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In the case of Shepherds Jonathan and George Barcroft, it is not known whether they jointly owned the Beardie-like sheepdog named White Bob, but trialing reports prove that White Bob was handled by both men. Sylvia Barcroft has not located any trial records demonstrating that father and son ever competed against one another.

Samuel Lund bred White Bob; he was likely born in either 1885 or 1886.  He was reported to be age eleven from a trial held at Tring in August 1897. If that report was accurate, then he was likely to have been born in 1886. White Bob lived to be approximately 13 years of age when he passed away in the fall of 1900. If he was, indeed, age 13 when he passed, then he would have been born in 1885.

Some authors have identified White Bob as being an "Old English Sheepdog" or a "half-bred Old English Sheepdog" or a "bobtail." It is unfortunate that one scholarly publication mistakenly wrote that Mr. George Barcroft handled "Old English Sheepdogs and not Border Collies" (referring to the 1892 Wirral Sheepdog Trial). That statement was incorrect based upon pictures and trial reports.

The well known judge, Mr. R. S. Piggin, who owned and handled the famous Rough Collie, Ormskirk Charlie, described one of George's dogs (named Ken) in a 1910 article as " a Rough grey Scotch Beardy, full of vigour, ... ." Mr. Piggin could likely be relied upon as knowing the various types of sheepdogs. Ormskirk Charlie often competed against White Bob. Mr. Piggin knew the different collie types, and it is doubtful he would have described White Bob as being an Old English Sheepdog.

Prior to the formation of the Kennel Club in 1873, dog breeds were not distinguished by standards. Edward Ash, a cynologist, wrote in his 1931 book, The Practical Dog Book, on page 162:

"The name Sheep-dog in the pedigree dog world applies to the Old English Sheep-dog or Bob-tail. In the olden days the word Sheep-dog described any dog, whatever might be its type, its colour, or its size, discovered helping the shepherd here and in other parts of the world."

Sylvia Barcroft stated in a letter dated January 12, 2009, "...I do not agree that White Bob was a half-bred Old English Sheepdog." Perhaps if George himself could comment to us in the year 2011, he would describe White Bob as his champion "sheep dog." But White Bob appears as a Beardie-like in the first photograph below.

According to a newspaper report Capt. Best, R.N. arranged the for a small number of individuals to handle their dogs at an exhibition trial before Queen Victoria (whilst visiting Palé Hall, Llanderfel, near Bala, Wales). There is no reliable evidence whether it was Jonathan, or George, that handled White Bob on that occasion, but it is more likely that it was Jonathan based on the late 1800s trial reports. (See the "Trialing" pages to view some of those articles.)

Had she known, it is likely that Queen Victoria would have used language describing "runs," rather than "trials," in her journal entry of August 24, 1889. Her words are quoted below (with the permission of The Royal Archive [RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ/1889: 24 August]).

"went in the pony chair...just a short way beyond [Palé Hall and]...saw a trial of sheep dogs or rather driving of sheep in which the Welsh take great interest. We saw several trials, but only one succeeded. The dogs were 6 in number & prize ones. They had in turn to endeavour to drive 3 sheep together round 3 flag posts, put at a distance, into a very small pen, with a narrow opening. When the sheep neared the pen, the shepherd came down & assisted his dog, but is never allowed to touch the sheep. Each dog had different sheep, who were all 4 years old & strange both to the dogs & the ground, having been brought down from the hills for the purpose. "Bob" a white Lancashire dog worked beautifully. The intelligence of the dogs, & their obedience in following the signs & whistles of their masters, who direct them from a distance, is quite marvellous. A great number of people had collected on a road overlooking the Park, & cheered heartily when the dogs were successful. After the 4th trial, it came on to rain heavily, so we had to go home..."

