Honoring Brenda Brown of Ralindi Kennels
I have just learned that ATI has bestowed upon me the award of Lifetime Member.
I am HUGELY honoured to accept.
I must be honest – this honour makes me feel truly humble.
I have always done my absolute best to promote the Australian Terrier, the breed that completely stole my heart as a teenager and that has given me so much pleasure for so many years.
May I say a huge “Thank You” for honouring me in such a fantastic way.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish ATI every success in the future and to Australian Terriers owners all over the world – have the most wonderful time with the best breed in the world! Brenda Brown, Ralindi Kennels
An Interview With Brenda Brown By Pamela Levy
This month ATI welcomes Brenda Brown as the first Lifetime member from the United Kingdom.
We want to congratulate you (Brenda) and thank you for your years of dedication to the breed.
The Kennel name Ralindi is behind many top winning UK and International dogs.
How did you get involved or started with Australian Terriers?
I first met Aussies in 1965 at my cousin, Keith McIntosh’s, home in North Wales. We were both teenagers at that time but, like me, Keith had been brought up in a small dog showing/breeding kennel. His parents showed Cairn Terriers but Keith decided Aussies were the breed for him.
Why did you choose Aussies at that time?
I was brought up with German Shepherd Dogs. My parents showed, judged and occasionally bred GSDs and I have been involved in showing dogs all my life. I went to my first dog show at the age of 6 weeks! When I met Aussies for the first time in 1965 I thought they were the most fun-loving dogs I had ever seen – I absolutely adored them for that!
Ch. Ralindi The Executor Photo: Lorna Brown
How many years have you shown Aussies?
I have shown Aussies since 1970 – I was young then!!!!! I went to a few Ch shows where Aussies were being shown in the mid – late 1960s and, through Keith, I got to know some of the Aussie exhibitors and their dogs fairly well.
How many years have you been breeding Aussies?
I bred my first litter in April 1971.
How many litters have you bred?
I have bred 26 litters in the past 40 years producing about 90 puppies in total. No-one can ever say I flooded the market!!!
Do you know how many champions you have produced?
Ralindi has campaigned 8 Aussies to their UK Championship titles – no mean feat in this country – and we also bred 1 Swedish Ch Australian Terrier bitch. Ralindi owned the top-winning Aussie bitch of all time in the breed in the UK and she held that record for 14 years, until 1999.
Ch. Future Vision Of Ralindi
Do you enjoy mentoring other people in the breed?
Yes, I do! – But nowadays, only if I am asked. In previous years I would happily give advice and, I’m delighted to say, my advice was always greatly appreciated.
Have you mentored anyone from another country?
No, but I am more than happy to answer anyone’s questions from anywhere in the world! I have been on International Aussie Forums over the years and I have contributed to them. Nowadays, it’s much, much easier to communicate with people from overseas by email, Facebook, etc than it ever was in previous years.
Who were the people who mentored YOU in the breed?
My mentors in the breed when I started were my cousin Keith McIntosh (Trailblazer) and Rene Sanderson (Spenmoss). Both helped and encouraged me enormously. Joan Garlick (Tippon) was also very helpful.
How old was your daughter, Lorna, when she got involved with Aussies?
Lorna came home to the Ralindi Australian Terriers as a new-born baby, so she has been involved with the breed all her life. She will be 29 years old in early July of this year so, basically, she has been involved with Aussies for almost 29 years. That’s much longer than most people in Aussies in the UK at present!
What is that like sharing a passion with your daughter?
It’s wonderful! We have many discussions about Aussies. My daughter Lorna is just one of only 2-3 young people under the age of 40, who is directly involved in Australian Terriers in the UK at the present time. That is a fact that truly concerns me. The future of our wonderful breed here in the UK is in great danger as young people are simply not coming into the breed. That, sadly, applies to many of the terrier breeds here in the UK at present.
Ch. Ralindi Islay Mist Photo: Diane Pearce
Do you breed together?
Lorna also owns the Ralindi affix but in a “separate interest” from me. The term separate interest means both Lorna and I can breed a litter of Aussies – or any other breed – and register all the puppies with the Ralindi kennel name at The Kennel Club.
Do you always agree on what dogs to keep and which dogs to place out of a litter?
Yes, we do! We also find when we see other people’s litters of Aussies, we choose precisely the same puppy.
What do you look for in the bitch to make her worthy of your breeding program?
She must possess true breed type.
What do you look for in the stud dog to make him worthy of your breeding program?
Again, breed type is of paramount importance. I was always taught by my mentors and the old-time breeders that without true breed type you had nothing!
What have been your proudest moments in the breed?
