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The Percy Roberts Show Dog Collection

By Leandra Little

Click here to read the complete article  Issue - February, 2013 from page 208

Mr. Percy Roberts Judging

Cleveland, a city of nearly 400,000 located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, is the second largest city in Ohio. It is known for Case Western Reserve University, its wonderful Botanical Garden, its museums and of course The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But while some visitors flock to the I.M. Pei designed Mecca of the backbeat to see Jim Morrison’s Cub Scouts uniform or Muddy Waters’1958 Fender Telecaster guitar, others are drawn to a classic building designed by the Cleveland firm of Walker and Weeks. Built in 1925, it is the Main Library. The beautifully renovated landmark houses a treasury of collections including The Dog Collection, over 6,000 volumes on the care and training of dogs, stud books, breed club publications, show catalogs and all sorts of canine related ephemera.

The Library prides itself on the quality and depth of this resource stating “No other public library has so extensive a collection on this subject.” In 2008 it acquired yet another jewel for its crown, The Percy Roberts Show Dog Collection.

The residue of Percy Roberts life had been found moldering in the loft of a barn in Virginia and put up for auction in 2005. The Library acquired it in 2008. Those new to the fancy will not know who Percy Roberts was or why he should be remembered. They will not understand how fortunate the library and we in the fancy are to have some of his effects. But there are still those who remember.

“Legendary,” “In a league of his own,” “Mr. Westminster,” “He did it all,” are just some of the terms used to describe Percy Roberts. He was indeed a legend in his own time, famous as the dog man of his era. He was the consummate professional handler, a dog importer and agent blessed with an impeccable eye. He would ultimately become a sought-after judge. His career spanned over 70 years.

Desi Murphy remembers showing to Roberts in the early ‘60s. “He could be very intimidating. He was a very thin fellow, small mustache, wiry character.” Percy gave Murphy the first points he ever earned on a dog he’d bred himself. Just 13 years-old at the time, Desi was showing his Norwich Terrier puppy Desmond’s First Edition at the Philadelphia Kennel Club when Roberts pointed to him for Winners Dog. Young Desi was so excited he scooped up Duke and raced to receive his ribbon. Percy admonished him, “Young man, this is a terrier. Put him down! You don’t run. You walk.”

There are many who recall etched moments of time like this with Percy Roberts as a prominent figure. He is a leitmotif of the 20th century in dogs, a recurring theme bridging the 19th to the 21st. He knew those who participated in the first years of the fancy and there are many here today like Desi Murphy who knew and learned from this dapper icon. His life span, 1891-1977 links the Victorian to the post-modern.

Click here to read the complete article  Issue - February, 2013 from page 208

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=18414

Posted by on Jun 17 2020. Filed under Current Articles, Dog Show History, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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