Canigou Cockers

A small kennel with a worldwide reputation


The History of the Canigou Cocker Spaniels


 By Tricia Bentley



It all started quite by chance.  Having moved from home to work with racehorses I took the family Springer spaniel with me. I decided to breed from her and the pet shop in Shrewsbury pointed me in the direction of Marion France (PEELERS Cockers and Springers). Marion persuaded me not to keep one of the Springer puppies but to buy a golden Cocker instead and in 1968 I purchased PEELERS PERSONATION (Rita), a daughter of SH CH LOCHRANZA QUETTADENE MARKSMAN and a great-granddaughter of CH SOLINDA OF TRAQUAIR (pictured right), so bred in the purple. Solinda was herself descended from CH BOB BOWDLER, whelped in 1901, whose picture hangs on our wall at Canigou.

  More on Ch Bob Bowdler




More on Ch Solinda of Troquair




Rita was slow to develop and it was not until she was almost out of puppy that I was ready to show her. At her first show the judge of Cockers was Dick Wylde (ELDWYTHE), who placed her fourth, while variety judge Dilys Schofield (SCOLYS) also placed her fourth. After judging I went to thank Dick and much to my surprise, Dick realised Rita was a puppy which he had seen at 8 weeks which had failed to impress him. He said this impression was incorrect and that in fact she had made a lovely bitch and should do well.

Pedigree For Peelers Personation






From then on Dick and his wife Edie took me under their wing and to this day I regularly quote Dick’s words of wisdom.  One very important lesson was to look at puppies at 9 weeks old and then not again until 9 months old, making no decision between these two stages.  Without this advice there would have been no SH CH CANIGOU MARY ISABELLA, SH CH CANIGOU MR HAPPY, SH CH CANIGOU PATENT APPLIED FOR or SH CH CANIGOU CAMBRAI.   None of these show champions were shown until almost 12 months as they were very late developing.  Dick taught me more than anyone else ever did and I still practice what he preached.  He very quickly taught me how to hand-strip and before long I was hand stripping some of his Cockers.  What a way to learn!  Dilys Schofield, by the way, also took me in hand. She was secretary of Lancashire Cocker and in time I judged my first club open show for them and later my first Championship show.  Other well-known exhibitors at that time who also encouraged me were Joan Macmillan, John and Jean Gillespie (LOCHRANZA), Jean Smith (SORBROOK), Jack Clarke (CORNBOW), Rosie Garnet (QUATFORD), Margaret Langley (FRESHETT), Ron and Tyd Bebb (RONFIL) and Arthur and Cilla Mansfield (LUCKLENA).  I am only sorry that few of the people who encouraged me then were still around to see me win BIS at Crufts.

mt canigou

On an exchange visit to Perpignan when I was 16, I was captivated by Canigou, a mountain which towered over the city, its snow-capped, cloud-encircled peak visible at all times, its lower reaches hidden. It made a lasting impression on me and when choosing an affix it was the obvious choice.

Personation, after giving me much success at all levels of competition, including Championship shows, was duly mated to SH. CH. LOCHRANZA STROLLAWAY and the golden bitch CANIGOU CHRISTINE was kept.

Pedigree For Canigou Christine.

Christine was a consistent winner and won a RCC under George Caddy. To this day I consider her among the best I have bred. Her temperament was outstanding in a way I can’t describe, but I’m sure you will understand when I say she just knew and understood everything! Christine was duly mated to SUNGLINT OF SORBROOK to produce CANIGOU CHRISTINE MARY – still golden.

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Pedigree For Canigou Christine Mary

Mary was mated to CANIGOU ISABERT (known as ‘Trash’!), a golden dog I had sold to the Littlemores as a pet, but who eventually made the show-ring. I made him BIS at a club show and used him at stud shortly afterwards producing the golden bitch SH CH CANIGOU MARY ISABELLA (Brandy).

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Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Mary Isabella

Isabella was very slow to mature and was only shown at open shows until Mrs Back (PATTERNS) suggested I should try her at championship shows. I did, and in 1979 she won a RCC at her first CH show under Gordon Williams, then a CC at her second under Arthur Mansfield and became my first title-holder, winning her third CC at Crufts in 1980 under Joyce Caddy. What a thrill! How could I possibly have imagined that in sixteen years time her great-great grandson would take Best in Show at that prestigious event?

