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Capt W Lewis Renwick (1893 - 1957)
(By Steve Tillotson, October 2017)


Capt. William Lewis Renwick was born in Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales in 1893. His parents were William H Renwick (coal exporter/shipbroker agent) and his mother was Bessie S Renwick. After he left school he worked alongside his father at Cardiff Docks in the shipbroking business. The Renwicks were financially comfortable and could afford to employ 3 servants (governess, cook, and a domestic). He married Enid Lisle Taylor (b 1894) from Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales on March 20 1915 at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London. He fought in WWI as an officer in the Welsh Horse Yeomanry and had a miraculous escape at Gallipoli when the enemy ignited explosives underneath his encampment, He was awarded the British Gold Star Medal in 1915 for his military heroics.

Capt. Renwick had been in interested in dogs from a young age and he bred his first champion, a Whippet, Ch. Watford Glory, when he was still at school in 1906. His kennel affix "Watford" was registered with The Kennel Club in 1908. Upon completion of his military service he was able to pursue his interests in dogdom. He had a large Greyhound Training Kennel at Captford Stadium, and became a successful Greyhound trainer. He also established a large kennel in Romford, Essex , where Afghan hounds were housed. He also exhibited, raced and coursed Afghans as well as handling for other exhibitors. He also judged Afghan hounds and several other breeds at Crufts.

The Capt's first breed was Whippets which he exhibited at Crufts for many years between 1908 - 1950, He did not exhibit at Crufts 1915-1916, 1930-1937 (lived in Australia most of this period), and 1939-1947, In many of these blank years he was at Crufts as a ring steward (1928,1953,1955,1956) stewarding for judges in several breeds including Shih-Tzu's,Tibetan Terriers, Schnauzers, Buhunds, Bearded Collies, Salukis , Irish Wolfhounds and Poodles. He judged Crufts several times - 1914, 1926, 1929, 1938 and judged several breeds including Whippets, Greyhounds, Afghan hounds, Salukis, and Australian Terriers. From 1927 through to the mid 1940's he was Secretary of the Whippet Club. In 1929 he judged the British Empire Whippet Club show that was held within the Crufts show. His cousin Sir John (George) Renwick exhibited Border terriers at Crufts in 1936 and 1937. The Captain was a regular contributor to "Red Rag" a weekly newsletter published by Will Hally (the famous Afghan hound breed columnist) in which the Captain would provide news about Whippet breeders showing, breeding and sales activities.

Whippets were probably the Captain's favourite breed. This is a breed that his parents and other family members were involved in for decades, so we should perhaps mention that history a bit more. The Whippet breed was officially recognized by The Kennel Club in 1891, The early Influential breeders were - Mr. A. Lamotte (Shirley), Mr. H. Bottomley (Manorley), Mr. W.Beara (Willes) and, Mr. W.Lewis Renwick (Watford).

We found a very informative reference book - "The Whippet" authored by Bo Bengtson (Kennel Club Classics, 3rd edition published 2010)., Readers will immediately recognize the name Bo Bengston as he is a renowned Afghan hound and Whippet breeder, judge and historian and he was co-publisher of the Afghan Hound Review . With thanks and acknowledgement to Mr Bengston's work, we have extracted some information from his book about the Captain-

In the "Establishing The Breed" section of Mr Bengston's book he mentions Captain Renwick and explains "that around 1920, the torch for continuing the establishment of the Whippet breed was handed over to two newer breeders, Captain W, Lewis Renwick of the Watford prefix and W. L. Beara with the Willes dogs. Both had been in the breed since the turn of the century, but neither reached their peak in dogs until after 1920. These two strong personalities dominated for the next couple of decades until the outbreak of WWII once again put a halt to most dog activities. Captain Renwick lived in London but came from a northern-England sporting family, famous for race-horses and cattle as well as dogs. Dorothy Whitwell, nee Renwick, owned the successful Seagift kennels of the 1950's; her sister Vandella Williams started the still-famous Toydom Pekingese and their cousin Lional H Renwick introduced the Pharaoh Hound to Britain and also judged Best in Show at Crufts."