The North Wales Chronicle August 31, 1889, reported on the Queen's visit to Bala.  A portion of the article stated:

"It should also be said that the Llandderfel Receiption Committee presented her Majesty with a walking stick, which she accepted and acknowledged to Mr. D. Pryce, the chairman, in Welsh by saying, "Dioch yn fawr iawn." The Llandderfel choir, under the conductorship of Mr. W. T. Jones performed a musical selection before the Royal family and members of the household. Previous to this the Queen witnessed a private trial of sheep dogs.

Alf Kyme owns a framed picture of White Bob. He generously allowed the picture to be photographed in order for to share his image with viewers. The words above and below the picture were printed onto the picture.

White Bob

Bred by Samuel Lund

Afterwards sold to G. Barcroft, who gave
exhibitions before Queen Victoria, at
Bala (Wales), and the German Emperor,
 at Frankfurt  (Germany). "White Bob" won
over £70 in prizes in one season. Mr. Barcroft
refused 75 gns, for him at 12 years old."

Note:  According to one website, a guinea was a higher amount than £1.

The below photograph was published in an article by The British Fancier on June 10, 1892 (reporting on the Wirral trial that took place on June 6th):

In the below photograph, George Barcroft was penning Lonk sheep. It was likely taken the same day as the above photograph. George may have been setting up a pose for a photographer. White Bob, lying down, appeared on the right side of the photograph, along with two other dogs held by an unidentified gentleman. The other two dogs could have been George Barcroft's dogs, but that has not been substantiated.

The left hand portion of the below photograph appeared in Eric Halsall's 1992 book British Sheepdogs. Mr. Halsall presented the reader with the history of the International Sheep Dog Society from 1904 through 1991. He identified the picture, which appeared on page 14 in the book, as being taken at a 1904 trial in Worsthorne, Lancashire. That was an error. We are fortunate to have received the entire picture. Mr. Halsall had received a postcard with a 1904 postmark which likely accounts for the mistake regarding the date of 1904. Mr. Halsall would not have known the image had been cropped for the postcard to only reflect George penning sheep. In the original photograph, there was a man on the right holding other dogs to include White bob (in the middle).

White Bob also appeared before Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941), the last German emperor and King of Prussia, in 1897. White Bob won first prize and a gold medal. George, handled White Bob, now approximately ten years of age. A write-up appeared in the Ramsbottom Observer dated June 4, 1897.  The heading was "Sheep Dog Trials in Germany....."

"Mr. George Barcroft, ... well known in the Ramsbottom and Rossendale districts ... has been in Germany during the week, and has competed successfully with other dogs in sheep dog trials. The following extract from the 'Daily News' will be read with interest: 'German Collie Club Trials — Success of English dogs — For the first time in the history of the club, sheep dog trials have been held at the annual show of the German Collie Club, which terminated at Frankfurt-on-the-Main on Sunday. C. H. Wheeler, of Birmingham, judged, and although the English dogs were severely handicapped by the foreign conditions of working, and the nature of the trial ground, they did remarkably well, and quite astounded the select attendance which included all the leading Collie breeders in Germany. The first prize and gold medal of the promoting society was won by Mr. G. Barcroft's 'White Bob' ... beating Mr. R. S Piggin's Ormskirk Charlie from Long Eaton, Notts. The splendid working of the English dogs created a most favourable impression ... ."

An article by Anglo Manxman appeared in The Ludgate, May 1899, entitled "Sheep-dog Trials, and How They are Conducted." There was a lengthy description about how White Bob worked included in the article, which article was retyped and appears in its entirety on the "Ludgate" page.

Results for the Ely racecourse trial (Cardiff, South Wales) were reported in The Western Mail on September 20, 1900. Mr. J. Barcroft handling "Brown Bob" placed 6th. In that article, it was stated that Jonathan indicated White Bob was deceased making him approximately 13 years of age when he passed away.

One thing seems certain: White Bob was one heck of a dog. Though history seems to fade as years pass, it may be that he was the top winning Beardie-like dog to ever trial in Britain. What other Beardie-like dog was known to have trialed before two royals?




Ludgate Article

Manchester Article

The Family



Trialing To 1900

Trialing after 1900

*Back To Barcrofts


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