ENGLISH SHEPHERDS AND THE STODGHILL FAMILY

Henry Clay [1777-1852, a leading American statesman] brought a pair of Black and Tan English Shepherds from England to the USA at the same time he imported Hereford cattle from England. Henry Clay was a brother to Tom Dromgoole Stodghill's Great-great-grandmother, Mary Humphries [1808-1872]. It was Tom's grandfather who brought a pair of English Shepherds to Texas from Tennessee when Tom' s mother, Ada Gifford Dromgoole Stodghill, was fourteen years old. Further, Tom's Great-great-grandfather, James D. Stodghill, Sr.'s, family had the same dogs in Georgia as far back as 1798. Having used their dogs in the Old World, they knew how valuable the English Shepherd would be here in America protecting their home and livestock.

When the surrounding neighbors saw these dogs at work, it was only natural to try to obtain a breeding pair. It was quite evident that having an English Shepherd was like having a hired-hand, but not having to pay for the expense of one. For example, these dogs would attend all the farmer's livestock by protecting them, bring to the barn at milking time [morning and evening], and, when the children were playing, they kept a close watch for snakes or other varmits. Also, when the children went to the river, lake, or pond to swim, they, too, went along, and, if a mishap occurred, they would jump in and pull the child to safety.

As dogs grew in popularity, men began to see a need to track their breeding program. Therefore, in the late 1800's, two dog registries were organized in America, the American Kennel Club [AKC] and the United Kennel Club [UKC]. Between the two registries, a breeder had the opportunity to register a large number of recognized canines. However, there still were many canines that neither the AKC nor UKC recognized, and the English Shepherd just happened to be one of them. Therefore, within the "Club's" political machinery, if you were an outsider, you had no opportunity to get your breed recognized; you were left out in the cold.

It is interesting to note that Tom D. Stodghill's ancestors bred and worked English Shepherds in America over one-hundred years before the founding of the United Kennel Club in 1898. Eventually, UKC wisely decided to register this fine breed.

Shortly after the new century dawned, Tom D. Stodghill [1903-1989] was born in Mart, Texas, and, as he grew up on the farm, he worked with all types of farm animals - horses, cows, pigs, turkeys, dogs, etc. Not only did he take care of the livestock, he became involved in animal husbandry from every aspect. As with many young men, there is someone who inspired them or has become a mentor to them. In this case, it was his mother's brother, Dr. Edward B. Dromgoole, DVM. His uncle was the local veterinarian-surgeon in Mart, Texas, and Tom spent a great deal of time learning from his uncle's practice - everything from animal surgery to record-keeping. From that time forward, he kept records on all his livestock. He knew which animal was bred to which, and it was not long before people began to take notice of what he had developed. Therefore, he began taking orders for his farm animals, including his English Shepherds.

After Tom married, he wrote articles and ads in newspapers across the country. He had ads in "The Progressive Farmer", "The Cattleman" , etc. He had people coming from all over the United States to interview him, as well as students from Texas A & M. Tom was always busy, taking care of animals, writing, on the phone with his many customers, or publishing his "ARF Cowdog Magazine". As business increased, it was hard for him to keep pace with sales, including English Shepherd pups, so he began to call others that he had sold pups, to find out if they had a surplus that they would like to sell.

At last, when the demand overcame his ability to produce or obtain enough English Shepherd pups, an idea was conceived. He would start a club for English Shepherds that he raised and those he had already sold. By this method, he could create a network of English Shepherd breeders and organize them into state chapters. Therefore, in May of 1950, his son-in-law, Ray Jameson, had a lawyer in Amarillo, Texas, draw up the corporate documents for the English Shepherd Club of America [This was at a time when English Shepherds were being registered by the UKC, but there was no club for the breed.]. Up to that time, Mr. Stodghill was the only individual who actually promoted the English Shepherds in America. Soon after organizing the ESCOA, Mr. Stodghill published the "English Shepherd Club of America Who's Who Breeder Manual" to tie all the English Shepherd breeders into a cohesive unit. He also wrote the English Shepherd Breed Standard and published it in "Dog World" (June 1954-Standards Issue). Next, he tried to get AKC to recognize the English Shepherd as a pure bred dog, but to no avail. One must recognize that in the early 1950's the majority of English Shepherd owners were outsiders to AKC and UKC breeders and their dogs. Today, we are happy that AKC rejected Mr. Stodghill's presentment to register English Shepherds. As we look at some of AKC's dogs today, we see hunting dogs that cannot hunt, St. Bernards that have attacked children, German Shepherds with bad hips, etc. In retrospect, it would have been a tragic mistake if AKC had accepted ESCOA's dogs.

In regards to the development of Stodghill's Black-Tan English Shepherds: In the 1940's, Tom D. Stodghill and Frederick Preston Search, of Carmel Valley, California, Founders of the ESCOA, researched the history of the John McNabb Shepherd of 1885, and the now-almost-extinct English Smithfield [a black, collie-type, dog with white trim, having a natural bob-tail]. They learned that the McNabb and the Smithfield had been crossed with other shepherd-type stockdogs, e.g., the Border Collie, the Australian Shepherd, as well as many other breeds. As Mr. Search continued his study of the McNabb Shepherd, he found that the true McNabb Shepherd was the same dog as the true Black-Tan English Shepherd found in Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia. Therefore, the McNabb Shepherd was never mentioned as being blended into their ESCOA breeding program.

In less than five years, the ESCOA was in turmoil, as there was a division in ideas on how the "Club" would operate. There were those who thought they knew more about running a club/business than Mr. Stodghill. Therefore, individuals influenced by Mr. E. G. Emanuel distanced themselves from the ESCOA by creating their own club. Mr. Stodghill soon learned who his true friends were, and, with their help, he saved a good portion of his members. However, Mr. Emanuel was so bent on taking as many breeders from Mr. Stodghill as possible that he sent individuals to his yearly dog trials in Quinlan, Texas, for the purpose of collecting names for a fee.

Towards the latter years of Mr. Stodhill's life, one of his employees, Rozanne Snitker, literally was writing his members and stealing his data base to create her own English Shepherd Club. When our loyal members told Mr. Stodghill that they had been contacted, and questioned him on the future of the Foundation, he set the record straight. That employee now is gone, and so are her ideas of creating another English Shepherd Club. Yes, the ESCOA and the ARF have been a springboard for at least thirty-plus organizations; however, in time most of these have collapsed due to poor organizational skills, funding, or lack of interest. As a result of those unscrupulous actions, the Animal Research Foundation has been set up to present an entirely different venue for its customers, and to protect it's operations. It now has absorbed all ESCOA records and it's history, as well as various other breeds, into it's registry program.

Mr. Stodghill's life work has been in the development of many breeds and the perfection of existing ones. Today, we are carrying the same tradition into the 21st century. In the near future, we will have information on the many other breeds being recognized by the Animal Research Foundation (ARF).


Copyright Al Walker

If you wish to register your English Shepherd(s) with the ARF, you can contact us by e-mail: stodghills.arf@juno.com Or, you can find us on the World Wide Web at: http://www.animalresearchfoundation.com/



 



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Some ARF registered English Shepherds:

Cook's Old Shep
Hughes' Bud III
Comanche Hill Mona My Pal and Kozar's Molly
Sojourner's Jacob
Red Bank Shooter

Kozar's Omega
Susie Q

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