonville Givm Beans (Photo 6) who was for some time the top winning Cavalier in Australia and who has had an enormous and lasting influence at stud. And David and Raewyn McCullough's Ch Caribelle Hells Flame a multi specialty BIS winner whose granddaughter Ch Caribelle Sweet Charity (Photo 7) has continued the family tradition.

Ch Prestonville Givm BeansCh Caribelle Sweet Charity

It becomes increasingly difficult to single our just a few dogs from the 90s as so many have been to the fore both at specialty and all breed arenas, several reaching Grand Champion status - undoubtedly the top winning Cavalier in Australia has been Eng and Aust Gr Ch Lorankas Dream Lover , well known to you all I am sure who has had a spectacular career. He would be the only Cavalier to be campaigned in Australia as Americans would "Special" a dog, attending every major show and has been enormously successful winning approx 40 all breed BIS including a number of prestigious Royal shows and 6 Cavalier Specialty BIS. His Kennel Mate Gr Ch Le Chevalier Veronica has nearly matched his record and they have been an outstanding pair - great ambassadors for the breed.

Ch Melloway Voodoo Doll

Currently dominating the rings is the very lovely tricolour bitch Ch Melloway Voodoo Doll, so ably presented by Jacquie Weeks. (Photo 8)

I hope I might be forgiven if I do mention my own dogs - in particular Aust NZ Ch Elvenhome Buckthorn (Photo 9) who is the top winning Australian Bred Cavalier and who appears in several books on the breed. He has proved to be a wonderful stud dog - most notable as the sire of the Australian Cavalier who has scaled the heights in the USA Aust and Am Ch Elvenhome Elrohir (Photo 10)- BIS AKCKSC National Specialty , BIS Progressive Toy and Best of Breed at Westminster and Top Cavalier USA 1998.
Ch Elvenhome BuckthornCh Elenhome Elhohir

Cavaliers also shine in other fields of endeavor - in Obedience, multi titled and with a list of accomplishments is Marcavan Chyna Doll, bred by Maryanne Sylvester and owned and trained by Eddy and Anne Safianski - Chyna is CD, CDX, UD, AOC, TD, TDX, TCH, ET Now if you are wondering what the ET is - in Australia we have official Endurance Trials for dogs, much along the lines of horse endurance rides. In this case the dog does simple obedience test, then covers 20 kilometers in three sections broken by two rest breaks when the dog is vet checked for heart rate and stress. At the end of the course, there is another simple obedience trial. The handler runs or bicycles with the dog. There are a couple of other Cavaliers with this title, I'm very proud to say Ch Elvenhome Offiah who passed at the age of 7 years and his kennel mate the amazing Agility specialist Amuary Tinker Belle, known to her friends as Rinky (Photo 11) who has taken on the big dogs at Agility and has caused a sensation - she not only has her ET title but AD, ADX, AAD (Aust Agility Dog) and SAAD (Senior Aust Agility Dog) and is now doing Masters Jumpers Title. She is the first Cavalier in Australia to train for her Agility Dog Master title.
Offiah & Tinker Belle

Through the 60s and 70 and 80s and 90s , there has been a veritable flood of Cavaliers from Great Britain and from new Zealand - - far too many to list individually but they represented all the major well known lines in England during that period and the flood continues unabated to this day - sometimes is seems like more new arrivals every week!

However in more recent years, there has been a trickle of Cavaliers heading OUT of Australia to other destinations, many to Hawaii as our rabies status allows dogs in there without quarantine, to America where quite a few are now AKC champions and to South East Asian destinations such as Singapore, Thailand etc. The most notable of these exports being the afore mentioned Am Aust Ch Elvenhome Elrohir and the multi titled B&T Aust, Finnish, Gibralter, Danish Ch Prestonville Harris Tweed, who along with a growing band of "expatriates" have proved that Cavaliers bred in the Antipodies can more than hold their own on the world stage.

Jeanie Montford
Jeanie Montford


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