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(Author - S.Tillotson)
first pubished in the 1996 UK Afghan Hound Year Book

Jillian Knight-Messenger (Abkas) suggested Bletchingley for this years article for the UK Afghan Hound Year Book as she believes that the full extent of this kennels influence has not been adequately documented in the past. This turned out to be an excellent suggestion, and I hope in these brief notes to explain more fully the tremendous impact this kennel has had on the breed both here in the UK and world-wide. You may also wish to read the 1978 year book where Peggy Riley wrote about Bletchingley in the regular feature "A Glimpse Into The Past".

Mrs Peggy Riley (Bletchingley) started in Afghans by giving a home to the bitch Ravelly Badrea, owned by Mr Reg Floyd (Ravelly) whilst also looking after, and handling, Mr Floyd's dog Rana of Chaman. (For the archivists amongst you - Ravelly Badrea was bred by Mr L Hamilton and originally registered as Chessington Dolores). Ownership of Badrea was transferred to Mrs Riley in 1941. Rana of Chaman was exported to the USA and Mrs Riley purchased in 1942 Rana's litter sister (who had already produced two litters) Shiba of Chaman. In 1944 the first Bletchingley litter (Ch Garrymhor Faiz-Bu-Hassid x Badrea) was born and a bitch from this litter (Buko Of Bletchingley) owned by Mrs Clarke produced Ch Rajah Bey Of Ravelly. A good start!

This good start was followed by an impressive record of success; 13 UK Champions carry the Bletchingley affix, 9 other UK Champions were bred from Bletchingley stock, 21 Bletchingley hounds gained a stud book number. Mrs Riley must have owned Crufts - Bletchingley Zara won the bitch CC in 1948/52/53, twice BOB, Tribesman (photo right) the dog CC in 1951, Hillsman dog CC in 1955 and BOB, Talookdar dog CC in 1957, Ragman dog CC and Group in 1961, Zelda the bitch CC in 63/64. Bletchingley siblings also won CC's at Crufts - El Kabul 1958, Carloway 1960, and Bondor in 1967.

The influences of Bletchingley on UK bloodlines is equally impressive; Khorrassan, four champions sired by a Bletchingley Tajomeer son. Carloway, three champions with a Bletchingley parent. Bletchingley Berberine was the foundation bitch of the Khanabads. Bletchingley Sarhang was the foundation dog of the Isfahans. Bletchingley Barzara of Carloway sired the foundation bitch (Fantasia of Carloway) of the Davlens. Bletchingley Zuleika. was dam of one of the foundation Bondor's (Bondor Lezah, bred by Mr J Dando). Kalibikhans foundation bitch had Bletchingley parents and produced two champions in her first two litters. Jagai kennels started with Bletchingley stock. Bletchingley Spokesman of Jagai sired the first Amudarya litter which included Sahri of Amudarya (owned by the Jagai kennel). Sahri produced two Jagai champions in her first litter and two more in her second litter. One of these champions (Ch Amudarya Sahri-Tu of Jagai) is the grand-dam of Ch Amudarya Shalar who produced 23 UK champions. The leading kennels from the mid 40's to well into the mid 70's used Bletchingley bloodlines and these included Khorrassan, Carloway, Netheroyd and Horningsea - perhaps its more a question of who didn't breed from Bletchingley! Champions bred from Bletchingley stock spanned an era of 25 years and this longevity is another measure of their influence on the breed.

