When we moved up to our own house at Irton, out of the village, we had the opportunity to have a dog of our own. We wanted a terrier that was small and hardy but also one that would be able to keep up with us on long fell walks (we were both a lot fitter in those days!) and after a bit of research chose a Border. What attracted us was the description of a tough friendly little terrier whose coat didn’t need too much attention. Finding one was a little more difficult but eventually a litter was located and Ben (Irton Benbecula) joined the family. We all had a steep learning curve to climb. Ben was a shy puppy, so it took us some time before he started to behave like a ‘normal’ puppy, but once he was settled in we became a team and he came everywhere with us.
In the meantime a friend in the village - who also had Borders - was nagging us to start showing. We were a little apprehensive and not that interested but close friends of ours had just acquired a new West Highland White puppy and were also being encouraged to show so we all decided to have a go - we were soon hooked and so started to look about for another Border with more show potential. Again from a local breeder along came Balivanich Boy, Nic was the most cheerful, and the greediest, Border that I have ever known; and though a show-off, we soon realised that he would never be a champion. However, having started showing, we were determined to succeed, and decided that the best way to get good stock was to breed our own - and for that, we needed a bitch with some quality in her pedigree. We found what we were looking for in Lochmaddy Mist at Irton, (Wiz), bred by Val Myers out of a bitch related to Ben, but by the Staveley’s well known Champion Blue Doctor. Not long after this, we had our first tragedy in dogs. Whilst out walking in local woods, Ben and Nic took off after rabbits, never to be seen again - we were heartbroken, and nearly gave up. All clouds have a silver lining, though; hearing of our loss, Mrs Sullivan
( Dandyhow Border Terriers ), offered us a dog pup which combined the fruits of her many years of breeding experience. At first sight of this puppy, it was obvious, even to our novice eyes, that this was a real show dog; This was (Ch) Dandyhow April Fool, Jox’n , who taught us how to show, and what a quality dog was. He was the foundation of the success we have enjoyed, and a main influence in the breeding programme we have pursued since.