KANDAHAR (BELL-MURRAY) UK,
(Author Lyall Payne, October 2017)
He was born at Cove, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Scotland on 17 April 1924. There would be only one further litter bred by Major Bell-Murray, in July the same year, before he would transfer all future breeding hounds to Miss Jean Cunningham Manson.
Miss Manson registered the kennel name ‘of Cove’. All hounds bred by her from June 1926 until the end of 1927 carried the affix, whereas all those bred earlier carried no suffix unless it was added by those who purchased dogs Graham Bell-Murray had bred.
Possibly as the kennels had moved in 1928 to Bryntirion Hall in North Wales, these final litters bred by Miss Manson (in 1928 and 1929) carried no prefix or suffix (unless others added their own).
Kandahar was just 18 months old when the picture below was taken. Already, he has that “Worldly wise, haughty appearance” so recognisable in the breed.
Kandahar, Kennel Club Show, London, October 1925
Kandahar was a litter mate to Taj Mahip, Miss Evelyn Denyer’s Ch Taj Mahip of Kaf. Their sire was Khym (bred in England out of the Afghan imports Baluch and Ch Ranee). Khym’s brother Bhaloo is remembered for his exported offspring, Begum of Cove to Hans Jungeling in Holland, Kasi of Cove to the Swedish born American actress Sigrid Holmquist who retired to Sydney, Australia and Rajah Secundus of Cove to Mrs Liese-Terstall also of The Netherlands
Left to Right - Ch Taj Mahip of Kaf, Begum of Cove, Kasi of Cove, Rajah Secundus Of Cove
Kandahar’s dam was Daghai. Brindle like her famous litter brother the breed’s first Champion, Eng Ch Buckmal, out of the two Afghan imports Ooty and the brindle Pushum.
So it’s not surprising that Kandahar, being excess to local breeding requirements, was available (along with his grandsire Ooty) and variably reported up to a dozen Bell-Murray hounds to bolster the number of Bell-Murray hounds already exported to the United States.
So, on 12 June 1926 Kandahar and Jean Manson (along with a number of other dogs) set sail from London, England and stepped ashore in New York, USA 10 days later. When Jean Manson sailed she was booked to return four weeks later on the SS Majestic.
Something went wrong.
Various stories exist. Dorothy Brooks (the former Dorothy Edith Bell-Murray, daughter of Maj Bell-Murray) claimed that one dog jumped overboard en route to the USA, others claim that distemper took the lives of several more on arrival, and at least one newspaper reported that just six arrived in New York.
What we know for sure is that Kandadar survived and that Miss Manson returned to England not four weeks later but on the SS Minnekahda on 26 October 1926, some four months later.
Jean took Kandahar along to the Great Sesquicentennial Show, held to commemorate 150 years of independence from Britain. It was a vast event, attended by over 10 million visitors. However, this was still not sufficient to prevent the event from going bankrupt. So huge were expectations that the First Bridge, now known as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, was built across the Delaware River, in anticipation of the crowds coming to Philadelphia from Camden, New Jersey.
It was at this exhibition that Peter Arrell Browne Widener II purchased Kandahar from Miss Manson. The Wideners were among Philadelphia’s richest families. PAB’s grandfather (also PAB) was a butcher by trade and had made the family fortune selling mutton to Union troops during the American Civil War.
Kandahar and owner Mrs Widener 1928
He also built Lynnewood Hall at Elkins Park. PAB II’s wife (Gertrude Douglas) is pictured above with Kandahar and her young son PAB Widener III (1925-1999). Gertrude followed the family interest in racehorses (they were long associated with Belmont Park and built Hialeah Racetrack in Florida).
Gertrude bred ‘Polynesian’, sire of the World famous stallion ‘Native Dancer’. Her daughter Ella, bred his son the influential ‘Raise A Native’. Gertrude’s son, young PAB III is also shown in this pic with Kandahar.
At the time Kandahar went to live at the 110 roomed Georgian mansion known as Lynnewood, PAB IIs father, Joseph was still alive and in residence in the main house. He was a keen breeder and exhibitor of German Shepherds and built vast kennels. The now disused stables (the Hall and stables were built just before 1900) were converted (in 1925) into a residence for PAB II, his wife Gertrude, son PAB III and daughter Ella. It is here that Kandahar reputedly lived a life of luxury!
Kandahar was exhibited at Westminster Kennel Club show in New York in February 1928. The breed Judge was Alfred Delmont, of Wynnewood, Pa. There were a total of 5 Afghan Hounds entered. Exhibits 1,2,4,5 were all Bell-Murray, either bred by the Major or Ms Jean Manson or Mrs C Clifford (England)
There are a couple of typo's in the catalogue page above -. "Kandahan" is in fact "Kandahar", and Shahjehan of Larkbearl should be "of Larkbeare". This was only the second year that Afghan hounds were entered at WKC. Shahjehan Of Larkbear went BOB in 1927, The BOB for 1928 was awarded to Kandahar. We notice that "Kandahar" was offered for sale at a price of $1,000 (inflation calculated - that equates to around $13,500 in 2017)
Major Graham Bell Murray 1881-1955 by Lyall Payne, 2014
Bell Murray Afghan hounds Wales by Lyall Payne and Steve Tillotson 2015-
The Dog Of The Mystic East, by Jean Manson, 1929
"The Afghan Hound Is An Ancient Breed" by- Evelyn Denyer,1925
Clara Bowring Larkbeare Afghan Hounds by Steve Tillotson 2012
James and Grace Dignowity's (USA) Steve Tillotson/Lyall Payne 2015
Early Afghan Hounds Page
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