Isabella was subsequently mated to BUGLE BOY OF CILLEINE to produce CANIGOU ISABELLA CORAL (golden) Pedigree For Canigou Isabella Coral but after that they all started to pop out black!

c mr happy cup


Judging the S. Wales and Mon. Ch show in the early 1980s I placed Penny Lester with QUETTADENE EMBLEM third or fourth.  He hadn’t travelled well and didn’t impress at all in his first class but when he appeared later in the day I couldn’t take my eyes off him!  He looked a completely different dog and following the show I made sure I used him at stud at the earliest opportunity, producing to CANIGOU ISABELLA CORAL the fabulous black dog SH CH CANIGOU MR HAPPY, BIS at the Cocker Club Ch Show, Top Cocker 1986 and sire of 6 champions.  Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Mr Happy  He was unshown until eleven months old as in his puppy coat he looked awful and I had half promised him to a work colleague as a pet.  Looking out of a window one day I spotted a black ball of fluff moving around the garden with real style.  I went straight downstairs and started to strip him out.  The rest is history!  Incidentally, choosing his name was easy as he really was the happiest Cocker and another of those with that something special.

c mr happy bw


It was sometime around 1986 that the photo below was taken, showing Happy with his sire and grand-sire.

three champions crop 2

Three champion sires:
winner of 3 CCs and sire of 1 Sh Ch.
Centre: Penny Lester with SH CH QUETTADENE EMBLEM, son of Christmas Knight;
winner of 27 CCs and sire of 8 Sh Ch.
Right: Tricia Bentley with SH CH CANIGOU MR HAPPY, son of Emblem;
winner of 15 CCs and sire of 6 Sh Ch.

At this stage I had noted that it was the grand-children of my best Cockers which were turning out to be the best show stock and for this reason when people used Happy at stud I repeatedly said “Keep a bitch from him, even if she’s not outstanding” but nobody  took much notice!  I however was fortunate enough to obtain a bitch by him in CRANKWOOD MISS HAPPY (Poppy), bred by Carol Eisen, which I had handled to win a CC under Richmond Weir. Poppy had four litters to four different dogs  – SH CH QUETTADENE DEBONAIR, SH CH CLEAVEHILL POT OF GOLD, SH CH QUETTADENE DISCRETION and SH CH QUETTADINE MEMENTO – to produce SH CH CANIGOU PATENT APPLIED FOR (black), SH CH CANIGOU CAMBRAI (black), SH CH CANIGOU WISHING AND HOPING (golden) and SH CH CANIGOU WHAT A PICTURE (black). This made Poppy a record-breaking producer as until then no other Cocker bitch had produced four SH CH, although several had produced three, including her great grand-daughter SH CH CANIGOU CLASSICAL. Poppy’s record was later broken by her great-great granddaughter SH CH CANIGOU CLASSIC ROCK, whose fifth Sh Ch offspring was made up in 2011.

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Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Patent Applied For

c wishing and hoping



Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Wishing and Hoping







c patent applied for and cambrai


Left SH CANIGOU PATENT APPLIED FOR and right SH CANIGOU CAMBRAI  photographed in 1995.






Of Poppy’s four famous children there can be no doubt that SH CH CANIGOU CAMBRAI (Albert) was the best.  Albert’s litter-brother CANIGOU FAST STUDY was shown as a puppy to take Top Puppy in 1993.  (Another one of Dick’s tips: If you keep two from a litter, keep the better one back until last!)  Albert was shown at only 2 shows as a puppy; once at a Club open show where Carol McFarlane made him BPIS and RBIS and once at a CH show where Maurice Chivers made him BPIB.  His first CC was gained under Clive Davies in May 1994.

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Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Cambrai

As far as Crufts was concerned, the year Albert won BIS was his third appearance there. In 1994 he won 1st in Junior and RCC under Pat Shaw (LOCHDENE). In 1995 he was 2nd in Open Dog under Denise Barney (CILLEINE) and it was only at his third attempt that he won the CC under Jack Clarke (CORNBOW), BOB jointly with Ken McFarlane (MAXWAY), GUNDOG GROUP under Tony Pascoe and BIS under Harry Jordan.  Later in 1996 Richmond Weir made him Best in Show at the Cocker Club and wrote in his critique “One of the most immaculate animals I have ever had the pleasure to judge, certainly one of the greatest Cockers of all time”.

Although not widely used at stud, I used Albert within my own kennel on 3 occasions to produce SH CH CANIGOU CAUGHT IN THE DARK, CANIGOU HOPESAY 1 CC, 1RCC and CANIGOU CAMISOLE, dam of SH CH CANIGOU CLASSICAL, who was herself dam of 3 SH CHs. Penny Lester (QUETTADENE) used him to produce the CC winner QUETTADENE FOOTSTEPS, sire of SH CH CANYONN CLASSIC GOLD and QUETTADENE HOBSONS CHOICE, both of whom figure prominently in the pedigrees of current top winners.

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Pedigree For Canigou Camisole

c classical

Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Classical

c caught in darkSH CH CANIGOU CAUGHT IN THE DARK 2004
Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Caught in the Dark

This was not the first time the QUETTADENE and CANIGOU lines had been successfully combined. CANIGOU PEELERS PERSONATION, my foundation bitch, was by SH CH LOCHRANZA QUETTADENE MARKSMAN, while 4 of my show champions have QUETTADENE sires.

