Redwitch Story Page 1

Ch. Am. Ch. Goshen's Heir Apparent at Redwitch

Ch.Am.Ch.Goshen's Heir Apparent at Redwitch

The following article was written by Mr Andrew Brace and appeared in The Dog World Annual 2008. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of Andrew Brace and Dog World.


Few if any British kennels have in recent years made such an impact not only at home but in show rings the world over, as the Redwitch Akitas. Andrew Brace interviews Dave and Jenny Killilea.

To most people involved with the fancy, the name “Redwitch” instantly suggests top winning Akitas, but the members of one of the most successful partnerships in recent British dog lore have been involved with breeding and showing since long before that breed was introduced to the UK.

If we begin with Dave, his family kept German Shepherds but the first dog he showed was a Bulldog bought from Les Lund back in the sixties. He had admired the breed and its characteristics and bought the dog specifically to show. In his limited free time Dave showed the dog basically at only breed club shows and duly bought another bitch, this time from Penny Shore. They won reasonably, particularly the latter, and then Dave bred his first litter from the Qualco bitch which contained a CC winning bitch called Lizda Ladybird.

At the time Dave was with his ex-wife and had registered the Lizda kennel name. However the demands of his business life were such that he did not have an immense amount of time to devote to dog shows, so the dogs tended to be companions more than anything else. Some years later, at his local training club Dave had seen Rottweilers and was immediately drawn to the breed. Being the kind of person he is, Dave researched the breed thoroughly and eventually decided to approach Barbara Butler for a puppy, later acquiring Upend Gallant Lachlan who was born in 1980. As an interesting aside, the training classes at Congleton which first introduced him to the breed were being run by the father of Paul Eardley who is now so well known for his success with Australian Terriers. Lachlan debuted under Larry Elsden with a second prize at a Championship show and then won his way through the classes – which were massive at the time - but never won a CC or Reserve.

Big Personality

The Bulldogs were eventually phased out as Dave assumed that Rotts were about to become his main interest. Dave clearly has both the personality and physique to make a success of handling the “macho” guarding breeds, and his skill in the ring did not go unnoticed by owners of dogs that had proved something of a handful. Barbara Butler herself asked him if he would consider showing Ch Upend Gallant Theodoric amongst others.

He then bought a Rottweiler bitch who was mated to Lachlan but Dave didn’t keep anything from the litter as he felt he did not have the time to devote to showing. This was at the time that Rottweilers were having such bad press for a variety of reasons and so Dave decided that maybe his future did not lie with that particular breed.

In the early 1980’s Dave bought an Akita from Brett Cassidy of the Little Creek kennel who had bred one of the earliest litters of the breed in this country. Previously Dave had admired the breed at a BUBA show and so Littlecreek Foxy Lady came into his life which was shortly to change for ever.

Fascinated by the breed, both mentally and physically, Dave bought two more bitches from Meg Purnell Carpenter, Overhills Marlow’s Miracle and Overhills Lizzie’s Girl. They were both grand daughters of the famous stud dog, Am Ch Okii Yubi’s Sachmo of Makoto, who is still the top producing sire in the breed of all time with 101 Champions to his credit.

Lizzie’s Girl was the first Akita to win Best AV Not Classified at Crufts when she was handled by B. J. Andrews of the famous O’BJ kennel in the USA. This she did in 1985 when the judge was Sigurd Wilberg. Prior to his visiting the American Akita National in 1985 Dave had already bought Am Ch The Real McCoy O’BJ, a son of Sachmo, who was by then in quarantine.

The Akita National is quite significant as also attending it was Jenny Dunhill, there with husband John, who had travelled with Gerald and Kath Mitchell.

Jenny’s childhood pet had been a Boxer and when she married John they bought a Boxer bitch as a pet from Gamston kennels of all places. They began ringcraft classes where they met the late Jean Heath of Starmark Boxer fame from whom they later bought a dog puppy, Starmark Brogue. Although Jenny says “He was a bit wild, and sometimes got dismissed from the ring”, Brogue won a little and was then joined by a bitch, Starmark Mocking Bird. One of her first litter was a bitch who was sold to Lorraine and Maurice Webb of Mauraine note and who became their foundation in Boxers.

“I just played at it a little, had three kids, so the dogs were basically pets,” recalls Jenny, “but then when the girls were growing up I wanted to get back into showing.”

Jenny recalls going to a Championship show at Malvern and seeing Rottweilers for the first time. She was instantly attracted to the breed and having contacted Barbara Butler and Betty Hobley, they advised her to contact Carol Brady of the Rottsann kennel for a puppy. At the time the Bradys had a dog puppy that had been returned at eleven months. He was lodging with Gordon McNeill and Jenny and John took one look at him and snapped him up. Gordon taught Jenny to handle and clearly did an excellent job as the rehomed dog puppy became Ch Rottsann Classic Crusader who won 5 CCs and 9 Reserves.

The Dunhills then bought Dolly Daydream of Potterspride from Violet Slade, a strong willed daughter of Ch Caprido Minstrel of Potterspride, who won a CC – interestingly at Belfast when they had CCs there for the first time. That was in 1984 and the judge was the late Bobby James, and for good measure Crusader won the Dog CC & BOB. Jenny had an early taste of “doubles”!

Yorlander’s Grecian Girl of Vormund (by now John and Jenny had registered their Vormund kennel name) joined the family, having been bought from Kath and Brian Hindley, and ended up winning nine CCs. Dolly Daydream was mated to Crusader and that litter produced CC and RCC winners for novice owners.

Ch. Lizda Zee Zee Flash

Ch. Lizda Zee Zee Flash

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Ch. Goshen's Dark 'n' Debonaire at Redwitch

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Ch. Goshen's Bigger is Better at Redwitch

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Ch. Nor. Ch. Redwitch Dancin' in the Dark

Ch. Nor. Ch. Redwitch Dancin' In The Dark 2

Ch. Nor. Ch. Redwitch Dancin' in the Dark

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Ch. Redwitch Stare If You Dare

Ch. Redwitch Feel Free To Stare

Ch. Redwitch Feel Free To Stare

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