CLIFFORD L B ("DOGGIE") HUBBARD 1913 - 2000
(Article compiled by Steve Tillotson, August 2014)
1. INTRODUCTION (by Steve Tillotson)
I first met Doggie in the late 1980's. I visited him at his home in Wales to discuss purchasing a complete set of KC breed record supplements to aid me in my breed research work. I had looked forward with great excitement and anticipation to meeting the man who wrote the first book on the Afghan hound
As I recall, his small cottage was located on the main road leading into Aberystwyth, I knocked on his front door and he appeared at the side of his cottage and took me back that way into his kitchen, where he offered me a cup of tea and a piece of cake. After the refreshments we moved into his living room, well, not sure there were dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms in Doggie's cottage because seemingly every room was wall-to-wall with books. To the best of my knowledge Doggie didn't have a computer then, or later, so his inventory was recorded in the old fashioned way, plus, he had an encyclopaedic memory and could remember everything about his books and where they were.
I steered the conversation towards the subject of Afghan hounds and learnt that Doggie had visited Mary Amps and met Sirdar so this was of particular interest to me. See below for Doggie's 1998 article where he decribes this meeting and encounter. Doggie mentioned some of his life experiences - walking from London to Bath to get a job, stowaway on a ship, flew planes during WWII etc. See Robert Killick's obituary notes below for further details.
I had purchased Doggie's book - The Afghan handbook, and Doggie kindly autographed and inscribed my copy for me at WELKS Ch dog show a few years later. . Like many other friends of Doggie, I would usually try to make time to stop of at his Bookstore/Tent at dog shows and chat with him. Doggie was a most interesting person, charming, intelligent, knowledgeable and I am honoured to have known him a little bit.
2. SUMMARY BIO (by ARCW Wales) ((Acknowledgement, with thanks to Archives and Records Council Wales (ARCW) )
Clifford Lionel Barry ('Doggie') Hubbard, author and bookseller, was born in Clydach in 1913, but he spent his boyhood years in Aberaeron and Bath. After leaving school he worked for a year in the kennels of the Bath Dog Bureau. He spent a brief period doing heavy manual labour for charities in London and he made an unsuccessful attempt to emigrate by stowing away on board ship, before returning to work with dogs, first at the European Supreme Dog Bureau in Bayswater, then at kennels in Llanarth. Around that time he began to accumulate information on the care, breeding and history of dogs. For a period between 1951 and 1956, he and his family emigrated to Australia, where he was employed in the ordering department of a government printing office. During his stay he loaned his collection of books to the Commonwealth National Library of Australia and, upon his return, to the National Library of Wales for a short time.
During the 1960s Hubbard worked on orders in the book department of Harrods and spent his free time accumulating a substantial collection of his own. In 1972 he established the 'Doggie Hubbard Bookshop', which was situated in Buxton, Derbyshire, then from 1981, in Ponterwyd, Ceredigion. He was an acknowledged expert on antiquarian and other dog books, and his collection comprised many thousands of volumes, both in English and in other languages. His own writings consisted of books on various canine subjects, including the earliest editions of The Observer's Book of Dogs , and articles for journals such as Dog World , Our Dogs and the Kennel Gazette , often using the pseudonym 'Canis'. Some of his early articles were on non-canine subjects, published in the Southampton Star under the pen-name 'Barry Fraser.' He was also editor of the Dog Lover's Library series, based at Grosvenor House in Aberystwyth, during the 1950s and Kennel Editor for the Kensington News . Other activities included travelling to dog shows with his book stall, broadcasting on radio and television, lecturing, serving on the committees of the local Sea Cadets and Aberystwyth Carnival, and participating in a busy family life. He died in June 2000 and was buried at Aberaeron.
3. OBITUARY (by Robert Killick, Our Dogs)
Clifford L B Hubbard affectionately known as ‘Doggie’; to his myriad of friends and devotees throughout the world was arguably the greatest canine bibliographer of all time.
Up until he died aged 84 years in 2000 he continued to collect books entirely on canine subjects, the bulk of his collection of 24,000 volumes which contains the rarest of books is now in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
His towering intellect and knowledge of dogs was exploited by canine historians, writers and editors. He wrote about twenty nine books and edited scores of others and still found time to write innumerable articles for the world’s press. There is little doubt that his expertise backed with extensive research had a profound effect on the thinking of our kennel authorities which had a domino effect on other authorities around the world.
His life was no sinecure, as a scruffy boy of 14 he walked to London from Bath to get work in pet shops and kennels; he worked for Bob Martins, producers of early canine supplementary products; went to sea as a stoker and learnt to fly and served in the RAF.
