My introduction to the breed came in 1965, when I was still at school and hoping to become a veterinary surgeon. I arranged some work experience at a local veterinary practice and it turned out that this was owned by Betty Murray of the Fortrouge Borzois.I very soon fell in love with the breed.
After I qualified as a vet, in 1971 I acquired two dogs from Miss Murray and a bitch from Richard Duckworth (Sholwood) and bred a couple of litters. Various problems caused me to look for a new foundation bitch and in 1978 I purchased Stonebar Reflection (Lara) from Gina Rose. All my subsequent stock is descended from her.
Lara was by Ch. Stonebar Nikolenka ex Francehill Full Hand. She became my first Champion and also won her Junior Warrant, a points award which was quite hard to achieve at that time. She produced two litters, both outcrosses. The first was sired by Ch. Greenhaven Barrie, a son of Ch. Keepers The Baron whose sire was the Russian import Boran. I kept a male, Byron, who was a very dominant dog of great character. He did a great deal of winning but sadly just missed his title, ending up with 2 CCs, both with BOB, a hound group 2, 4 reserve CCs and his Junior Warrant. He won his second CC aged 9½ years and was also a successful stud dog. Lara’s second litter was sired by Ch. Olias Tangerine Dream (Ch. Dimland Petya ex Ch. Colhugh Collette of Olias). Another male was retained, Topaz, and he also completed his Junior Warrant and won a reserve CC. His sister Tosca went back to the Stonebar kennel.
I had plans to breed Lara for a third time, to Ch Waycross Rockafella of Zackaville. This would have been a line breeding as his dam Ch. Waycross Roksana ( a Crufts hound group winner) was a full sister to Lara’s sire Nikolenka. Sadly only a dead litter resulted and shortly afterwards Lara succumbed to kidney failure. I was then left with just two males, but luckily Gina allowed me to have Tosca back and I mated her to Rockafella. Just two puppies arrived by Caesarean, and I kept another male, Rhett, who again won his Junior Warrant and became a successful stud dog.
Gina and I had long planned to linebreed Tosca to Ch. Stonebar Sebastian, whose dam was Lara’s full sister, but sadly the pair had other ideas. On the spur of the moment I mated Tosca to Byron instead. This was a half brother/sister mating doubling up on Lara. Four bitches were born and my pick was Laura, a wonderful character so like her sire. When she was 10 months old, I made a big mistake by selling her to Ann Tomlinson of the Yadasar kennel. I went on to mate Tosca to a Sebastian son, Ch. Rae Rembrandt, and this mating produced my second champion, Czardas.
Meanwhile Laura completed her Junior Warrant and won a reserve CC for the Yadasar kennel, then produced a litter of six sired by Olias King Crimson of Stonebar, another Sebastian son. Orlando, Odette and Oprah all gained their titles and Odell won a CC. Orlando became the first champion for Sue and Gary Peskett (Labinska). Sadly he died young and was only used twice at stud, but mated to Lorraine Marchant’s Ch. Olias Miesque at Starborough he produced the famous Ch. Starborough Gorse at Redbanner, owned by Julie Stevens-Smith. Odell became the foundation bitch for the Aberglyn kennel of Alma and Don Braybrook and Oprah became the first champion for Gay Slater of the Russkaya kennel, but sadly she was never bred from.
Odette came back to me and when she was 7 months old, I had the most enormous stroke of luck when Ann Tomlinson allowed me to have Laura back. She gained her title aged 6 years in 1994 to become my third champion and Odette completed her title aged 7 years in 1997, having also gained her Junior Warrant.
In 1992 Laura and Odette had litters within six days of each other, the only time I have ever had two litters together. Laura was outcrossed to the self brindle Ch. Sholwood Striking Midnight at Datcha, bred by Richard Duckworth and owned by Ingrid Knieschke. This dog was a grandson of Richard’s imported bitch, Ch. & Am. Ch. Stillwater Virginia Reel, and I had long been an admirer of these American bloodlines. From this litter I kept an exquisite self red bitch who became Ch. Maeve, one of the best I have produced. Sadly she did not enjoy showing so was another who did not complete her title until 7 years of age, winning 9 reserve CCs en route! I never coursed her competitively but she was death to any small animal which appeared on our ground. Also successful from this litter was Minstrel who won a CC and 4 reserves. Marya, who went to the Stonebar kennel, was only shown four times but won a reserve CC and produced four litters for Gina. Maestro was exported to the Nonsuch kennel owned by the Dumke twins in the USA, and sired several champions, but sadly he died fairly young before completing his title.
Odette was linebred to Czardas and my pick was Orion. He had a good show career winning a CC and 5 reserves, but sadly his title eluded him. He had no interest in bitches, but his litter sister Odessa had been sold to the Jolanda kennel owned by Julia Clarke, and she was mated to Sue Carter’s Ch. Rothesby Saker. This dog was another grandson of Virginia Reel and I had planned to use him on Odette, but decided to buy a male from Julia’s litter instead. This pup turned out to be a wise purchase as he became Ch. Jolanda Ivanhoe of R. J.W., my sixth champion. He also achieved two hound group 2 placings and was a successful stud dog, with champion progeny to his credit.
Gina Rose brought Marya to Ivanhoe for her first litter. This mating doubled up on both Laura and the American Stillwater lines. I acquired a white/brindle bitch, Stonebar Simone of R., winner of 1 CC, a reserve CC and her Junior Warrant.
