Pauline Torrance

The magic of CRUFTS began for me in August 1970 when I went for a weekend job whilst I was still at school.  I was 14 years old. I saw a notice in a local shop ' Weekend Help Required at Show and Breeding Kennel".

I cycled to Penn House on Penn Common and was greeted at the front door of a large country house by a large white Pyrenean Mountain Dog.  The door was answered and I was taken to the dog office past the trophy table in the hall, and there it was, in full view, the CRUFTS BEST IN SHOW Trophy and the SEND GOLD VASE for Best in the working Group.

I got the job as Saturday Kennel maid for the pricely sum of 1.00 a day.  I was to realise that Mr and Mrs Prince owned Bergerie Knur (Grant) who had won Best In Show at CRUFTS the previous February, and the dog that greeted me on that first visit was Ch Bergerie Diable who had himself won Reserve Best In Show at Crufts in 1968.

    As you can imagine, as a young girl I spent quite a lot of my school holidays at the kennels and learnt about all aspects of dogs:  feeding, grooming, exercising, whelping.  Grant was retired from the show ring following CRUFTS although he had only won one CC, but Mr and Mrs Prince decided that he would retire him at the top.  The following February Mr Prince and I went to CRUFTS with Grant for a television interview.  He was not allowed into the show, but stayed in the Vet's room (this was at Olympia).


    My first experience of handling a dog in the show ring was at a Pyrenean Mountain Dog Club Show.  Mr Prince let me handle a puppy bitch called Amber, Mr Bill Siggers was the judge and I took Amber in the puppy Bitch class, which she won.  She went on to gain Best Puppy In Show.  I had caught the bug.

    When I left school and college and started work I realised that I could not keep a Pyrenean (I lived with my parents and they did not think we had enough room).  There were three other breeds I was interested in : the Pomeranian, the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso.  I wrote to several Pomeranian breeders and all I was offered was a dog without a tail (not a show prospect, I think).  Then I noticed a litter of Lhasa Apsos advertised in the local newspaper - not the best way to find a show dog but, of course, I had to make the call.  This was Rosemary and Frank Wallis (Viento) and I went over to see them and bought an eight-week-old bitch puppy.

    Unfortunately she did not turn out to be a show dog, but Rosemary and Frank soon realised how interested in the breed I was and they let me help them with their dogs.  I went to shows with them and if I was unable to show a dog I stewarded.  This was great experience as I have stewarded for many of the top all rounders - Joe Braddon, Percy Whittaker, Fred Curnow, Lily Turner, to name but a few.  I usually asked to steward for Lhasa Apsos but if I coulden't I enjoyed stewarding for any breed.  I travelled to shows with Wallis's and we usually took Mrs Florence Dudman (Ramblersholt) who kept the breed going through the war.

    Rosemary and Frank had bred a daughter of their foundation bitch (Hestia of Fifrith) to Ch Wyrley Hermes, and Viento April Love (Tamsin) was born.  They let me handle her and at her first Championship Show (BUBA) Mrs Thelma Morgan was judging, and Tamsin qualified for CRUFTS.

Rosemary and Frank said that they would transfer her so that she would be in partnership with me and I could then show my own dog at Crufts. In 1976 I handled Ch Wyrley Hermes in Open Dog at CRUFTS: Lady Freda Valentine was judging and he was placed second and was awarede the reserve CC

    I also handled Viento Golden Delish-Us to the CC at WELKS  under Mrs Catherine Sutton for Rosemary and Frank.


    My first CC with a dog I had bred in partnership was won at Paignton in 1982 with Viento Secret Love (Hardacre Pied Piper - Vientio April Love), the judge on this occasion was Doreen Richardson (Belazieth),  in 1987 I made up Viento Love In A Mist (Ch Cheerleader at Kertellas x Viento Secret Love.) the first champion owned and bred by Rosemary Wallis and myself.

    In 1987 I judged my first club open show, this being the Lhasa Apso Club Summer Open Show, and I drew an entry of 134 from 112 dogs.  My daughter, Hilary was born in October 1985, and I can recall chatting to Thelma Morgan and Jean Blyth at a show during the summer and discussing me imminent whelping- and Thelma saying "I think Pauline will have a grey and white, and Jean said "no it will be gold!".  As quite a few of you know, Jean was right and Hilary is a red head.

    I first gave CCs in 1987 at Southern Counties Championship Show and my first club Championship Show followed this in April  1989, being the Midland Lhasa Apso Association.  In May 1989 I had the chance to go to America for five weeks and was able to attend the American Lhasa Apso Club 30th anniversary speciality show and seminar in Washington DC.


    The judge for this show was Mrs Francis Sefton (Cheska) and speakers at the Seminar were Francis Valerie Stringer and Jean Blyth.  I was lucky to stay with Joan Kendall overnight before the show and it was extremely interesting to see her dogs ( including Orlane's Grass Roots as a youngster) and her photographs of her early dogs.

    In August 1990 my son, Ian, was born.  In August 1993 I drove to Sheffield to look at a litter of puppies bred by Terry and Sheila Poole and Sue Trollope and at 12 weeks old I brought home Dora (Later to be known as Ch Desperately Seeking at Sinyul).

1995 Was a busy year for me, as I became a committee member of the Lhasa Apso Club of Wales and South West.  At the end of September 1995 I was contacted by Dog World and asked if I would write the Breed Notes as Jim Bainbridge had decided that due to his ill health he felt that he could no longer contribute on a regular basis.


    In June 1996 I became Secretary of the Lhasa Apso Association of Wales and South West, and later that year Dora gained her 3rd CC at Border Union, her 4th CC and BIS at the Lhasa Apso Club Championship Show, and her 5th CC and BOB at Darlington, going on to gain Group 3  

    In 2000 I had the privilege and pleasure to judge the Lhasa Apso Club Championship Show.  I have now had the honour to award Challenge Certificates on seven occasions and I am looking forward to awarding my eighth set of certificated at CRUFTS 2005, 34 years after visiting CRUFTS for the first time.