History of Glenaholm
The Glenaholm Rhodesian Ridgebacks have always been kept for the qualities which they are sought for now; to be loving and loyal pets; safe with children, yet great guards for property and family. They have always been integral members of the family.
The Glenaholm house was built in 1851 and by the early 1940's the estate on it's 40 acres of thick woods, orange groves and river, was the home to Victor and Phyllis McCarthy, their 5 children including the very young twins, Laurie and Ray, and the hundreds of world prize winning conformation and laying chickens. The laborers and their families, who looked after the chickens and the McCarthys, also lived on the property
Glenaholm was a beautiful old large Colonial house with wide shady verandas and high ceilinged, rambling rooms. It was always full of family, servants and friends. Everyone spoke fluent Zulu and Phyllis and Laurie often talked to each other in this language. There was hardly a meal that did not include chicken and the Glenaholm dogs thrived on it and were the only members of the family that did not seem to mind!
Having grown disillusioned with the Dobermans she had, Phyllis brought her first 2 RRs, Cleopatra of Efabe and Sheba of Efaba and found they had just the right characteristics she wanted. From then on there was no looking back. The Glenaholm kennels were registered in 1947 and she started showing right away, always taking the twins along. Soon there were 2 new champions, Ch Glenaholm Dido and Ch Glenaholm Greta.
By the 50's a number of generations of Glenaholm dogs had been bred. Ch Glenaholm Dido whelped 3 champions: the favorite bitch was Ch Glenaholm Gay; then Ch Glenaholm Claire and the 3 rd was US Ch Glenaholm Juliette.
Ch Glenaholm Gay's daughter (Glenaholm Joybell) was chosen personally by Margaret Lowthian of the LaMarda Perra kennels when she visited Glenaholm and went on to become USA Ch Glenaholm Joybelle. Gay's great, great grandson also went to the States in 1965 and became USA Champion Glenaholm Jacobus. A US sailor had bought him as a pup on his way home.
But, as said before, the dogs were really just part of the family. They roamed the estate, guarded the hens, played with the children, went with the twins on rides and were so much the part of everyday life that they were sometimes overlooked when photos were taken – but they were always there somewhere in the background.
Ch Glenaholm Claire produced 4 champions: English Ch Owlsmoor's Glenaholm Adonis; US Ch Glenaholm Migonne of Beauridge (she whelped 7 US champions); Ch Glenaholm Tanya went to Northern Rhodesia and then there was Strauss – Rhod and SA Ch Glenaholm Strauss of Inkabusi. Other pups had gone of to such far off countries as Indonesia, Singapore, and Nigeria.
Phyllis was a very busy person. She painted. She gardened and collected roses. She breed her favorite Rhode Island reds and showed them. She was the Natal correspondent for the Ridgeback magazine and was a member of RRCUS. She wrote copious letters to the owners of her pups and other RR breeders around the world. She and Major Hawely were always exchanging letters about their dogs and children. In those far off days when there was no airmail, let alone email, she heard from a puppy owner in Nigeria that another pup from that litter, who was in Korea, had just had pups – just how long did that news take to get to her? She kept all the letters sent to her but, unlike Laurie, did not keep copies of the letters she sent.
The Glenaholm Estate was flourishing; the garden was established and the trees had grown; the chickens were laying and winning international prizes, and when her older sons left home to run their own poultry farms in Natal, they were given a few RR's to take with them. Phyllis now concentrated on consolidating her RR's with the temperament, conformation and color she so admired.
She had bought Glenaholm Markgraf Julius v.d.Pfalz, and later Glenaholm Roux of Merriwa and then Ch Skipper of Everton from Major Hawley. Phyllis had sent her 3rd generation bitch, Glenaholm Claire, 320 miles by train up to the Bococks of Gazely Farm to consolidate the beautiful red coat that the Glenaholm dogs had become to be known for, with that of Dr Jameson of Gazely.