When I won my first-ever CC in the breed in 1977. I was hugely proud of the times I owned the Top Australian Terrier in the UK in various years. As to judging I am proud to have judged Aussies at National Terrier, the ATCGB Ch show, Crufts in 1996 and The Australian Terrier Club of New South Wales in 1994 – I was hugely proud of that invitation! To have an appointment to judge my chosen breed in its homeland was an honour I shall treasure for the rest of my life! No other Australian Terrier breed specialist from the UK had ever judged our breed at a Breed Club/Speciality Ch show in Australia, either before or since. I must also say I am very proud of the fact I have been made a Lifetime Member of the ATI – what an honour!
The two Aussies with me in the picture from Australia were my top winning dog and bitch at the ATCNSW CH show on 3 April 1994.
How did you learn to groom?
Initially from my cousin Keith McIntosh who taught me how to hand strip, something that was totally new to me. In later years Pat Connor of the world-famous Tinee Town Kennel in Australia stayed with us for a good few days and she gave Bill and me a personal “Master Class” in how to present an Aussie for the showring. Nowadays of course we have Aussies with full tails, so that became a new challenge. When trimming I prefer to leave a small amount of hair on the tail as I feel that is more in balance with the body coat rather than have the tail looking like a pipe cleaner.
Have you exported Aussies? If so, to what countries?
Yes, I have. I sent a four-month old red bitch to Sweden who became a Swedish Ch and one of her daughters became the foundation bitch for Tina Nordgren’s Nellyson kennel in Sweden. I have also sent a bitch to Germany and a dog and a bitch to the south of France but I knew none of them would be shown, their owners wanted them purely as companions.
Have you imported Aussies?
A bitch was due to be imported in whelp to the UK from our good friend Pam McDougall Douglas’ Tahee Kennel. We quickly booked a puppy from that litter. When the litter was born we were to get “first pick” of the dog puppies. When we got the phone call to say the puppies could be released from quarantine my husband Bill drove to the far south of England accompanied by our good friend Abe Harkness, who was to co-own this dog with Bill, to see the litter in the quarantine kennels. They soon picked the dog they wanted, Bill put him in the travelling box and brought him home. The minute he came out of the box he ran over to greet me and promptly lifted his leg on my slippers as if to say “You’re mine”!! He was just over 10 weeks old at the time! Herbie loved life and above all else, he absolutely adored puppies – he was brilliant with them. He lived all his life with us here at Ralindi and he holds a special place in my heart. I’m delighted to say we campaigned him to his UK Championship title.
Do you see a difference in personalities between dogs from other countries and dogs from the UK?
To be honest, no.
Did you find it difficult to produce a nice natural tail?
The last litter I bred was born in early June 2009. This was our first litter in almost four years so I have only bred one litter with full tails. I’m delighted to say all six puppies from that litter had lovely tails.
Can you describe what a good natural tail should look like?
In my humble opinion a good natural tail should have a fairly gentle curve and it should be in balance with the dog. Time will no doubt tell as this is still in its infancy here in the UK. Other countries have much more experience of Aussies with full tails than our UK Aussie breeders.
Did you have a few favorite Aussies that you owned or bred?
I have to be honest and say there were a few that completely stole my heart.
Who were they and why were those your favorites?
My very first Aussie was a great favourite, and she of course took me in to this wonderful breed. She was very rarely shown as she never coated up. My very first Ch (Ch Spenmoss Blue Marcus) was a real character with a huge personality as was our big-winning bitch Ch Future Vision of Ralindi. When she put her mind to it she could be a real madam and in fact she would respond to the word “Madam” as well as her true call name which was Holly. She loved to play with a rubber ball and would spend ages tossing it in the air, catching it, running about with it in her mouth before tossing it in the air again! She was an absolute joy to own.
Ch. Spenmoss Blue Marcus Photographer: Diane Pearce
How has the Aussie changed since you started breeding?
The Aussies of today tend to be bigger than in past years. The way Aussies are presented for the showring has changed a lot since I started in the breed.
Do you think the Aussie has improved?
Overall, fronts have improved a lot over the years. There were a small number of Aussies in the past that had very good fronts but they were very few and far between.
What concerns you about the Aussie of today as it relates to conformation and health?
Here in the UK I personally feel a number of the Aussies of today lack the strength and depth of muzzle required for the breed and some Aussies do not have the correct almond-shaped eye. Good, ground-covering movement showing drive and the desired springy action continues to be an area of concern. As to the health of our breed the breeders here are aware of diabetes and some cases of epilepsy have been reported. Both are currently being monitored.
What have Aussies added to your life?
I absolutely love their great sense of fun! They make me laugh. Showing them over the years has been an absolute joy and we’ve made lots of good friends with other Aussie owners in various countries throughout the world.
Ralindi Eartha Kitt Photo: Lorna Brown
You have put your heart and soul into working for the Club, your Newsletter and your annual trip to Cruft’s.
Can you share how many positions you have had at the club?