Fulfilling a judging appointment in Finland in the mid-1990s, I spotted a red dog – DIAMONHILL MR STUNTMAN – a son of Mr Happy – who later enjoyed much success in Canada and the USA with Eugene Phoa. I knew Jack Clarke had repeated the mating which produced Mr Stuntman’s dam so on my return I asked Jack if it was possible to buy the black bitch he was keeping. He eventually agreed and CORNBOW VIRGINIA BY CANIGOU joined me.

cornbow virginia by c

Pedigree For Cornbow Virginia by Canigou

She won four RCCs and although she was bought to mate to Mr Happy this mating never took place. However mated to Cambrai she produced CANIGOU CAMISOLE, who mated to SH CH CANYONN CLASSIC GOLD produced SH CH CANIGOU CLASSICAL, winner of 5 CCs. CLASSICAL, mated in turn to SH CH CANIGOU CAMBRAI, SH CH CLARAMAND ROCK N ROLL TO MOLKARA and SH CH HELENWOOD TECHNIQUE, has produced SH CH CANIGOU CAUGHT IN THE DARK, SH CH CANIGOU CLASSIC CLICHÉ, SH CH CANIGOU CLASSIC ROCK and CANIGOU TAIL ME A STORY, BPIB at Crufts 2008, the first Cocker with a tail to take this award at Crufts and the first golden at Canigou for a long time! Incidentally, three of SH. CH. CANIGOU CLASSICAL’S daughters have won BPIB at Crufts; CANIGOU TAIL ME A STORY, SH CH CANIGOU CLASSIC ROCK and CANIGOU GRACE AND FAVOUR.

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Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Classic Cliche


c classic rock

Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Classic Rock

CLASSIC ROCK, mated to SH. CH. ASQUANNE GILLESPIE produced a litter of two puppies. The first was SH. CH. CANIGOU ROCK CHICK, BIS at the Cocker Club Championship Show in 2009, aged 12 months and 4 days and soon after a SH. CH. at 12 months and 10 days, the first undocked Cocker champion in the UK.


Pedigree For Sh Ch Canigou Rock Chick

A few weeks later at Midland Counties Championship Show ROCK CHICK (known as Sky) helped the kennel pass another milestone, winning Canigou’s 100th Challenge Certificate. Her black and tan litter brother, SH CH CANIGOU ROCK STAR (Rocky) also went on to make a little piece of Cocker history. At his first show, Coventry Cocker Spaniel Club Championship Show in November 2009, he won his class to qualify for Crufts. This was the first time in her 41 years of showing that Tricia had shown a dog of this colour. Rocky went on to take CCs in 2010 at The Cocker Spaniel Club of Scotland, Southern Counties Canine Association and Border Union Agricultural Society to become the first male black and tan UK show champion in the breed. He also has a wonderful temperament and is our house pet! At Southern Counties Rocky was beaten for Best of Breed by CANIGOU SECON TAN ROSE (Rosa), his full sister from a repeat mating to Gillespie. This was the first time black and tans had taken both the CCs at a championship show.

rocky and rosa scka

SH CH CANIGOU SECON TAN ROSE (Left, handled by April Murray) BOB,
with judge Bonnie Threlfall at Southern Counties Canine Association on 6th June 2010. Picture by Ian Scott.

Here’s a Pedigree for Sh Ch Canigou Rock Star.     The breeding of Canigou Secon Tan Rose is identical.

At the Scottish Kennel Club show at Ingliston on 28th August Rosa gained her third CC to become  the fourth black and tan UK Sh Ch. She is also the fifth Sh Ch out of Sh Ch Canigou Classic Rock (Speedy). Speedy is the first brood bitch in the history of the breed to produce 5 Sh Ch, all of which are from two litters to Sh Ch Asquanne Gillespie. The wins of Speedy’s Offspring in 2010 won her the accolade of Top Brood Bitch – All Breeds.

speedy nov 05



Dog World/Yumega
Top Brood Bitch 2010 UK
All Breeds

Sh Ch Canigou Classic Rock
Dam of 5 show champions

Other wins during the year included Cocker Club Top Puppy 2010 for Sh Ch Canigou Happy Ending…

happy ending puppy challenge



Cocker Club
Top Cocker Spaniel Puppy 2010

Show Champion Canigou Happy Ending

and Our Dogs Top Cocker Puppy for Sh Ch Canigou Love on the Rocks.

lettuce s counties 2010a



Our Dogs
Top Cocker Spaniel Puppy 2010

Sh Ch Canigou
Love on the Rocks

Canigou’s wins during the year made Tricia Our Dogs Top Cocker Breeder for 2010.

tricia and sky podium

Our Dogs
Top Cocker Spaniel Breeder 2010
Tricia Bentley


The kennel history wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the help I received from my daughter Sue in her teenage years and long-suffering husband Steve, who still makes a good kennel-man. Unfortunately neither of them ever learned to hand-strip or handle to my satisfaction!

Obviously the highlight of my career was winning Best in Show at Crufts in 1996 with SH CH CANIGOU CAMBRAI (Albert). He had something special that’s impossible to explain, making the difference between a good dog and a top dog. I’ve heard it said many times that dreams do come true and that if you want something badly enough you’ll get it! So it was with me; regularly I dreamed of appearing in the big ring at Crufts and winning the Gundog Group, although the dream never went as far as winning BIS!! Afterwards it took three weeks to realise what I had achieved. Waking up in the middle of the night, suddenly it hit me. Wow! Things like that don’t usually happen to you and me!

albert bis crufts