The Bearded Collie Club of Canada
Home The BCCC About Beardies History Events Education Contact Us
BCCC Member Login     
Caring for Your Beardie
• Beginnings in Canada
• Early Days in Beardies
• Very First Beardie
• The BCCC Is 25 Years Old
• BCCC - 30 Years Young

BCCC: 30 Years Young and Still Bouncing With Energy

by Florence Davis

The year 2000 marks The Bearded Collie Club of Canada 30th anniversary. It’s with great humility that I have taken over the responsibility of safekeeping our breed and Club’s accomplishments and records. I would like to thank Bea Sawka, our Club’s past historian, for her dedication. The relentless work of so many in the past have contributed to taking our breed into this new millennium and the legacy established has ensured that Bearded Collies and their Club are bouncier than ever.

Honouring the past

The past 30 years have seen many firsts for Bearded Collies in this country and for our Club. In this issue of the Bearded Colleague, I wish to honour the memory of a blue Beardie girl who has left in our history her paw mark in many ways.

Gael, owned and loved by Carol Gold, was also known as Ch. Wishanger Marsh Pimpernel, CD, ROM. She was the first Bearded Collie to ever be shown in both conformation and obedience in Canada as well as North America. She went Best of Breed at the Scarborough Show in September 1970, made the cut and placed fifth in the Working Group that day. Not a bad start for Bearded Collies in Canada, indeed!

Gael was born in 1968 and imported by Carol from England. She was one of the original seven Beardies to seek the CKC’s official Breed recognition. She lived until the grand old age of 16. Ch. Wishanger Marsh Pimpernel (Gael)
Gael was Canada’s first registered champion and she won the first Bearded Collie Club of Canada National Specialty in 1973. In addition to her success in the ring, she was also an outstanding mother. She can be found in the pedigree of many Beardies across North America, and her offspring were the foundation of several kennels in Canada. She is also the dam of Ch. Raggmopp Bellarmine CDX and Ch. Raggmop Gaelin Image - two specialty winners.

I e-mailed Carol Gold and asked her a few questions about Gael. Here is what she had to say.

How many litters did Gael have?

She had four. The first litter she had was also the first litter of Beardies in Canada and appropriately they all had "First" in their names - the girls were First Affair, First Lady, First Impression; the boys were First Lieutenant, First Appearance, First Performance, First Chance, First Edition, First Amendment.

Who was Gael bred to?

Her first litter was by Osmart Brown Barnaby (Yager Aplomb x Ch. Osmart Bonnie Black Pearl), the first male Beardie in Canada. Gael herself persuaded someone to import him. I had left her and my collie tied up outside the grocery store while I did some shopping (sure wouldn't do that nowadays - how times have changed!) and when I came back, a young couple was standing with them, waiting to talk to me. They wanted one like Gael and even though they were really pet people, Gael had convinced them they'd do anything for a Beardie. They imported Barnaby and brought him out whenever we needed a Beardie display.

Gael's second litter was by Ch. Bronze Javelin of Tambora (Ch. Osmart Bonnie Blue Braid x Ch. Edelweiss of Tambora), owned by Alice Bixler.

Gael's third litter was by Ch. Misty Shadow of Willowmead (Ch. Wishanger Cairnbhan x Ch. Broadholme Cindy Sue of Willowmead).

Gael's fourth and last litter was by Worthing Memorie, who wasn't a show dog (although he was shown once at a Beardie supported entry), who was a son of Ch. Sunbrees Magic Moments of Willowmead x Tonsarne Tamerist. All the pups from that litter had names with "Gael" in them -- Gaelin Image, Gaellant Gentleman, Gaelic Coffee, etc.

How many Champions did she breed?

I believe she had 14 Champion children.

Could you share with us Gael's Pedigree?

Gael (Ch. Wishanger Marsh Pimpernel, CD ROM) was by Wishanger River Humber (Alastair of Willowmead x Ch. Willowmead My Honey) out of Wishanger Creeping Tansy (Ch. Wishanger Cairnbhan x Wishanger Wystaria)

When did Gael get her CD?

Gael was the first North American Beardie to get a CD. She was also the first Beardie entered in Obedience Competition in September 1970, when she got her first leg. She finished in 3 Trials, getting her CD in June '71.

