By Cherry Howard
(originally written for a breed feature in “Our Dogs” in 2019 and now updated to include the start of 2020)
After separation from the prick eared Norwich Terriers in 1964 with the new name of Norfolk Terrier, Crufts 1965 saw the new breed scheduled for the first time. Ch Nanfan Heckle, born in October 1963, won Best of Breed and was pulled out in the Terrier Group at Crufts, a great ambassador for the new breed and a sire of 12 champions. The Nanfan kennel of Joy Taylor dominated the showring, producing champion after champion, their looks and temperament transforming the breed. She exported her dogs all over the world and Nanfan bloodlines are behind nearly every Norfolk to this day.
Competition in the early days was provided by Ch Banston Belinda and Ch Colonsay Orderly Dog, who had been bred by Mrs Mary Atkinson in one of her first litters, but was owned and shown originally by Miss Macfie (Colonsay); after her death he was later owned and campaigned by the redoubtable Alice Hazeldine of the Ickworth Norfolk Terriers; Orderly Dog won a total of 19 CCs, a record which stood for many years. Remarkably Mary Atkinson under her Moortop affix is still breeding today with great success. Alice Hazeldine was a formidable competitor; amongst other champions she also produced Ch Ickworth Ready, the result of a misalliance between Kirkby Freddy and his own daughter; he was the first Norfolk to win a Terrier Group as well as 17 CCs in his short life.
In the 1970s came the Ragus kennel of Marjorie Bunting and her daughter Lesley Crawley. In the mid-1980s, Lesley concentrated on Norwich Terriers, whilst her husband Michael Crawley continued their Norfolk line under his kennel name of Elve. Their most influential dog was Ch Ragus Whipcord, a black & tan, who sired 12 champions including 7 with Ch Ragus Brown Sugar. Nearly all the top kennels in England have Lesley Crawley to thank for passing on her skill in trimming with her magic fingers and teaching presentation. Ragus produced the first Norwich to win Best In Show in Ch Ragus Gypsy Love.
The Jaeva kennel of Martin Phillips started in the early 1980s, originally based on Ragus bloodlines. This kennel has produced over 100 champions mainly in Norfolk and Norwich Terriers, making up at least one champion nearly every year since then. The stock has been sold worldwide, and his stud dogs are used extensively. There was extreme rivalry between these three kennels.
Other owners tended to base their stock on either Nanfan or Ragus and some mixed the two types together, such as David Saltmarsh’s Pipridges and Liz Cartledge’s Ryslip, whose foundation bitch, Ch Nanfan Wedding Present, was mated to Ch Ragus Whipcord. Starting also in the 1970s was Eileen Needham and her Titanium kennel, Patsy Green and the Wharfvalley kennel and Dorothy Dorkins with her Lowmita Norfolks. Sylvia Way with her Wemcroft in the West country, Daphne Thacker with her Daffran stock founded on Ragus, and in turn Rita Mitchell bought her foundation bitch from her in the 1980s and bred under the Richell name. Her most influential stud dog was Ch Richell Claret born in 1994. He transformed the ear carriage in his puppies to the correctly dropped ears we see today and was a leading sire for several years. Rita had several other champions as well.
In the early 1990s Jaeva really came to the fore, producing one good dog after another. This was also the time when records were made: Ch Salette Gold Bullion appeared on the scene; bred by Cathy Farr in 1990, but produced and exhibited by Lesley Crawley, he won 25 dog CCs, a record which he holds to this day.
The late 90s` saw the rise of Cathy Thompson-Morgan; she co-owned a bitch with Michael Crawley and it was the start of a highly successful breeding career. Her Belleville kennel has produced one top winner after another and she has been the top breeder many times in the last twenty years and exhibited at least 35 Belleville champions in this country. Her first champion was Ch Belleville Cloudscape, and with Ch Pirouette of Belleville in 1997 she was reserve Best in Show at Midland Counties and another Group 1 at Richmond that year and her half-sister, Ch None Stop to Belleville also won 2 Groups. Ch Belleville Magic Flute won a Group 1 at the LKA in 2001 and Ch Belleville Sweet Nothings achieved Group 1 at Birmingham City in 2003; she has also had several placings in Groups and Puppy Groups. Recently her Ch Belleville Major Key has won 14 CCs with 8 Best of Breeds to the end of 2019 and another two up to Crufts 2020, bringing his total so far to 14 challenge certificates.