Mr Bengston's book provides additional information abut Ch. Watford Glory who we mentioned earlier - "The Captain started with a bitch named Shirley Pride, who was bred from unregistered parents and "on the big side". When she was due to be bred, her young owner was away at school; he advised his father to breed her to "the most expensive stud dog advertised." This turned out to be Ch Manorley Maori at the fee of 2 guinea, and the result of this union was Watford Glory, a champion in 1911 who is at the back of almost all modern pedigrees .It was not until 1920 that the most important of Watford's bitches was acquired. Judging at Crufts that year, Renwick awarded the CC to an almost six-year-old, nearly all-white bitch named Kemmel, who until that date had an undistinguished show record. She was going to have a huge influence on the breed. /snipped/ Mr Bengston continues - Renwick purchased Kemmel after the show and promptly won four of the seven bitch CC's available that year with her. Kemmel's producing record is even more impressive. Bred to three different dogs, one of them her son and another her near blood-brother, her offspring dot the pedigrees of later years with amazing regularity. The most important of these was probably Watford Bon, a small red-and-white dog that did not win high show awards himself but sired several champions, including the all-conquering Ch Watford Brilliant /snipped/ Mr Bengston continues - Brilliant, according to Renwick's advertisements was unbeaten for four years, set a new record by siring six champions, a figure not exceeded in Great Britain until the late 1950's".

Captain. Renwick's Whippet - Ch Kemmel Photo Capt. Renwick's Whippet - Ch Kemme

There were many other Watford champions including the first documented Best in Show Whippet under the modern way of judging this competition. All told, there were eight Watford champions in Britain, but only three of them were hombred, Much of Renwicks influence came through his activites as a respected judge, regular contributor to the dog press, and president of the Whippet Club over a long period. After the war, at the request of The Kennel Club, he chaired the committee that revised the Whippet breed standard.

Another of Captain Renwick's Whippets - Ch Watford Myth Photo Capt. Renwick's Whippet -Watford Myth

In September 1930 the Capt. was headline news in the London newspapers. He wrote an article in which he accused bookmakers and stadium owners of controlling the sport of Greyhound racing, and fixing races by stopping favoured dogs from winning. The London Daily Express newspaper reported that "on purely personal grounds, that the Wimbledon dog racing track authorities had dismissed him from their stadium and caused the Greyhound sensation of the year". In one of his articles the Capt. had explained that it was virtually impossible for trainers to make a living, thus they bet bet bet on the races (which was against the Greyhound Racing Club rules - (a trainer with a dog entered was not allowed to bet on races at that meeting). The Capt. stated that Greyhound racing had ceased to be a sport it was merely a money making enterprise for stadium owners and bookmakers. The National Greyhound Racing Club and the South London Greyhound Racetracks company did not take kindly to the Captain's complaints and the arguments raged for several months.

The Capt. also trained Greyhounds at White City and Clapton stadiums in London. One of his greatest successes there was in defeating the world's champion greyhound, "Mick the Miller" in 1930 with his champion track dog, Buckner Boy. This was the first time Mick was defeated. The best dog ever trained by Capt. Renwick was the Irish-bred "Rotten Row", by Milton Cutlet, which held the world's record for quite a long period. (This dog must not be confused with the English Rotten Row, which won the English Waterloo Cup)

Capt. Renwick's Greyhound Kennel, Clapton Stadium, London 1927 Photo Capt. Renwick's Greyhound Kennel, Clapton Stadium, London 1927

Seperate from his racing kennel, the Captain maintained a variety kennel in Romford, Essex. He owned and exhibited various breeds of dogs with outstanding success. At one time his kennels housed Greyhounds, Whippets, Border collies, Fox terriers, Airedales, Sealyham, Springer spaniels, Pekinese. King Charles spaniels. Bedlington terriers and Afghan hounds. In the last two breeds Capt. Renwick won challenge certificates at Crufts - his entries being Stoneferry Jock and Watford Lou Lou. In addition to breeding dogs Captain Renwick was involved with the training of utility dogs for coursing, racing, shooting and hunting.