I served on the Committee of the ATCGB in both the 1970s and the1980s and I have been, and still am, Honorary Secretary of The Australian Terrier Club of Great Britain, a position I have held since 1995.
Is Honorary Secretary the same as President of the Club in the US?
As I don’t know what’s involved in being President of the Club in the US, I really can’t say! What I can say is that being Secretary of the ATCGB involves me in booking judges, show venues, veterinarians to be on call for our shows, applying to The Kennel Club for licenses for our shows, applying for Ch status and for the date of our annual Open show, dealing with all the Club’s correspondence, sending out all the paperwork for our AGM and all meetings of the Club, taking notes at all our Club’s meetings and turning those notes into the minutes of those meetings, liaising with The KC on all sorts of things, dealing with enquiries that come in re puppy availability and a whole lot more besides all of the above!!! We may be very much a minority breed in the UK but it’s a very busy Club.
Can you tell us about your Club’s Newsletter? Can International people subscribe and how would they do that?
My daughter Lorna is the Newsletter editor. I also contribute a great deal to our Club’s Newsletter. International people can become members of the ATCGB and that entitles them to receive copies of our Newsletters.
Does your club have International Memberships?
Yes, we do. A Single Overseas Membership costs £7.00 and a Joint Overseas Membership costs £9.00.
How does one become a member (if so)?
People who wish to become members have to fill in an ATCGB Membership Application Form which needs to be proposed and seconded by fully paid-up members of the ATCGB. Their application for membership then comes before the Committee for approval.
Ralindi Express Yourself Photo: Lorna Brown
Can you tell us how your annual trip to Crufts came about?
The first few years I went to Crufts (in the 1960s) I went in a group on the overnight train from Edinburgh to London. Later that changed to an overnight coach from Fife to London. Later still the above-mentioned Abe Harkness used to organise 2-3 overnight coaches from here in Lanarkshire and I always took charge of one of his coaches for him. In those days overnight coaches to all-breeds Ch shows was the way many exhibitors chose to go to the bigger Ch shows. It was more cost-effective and the exhibitors didn’t have to drive there and back to do the shows. If they were tired, they could have a sleep as someone else was driving! Through time, and as more and more people became car owners they would team up and share the costs of taking their own cars and they would share the driving to these shows so going to shows by coach became a lesser option but going to Crufts by coach was still very popular. When Abe changed his breed, his coach to Crufts was for a different day to Terrier & Hound Day so Bill and I took over organising the overnight coach to Crufts, initially running two coaches to the show. When the show moved to Birmingham which was nearer for exhibitors from Scotland we organised just one coach to take the exhibitors, their dogs and spectators to Crufts and I still run a coach to this day.
Have you had any funny or disastrous moments?
Many years ago Bill and I were on a coach going from Fife to London for the Ladies Kennel Association Ch show in December. We were in London when a car careened into the front of the coach and the radiator burst. We all piled into taxis and went to the show, not knowing whether the coach company could get a replacement radiator in time to take us back home that day or whether the coach company would manage to get a replacement coach to get us back home.
One other time, about 30 years ago, Bill and I had driven to the LKA Ch show and we had a nightmare journey home, driving in blizzard conditions for most of the way. We were the last car allowed through the M74 here in Scotland before it was completely closed as it was deemed to be too dangerous to drive on!! Winter tyres were unheard of in those days and, in fact, they are still not widely available or used in the UK. I will never, ever forget that journey.
Most importantly, with all you’ve done and your years of dedication to the breed……
How would you like to be remembered in the breed?
As someone who worked tirelessly to promote the best breed in the world and who did my very best to give something back to the breed that has given me so much pleasure for most of my life.
Paying Tribute to Brenda Brown
How do you sum up just how special a woman like Brenda Brown is?
To the breed she has campaigned, loved and adored for over 40 years, to the countless people she has supported along the way and to myself, after all she is my mum!
She’s a second generation dog exhibitor, originally born into the Alsadene German Shepherd Kennel. She became intoxicated by the Australian Terrier in the late 60’s and founded the Ralindi Kennel in early 1970. Ralindi has been the proud owner/ breeder of 8 champions and over 60 CCs, (Challenge Certificates) including Ch. Ralindi Future Vision who held the bitch record for 14 years.
Whilst on a 2-month trip to Australia in 1994, she was invited to judge the Australian Terrier Club of New South Wales Championship show. She is to this date the only UK Breed Specialist to have had this honour. Two years later she judged Aussies at Crufts, a highlight in any judge’s career especially breed specialists.
Dogs and dog showing are not only in her heart, they run through her veins and this is proven in the commitment and passion she has for our wonderful breed.
Left to right – Mum, Dad, George & Beryl Ness (Negura Australian Terriers from Australia)
This picture was taken during a visit by the Ness’ to our home in Scotland.