The Leadbetter’ blitzkrieg

The Mastiff Stud Book mentions Robert Leadbetter’ first entry  took place at Manchester , March 1900 ,  his champion Marksman  (see below at left)  being a ‘winner’ , presumably not his first Mastiff because the Dog Owner’ Annual engraving of  Captain Piddocke’ champion Ogilvie b 1889 , published in de Bylandt’ Les races de Chiens , states ‘belonging to R. Leadbetter , Hazlemere Park’ . Other specimens bought at the turn of the century were Holland’ Black Boy [b. ’95 G. Deetman] from Luke Crabtree of  Failsworth , Great Manchester [winner at LKA Alexandra Palace  Nov. 1900]  and champion Elgiva [b. 95~ Court Rice] from George Raper of Sheffield. Ch Elgiva was formerly owned by Norman Higgs , the Bywater Kennels and  A. Muirhead . Elgiva also won the KC & Birmingham cc’s of 1900 .

1901 ~ All [10] challenge certificates were awarded to Mastiffs once owned by R. Leadbetter , namely Black Anthony [bred by Van Koldewyn ~ Mark Anthony ex Eldee’ Selina unr.] , Holland’ Black Boy , Marksman , Elgiva , Marcella and Ha Ha          ( bred by N. Higgs & bought from J.H. Lee) ! He also bred his first litter [Januar 30 , Marksman ex Lyndhurst Rose] resulting in champion Czar Peter , Young Marksman [sold to W. Rylands] & Pinner Beau [sold to Mrs A.S. Morrison] .

1902 ~ Except the KC challenge [awarded to Aubrey-Smith’ Colonel Cromwell] , another walk-over for the Leadbetter’ stock [Black Anthony , Marcella & Elgiva , the latter under judge Dr Inman] . Only two years after entering the Mastiff KCSB, he already judged Mastiffs twice , at Darlington July &  Birkenhead September , both won by Luke Crabtree’ own bred Moston Black & HH Taylor’ Clarice [ bred by F. McKrill , Cheetham Great Manchester] . He also entered Lady Valentine [Peter Piper’ grand-daughter ~ b. ’00 bred by William Price of Mandale Road , Stockton on Tees nr Middles-brough , Yorks.].

William Price , a noted St Bernard breeder , became famous for having bred the red colored Mastiff Cleveland Leopold b. ’04 who became a very successful but also controversial stud , suspicious of foreign blood . It was George Cook , Cleveland Kennels ~ Middlesbrough , who used Leopold resulting in champions Brompton Duke , Brompton Duchess & Lightning , all sired by him . Robert Leadbetter repeated his first combination Marksman ex Lyndhurst Rose [grandsired by Tom Bowling’ brother  Iron Duke & by Hotspur’ son Lord Hatton] and it gave a/o champion Hazlemere Archie & Ethel May .


1903 ~ Robert Leadbetter was appointed Master of Foxhounds and also had the honour of judging the show of the year [KC Crystal Palace ~ A.W. Lucas’ Black Prince & Spalding’ Marchioness bred by Lucas] , but his star faded somewhat ; only Czar Peter & Marcella got each one cc , Morrison’ Pinner Beau 2nd at Crufts under J. O’Connell  and Lady Georgina [bred by Monsieur Duch ~ Beaufort unr. ex Diane unr.] got a 1st at Darlington under R. Hall-Walker .

From Georgina he bred his 3rd litter sired by champion Czar Peter , resulting in Hazlemere Girl & Lassie ; from Czar & Archie’ sis Ethel May came Playful sired by Lucas’ Mellnotte owned by Mrs R.J. Burch . The much used Mellnotte served a/o  J. O’Connell’ brood ‘Black Betty’ . His strongest opponent became indifferently AW Lucas of Stafford House Rotherhite SE Greater London . Below fro l to right - ch's Holland' Black Boy , Black Anthony , Elgiva & Marcella .

1904 ~ R. Leadbetter judged at Birmingham Nov. [cc ~ Spalding’ Marchioness ~ see at left] and won five challenge certificates [ Archie & Czar Peter] , the only remaining dog cc was awarded to AW Lucas’ Marcus Superba . He bred two litters sired by champion Archie , the one out of Mother Goose unr. [progeny ~Archie Gander] the other out of Lady Winifred [progeny ~ ch Ronald, ch Widmere Bess , Kilmacolm Lucy 2 cc’s & Marcia, sold to by AJ Thorpe] .


1905 ~ No judging appointment but he ruled at Crufts [Archie & Lady Georgina] under John O’Connell Acacia Villa , Barking Essex ; Robert Leadbetter’ Prince Sonderburg [b. ’03 bred by J. Laquhae ~ Mellnotte ex Nell unr.] got the Edinburgh cc under Fred. Gresham . In bitches he won two cc’s thanks to his new acquisition , champion Mc Krill’ Clarice , bought from HH Taylor .

1906 ~ Second judging appointment at the KC Crystal Palace show , giving the dog cc to his ownbred Pinner Beau owned by Mrs JH Lloyd , bitch cc again for Spalding’ Marchioness .

His ownbred Kilmacolm Lucy , owned by FA Rhodes got the Birmingham’ cc under Mark Beaufoy . The Leadbetter’ winners were Ronald , Prince Sonderburg, Bess of Widmere & Clarice  [6 cc’s] . Robert Leadbetter bred his last KC registered litter September 1906 out of Widmere Ganie unr. sired by hisE Prince Sonderburg , Crufts’ cc ’06 under judge N. Walker-Hall . Their progeny was Widmere Winnie [cc ~ Birkenhead ’08 , judge Lt-Col. Z. Walker] .

1907 ~ Judge at Birkenhead [cc’s ~ Burch’ Salisbury & Lucas’ ZaZa] ;  Ronald got the cc at Manchester under AJ Thorpe and FA Rhodes’ Kilmacolm Lucy was awarded the honours at Crufts under Mark Beaufoy.

1908 ~ His last great moment of fame was at the first show of ’08 ~ Crufts February , where John O’Connell awarded cc’s to Leadbetter’ dogs Ronald & Bess. The 2nd  show , Manchester March , was under Leadbetter’ judging awarding honours to Burch’ Salisbury &  Lucas’ Countess Invicta owned by Lt. Col. Z. Walker, the latter judged at the 3rd  show , namely Birkenhead July , where  Winnie got the last Mastiff challenge award for Robert Leadbetter .

His ownbred Kilmacolm Lucy , sold to W. Shearer Clark of Wishaw , won the last Hazlemere cc at the Edinburgh show October .

During only eight years , the eccentric Robert Leadbetter collected with his stock not less than 43 cc’s which  represents 2/3 of the available set , taking into account that he also judged Mastiffs five times at championship level in that same period . Concerning cc’s awarded to ownbred specimens , he only was surpassed by A.W. Lucas who a/o bred champions Marchioness , Colonel Cromwell & Countess Invicta . Above at left ch Ha Ha , below at left Prince Sonderburgh .