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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 further.

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 merit."

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.


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