King of the Manchesters
Dogs in Canada, May 1952
By Fred C. Blatch
A WAY back some seventy-three years ago, in 1879 to be
correct, there lived in the little village of Hammond, Ontario, a family
by the name of McLean. Hammond at that time was surrounded by
nothing but bush land, where hunters from the United States used to come
occasionally for their season's sport.
It so happened, in the fall of 1879, an American
doctor came along with his little Black and Tan Terrier to indulge in
some hinting, and, he stayed at the McLeans' home. During his
stay, the doctor became quite attached to the McLean's son, young Fred
C., who was then only fifteen years old; and, as it is only natural for
a lad to do, young Fred took a great fancy to the doctor's little dog.
Perhaps it was the way the boy and the dog got along together than
impressed the doctor so much, because, when he left to return home, the
doctor gave his Black and Tan Terrier to young Fred.
From then on the idea to have more than one of this
fine breed gradually cemented itself in the mind of the boy: so much so,
that years rolled by, and Fred grew up into manhood. It was then
that he decided definitely to go into the business and breed the very
best Black and Tan Terriers on this continent.
Consequently, in the 1880s, when Fred moved to Hull,
Quebec, he put his long thought of ambition into effect, and founded the
now famous "Willowdale" Kennels of Manchesters. Not content with
what he could find around the continent of America, Fred C. started
importing the best of the breed money could buy from England, the land
of their origin. He brought over the very cream of the breed with
which to stock his kennels. Such fine specimens as "Ch.
Ringmaster", and numerous others were brought over at no little expense
to improve the breed on this side of the "Herring Pond".
Fred McLean's efforts went to such an extent that one
day, when discussing the possibility of securing some more from England,
Charlie Holgate, the outstanding English Judge, said to him, "Fred,
you've milked the Old Country dry, now you'll have to do something about
it on this side!"
Then came the big fire in Hull, in 1900, which
practically wiped out the whole city. This holocaust was of such
gigantic proportions that all the Ottawa, Hull and District Fire
Departments could not copy with it; and it was a case of every man for
himself. "Dad" McLean, as he is affectionately known among his
friends today, would rather forget about it. On the other hand,
his son M.C. (Mac) McLean, now his father's right-hand man and today a
well known breeder of the finest Toy Manchester Terriers on the
continent, although he was only five years old at the time, cannot help
but be amused at the picture that presented itself. And what
child's mind would not be impressed at such a spectacle for the rest of
its life? Then, no wonder Mac says, "You should have seen us; my
kid brother in the baby carriage, then Dad took five or six of his best
dogs out of the kennels, put them on chains, fastened them to the baby
carriage, then Dad and Mother took the gang of us away to a place of
safety. Thanks to Dad's sound reasoning we are here to tell the
story today!" Suffice to say "What finer tribute could a son pay
to his Father and Mother?"
However, after the fire the McLeans returned to Hull,
and the few dogs they were able to save formed the nucleus of the
present day "Willowdale Kennels". Undaunted by his loss in the
fire, Mr. McLean immediately made preparations for the re-organization
of his kennels.
In 1901 he gathered around him some of the fanciers of
his breed, and between them they formed the first Manchester Terrier
Club ever to be formed on the American Continent. It was known as
the "Black & Tan Terrier Club of America," of which Mr. Fred C. McLean
was appointed President.
At the time of compiling this true to life story of
the breed, this writer has been very fortunate in securing first-hand
information from Mr. McLean himself and his son Mac, together with news
clippings and the original copy of the "Constitution and By-Laws of the
Black & Tan Terrier Club of America", which is in just as good a state
of preservation as if it had just come off the press, no doubt due to
the fact that it is made up of far superior stock to that of which our
present day publications of a similar nature are made of.
Perhaps it would be as well to cite right here what
appears in this historical little booklet for the benefit of all those
interested in the Manchester Terrier. the booklet is 4" x 5" in
size, with a substantial cover of heavy dark-green stock on which is
emblazoned the crest of the Club in gold, a very fine piece of work.
On Page 1 are the words "Constitution & By-Laws" with the crest, and
underneath that the words "Organized 1901". On page 3 are the
names of the Officers and Executive Committee: --Hon. President, Dr.
H.T. Foote, M.D., New York; President, Fred C. McLean; Vice President,
George G. Mitchell; Secretary-Treasurer, R.J. McGaughey, Pembroke, Ont.l
and the Executive Committee:--Ed. Mack; W.H. Williams; Geo. G. Mitchell;
F.C. McLean and R.J. McGaughey. On pages 5, 6, 7, and 8, are
portraits of Dr. H.T. Foote, Fred C. McLean; Geo. G. Mitchell and R. J.