The Capt. was honorary show manager of the Cardiff championship show for some years: was chairman of the Afghan Hound Club and Hon. Secretary of the Whippet Club. As a member of numerous breed clubs and a member of the English Kennel Club, he judged many breeds at championship shows including Afghan hounds at Crufts in 1938. Some of the shows he judged included - LKA, Birmingham, Maidstone, Doncaster, Paignton, Truro, Swansea, Carmarthen. At many of these shows he judged as an all-rounder.


Onto Afghan houndst - In 1928 Croxton Smith wrote that the Captain's Afghan hound Watford Lou Lou had won the puppy class at Crufts in 1927 and had also won later in the same year at the Birmingham show. Croxton Smith explained that Lou Lou's outings were restricted because the Capt. was busy managing his College Greyhound Kennels where he had 50 dogs in training. Croxton Smith also stated that the Capt. had produced 90 winners on the track. The Captain's activity in owning or exhibiting Afghan hounds, revolves largely around two hounds -

2.1 (Watford Lou Lou)
Watford Lou Lou (dog) was bred by Mrs Isobel Bradshaw (Wahsdarb) and was part of an important litter that included Lou Lou, Elsa Of Ghazni (important brood bitch for the Westmill kennels), Sada of Ghazni (important brood bitch for Mrs Cannan (Beberbagh), Kymn an important stud dog for the Westmill kennel, and several other kennels, and Seyyid Of Wahsdarb a successful show dog who also eventually became the property of the Westmill kennels. Although some of the litter carry the "Ghazni" affix of Major and Mary Amps, the litter was actually bred by Isobel Bradshaw (Wahsdarb). Lou Lou and Sada of Ghazni both won the reserve CC for their sex at Crufts in 1928.

Phyllis Robson wrote the following in 1929 "Watford Lou Lou the property of Mr. W L Renwick of College Greyhound kennels, near Romford had been raced with other Afghans, She described Lou Lou as a "cream fawn dog by Khan of Ghazni, very handsome with a lot of size and substance and carries a grand coat. He is game but at the same time has a splendid disposition. Lou Lou has been coursed after hares and shows aptitude at this sport, and also goes well after the electric hare and won easily in a race for Afghans at Clapton Stadium".

Watford Lou Lou Photo Watford Lou Lou

Mrs Renwick with Watford Lou Lou Photo Watford Lou Lou

2.2 (Lakki Marwat)
Lakki Marwat (dog) was imported from India by Mrs V Marriott and registered with the KC in 1928. She also imported a bitch - Murghabi, also registered in 1928. Capt. Renwick handled Lakki Marwat in the ring for Mrs Marriott and also kenneled Lakki Marwat at his College kennel in Romford, Essex. It seems probable that the Capt. also kenneled Murghabi for Mrs Mariott?

Lakki Marwat Photo Lakki Marwat

Here's the Crufts 1929 catalogue details for both hounds -

Mrs. V. Marriott. Lakki Marwat. d. Imported. Date of birth, breeder and pedigree unknown. Price Pounds Sterling 100.00
Mrs. V. Marriott. Murghabi. b. Born 18 Jan 1927. Imported breeder and pedigree unknown. Price Pounds Sterling 50.00

Interestingly, in the 1929 Kennel Club Stud book fuller details of Murghabi are given as follows -
Murghabi 1988JJ; Mrs V M Marriott; br E Wilkins; b. 18 Jan 1927 s. unknown; d. Naurang Khiza Unregistered.; c. light fawn, white-tipped tail

The Capt. and Mrs Marriott both placed advertisements in the newspapers in 1928/1929 announcing an Afghan hound for sale -. Photo Watford Lou Lou

We don't know the name of the Afghan hound bitch in the first advertisement that was up for sale. Could it have been Murghabi? We also note that Mrs Marriott simultaneously ran two adverts together during July 1929. One advert for the sale of Lakki Marwat and another advert seeking to purchase 2 Bull Terriers, so perhaps she was coming out of Afghans and moving into another breed?