I next mated Maeve to her nephew, Laura’s grandson Ch. Starborough Gorse at Redbanner. This was successful at the second attempt and I kept a bitch, Giselle, another who gained her title late aged 7 years. Her brother Gideon was sold and made a promising start to his show career, but tragically he was killed by a Staffordshire bull terrier when only 16 months old.
Partly because of this sad accident, I repeated the mating, the first time I have ever done this. It was a disaster. Initially all seemed well, although the eight pups were slow to gain weight and we began to supplement some of them. Maeve appeared perfectly well for eight days and then suddenly collapsed and died of toxic shock. We did manage to rear the litter successfully and I kept a self red bitch, Eve, but she was only lightly shown and never bred from.
Next in the whelping box was Giselle. She was linebred to Ivanhoe, and I kept two pups. Imogen won her first CC aged 19 months, then took 6 reserves before completing her title just before her sixth birthday. Igor was a big dog who made a promising start to his show career, but was then hampered by injury and illness.
My failure to obtain any pups from Ivanhoe’s other daughter Simone was a big disappointment. I therefore took advantage of the introduction of the Pet Passport scheme to import Rassim’s Diaghilev at Ryazan, ex Simone’s litter sister Ger. Ch. Stonebar Sancara, owned by Volker and Marina Niekamp. His sire was Am. Ch. Teine Windmaster of Foxwood, so in this way a new American line was introduced into this country. Diaghilev won 2 CCs and 2 reserves before his show career was cut short by injury. Like his parents he was an excellent lure courser, which reawakened my interest in this sport.
Some months before Diaghilev’s arrival, Giselle was mated to Sue Carter’s Ch. Rothesby Seahawk, going back again to the American Stillwater line. A litter of ten resulted and again I kept two. Heather turned out to be one of the best I have produced so far. She won 9 CCs with 6 BOBs and was Top Borzoi bitch in the UK in 2008. Haydn won 3 reserve CCs. Also successful from the litter were Hugo, with a CC and 4 reserves, and Hussar, a reserve CC winner.
I finally managed to get a litter from Imogen shortly after she gained her title. She was mated to Julie Stevens-Smith’s Ch. Redbanner Representative, which was a linebreeding on Ch. Starborough Gorse at Redbanner. Trying hard to keep numbers down, I only kept a dog and allowed the pick bitch Natasha to go to Dee Roth-Brown in partnership. Sadly the dog did not make the grade and on the day I decided he should go to a pet home, Dee offered to let me have Natasha back. This was the third time such luck had befallen me and needless to say I quickly accepted. Natasha settled in as though she had never been away. Now retired from the ring, she has 13 CCs with 5 BOBs and was Top Borzoi here in 2010 & 2011. She is another excellent lure courser and holds her Lure Courser of Merit title, only the third Borzoi to win this award and the first champion.
Next I bred a litter from Diaghilev and Heather, eight self reds! I kept a dog, Dante and his sister Danielle again went to Dee in partnership. Danielle has gained her title and Dante won couple of reserve CCs. Several others in the litter have been shown successfully, in England, Scotland, Denmark and Estonia.
Heather was then linebred to her nephew, Sue Carter’s Ch. Rothesby Sholwood Snow Hawk, a Crufts group winner. Just three dog puppies resulted when I was desperate for a bitch! The self gold Anton was retained and is enjoying a very successful show career. He won his first CC & BOB at Crufts 2013, aged just 2 years, with Natasha taking the bitch CC and her daughter Portia winning best puppy. Anton quickly completed his title and then repeated his Crufts win in 2014, taking the CC there again in 2016. He now has 12 CCs with 8 BOBs, a Group 3 and also 14 reserve CCs. In 2014 he was Top Borzoi and Ryazan was Top Breeder. His brother Andre has been very lightly shown by owner Christine Spencer but also gained his title, aged 7.
Natasha produced our P litter of eight to Sue Carter’s unshown import Borzowski’s Perfect Stranger. He is a mixture of American and Swedish bloodlines and is also a grandson of Ch. Rothesby Seahawk. Our Portia enjoyed a successful show career, winning a CC and a reserve before sustaining an injury. Palantroika sadly died young but had already taken a CC and a group place. Phoenix has won 2 CCs for owner Joyce Bell and Anthea Eardley's Perdita has 2 CCs and 5 reserves. Other siblings have been winning in Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Natasha and Anton were then mated to produce our J litter, from which Juliet has been retained. Both parents are sixth generation homebred in an unbroken line of a dual CC winning dog (Byron) followed by five champions. Juliet has now extended this champion line by another generation, gaining her title at just over 2 years old to become our youngest ever champion. Sister Julianna won the CC at Crufts in 2018 for owner Marilyn Dollan and now has a second CC and also a reserve. Their brother Joshua, owned by Julie and Graham Smith, is another CC and reserve CC winner.
Our next mating of Phoenix to Ch. Danielle produced just one puppy, Katalinka, owned in partnership with Dee Roth-Brown. Katalinka also gained her title at just over 2 years of age and then we sadly lost her following a gastric torsion, a great blow to our future breeding plans.
Our most recent breeding produced our 'F' litter of ten from Juliet, sired by Alma Abrahams' Hungarian import Go Go Bolshoi Sundance Kid to Jamarqui. Firestorm has been retained and is already a CC and reserve CC winner. Several of his siblings are also being shown successfully; to date two of his sisters are reserve CC winners.
We hope to
continue the winning line a little further before age
takes its toll!