McGaughey. On page 9 is a picture of the "Belle B. Cup" presented
to the Club for Best in Show, Page 10 shows a picture of the famous
"Manitboa Challenge Bowl", presented by Mr. A.C. Cummings, Winnipeg,
Manitoba, for the Best Medium Weight (17 lbs.) no more and no less.
It is a very magnificent piece of silverware, and is still in the
possession of Mr. F.C. McLean, Hull, Quebec. Pages 11 to 15 are
taken up with the Constitution & Bylaws. Pages 16 and 1 give you
the Standard of the Manchester Terrier as laid down by the C. & T. T.
Club of America, with the scale of points on page 18. Page 19
advertises the "Rochelle Kennels" owned by Dr. H.T. Foote, Box 666, New
Rochelle, N.Y., and shows a picture of "Ch. Brunswick Duchess".
Page 20 advertises "Visto Wonder" AKC. 61406, weight 14 lbs., at stud
owned by the "Belle B. Kennels", owned by R.J. Gaughey, in which he
complains that there have been no visitors to his kennels during the
last year (1900) wither from the continent or from abroad, but that he
still has the invincible "Wellsbourne" (6100) and "Cescous" (6098).
On page 22 F.C. McLean, Hull, Que., offers for stud the famous
"Ringmaster" G.K.C. 4985, 1st Open & Winners, Toronto, 1899; 2nd Open &
Winners, Montreal, 1901; 1st Limit & Winners Pan American, Buffalo,
N.Y., 1901; and 1st Open & Winners, Toronto, 1901.
Incidentally, Mr. McLean's "Ringmaster" sired Mr.
McGaugheys "Wellsbourne". His stud fee in those days was $10. Page
23 is taken up with an advertisement showing the pedigree of
"Wellbourne" and emphasizing that fact that he was sired by Mr. McLean's
imported "Ringmaster". The final page is devoted to "THE FIGHT FOR
SPRATTS", that old reliable dog food company that did so much for dog
shows in the good old days of dogdom.
All in all, it is a very interesting publication--one
that will bring back fond memories to some of the old time fanciers of
this breed; and one that should find a home in the archives of the
Canadian Kennel Club, if and when the McLean family decide to part with
it. Much has been written about the origin of the Manchester
Terrier on the North American continent, but this story taken from
authentic documents, and from the oldest living fancier of the breed,
should settle the discussion once and for all time.
So much for the first Manchester Terrier Club of
America. Now let's get back to the subject of our story, Mr./ Fred
C. McLean, the man who made Manchester Terriers what they are today.
Fred is still negotiating with the leading kennels in England to get the
very best specimen for the improvement of the breed on this side still
The last time "Dad" McLean was at the Westminster Show
was when he celebrated his 84th birthday. in company with his son,
Mac, he said he had a swell time; and just to show his son that he
didn't need an escort, he left Mac with the dogs and returned to Hull on
his own. Even at his great age of 88 years, Mr. McLean rarely
misses a local dog show, and every day, when weather permits, visits his
kennels; which are now located with his son Mac; as he says "Just to see
that everything is going alright!" Yes! You can say that
again--"What a man!"
Mr. James Wilson, in Volume II of The Dog Book
published in 1906, speaks of this grand breed as follows:--
"Canada, particularly the Ottawa district, is the
stronghold of the fancy, and at Chicago good turn-outs of black and tan
terriers may be seen, but it is was not for the support of the
Canadians, New York would have meager displays of this undoubtedly
handsome dog, as can be understood when we state that out of the
seventeen dogs shown at New York this year, 1905, nine were from Canada,
while another Canadian bred was owned at Erie, and these took the lion's
share of the money.
"These Canadian dogs are of better type that those
bred in Chicago district, for there they are getting too much substance
for their size, and with that comes width of front and lack of symmetry
which is essential in this breed. It is this call for symmetry and
also the imperative demand for correct colour and markings. that makes
the black and tan such a difficult dog to turn out with any claim to
Throughout the ensuing years the "Willowdale"
Manchesters have been consistent winners of top honours, and as recently
as last month captured Best of Breed and the Terrier Group at the Ottawa
Championship Shows. This would indicate the McLeans still have
several fine specimens ready to improve somebody's kennels.
It would be impossible to value what Mr. McLean has
done in the interest of the Manchester Terriers, in dollars in cents,
and for the "World of Dogdom" in general, but, it would seem quite safe
to say that when this story becomes public, many fanciers throughout
Canada, America and England will want to send their congratulations to
this grand old gentleman, Mr. Fred C. McLean, the "King" of the
Manchesters", 30 Front Street, Hull, Quebec, Canada.