According to Margaret Niblock's book, Lakki Marwat's ownership changed five times - 1 Mrs Marriott, 2 Mr. A Peace (Devoir), 3 Mrs Hunt, 4 Capt. Renwick?, 5 Mrs Drinkwater (Geufron) . ( We don't know for sure that the Capt. ever formerly owned Lakki but he was kenneled at the Captain's kennels for a significant period of time and we cannot find another owner in the records and achieve a list of 5 owners unless we include the Capt.

At the Kennel Club show at Crystal Palace in October 1929, Lakki Marwat was entered by his new owner Mr. A Peace and was placed 3rd in Limit dog and 3rd in Open dog. The judge was Capt. Renwick. Later, in December 1929 we find all three subject hounds entered at the Birmingham Show. Watford Lou Lou placed 1st Open dog, Lakki Marwat was placed 2nd open dog and Murghabi was placed 2nd Open bitch. The Judge was the famous Saluki breeder/judge Brigadier General F Lance. Show Result Watford Lou Lou, Lakki Marwat, Murghabi

Shown below are some more results from the Kennel Club show at Crystal Palace in October 1929 which perhaps gives us some insight into the Captain's preference for type? Show Result Kennel Club show at Crystal Palace in  October 1929

3 AUSTRALIA 1932-1937

Capt. Renwick and his family moved to Australia for a few years, they arrived aboard the SS Mongolia on April 1932 destined for their new home in Richlands, Whittlesea, Victoria. The Renwicks remained in Australia until July 1937 when they returned to England for good aboard the SS Strathnaver.

As soon as they settled in Australia the Capt. started to make an impact in dogdom. He established a kennel, he obtained a top Whippet and resumed breeding Whippets, and he added Alsatians and became a very successful breeder-exhibitor in this breed too. His judging credentials in England (including Crufts) opened doors to prestige judging appointments such as the Royal shows in Australia. He became well respected as an all-rounder judge with his sound knowledge of many breeds.

CaptainLewis Renwick - group photo Melbourne 1936  CaptainLewis Renwick - group photo Melbourne 1936

Group photo of Capt. Renwick and some family members visiting from England - Sir George Renwick (known as "Sir John") was on his way to the Eastern States in September 1936 to judge horses and dogs at the Melbourne and Adelaide Royal Shows, Sir John Renwick, an English show judge was accompanied by his niece, Mrs. Dorothy Whitwell, who will judge gundogs at the Melbourne Royal Show. Sir John Renwick commenced showing animals when he was a boy, and he won with a pony at a Royal Show at Newcastle. He later acquired a number of dogs, including terriers, whippets and greyhounds. Sir John specialized in Border terriers for 40 years and judged the breed at the Ladies Kennel Association, England earlier in 1936. Capt. Renwick was a cousin of Sir John (George) Renwick.

Mrs Dorothy Whitwell owned the Seagift prefix. She came from a very old North Country sporting family. The Whitwell family home Holystone Grange was located in Richmond Yorkshire The dogs were kept beautifully and the kennel was built to look like a stable in miniature. Her father, Major Renwick trained horses at Holystone Grange. His older brother was Sir John" who bred the Holystone coursing hounds." (best known for the 1953 Waterloo Cup winner Holystone Lifelong). Mrs Whitwell was the first lady to judge dogs at a Melbourne Royal. Her specialty was Irish Setters, a breed she judged at the Kennel Club show in 1935. Her registered kennel affix was "Ardagh". She also had interest in the famous "Toytown" Kennel of Pekingese.

Steve Tillotson Oct 2017

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