Dr. William Henry Ivens Jr (1912 - 1975)
Ivardon Afghan Hounds (USA)
( by Marianne Elliston and Steve Tillotson February 2018)
1. INTRODUCTION TO BILL IVENS
|Bill was born in Philadelphia on 17th October 1912. He married Miss June Shearer, daughter of|
Mr and Mrs George Bain Shearer of Overbrook in October 1936. Miss Shearer was a graduate
Overbrook High School and of the
Moore institute. They had no children and divorced 6 years later
Afghan Hound history is full of people who played significant roles in the development of the breed.
Many you’ve heard of and many you’ve not.
In this article you will meet a man who was successful
in Afghan Hounds and other breeds who has not received as much recognition as he
In Afghans, his breeding (via Sita of Oakvardon. owned by Joyce Morton) is a significant contributor
in the pedigree of Mahdi Of Grandeur - who
was the dam of Ch Shirknan Of Grandeur who won
BIS at Westminster in 1957.
A particular reason the kennel name of "Ivardon" is perhaps not as well known as one might expect is
the fact that Bill Ivens only put his kennel name
on a few of the hounds he bred. Many of his breeding
carry the owners kennel name (such as Aijalon of Lost Acres) , or no kennel name at all
The 1957 edition of the AHCA newsletter "Afghanews" reports on Mahdi as follows - "Mahdi's pedigree is one of the few today without Rudiki in it. Mahdi has claim to 12 points, all majors. She was bred by Dr William H Ivens Jr., and among her littermates were Ch Mohammed Zahir Shah and Ch Miranne"
A litter-sister of Shirkhan - Kalli of Grandeur, owned by Joan McDonald Brearley (Sahadi) was also a winner at WKC 1957 - Kalli won Open Bitch.
Kalli of Grandeur (Blue Boy x Mahdi)
Bill and his father Dr. William Henry Ivens Sr. both attended the University of
Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. When Bill graduated, he was Senior
Class President, earning himself a photo and an amusing “roast” in their 1934
yearbook ("The Scalpel"). His classmates seem to have found Bill a congenial ‘people person”
as well as a good sport. Here is an extract of that roast as published in the 1934 yearbook:
/Extract begins/ - "This lad was born much the same as everybody else, in the City of the Dead-
Philadelphia. A handsome piece of flesh-he has grown into a stalwart buck, very
attractive to the feminine eye-ask him! Seriously, “Bill” is a quiet fellow, well liked
by all; for instance, he’s our class president. This air of quietness does not
extend to his ties, however; these are quite gaudy bits of silk.
“Bill” has the soul of an artist, the looks of a gigolo and the hair of a Medusa.
Otherwise he closely resembles any other homo-sapien. His brain is of the better
variety, and his average, while not the highest in the class, is sufficiently great to
cause weeping and wailing among the would be erudites.
The ragging “Bill” took during his stay at Penn would have exasperated a Robot,
but not “Bill”. He would always smile and laugh and usually the joke would be on
us at the end. The small animal field will probably embrace “Bill” to its bosom. He
is perfectly equipped to sympathize with dear old maids, so he will no doubt
become a veritable Midas in wealth. - /Extract ends/
Bill's father's obituary tells us that Dr. William Henry Ivens Sr. was a horseman.
(He was a member of the American Saddlebred Association, Vice President of the
Roxborough Gun Club, Vice President of the Saddle Horse Association of Philadelphia
and had been a member of LuLu Temple Mounted Guard......in addition to having
memberships in Masonic organizations). Bill Snr was also probably a large animal
vet but as predicted by his classmates, Bill Jr., with his interest in dogs, became a small animal vet.
In August 1969 Bill and his friend Dr John B Schmidt sold some real estate (six shops and two
apartments. He was involved in letting these out to antique dealers and they had built up an area on
Aquetong Rd on Route 202 which they rented to antique dealers). The real estate sale realised 90,000 dollars
(634.000 dollars in todays value).
2. BILL IVENS AND HIS WORLD OF DOGS
Bill owned land and AKC shows were held on his estate. A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer dated 19 May 1968 reports "Bucks County KC's 27th annual show was a great success with 1732 entries." It also says that the show for the following year, 1969, would be held on the estate of Dr. William Henry Ivens in Doylestown.
