Janet Andrews lives on a smallholding set in the rolling green fields of the Suffolk – Essex border. Visitors arriving at the head of the driveway are instantly aware of Janet’s passion for her animals, with the gate flanked by the enquiring gazes of a diverse collection of equine attendants and a variety of small-farm stock along the meadow.
The sheer impact and volume of the greeting in the driveway leaves nobody in any doubts about the identity of the star performers. The confrontation is a collection of Belgian Shepherd Dogs, every one showing evidence of the happiness and health only to be found in pastoral dogs in a free pastoral environment. Not for these specimens the confinement of small kennels or a kitchen corner, they are busy all day.
The Affix Delator came about through Janet’s love of Yorkshire, where as a child she spent many happy months with her late aunt and uncle. Janet took the two words Dell and Tor, Dell being a small low lying, sometimes wooded area and Tor being a high peak. The UK Kennel Club refused to register DELLANDTOR so she abbreviated it to DELATOR which was accepted. That was the early 1960s and the foundation of a future that took Janet on a journey she couldn’t have imagined.
Janet first became interested in the Belgian Shepherd Dog in the late seventies after considerable success with German Shepherds in Obedience competition and a small amount of showing, but at that time her primary interest lay with obedience training and competition. Janet took her first bitch up to ‘Obedience C’.
After breeding a GSD litter that was decimated by poor hips it was decided to look for a working breed less prone to HD and Janet went to Crufts to view the group. She came upon the handsome BSD Tervueren and after enquiries found that Mrs Ralph of Kepammi affix was due to have a litter from her American import Colombe O’ Albions Franglad of Kepammi who came from the successful ’Chateau Blanc’ and ’Fauve Charbonne’ kennels in USA. ’Piper’ - Kepammi Heather of Delator - came to Delator early 1980 in partnership with Mrs Ralph. She was a strong-willed Tervueren, strong in bone, with really sound construction and movement, but in those early days not the elegant lines of today’s beauties.
Piper excelled at ring-showing under the all-rounder judges. At the East of England Championship show she was the first Tervueren to attain Reserve in the Working Group, under the late Fred Curnow. At the first Belgian Shepherd Dog Association of GB Championship show she was Best of Breed Tervueren then Reserve Best in Show and also Best Opposite Sex in Show.
In 1977 Janet made contact with Lady Karen Watson, then residing in Belgium. Through Karen Delator imported Boris & Claudette of the Two. Claudette was from Zultan of the Two x Urane du Bois du Tot, Boris being If du Puits d’ombelle x Juby des Trois Fleuves. From these two a large proportion of the early BSD kennels in the UK obtained stock or bloodlines. The magnificent Boris was later sold to Sweden because his type at that time was too early for the breeders in Britain. Claudette spent her life at Delator, the grand lady departing this Earth at the age of 11 years.
Later, Delator was able to purchase from Dr Yves Surget Broccio and Asterie du Bois du Tot, Broccio being a repeat mating of the famous Ares. Both were influential in the UK and Broccio was later sent to Eternity Kennels in Sweden.
Then came Vidame du Bois du Tot who was to stay with Delator just long enough to mark his qualities on the British bloodlines before going to Pat Marchevsky in Australia.
Janet then imported a Groenendael from Jean-Louis Vandenbemden’s van de Hoge Laer kennel in Belgium. The fabulous Magician had arrived. Although fifth pick from the litter Magic excelled even the wildest dreams by quickly attaining the title Champion and continuing to be awarded Challenge Certificates, even though he was not intensively shown.
Very sadly Magic died at the age of ten years, but his marvellous qualities live on in subsequent generations.
Nothing could replace Magic, but Jean-Louis pestered Delator that he had a better dog than their Champion Delator Regal Raider, so into quarantine came the famous Ninja van de Hoge Laer. Already an adult when he came out of quarantine Ninja was very unsociable towards Raider, so a partnership was agreed between Delator and the late Caroline Harvey and Ninja went to live at Caroline’s Charbonny kennel.
In 1984 Janet, along with Jackie Macandie and Judith Cloutt, started compiling a book about Belgian Shepherds. The trio wanted to include some of the UK’s early influential BSDs with photos and pedigrees; articles from the Continent, America and of course the UK. This proved a mammoth task, sadly Jackie had to withdraw for personal reasons, so Judith and Janet carried it on. The printing company they had engaged went out of business, so everything had to be moved to a fresh printing company. The printing and publishing costs were colossal and the finished article was not as glamorous as was hoped, but it was finished. It will never be updated, not by us anyway as at the end of the day it cost in the region of £15,000. It was called simply The Belgian Shepherd Dog. There are still copies available from both Janet and Judith and the cost has been reduced from £15 to £7.50 because the binding is not of the intended standard.
Judging started for Janet in the early 1980s when Belgian Shepherds were in the “Any Variety” classes having yet to achieve breed recognition in Britain. Janet had her first Championship show judging appointment in the late ‘80s in Scotland. Since those beginnings she judged the junior males and females of all four BSD varieties at the Royal Groenendael Club in Belgium in 1990; has officiated at many Championship shows; judged Best in Show at the BSDAofGB Championship show in 2002; and Best in Show at the Northern BSD Championship show 2007.
It was a great honour to be invited to judge Groenendaels at Crufts 2007 and Janet was appointed to judge Laekenois & Malinois at Crufts 2009. She continues to enjoy judging Working & Pastoral groups at Open shows, seeing her Group winners going on as far as Reserve Best in Show.
Janet is a life member of the Belgian Shepherd Dog Association of Great Britain and currently a Vice President (casinos-uk.org) having served on the Committee for more years than she cares to remember, standing down recently for a break.
Currently the Delator home tribe comprises seven Tervueren, three of which are oldies, the others ranging from 1 to 5 years. We must include the three whippets and of course the three big girls (horses): a welsh section D; a Cleveland Bay; and a Welsh part-bred; and of course HIS LORDSHIP the B/W gypsy horse!
Returning to the UK in January 2008 was Delator puppy Rafa whose life from the age of 12 weeks had been traumatic. He was sold to a person in Portugal, who when Rafa and his escort arrived was found to have concealed their true identity. A swift decision to return Rafa to the UK had to be taken and of course he had to go into British quarantine. But with a lovely twist to the tale some good friends on the continent offered to let Rafa stay with them in their home for his six months Pet Passport. So off he went again, still only 16 weeks. Rafa has been spoiled while living with puppies of his own age and with people who made him a full family member, so much better then having to endure six months quarantine.
Recently acquired from The Netherlands van Moned kennel comes Zowie, the latest intern for Delator.
The Delator story continues...