After the war he worked as a buyer and retailer of rare books for Harrods which started him on his own career as the antiquarian dealer to the world of dogs. In 1976 he opened his own retail book shop in Buxton, Derbyshire and from then on became a familiar figure at the championship dog shows with his mobile shop happy to dispense his knowledge and charm to anyone he thought interested or interesting.
A man of small stature, a cloud of grey hair with a clipped moustache he looked remarkably like Lloyd George and he lived a simple almost austere life. A modest man who never believed he had contributed anything to the world took pride in the fact that the National Library would hold his book collection for the rest of time and the fact that he was appointed an honorary member of The Kennel Club. He had a whimsical sense of humour, on occasions when he had to attend official functions he would seriously tell people that his greatest achievement was being the dog show champion conker player.
We’ll never get another one.
4.. MY MEETING WITH SIRDAR OF GHAZNI (by CLIFFORD L. B. Hubbard 10th January 1998)
Some 70 odd years ago Major James George Ernet Gaillie M.R.C.V.S. decided to use part of his house as a surgery while his wife had the beautiful bay front altered to become the Bath Dog Bureau, at 35 Gay Street. They already had a kennelmaid, Sheila Rooksby but needed a kennelboy to fetch and carry sacks of "Elestene" for the puppies beds, bales of woodwool for boarding dogs in the kennels of the garden at the back of the famous Jolly's Respository and for certain domestic jobs as a house-boy.
Just then, 1928, Mr Harding the probation Officer at Bath commended me to the Gaillies and I was given my first decent job. A penny ride from Herbert Road and I was on time to open the shop and take the dogs to Queen's Park while Sheila prettified the stock ready for sale. I wasn't really worth my 7/6d a week as I mixed the breeds up, classifying them by colour in my ignorance. Mrs Gaillie had a soft spot for me but James Gaillie as a military man tolerated my mistakes for a month then slapped 5/- in my hand and told me to send off my first instalment for the Kennel Enclylopedia, just published by his friend Major Frank Townend Barton (their horses were shot from under them in the war!). The book was 35/- and a hefty tome for a 14 years old to handle. But study I did and never missed a precious word.
Being an encylopaedic work it embraced its material alphabetically, and surprisingly I surrendered myself to the form, carriage and character of its opening bred the Afghan moreover I was delighted to find that the breed's pioneer was a Bathonion. So on the Sunday following the receit of my precious volume (still with me!) I bravely climbed up Landsdowne to Mrs Mary Amps' house. Our meeting is indeliby stamped upon me; I stood at her garden gate fascinated by the beautiful form pruning her roses.... captivated immediately - then a rush of movement -- and sound from behind a hedge and a magnnificant hound landed inches from me demanding what I wanted standing there spellbound at their gate. Mary Amps then unbent herself, turned, pulled off her floppy hat and gloves and asked "ARE YOU INTERESTED IN MY DOG, DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE IS?" - "Oh yes madam, it's all here in this bid book".
Well, this meant Sirdar and his mistress let me into the house, where I showed Barton's book and dared to invite her comments. These were honest and explicit, and helped me years later when I wrote my The Afghan Hound, for the Dog Lovers Library series of which I was Editor. I recall it was a Sunday for the Bath Dog Bureau was closed and so I was able to get up to Landsdowne. Mrs Amps felt (quite rightly) that I'd never forget the visit and our conversation. I was only 14 years old then but wanted to learn all I could and I think I remember being told I was rather advanced for my age. In any case her kindness and my first glass of sherry warmed me at once to a delightful lady, who it so turned out was already a much liked member of the 20's class of cultured breeders.
Twenty two years later my own book appeared and ran to sevral editions. In it I had the opportunity to publish illustrations of both Mary Amps herself and the great Sirdar Of Ghazni. Even later I was immensely proud to have been able to present a signed copy to H.H Prince Wali Shah, who judged Afghans at the Willesden Show. In conclusion I'd ask breeders to keep their breed the same lively fun Hound it has always been. Friendly and iinquisitive and as jolly as ws Mary Amps herself.
UK Year Book Editor - Doggie Hubbard kindly agreed to write an article in the "Glimpse into the Past" series as soon as L.K.A was over. As some of you may know, he was taken ill on his return from L.K.A. with double pneumonia. He had only just returned from hospital when he wrote the above article on the 10th January. I just hope he recovers sufficiently over the next few weeks so that he can attend Crufts, as is his intention. It just wouldn't be the s ame without Doggie and his book stall.
The UK Afghan Hound Year Book 1997
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History of legacy writings (Steve Tillotson, November 2012)
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