It was from one of these matings that Rhodesian and SA Ch Glenaholm Strauss of Inkabusi, the dog who was to play such an important role in the RR world of both Rhodesia and South Africa, was born. Strauss sired 3 Champions by 3 different bitches while in Rhodesia and when he returned to Glenaholm when his owner died, he sired another 5 Champion bitches. Strauss sired his last litter in 1973, when he was 11 years old and when he died, Steph Potgieter of the Pronkberg kennels had a statue cast of him – Strauss was the grandfather to Steph's founding bitch Tarin of Marquardsingel.
In the early ‘60's Laurie attended the University of Natal, Pietermaritzberg where she met Norah, who had returned to South Africa after growing up in Rhodesia. They became fast friends and as luck would have it, Laurie married a close friend of Norah's, Paul Venter. Paul and Laurie and a few RR's returned to Johannesburg, where they bought 10 acres of veld and peach orchards which they called Chucklenook.
Laurie bred a litter or two of her own under the Chucklenook name. She was mainly occupied with raising her 3 children and when Norah became Norah Reid and bought land at Inadan, close by, she was promptly given the reject pups for her family pets.
Glenaholm Strauss was producing the most wonderful get and Phyllis repeated the mating between him and Glenaholm Imbali 3 times with constantly good results. One daughter went to the Helgesons, (who wrote the RR book) in Canada and became US and Can Ch Glenaholm Siyabonga of Shangani and she kept Khanya for herself.
Phyllis was slowing down at that stage and eventually 4 of Strauss's bewitching daughters came up to Johannesburg. Ch Glenaholm Cara was given to Norah as her foundation bitch; Ch Glenaholm Naomi and Ch Glenaholm Inyosi stayed with Laurie; and Glenaholm McNyaan went to the Maxwood kennels which were just down the road.
Laurie and Norah showed extensively at this stage and talked RR's and children, and children and RR's; they talked studs and future generations; conformation and temperament, big dark round eyes and color and pedigrees and X-raying. The Glenaholm dogs had been X-rayed for HD since the 1950's
When the Glenaholm name came up for re-registration, the kennel was put into the names of Mesdames Venter and Reid. Laurie had her dogs with her at Chucklenook; Norah had hers at Inadan but they all got together for shows, going to be X-rayed or just family outings.
Laurie and Norah's prime objectives were easily decided on: they wanted to breed good looking but superbly healthy animals, free of HD and other defects (Glenaholm dogs had been X-rayed since the 1950's); the next was to produce dogs of sound character, which would neither be too shy, too soft, nor too vicious. Character is the RRs best renowned feature. The average person is interested in acquiring a working pet, which will both love his young family and also protect them; they need a dog to guard their properties and themselves and yet be totally reliable with very young unreliable children. They had one eye on the show ring but the other firmly on the character, temperament and the health of the dogs
As Laurie and Norah were showing 3 Strauss daughters in the ring against each other, Glenaholm Inyosi was lent to Margaret and Sammy Wallace of Mushana kennels in Rhodesia where she whelped the famous Ch Glenaholm Lady Muck of Mushana and Ch Glenaholm Chipfupi of Mushana before returning. The Wallaces later bought a son of Glenaholm Cara, called Lord Sam who for some unknown reason or other, did not have the Glenaholm prefix.
Glenaholm acquired numerous dogs for future stud, and a bitch or two, who had Glenaholm blood. They bred and exported to countries as far apart as Sri Lanka, India and Brazil.
At that time a strange thing had happened. Suddenly just about all the old-timers, the breeders who had nursed the breed through it incredibly difficult birth pangs seemed to vanish. The say that the average breeding life is about 7 years; in the Ridgeback circle, the founder breeders had lasted a good 30 years and so it was not surprising that these staunch supporters gradually stopped showing and breeding. It really says something for their unflagging interest in the marvelous idiosyncrasies of the Ridgeback that they had faced the challenge of producing a quality dog and both bred and showed for so long. In 1972 the registration of Ridgebacks hit an all time low. Laurie and Norah did all they could to encourage the new owners to show their dogs and a number of new kennels started up at this time.