Bill Ivens was Vice President of the Delaware Kennel Club in the early 1940s.
He owned a large boarding Kennel named "Holiday House" at his residence on 60 Haverford Road. It appears that he kept his own dogs there as well.
Bill joined the AKC, became a breeder and got a judge's license for multiple breeds. Besides Afghans, he also bred Standard Poodles- his MBIS and BOB Westminster winner - Ch. Ivardon Winter, led the breed in the early 1960s. Bill also won BOB at Westminster 4 years running (1945-1949) with his Samoyed - Ch Martingale Snowbird Taz which he imported from England and his champion Whippets appeared frequently in the breed's show results.
Bill was President of the Poodle Club Of America
and wrote a book (1962) on the history of the breed.
3. BILL IVENS AND HIS AFGHAN HOUNDS
Bill started breeding Afghans about 1945 after he acquired two Oakvardon hounds - Ch.
Oakvardon Charon (Umberto x Sita Of Oakvardon) and Oakvardon
Dera (Fatima's Son Tufan Khan x Barberryhill Dolly).
Charon and Dera came
from the Oakvardon kennel located in California which
was owned by Jack Oakie (actor/comedian) and his wife Venita Vardon (actress/
dancer). Bill named his kennel “Ivardon” which we believe is a combination of
part of his name (IVens) and part of the (oakvARDON) kennel name. The Afghan
database shows that Bill Ivens owned 22 dogs and is listed as breeder of 45.
Dera was bred to the Oakies red dog Oakvardon Banneju (Westmill Razuran x Westmill Natanz) in 1949 and one of the Banneju/Dera pups, named "Adera"
was later bred with Charon and the resultant litter produced Mahdi ("of Grandeur"). Sunny Shay bred Mahdi to Ch Blue Boy Of Grandeur which produced the Westiminster BIS 1957 winner
- Ch. Shirkhan of Grandeur .
Screen grab photo from AHCA 1993 tape
Bill showing Charon's head
(Left) June 29, 1938. Jackie and Venita (Vardon) Oakie with Barberry Hill Dolly and her new puppies
(Right) March 14, 1941 Venita (Vardon) Oakie with Barberry Hill Dolly winning BIS Sahuaro State KC show
Lillian Goodman wrote the following which was published in Our Afghans July 2004 - "Ch. Barberry Hill Dolly - was acquired from the prestige kennels of champions of the actor, Charile Ruggles. Dolly had become the first American Champion bitch in the breed in 1935. She was bred by Baynard Warren, the owner of Barberry Hill Kennels in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts. Mrs Oakie bred Dolly to Hanuman Of Enriallic, also an import (from Ireland) which breeding produced a litter on 8/20/38. Then Dolly was bred to Ch Fatimas's Son Tufan Khan, who was out of two imports - Ch Tufan Of Ainsdart (Morgiana's sire) and Fatima. This litter, whelped 12/31/39, started an unbroken line of brindles, through Oakvarden Dera (a blue brindle) that is behind some of the brindles of Grandeur Kennels, including Ch. Shirkhan Of Grandeur and his dam Mahdi Of Grandeur. Mahdi's litter brother Avenzoar (also a brindle) produced the brindle Ch Ivardon Salome. Dolly is buried on the Grandeur Kennels property in Long Island. Dolly was a multiple Best-In-Show bitch.
As a regular attendee at dog shows Bill likely would have seen and admired the famous Ch. Barberry Hill Dolly on the east coast and he was probably happy to be able to purchase her daughter - Oakvardon Dera for his breeding program.
Bill owned the red brindle bitch Oakvardon Zenobia of Balmor (Oakvardon Charon x Oakvardon Devi-Ja) bred by Mr & Mrs Ayers (Balmor), this breeding involved a half brother-sister sired by Oakvardon's import from India - Ch Umberto. Bill then bred Zenobia to Blue Boy Of Grandeur and the resultant litter of 4 whelped June 1950. (Bill Ivens was the first breeder , after Sunny to use Blue Boy.). Two offspring from this litter carried the Lost Acres Kennel name (Aijalon of Lost Acres and Atarah of Lost Acres). Aijalon eventually became the property of Sunny Shay, (Grandeur) and. Sunny bred her to Ch Shirkhan Of Grandeur in late 1956. A litter of three (Shekar, Babalu and Giulietta of Grandeur) whelped on the 14th of February 1957. (A bit of trivia - It was a remarkable coincidence that this Grandeur litter whelped on the very day that Shirkhan was awarded BIS Westminster).
