Eric Egerton
of Ukwong fame
 By F. P. A. Odenkirchen.

      Eric and Joan Egerton's lives are a case  study of what can be
accomplished by determination, commitment and an inextinguishable
zest for life. Both came from simple backgrounds in Manchester, England,
and rose to the top, materially and as owners of the now legendary Ukwong
Chow Chow Kennels.

     Today's fanciers often seem to forget  those who went before, providing
the building blocks for their own breeding programs.Without any doubt, the
most influential Chow kennel of all time was the Chang-Shi  Kennels, owned
and operated by the late Comtesse Mary de Changy of Belgium.  There
simply is not a single successful Chow in the world whose pedigree does
not  trace back to the Chang-Shi lines. It is therefore not surprising that
the success of the Ukwong Kennels can be attributed in  large part to their
foundation of Chang-Shi lines. In fact, the kennel name was chosen in
recognition of the famous BIS winner, Ch. (Int. & Eng.) Chang-Shi Ukwong.

     In 1952, Eric and Joan, with young son Tony, went for a picnic in the
famed Sherwood Forest, where they met Mrs. Charles Boot of Talifu fame,
exercising her Chows. Although they had no previous experience with them,
Eric had no doubt as to which breed he was to take up. They agreed on the
purchase of a red male, T'Sen Kwo Sun of Talifu, who won a few prizes
for them but actually was not a top dog. Mrs. Boot approached Eric and
they agreed to mate her bitch,Tinka Bella of Talifu,to the top Chow of
that time, the aforementioned Ch. Chang-  Shi Ukwong, who Percy
Whitaker was handling for the Comtesse de Changy and Mrs.  Bird
(Silverway Kennels). Percy handled the dog to BIS all breeds at the 1950
Welks  show . The resulting litter of four reds, when shown at the big
Blackpool show all placed in the top four places. Shortly after, Stan
Smedley of the Junggwaw Kennels bred his bitch Phillida of Barwick to
the same Ch. Chang-Shi Ukwong, which resulted in a litter of three males.
Stan Smedley, Eric Egerton and Frank Watkinson of the very successful
Minhow Kennels each picked a different puppy as their favourite. All three
made history, finished their title and, al-though quite different in type, each
owner always believed their pick to be the best. Each of these males had
an enormous influence on the breed and established its own type for
their respective kennels. But Eric used his pick, Ch. Emperor of Junggwaw,
to its greatest advantage, even sending Percy to the Continent to add the
FCI title to the dog's English championship. It was then that the Ukwong
prefix was adopted.

    Eric persuaded the Comtesse de Changy to loan him a young male,
none other than the famous multiple BIS winner, Ch. (Int. & Eng.) Astom,
a grandson of Chang-Shi Ukwong, and a dog who can be found in the
pedigrees of nearly all top winners of today. In return, the Comtesse
received Emperor on loan. We personnally were fortunate enough to be
allowed to purchase Astom's last son, Int. Ch. Chang-Shi Hong-Kwong,
from the Comtesse back in 1964. This dog had an immediate and
profound impact on all our future breeding successes. Astom was in
England for only 10 months, winning 10 tickets and three BIS. He sired
three English champions, among which was the red bitch, Ch. Dollarmaid
of Ukwong, who was subsequently bred back to her sire. This mating
produced a red male who, because of his exaggerated individual qualities,
was considered a monstrosity by many of the English breeders at the time.
However, through his offspring he brought the quality level of Chows in
England to unparalleled heights. His son, Ch. Viking of Ukwong, sired
the multiple BIS winner, Ch. Fairwood Fu Simba, who sired the multiple
BIS winner, Ch. Ukwong Saul of Weircroft who in turn sired the perhaps
most famous of them all, Ch. Ukwong King Solomon. This dog was
practically unbeatable, as  he won seven BIS and was top-winning dog
all-breeds in England for two  years in a row.  After that we see the
emergence of Ch. Taibel Texas Tiger of Ukwong, who became
England's top sire for two years in a row and was exported to the U.S.
at around six years of age, where his potential was never realized
as he was very balanced and without the exaggerations so in vogue in
Califonia. We were fortunate to be able to use him on one of our bitches,
which produced two males and two females. We kept them all and finished
their Canadian titles within three months, while Ch. (Can. & Am.) Mi-Pao's
Viking went on to become Supreme Chow in Canada for 1984.

Ch. Ukwong Adventurer

The last great dog of the Ukwong Kennels was Ch. Ukwong Adventurer, a
half-brother of Texas Tiger, who won five BIS within five months at
championship shows in England. Alas, at his last show he and two other
Ukwong dogs were poisoned. Adventurer died and the two others barely
made it, but were never the same. This calculated attempt to bring the
Ukwong dynasty to an end caused an outrage in England but the
perpetrator was never caught. Eric and Joan were getting on and this broke
their resolve to continue. They sold their estate at Fernilee Hall and moved to
retire in Allicante, Spain, on February 26, 1989. They finished their house,
pool, etc. only this winter and were looking forward to a relaxed retirement
with occasional judging assignments. Unfortunately, Eric suddenly passed
away of a massive stroke on Tuesday, May 5, 1992. This was totally
unexpected, as this energetic, gregarious and interesting man at 76 had the
active mind of a 40-year-old, and fully expected to make it past 100.

 This can only be a bird's-eye view of this  fascinating couple who were like
family to  us. Their dogs won more titles and produced more champions
than any other Chow kennel in England. The Chow fancy is deeply
indebted to these all-time greats, who set a standard of excellence in Chows
which will be virtually impossible to match in the future. Eric may have
passed away, but to us he will never be gone. May he rest  in peace.

- F. P. A. Odenkirchen.

Dogs in Canada  July 1992  112-113

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