The daughters of Ch Glenaholm Strauss produced many champions. As well as the 3 Rhodesian champions and the Can/US champion mentioned above, there was Ch Glenaholm Juma (3 times the highest winning RR of the year), Ch Glenaholm Sakaza, Ch Glenaholm Jila, Ch Glenaholm Sasezela who was In Switzerland, Ch Glenaholm Stetebbi who was the 1 st RR Champion in Brazil, Ch Glenaholm Gawain and Ch Glenaholm Lalela.
Brian and Liz Meggison bought and championed their first RR, Ch Glenaholm Shona of Shangara, and she produced the all time winner Shangara's Checheni.
Errol Hepker bought Ch Glenaholm Gwandana for his Langley kennel. A Jones-Schleicher acquired Glenaholm Nanouscka of Rydgeway and started her Rydgeway kennels before returning to Holland with her dog. Her Glenaholm Galore of Rydgeway was the mother of Rydgway African Dawn, who whelped many European champions. Ch. Glenaholm Dizani of Kyaphatsha,Ch. Glenaholm Attis of Pamparidge and Ch. Glenaholm Pollux of Ydgrasill, were all important dogs for those kennels. Mrs Yates continued her Isimanga kennels with Ch Glenaholm Character of Isimanga. Ch Glenaholm Gaza was kept by Glenaholm – as were others.
Laurie and Norah were on the committee of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of South Africa and edited it's magazine for a number of years. They were also members of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of United States and that of the United Kingdom and they encouraged many people to show and X-ray their dogs.
The Maxwood kennels, just down the road was founded with a daughter of Strauss, Glenaholm McNyaan, and the last remaining dogs of Major Hawely's. Laurie had guided Sid Cawood in his breeding program and when he died, he left the kennels to her, and she carried on the good work he had started. The Lionhill name is also used for dogs bred to Rhodesian dogs and those who would have not have been registered because of the strict zero tolerance HD rules that were introduced.
Norah remarried and went to the United States for what was meant to be 2 years, but she never returned and in the end had to import some Glenaholm dogs that she so missed. She was not intending to ever show or breed again and when Donna Brown asked if she could have a dog “just like those”, Norah gave her Laurie's phone number in South Africa and over the years, Donna imported another 3 Glenaholm dogs. Norah did in the end start showing and breeds a litter every now and again, and after so many years there are again, Glenaholm champions in the US.
After Norah left, Laurie slowly stopped showing herself but still gets so much pleasure at seeing and hearing about the dogs that she has bred becoming champions in so many countries around the world. Glenaholm dogs have gone to approx. 40 counties and have been the founding RR in many kennels.
A kibbutz in Israel wanted watchdogs that would be safe with all it's members, and heard about the Ridgeback. Laurie sent them 2 and they were so successful that eventually she sent enough for them to have their own breeding program. Unfortunately none of these dogs seem to have been registered in that country.
But it is not just the showing – Laurie sees no reason why John Doe should not have the love of a first class good looking Ridgeback for his family, and as the majority of Glenaholm pups are ‘show', she does not insist on them going to a family who has no wish to show the dog. How happy she is to fly a pup to the US when she gets a call from a lady who grew up with a Glenaholm dog 30 years ago and now wants her children to have one in their lives.
A disaster overcame the dogs at Chucklenook a few years ago. Swarming African bees killed a number of her dogs. She was down to 2, and for the first time in her life, thought that she would not increase but an uproar from her family put a stop to that idea. She now has a great pack of young dogs coming up and looks forward to the puppy kisses – but not to the chewed up shoes!!
Laurie has been very constant in her breeding, keeping in her mind the Standard and the picture of the perfect RR she wants to breed. What is so nice about the Glenaholm dogs is that there are dogs now who look exactly the same as those of 40 years ago.
The Chucklenook property is now surrounded by suburbs, the trees are huge and houses have been built on the land, not only for Laurie's 3 children, but Paul's sisters and other friends. Laurie's twin brother has return from overseas with his Fijian wife, Litia, who now helps Laurie and is showing the Glenaholm dogs.
Today Glenaholm is run by Laurie Venter outside Johannesburg South Africa and her ex partner, Norah Ormerod, who now lives in the USA breeds her Glenaholm dogs there.
...in South Africa with Laurie Venter
....and in USA with Norah Ormerod