The acquisition of Aijalon Of Lost Acres by Sunny is interesting, possibly she was interested in obtaining the Indian lines in Aijalon's pedigree? We know that Sunny was an avid collector of bloodlines, and she eventually amassed , probably, the widest collection of bloodlines in her kennel than any other breeder before or since. Sunny first introduced Indian bloodlines (from Fatima) into her breeding program in 1945 when she bred a litter sired by a Fatima grandson - Fatima's Ma Khmal Khan out of her Canadian import bitch Darya El Myia. Via Aijalon, Sunny obtained Indian lineage coming down from the Oakies import "Umberto", as well as obtaining additional lineage back to Fatima. Interestingly Sunny didn't take this Indian line forward, perhaps because she, understandably, focused on Shirkan lines thereafter. Pedigree of this litter is shown below
Bill also acquired a daughter of the great Ch Rudiki of Prides Hill - Rudiki's Mumtaz of Five Mile bred by Marion Foster Florsheim and Bill bred his Mumtaz to Sunny's English import - Ch Turkuman Nissim's Laurel. See the pedigree below,We also note that one from this litter a bitch, Sephar Of Grandeur, became the property of Sunny (perhaps in lieu of a stud fee?)
(A bit of trivia). One of the puppies above was named "Gemze de Lappe" who Bill presumably named after the famous American dancer, choreographer and teacher of the same name? So it would appear that our Bill had an interest the arts.
(Another bit of trivia from the news archives) -The Inquirer reported on 17 Jul 1949 that a Mrs George L Gibbs of Charlotte (near Rochester
NY) visited the kennels of Dr Wiliam Ivens. She obtained her first Afghan hound (Zarkunda of Arthea) back in 1939
and bred a couple of litters. It is interesting (coincidence?) to note that on, or following this visit, Mrs Gibbs became the owner of the
gray brindle bitch - Bakhshish of Peshawer (Oakvardon Charon x Adera) born on 20th May 1949, bred by Bill Ivens. . This is the same
litter that produced Mahdi ("of Grandeur"), Shirkhan's dam. We bet Mrs Gibbs didn't expect to be the owner of such a famous Shirkhan Aunty.
Bill did not usually handle his own Afghans, but he bred some winners. Those who had titles seem to have been shown either by professional handlers or by their owners.
Our research reveals that an Ivardon obedience dog accomplished a very difficult achievement in 1959 when he won a UD title. Ivardon Tufan Khan, shown and trained by Rose Thompson, was one of the earliest Afghan Hounds to do that. Only two other Afghans before him could claim that honor. Not only that, but the obedience statistics in Miller and Gilbert's book, "The Complete Afghan Hound" show that from 1939 through 1974 out of the 406 dogs with titles, only 10 had earned their UDs!
So far we have been unable to find anything in the newspapers about Ivardon Tufan Khan but there was a reference to Bill's Ch. Tamerlane II being shown "without a leash" and we rather suspect
that they were referring to Khan instead.
Huntingdon Valley KC May 1951, (L-R)
Dalilah, Tamerlane II, Turandot with young friends John and Natalie Gribbel.
Very few photos of Bill's dogs have turned up, some references have been made in the newspapers giving us a glimpse of some of his dogs. In May 1951 The Philadelphia Inquirer published a photo entitled "Entrants Ready for June Fete Dog Show". It's caption reads: John Gribbel III and his sister, Natalie, children of Mr and Mrs John Gribbel II of Huntingdon Valley, pictured holding on to three Afghan Hounds which have been entered in the dog show to be held in connection with the June Fete, under the sponsorship of the Huntingdon Valley Kennel Club. The hounds, Dalilah b. 1950 (Blue Boy of Grandeur x Oakvardon Zenobia...not to be confused with Ivardon Dalilah (Avenzoar x Turandot) who was not whelped until 1952....... Ch. Tamerlane II, and his daughter Turandot, are owned by Dr. William H. Ivens Jr. of Ardmore, PA.
