It all started after we purchased our first house it just didn’t seem right to have all these material things but no dog to complete the family. Our son Steven was 4 years old and the thought of him growing up without the love and respect you get from owning animals seemed wrong to us. That’s when we decided in 1973 to look for a dog, “an old mutt” because we liked the look of old hairy mutts and they suited our hippy life style.

We finally tracked down a breeder not very far from us called Joyce Collis her prefix was Beagold which was very well known at the time. Unfortunately we did not take into account the introduction of an older Beardie with a small child, and quickly returned her to Joyce who was very understanding, she told us that maybe Beardies where not suitable for us, and we should look for a different breed how wrong she was.

We were not put and decided to buy a young puppy so we continued our search and found another breeder in Lincolnshire which was 80 miles from where we lived and in those days that meant giving the car a service before travelling all that way !. When we arrived at the house it was quite imposing with gargoyles at the door and a huge entrance hall. The breeder was Tine Bowens Leonard who’s prefix was Blumberg another well know prefix of the time we passed all the tests and came away with a Beardie dog called Blumberg Doric tradition (Dylan). We’ve remained close friends with Tine for many years.

This first Beardie inspired us to want another one although Dylan was a bit of a handful we went back the Blumberg kennels 3 months later and brought a very pretty little bitch called Gypsy of Blumberg, and this was really the start of the Potterdales.

Next came the show training and assessments, breed standard studies, ring craft, small exemption shows, and then becoming active members of our local Beardie breed club.

We then made the momentous decision to buy another Beardie bringing our total to three in a short space of time. We knew Dylan and Gypsy would not do great things in the show ring although we did at one point have high hopes for Gypsy as we thought she resembled one of the top winning bitches at the time, of course we where very naive.

The next stage was to find a really outstanding dog to mate to Gypsy which was not easy. When looking back in hindsight today it is even more daunting but we had no concept then of what outstanding was, and how difficult it is to get a really fantastic show dog and pre-potent sire in one package.


But I can honestly say we did it, I don’t know how but we managed it and History will back us up we purchased Ch Pepperland Lyric John at Potterdale (Winston) from Lesley Samuels, Lesley had been in the breed a few years and was moderately successful in the show ring, but no one could have predicted that she would breed the breeds most successful sire with 17 UK champions and 30 CC’s to boot, “weren’t we the lucky ones.”

Having acquired Winston we had some idea of his potential but no real in depth knowledge of how good he was, he always stood himself correctly, he moved around the yard and garden as if he was on skates, no effort at all, and he grew into a beautiful balanced dog. He taught us so much we soon learned the difference between a good dog and an outstanding dog; we still maintain to this day that you need to own a good dog to appreciate one.

Ch Pepperland Lyric John at Potterdale (Winston at 3 months) with a much younger Mike, they were the good old days !

We didn’t do much winning with Winston until he was about 1 year old then people started to notice him, his overall presence and movement stood out. He won his first CC at 15 months under Shirley Holmes of the Edinburgh prefix which was the most successful kennel in the breed at the time; he was a Champion at 18 months. Being flushed with success we went back to Blumberg and purchased Heidi who was to become Ch Blumberg Hadriana of Potterdale we also purchased Tally who became Ch Tamevally Easter Song of Potterdale, you can see we didn’t take long to get the hang of it.

Winston at 2 years standing outside our old house in Wymondley



The rest of the Potterdale history is in our book “Hairy Moments” so if you want to know a bit more about us you will just have to buy the book expertly written by Dr Judith LeRoy.