Shelia Devitt Gilleney
The Great Carloway Kennel
(by Allan Brooks (Bondor) published in Afghan Hounds Australasia 2000)
(Acknowledgement - Wendye Slatyer (Calahorra, Australia and publisher of Afghan Hound Australasia and National Dog) has kindly given her permission
for AHT to re-publish the article "The Great Carloway Kennel by Allan Brooks (Bondor)" published in Afghan Hounds Australasia 2000 edition)
Carloway, the name known to everyone associated with Afghans the world over. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that, for most of us in the breed, the Carloway kennel has become a living legend: a prefix never to be forgotten, and now well established as the backbone of a great deal of English breeding
To write a details account about the history of this distinguished kennel would fill a book. With the help of Sheila Devitt-Gilleney - to whom I must acknowledge my sincere thanks - I have put together just a few of the facts and happenings.
Sheila Devitt-Gilleney started in Afghans in 1945. Carloway was already registered in 1919 by Sheila's mother, who started her daughter off in dogs with Lakeland Terriers. Carloway is the family estate on the west coast of the isle of Loews, Hebrides, part of which still belongs to Sheila.
The first Afghan to enter the kennel was a bitch, Kosthi of Westover, by Turkuman Dammar Pine Tree, with Geufron breeding on the dam's side. She was rather more Bell Murray than Ghazni, but was a very elegant bitch, with the most beautiful temperament. The puppy arrived at 8 weeks of age, and later, at her first show (and Sheila's) she was best bitch and reserve in show (Varieties). Sheila remembers vididly the huge entries in non classified classes. Kosthi was a super mover, and did not require much handling. All the elite were there, it was a good start to go over the cream at your first show !!
The first litter bred from Kosthi was sired by Khoistan Shahudin (sire of Barwala). She had 14 pups and was very ill. Six puppies were kept, a nice bitch was sold to the then famous El Myia kennel in Canada. Sheila later "sorted out" the remainder and realised later that she had kept the worst in the litter , she had selected for herself the only really dark masked golden!. There was a nice self-cream which did some wining, but pick of litter was black and tan Reza Shah Of Carloway. He went to friends (Mrs C Taite) on the condition that Sheila could show him. He won two CC's and a couple of Reserves. He should have been made up and would win today, but it was a very closed shop in those days, and he missed his third because his owners handled him, and had no idea. Shelia tells me she was at the show, and one can imagine the gnashing of teeth! The other dog, who got the CC was Jabari Tango, another black and tan, quite inferior, but magnificently handled. Reza Shah was never shown again.
The Carloways home was based in Surrey, many champions were bred there over the years. Sheila feels in many ways, the dogs she owned that didn't get made up and did as much for the Carloways as those that did, and were in many cases superior. Dil Khan of Carloway dies on the eve of his third birthday. He had to his credit 2 CC's and a Reserve. Dil was by Jalalabad Barwala of Carloway. His sister was the dam of Ch Yussef of Carloway. Possibly most of all, Barwala himself should have been made up. I quote from Sheila's letter - "Barwala really was the most willing dog and I could not believe my luck in gettig him. When I collected him from the kennels, I knew he was sick, but I just had to have him. He did recover from the virus, but you can imagine the anguish I suffered. He was left with Chorea, which did eventually disappear. It was only shortly after his recovery that he slipped a disc and was immobile for a week or two, and he never became sound again. Imagine my heart-break - I took him to Crufts, or was it the AHA? I can't remember, but not for competition, of course. He caused tremendous interest. He was not a big dog, but he had "type" in extremes, and possibly one of the most perfect heads, almost black eyes with all the etching and moulding on his face that made artists and photographers want to paint or take him. He had a huge coat, huge feet, and a very shor, back, low set perfect ring tail, and of course he had super breeding behind him. Both his sire and grandsire were great dogs(Kohistan Shahudin and Int Ch Vendas Tashdown). The latter one I can see today, moving round the ring at 8 years of age, with the movement that I find so hard to describe, but he had it!"
Barwala probably had a bigger influence on the breed than any other - there are not many Afghans today that do not carry his blood, in spite of the fact that he was not used a great deal at stud, and would not tolerate any inteference. However, his first bitch was the greatest "Star of the Day", I don't know how many CC's she won, but she was the reigning queen, and of course, everybody was hoping that she would be mated to their own Cnampion dog. Imagine my joy when Peggy Riley sent her to Barwala - his first bitch, Bletchingley Zara - luckily no problem; it was love at first sight! So it just went on from there, producing Bletchingley Hillsman and my own pick of the litter Barzara Of Carloway, who is the sire of Ch Muphytt of Carloway and so like him.