Bill Ivens and Ch Riverside Tuck of Pocono
Riverside was the kennel of Chris, Hilda and Joannah (Kench-Owen) Knudsen. A small but very influential kennel. Riverside, via Ch Kandar Of Riverside and Bey Bombay Of Five Mile, provided the foundations for the famous Dureigh kennel. Reigh Abrams (Dureigh) said of Ch Kandar of Riverside - "This litter (Ch Kandar Of Riverside x Ch Bey Bombay Of Five Mile, 17/11/1948) "was the foundation of everything we have today. He was a magnificant animal but he wasn't shown a whole lot. Originally he belonged to Joanna Kench Owen. Later, he belonged to Ethel Robinson. She bought him as a champion. He was a beautiful showman with a gorgeous coat, and he was sound as a dollar." CH Kandar Of Riverside was born 3/5/1942 (Ch Sardar Khan el Kabul Imp UK, x Flo Flo Of Ghazni)
Mrs Lauer Froelich Elcoza Afghan Hounds with Rani El Kabul (Left),
Yusseff of Bandra Ghur (Center), Ch Sardar Khan El Kabul (Right)
The dam of Bill Ivens homebred champion Tamerlane II was Riverside Tuck Of Pocono - (Ch Sardar Khan el Kabul, Imp UK), x Flo Flo Of Ghazni), born 10/10/1943 - this was a repeat breeding of the litter that contained Ch Kandar of Riverside. Tuck's first owners were Chris, Hilda and Johannah (Kench-Owen), the second owner was Bill Ivens. Tuck was bred by Elizabeth Whelan of the Pocono kennel.
Ch Tamerlane II
(Ch Oakvardon Charon x Ch Riverside Tuck Of Pocono)
Ch Tamerlane II 'Tammy'" (Ch Oakvardon Charon x Ch Riverside Tuck Of Pocono) born 27th October 1946 was bred by Bill Ivens. Dr John B Schmidt was the first owner of Ch Tamerlne II. Attentive readers will recognise the name Dr John B Schmidt - we mentioned him earlier in Bill's introduction - he was Bill's business partner. The second owners were George and Betty Skinner (as of 1955, exact date of ownership change not on file).
AHT research has found several reports on Bill's big winner Tamerlane II -
Philadelphia Inquirer 9 April 1950 -" An Afghan Hound in this district is gaining considerable prestige for his breed by consistently winning on the Eastern spring show circuit. Champion Tamerlane II, the lead of Dr. William H. Ivens Jr's string at Haverford, started two weeks ago with the highest a dog can go at a benched show. Tammy the sleek one with the moving style and conformation necessary in an Afghan scored Best in Show at Washington. This was the first time an entry of Dr Ivens ever accomplished such a feat. Over the past weekend at Langley and Tidewater shows in
Virginia, Mary Young piloted Tammy to first place in the hound group.
Naturally we checked up this hound's record and found it quite imposing. In six shows, he was best in show once, winner of three groups; best of breed five times and twice, placed third in Group competition."
The Inquirer also mentioned Bill's brindle bitch Ch Riverside Tuck of Pocono in its Feb 26, 1946 issue - "Ch Riverside Tuck of of Pocono, owned by Dr. William H. Ivens Jr of Ardmore, placed second in an Afghan class."
In 1993 the AHCA put together a Seminar Committee Film preserving old 8mm movies donated by its members. The first was from 1955. It shows Bill Ivens presenting several of his dogs including his elderly champion Charon, who was 15 and almost blind at the time. Following old Charon, Bill shows several other dogs including Tuck and Ch. Tamerlane II, who is shown being gaited for the audience by a woman. Tammy also appears in some dog show footage, likely to have been taken around 1950 when he was on his wining spree mentioned above..
Ch Tamerlane II, screen grab photo from 1993 AHCA Seminar Film and Pedigree
George Butz the kennel/dog columnist for the Philladelphia Inquirer has proven
to be a valuable source for information on Bill and his dogs.