We tried for her CDX but never qualified once, even though I (foolishly? stubbornly?) entered her in 13 trials. I have a film of her in a Sanction Match doing Open perfectly (she was high-scoring dog in match) and posing for the camera all through it. But in the real trials, she knew I couldn't correct her and she had a wonderful time. For instance, she'd sit politely by my side until the judge said "Forward" and I said "heel" and marched off. She stayed where she was, or walked to the middle of the ring and observed my performance. Once, she followed the judge around as he followed me around the ring.

On the retrieve, she'd toss the dumbbell in the air and catch it as she brought it back. Or she'd bite through the dowel and retrieve two halves separately. Or she'd kick the dumbbell with her front feet and chase it 'round the ring.

On the jumping exercises, she had a ball. Send her over the high jump to retrieve and she was likely to jump back and forth a few times just for the heck of it, or jump the broad jump too. On the broad jump she'd jump it and the high jump, and other variations on the theme. You get the idea and after 13 times of unqualified heeling, incredibly low marks on everything else and cheers and laughter from growing ringside crowds (which only spurred Gael on), I decided the effort was getting too expensive in both entry fees and humiliation. So she never got her CDX, nor her UD and she could do all the exercises for both levels... as long as it wasn't in a real trial ring.

Could you describe Gael’s markings?

She was minimally marked by today's standards and had one foreleg that was blue to the foot; the other foreleg had white only to just above the wrist.

What colour puppies did she produce?

All of them.

What could you tell us about Gael’s personality?

Gael was a born politician who would "work the room", going from person to person, shaking a paw with one, offering a kiss to another. In the show ring, she was amazing - I never had to do anything but hold the lead. Dr. Tom Davies, one of the people who built the BCCA in the US, described Gael as "bringing her own spotlight with her". When she was in the ring, it was hard to notice any other dog.

I hope you don't mind these questions.

Not at all. If you need more information, just ask. I'm thrilled that Gael is being introduced to a new generation of Beardie owners. I wish they could have seen her in real life. I was very lucky to have had her.

Thank you

This lady was one of our greatest ambassadors of the time and succeeded in reaching out to the heart of the many people she met. In the early days of Bearded Collies in Canada, Carol and Gael would relentlessly attend dog Club meetings to increase the awareness of our breed. This dynamic duo also had the opportunity to entertain the crowds at the 1969 Canadian National Exhibition, where by chance they met Alice Bixler.

Carol is convinced that it would have taken us much longer to gain CKC recognition without this blue Beardie girl. Gael, I never had the pleasure and the honour of meeting you, but your contribution to our breed and our Club leaves a legacy we all cherish.

Thank you very much Carol for sharing with us the legacy left by this incredible Beardie. If you wish to find out more about Gael, the early days of the BCCC, the seven originals and much more you can go directly to our Club’s web site. Thanks to the articles written by Lois Gaspar, Alice Bixler and Carol Gold you can have a wonderful insight on our Club’s beginnings.

Anyone interested in seeing a picture of some of Canada’s original Raggmop Bearded Collies can visit Carol Gold’s recently updated web site at There is a beautiful photo of Gael for everyone to enjoy, and much more.

New archives for the Bearded Collie Club of Canada

Our Club needs to build an archive library which will safeguard and consolidate valuable information for the years to come.

I have set out to collect and compile a copy of each Bearded Colleague published since its first issue was produced in October 1970. I also would like to gather a copy of all the Specialty premium lists and catalogues since 1973.

The data compiled will be accessible to members and will be displayed each year at the Specialty for everyone to enjoy.

If you have old copies of the Colleague, the Specialty premium list or catalogues you would like to donate to the Club or loan for reproduction only, please contact the BCCC Historian, Carol Anne Rayson directly.

A final word

The Bearded Collie future in North America is strong, because of the richness of its past and the promise the future holds. The members of the Bearded Collie Club of Canada are a reflection of our Breed’s ever-growing popularity. We are as passionate and enthusiastic as ever. Breeders across the country and the border continue to do their very best to bring to the world wonderful, healthy and fun-loving dogs, who are as close as possible to our breed standards. For your relentless pursuit to excellence, I wish to toast the past and celebrate our tomorrow Happy 2000 to all!


Copyright © 2000 [Florence Davis]
All rights reserved


© Bearded Collie Club of Canada 1997 - 2010
All rights reserved

Last revised: November 11, 2010