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"Barcroft" section. The links with asterisks in front will return you
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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
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
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
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:
"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.
Bred by Samuel Lund
Afterwards sold to G. Barcroft, who gave
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
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?