An article from Mr Butz dated 1950 was titled “Some Late Arrivals Boost Afghan Breed”
He writes about some dogs maturing later than others. Giving as an example Sunny Shay’s
black English import, Ch. Turkuman Nissem’s Laurel. Mr Butz informs us that "some dogs
require longer to grow up before they can win in the ring". (AHT Ed note - Sunny made a similar statement
in an article by Roger Rechler entitled “The Afghans of Grandeur - an unpublished interview”, which was published
in the Afghan Hound Review around 2001. The interview between Roger and Sunny actually took place in 1976.
Another example of a late bloomer according to Mr Butz’, was Dr. Ivens’ Ch.
Tamerlane II. Mr Butz called him “the Afghan sensation of 1950”. Seems both
“Kaftan” (nickname for Ch Turkuman Nissims Laurel), and “Tammy”, handled by Mary
Young, took turns defeating each other for BIS at major events of 1950 after
they finally matured. There are numerous announcements of Tammy taking top
honors at dog shows on the east coast. The original Butz article is shown below.
In an article published in June 1958, Mr Butz tells the story of Ch. Ivardon Jokanaan, b. 1954,
called “Jocko”. Bred and owned by Mr and Mrs Sam McGill of Fort Washington, MD. Jocko was sired
by Ch Khyber Kim CD x Ch. Ivardon Salome (by Avenzoar x Ch Turandot). The article says
that he joins two of his litter brothers (Ch. Zambars Jabez, and Ch Zambar's Zachariah)
who got their championships within 10 months as well as his mother Ch Ivardon Salome who had earned her title by the time she
was 11 months old. (Ch Ivardon Salome was paternal grand-dam to Babu Bamn Of Grandeur a foundation
of Lee and Michael Canalizo's Khandahar kennel). The article shows Jocko’s lovely head and the database photo further
down below, shows his lovely conformation.
|IVARDON AFGHAN HOUNDS|
STAR IN FASHION SHOW
A pretty Afghan's picture was published in the Inquirer in Oct 1952.
The caption says that the proceeds from the annual event held at the
Benjamin Franklin Hotel, would benefit the Pennsylvania SPCA.
Incidently another article, published in Sep 1953 by the same paper,
tells the reader that among the dogs participating in the annual fashion
show that year were "Dr William Ivens Afghan Hound champions,
Ivardon Salome and Ivardon Delilah"
In his capacity as a member of the executive
board of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Bill gave a presentation in
March 1947 in which he delivered some helpful hints to those present at the monthly meeting
of the Philadelphia Great Dane Club. on how to deal with an injured dog until the arrival of proper medical help. Following his
presentation which included showing how to bandage a broken leg on a dog, using one of his
Sealyham's as a "victim", Bill moved on to the different topic of Dog Licenses, He urged that
all dogs should be licensed and have their name and owners address along with telephone
number on the plate attached to their collar or harness. (AHT research reveals that the earliest
dog licensing occured in 1446 in Utrecht, Holland and the fee for the license was to be paid in salt.
In the USA, dog licensing appears to have commenced on a state by state basis in the 1880's.
The earliest USA recorded licensing seems to have occured in 1853 as evidenced by a date
stamped on a Corporation of Fredericksburg, Virginia, tag. AHT has learnt that dog tag's are
"collectabes" - the highest price paid for a dog tag on eBay was USD 555.55 in 2002 for a rare,
star shaped Sante Fe, New Mexico 1894 tag.
Bill was also an active campaigner in respect of canine health which included education
to dog fanciers about the treatment of Rabies. In April 1939 he gave a presentation
to the Bulldog Association of Philadelphia entitled "Lets help solve the Rabies problem".
Bill stated his opinion that "Rabies is the greatest single deterrent of a wider ownership
of dogs in this country. It supplies the opponents of the dog with their most forceful
In a presentation at the ninth annual veterinary symposium sponsored
by the Gaines Dog Research Center in December 1959 Bill advocated for
a close relationship between veterinarians and dog breeders. Bill
explained that in understanding the aims of the breeder who strives ever
for improvement of a breed, the veterinarian can be a helpful guide. He
can also do much for the breeds in general by advice that would avoid
the recurrence of hereditary faults and undesirable trends in temperament.