Elisabeth Matell, Cracknor, made up several champions in Sweden before coming to live in England in 1978, bringing with her just three Norfolks of Nanfan bloodlines. Two were mated with two Hatchwoods bitches of Cherry Howard, and from this breeding have come the illustrious Norfolks Ch Cracknor Call My Bluff and Ch Cracknor Cause Celebre. Call My Bluff was Top Terrier and 2nd top winner of all breeds in 1996, and winner of 27 CCs, 6 Terrier Groups and 2 Best in Shows; 5 years later in 1998 the same dam, Hatchwoods Madrigal, produced Ch/Am Ch Cracknor Cause Celebre (Coco) who memorably won Best in Show at Crufts in 2005; her sire was Ch Richell Claret who also sired another Best In Show winner in Ch Jaeva Dutch Gold at Birmingham National in 2001.
Also coming successfully into the breed in the 1990s were the kennels of Jill Stevenson’s Brickin, the Brymarden of Bryan and Marilyn Claydon, Strathinver of Norma Newton and Vichea of Jane Devereux.
In the 2000s Diane Jenkins with her Kinsridge Norfolks came to the fore; she has had close ties with the Norfolks of Maureen McPhee’s Foxhouse and Dot Britten’s Krisma kennels. Her homebred Ch Kinsridge Top Gun has been leading sire for several years since 2010, and his daughter, Ch Kinsridge Top Tip (Martha) from 2015 to 2017 was Best In Show at Three Counties, won 4 Terrier Groups and gained a grand total of 35 CCs - she is now the breed record holder. Martha’s dam, Am Ch Kinsridge Hot Tip spent time in the USA with the ‘Green Team’ at Yarrow Venerie (Peter Green, Beth Sweigart and Pam Beale), where she was mated to a son of Crufts BIS winner, Ch Cracknor Cause Celebre (Coco) called Am GCh/Ch Cause For Celebration; back to whelp in England she produced Ch Kinsridge Cash Back who has been used extensively at stud, so Elisabeth Matell’s bloodlines are back in Europe after her tragic sudden death in 2016.
The new century also brought in new enthusiasts; it is hard for a new-comers to learn the subtleties of presentation, as Norfolk coats are real challenge to keep looking smart. Full marks therefore to more recent kennels who have been doing so well to challenge and beat the more established kennels: notably Jackie Phillips with the Blakens who has bred, owned or produced 11 champions; Andrea Smith’s Javidel, Linda and Michael Philip from South Africa with Nordalset, Karen Hurrion’s Villassa Terriers, and the most successful especially in the past year or two, Ruth Gee with her Watercroft Norfolks.
Norfolks now regularly provide strong competition and are frequently placed in Terrier, Terrier Puppy and Terrier Veteran Groups, exhibited from the kennels of Belleville, Blakens, Brickin, Jaeva, Kinsridge, Perrisblu, Villassa and Watercroft in the last five years.
Ch Valentines Cherry Crumble was Karen Hurrion’s first champion, born in February 2008. She retired to maternal duties amazingly producing four litters and a total of 25 offspring - including 2 champions, with a record 8 puppies in her final litter in 2015. She then returned to compete in veteran classes and won Best Veteran in Show under Mr Peter Green at WKC in 2018, recently she was Best Veteran in breed at Crufts in March 2020 aged 12.
Since 2013, Ruth Gee’s kennel has produced nine English champions and another 4 overseas, memorably making up three champions in 2018. The kennel won a Terrier Group 1 at Richmond in 2018 with Ch Watercroft Calling Time and several Group 2s and other Group placings with him and her other champions and CC winners. In 2019 first Watercroft To Coin A Phrase won 2 Puppy Groups, then Watercroft Calling Card took over winning Puppy Groups at Paignton and South Wales, where he was also Reserve Best Puppy in Show, as well as winning 5 other puppy group placings. Ch Watercroft Pink Fizz was the Top Norfolk in 2019 and now has 24 CCs so far; she started 2020 with a Group 2 win at Boston and was Best of Breed at Crufts for the second time in March.
Now, sadly, everything is on hold due to Covid-19.