The other, of course was Watsatari of Carloway. He only had 2 CC's and some Reserves and he really was the "best". A real Afghan, he would have taken on any snow leopard, and you could shoot a gun within inches of him. My nephews and nieces learned tol walk beside him and at 14 years he could clear a 6ft fence. But he hated shows; he would handle but no-one ever saw him move as freely as he could. He was a difficult stud, but sired in his few litters several champions, and the Yaz litter of winner producing bitches!!.
I asked Sheila what was her greatest thrill in the showring. Her reply - "It was always a thrill, win or lose, you had to celebrate or drown your sorrows. I remember more the occasions when I didn't win, but overall the greatest satisfaction to me was the Puppy classes. You have bred it, reared it, and you know that its good - BUT? It wins the Puppy class at Crufts quite a few times. The last time with Gunga Din, by Watsatasri x Crown Crest Zardeeka (her last litter). Gunga Din went to France, and , I believe has had quite an influence on the breed out there".
Another big win remembered by Sheila was at the Windsor Championship show 1959 - no classes for Afghans. So she had to enter Khymn in an A/V Non Clasified Dog which he won and Muphytt in A/V Bitch which she won, and was allowed to go into the Hound Group. It must have rained or something as they held the Group in a marquee - not much chance for an Afghan! Sheila's comments on Muphytt -
"She was another character, I didn't show her until she was well over 2, I thought she was on the small side. Peggy Riley came to see her and said nonsense, try, so I did. She got Reserve CC her first time out - the CC next time and wasn't beaten often.
She was the soundest little Afghan; extremely difficult to fault in conformation, and had possibly the most perfect shoulder. She was very feminine and so very glamorous with a great, heavy coat that hung like a curtain - she was a little madam, looked after herself. Ali-Bey inherited her glamour and was not unlike her. Zog her grandsire was the same - another with CC's and BOB at Crufts, 1952. He was pipped for his third ticket by his son Yussef from Junior at the LKA in 1953":
It is difficult for Sheila to say which litter gave her the most success. Ch Jil and Ch Jinga were both from the same litter, as were Ali-Bey and Azura. She feels the bitches that produced the stock are really the most important, and in particular the Yaz litter, by Watsatari. Yazeena of Carloway produced my own first two champions, Bondor Serenade and Can Ch Bondor Concerto. There are Ilexis and Istria and Indira, the dam of Int Ch Moonraker of Moonswift bred of course by Diana Bowdler Townsend. On the Bondor wesbsite, Alan wrote about Yazeena on his Bondor website - "Yazeena of Carloway", did not enjoy the showring. In fact that was putting it mildly ! Yazeena flat out refused to show or even move when she was out of her natural environment. At home though, she was content and relaxed. She was destined to make her mark outside of the ring rather than in it. The search began for a suitable stud dog, and after much consideration, Sheila Devitt again came to the fore. At the time, she had brought in the import " Wazir of Desertaire", and both Allan and Eric were captivated when they saw him at his first UK show. The temperament and showmanship were exactly what Yazeena required. Despite what many people will tell you about Allan and his attitude toward imports, he was one of the first to use one !"
Yazeena Of Carloway
They are behind most of the winning stock, including many of the Horningsea greats, bred by the late Marna Dods. The Carloways were a pretty big kennel, as Sheila never parted with any adults, she kept all the "oldies" and, with the puppies, she often had around the 40 mark at one time in her kennels.
Apart from the Afghans, there were Long Haired Standard and Miniature Dachshunds, the Lakelands, a few miniature and toy Poodles, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Cockers and also a Great Dane from Bill Siggers. What a wealth of canine experience!!.
Sheila had enquiries for Afghans from every part of the globe, and there are not many countries that she has not exported to. I know of Carloway champions in India, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, Europe and Australia
Wazir of Desertaire came into England in 1961, the first import from the States, proudly brought into this country by Sheila Devitt. Her impressions of him are, and I quote - "Wazir was widely used at stud, he was a well grown dog, with a most outgoing temperament. He was a delight to show, and really loved it, and was quite sensational in this respect. I think he did more to make Afghans popular than many others. He also transferred his temperament to his stock, and in this respect was a great asset to the rather introvert characters that we were used to! Wazir had a BOB at Crufts in 1962".
Sheila Devitt, Carloway Afghan hounds by Steve Tilotson 2017
Rifka Afghan hounds by Claire Race 1969
Jalalabad Barwala Of Carloway Article, S Tillotson 1994/5/2014
The Great Carloway Kennel by Allan Brooks 2000
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