The Bletchingley influence overseas is equally impressive. Lets start with Australia and a quote from someone who knows - Barbara Skilton (Devilkin/UK, Eltazzi/AUS) who emigrated from England to Australia in 1954. Mrs Skilton stated in an interview in the Australian Afghan Year Book in 1990 that "Devilkin Datoobhos sired by Eng Ch Bletchingley Tajomeer ultimately became the foundation dam of Australian Afghans post-war". In 1974 Lyn Schelling-Watson (Shaaltarah/UK and AUS) imported Am Ch Cahari of Scheherezade (dam was Bletchingley Sahari of Scheherezade, who is also grandam on the sire side of the pedigree) in whelp to the UK. The litter, registered in March 1975 included Furbari Foreign Affair and Shaaltarah Black N Tantrum, both of which were subsequently exported to Australia. Furbari Foreign Affair produced 28 Australian champions. Shaaltarah Black N Tantrum is behind several generations of Australian Champions. Bletchlingley Bogeyman and Bletchingley Nicola were exported to Australia, both became Australian champions and produced a number of litters.

Bletchingley was also influential in Europe; Bletchingley Houndsman was exported to Sweden where he sired many champions and also became Dog Of The Year in 1961. Bletchingley Sahari of Scheherezade and Bletchingley Zelda appear in the five generation pedigree of the Punapaulan "O" litter whelped in 1986. Bletchingley Shebie was exported to Germany and is behind several generations of Vom Schneeferner breeding. One of the offspring was mated with German Champion Khorrassan Red Opal who also carries Bletchingley Tajomeer bloodlines.

As is clearly apparent by now, Bletchingley is very influential by virtue of the kennels impact in the UK and its exports overseas, particularly to Australia. This influence was extended further in North America, Australia and Scandinavia by Col W Pede's Scheherezade Afghans. Col Pede was stationed with the USAF at Essex in the 50's and he and his wife Kay became interested in Afghans. To quote Col Pede (Our Afghans c. 1972) "We started with stock that represented years and years of careful and selective breeding by some very knowledgeable breeders". Col Pede started with Bletchingley Ragman of Scheherezade - and won the group at Crufts in 1961. Col Pede then returned to the USA taking several of his Bletchingley lineage Afghans with him. Scheherezade lines exist in pedigrees the length and breadth of North America, a countless number of US champions are descended from these lines. As evidence of this influence we only have to look at the pedigrees of the Afghans that have won the National Afghan Speciality run by the Afghan Hound Club of America. Between 1971 and 1996, 14 winners of the National had Scheherezade, (and therefore Bletchingley) lines in their pedigree. In two cases these lines were close up within the first two generations, generally though they exist around the 5/6th generation. Am Ch Pahlavi Putting On The Ritz carries these lines and we are all familiar with the world-wide significance of this famous hound.

(Photo left - Peggy Riley with B Marguerite, B Kentish Pride, B Sita) It's not always appreciated just how global the breed is. Here's a couple of stories, of course they involve the Bletchingley lines. Earlier we mentioned the import of Cahari of Scheherezade from the USA to the UK whilst in whelp, with siblings subsequently exported to Australia. Several years later a second generation bitch from the USA-UK-AUST import, Shaaltarah Hot Pants was exported to Canada where she became a Champion. Subsequently she was mated with a dog who's pedigree also contained Scheherezade lines. One of this litter, Chandhara's Havisa Shaltravel at Shumllea was imported into the UK. So these bloodline have travelled - America to England to Australia, to Canada to England. Another example is the Kazah lines of Marie Howitt who emigrated from England to New Zealand, then onto Australia and then returning to England a few years ago, When she returned to England she brought several hounds with her, including the dog Kazah Izanizh. His pedigree has many Bletchingley lines via - Bletchingley Bogeyman UK export to Australia, Tully's Apollo of Chantrey US export to Australia, NZ Ch Sahib of Rabiouw Wahad UK export to Australia, Davlen Piaffe UK export to Australia, Walliwog of Carloway UK export to Australia, Myasht Emissary UK export to Australia. Its a small world!

The influence of Bletchingley continues via Peggy and Bill Riley's participation in the 1946 breed standards committee. Margaret Niblock's book lists Mrs Riley as a member of the Standard sub-committee, and Charles Harrison's book states that Mr Riley was the Chairman. This standard became the forerunner of the modern Afghan Standards. Truly an influential kennel...

Steve Tillotson December 1996

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