Although we have not found any articles written by Bill on the breed. or found any article or
interviews about him there is a nice anecdote published in the Miller and Gilbert
book "The Complete Afghan Hound" -- "At the Los Angeles Kennel Club’s 1948
show, the “noted judge, Dr. William Ivens Jr“ gave a little girl’s dog, BOW
for a 5 point major. She had come with her pet on a rope and was embarrassed
to go in the ring with all the fancy ones but the steward encouraged her to do so anyway.
Dr. Ivens was quoted as saying - “That hound was fit and strong without too many
ruffles”. The little girl was Ruth ‘Babbi’ Tongren who years later became an Afghan hound
judge and the owner of the famous Ben Ghazi Afghan hound kennel on the east coast.
Five Miles Punjab Ben Ghazi
Owned by Ruth and Robert Tongren
Bill owned an Afghan hound of totally English breeding, a red dog born in 1948 - Ivardon Fazil of Peshawer (Zog Of Carloway x Dali Khan Of Carloway) and there is an interesting story about this hound. The breeder of Fazil is listed by AKC as Dallas E Dodd (Peshewar Afghan hounds, USA). The mating that produced Fazil must have been arranged by Sheila Devitt at her "Carloway" kennels in England, because the sire Zog Of Carloway never left England. The dam of Fazil - Dali Khan Of Carloway was imported by Dallas E Dodd and appears in the AKC stud book as such in June 1953. Fazil's date of birth is stated as May 1952 and he appears in the AKC stud book in June 1954. Oddly, there is no record for Fazil in The Kennel Clubs Breed Record Supplement (BRS). It is also odd that Fazil's birth date (5/52) occured a year before his dam Dali Khan was registered in the AKC stud book. Faizal was also a singleton, he is the only registered offsprting from this particular breeding. That is also unusual because Carloway litters usually had several in the litter, so a singleton would have been unusual. So we have yet to figure out all of the above questions, in the meantime we'll work with the registration details as above - Ivardon Fazil of Peshawer (Zog Of Carloway x Dali Khan Of Carloway). The Inquirer reported the following on 17 May 1953 - "Dr William H Ivens Afghans are winning......The Haverdord fancier's English-bred puppy, Ivardon Fazil picked up three points at the Hartford County (MD) show. Fazil is a daughter of English titlist Zog of Carloway, the hound group victor at London's Crufts Show....After all this excitement and mystery about Ivardon Fazil Of Peshewar it turns out there are no records of any breeding coming down from him.
Pedigree - Ivardon Fazil of Peshawer
Photo of Fazil's dam - Dali Khan Of Carloway
Bill was active in the breed as an Afghan Hound breeder/owner for about 15 years (1939-1954). He was also active as a Judge of Afghans and manyl other breeds. We don't know how long he remained active in these other breeds or how long he was an active judge. We have a news report of him being scheduled to give a talk about Poodles to the New Brunswick Kennel Club in January 1965.
Bill Ivens judging Terriers at LV Kennel Club, May 1961
Bill died on November 11th 1975 at age 63. His obituary which was given to the newspaper by the "closest survivor" his nephew John C. Choate, says Dr. Ivens had retired from his veterinarian practice to his home in Funchal on Madeira Island. (off the coast of Portugal) and that he would be buried there.
Let us end with the beginning - Bill's 1934 roasting in his university's 1934 yearbook included the following prediction -
|"The small animal field will probably embrace “Bill” to its bosom. He is perfectly equipped |
to sympathize with dear old maids, so he will no doubt become a veritable Midas in wealth"
It would appear that his classmates predictions were spot on. Bill was very successful as a small animal veterinarian, presumably keeping the old maids lap dogs happy and healthy, and his veterinary, real estate, and kennel businesses were very successful, and he became a veritable Midas in wealth, able to afford a holiday home, and an eventual retirement destination in Madeira, Portugal. Along the way he made friends with, and competed against, some of the most successful Afghan hound enthusiasts of his era. He was an all rounder dog person, successful at the highest level in multiple breeds.
Marion Foster Florsheim, Five Mile Kennel
Sita of Oakvardon owned by Joyce Morton
Ch Shirknan Of Grandeur
Joanna Kench Owen, Riverside kennel
Elcoza Afghan Hounds
Ch. Turkuman Nissem’s Laurel
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