From my Dog World blog on 11 August 2016.

In my monthly column Crossing the Headlines (17 August 2016) I wrote about Gavin Robertson’s marathon charity fundraiser, Pedigree Paws United – a series of sponsored walks totalling 160 miles and featuring every recognised breed of dog in the UK.

Each dog will be walking a minimum of five miles.



‘King Orry, owned by Mr G R Murrell. Born January 25, 1889, by Pagan ex Koorie. Breeder J Tasker.’


The announcement put me in mind of another famous walking match, which took place in London, featuring the Bulldog. The full story is recounted in the marvellous The Bulldog – A Monograph by Edgar Farman.

The craze among the members for Bulldog matches reached its height this year (1893) one being a competition judged by points, for £10, between two pups, about two months old owned by Messrs Frank W Crowther and A Hodgson respectively, and the other a walking match between Mr Woodiwiss’s Dockleaf and Mr Murrell’s King Orry. In the first of these matches Mr Hodgson’s pup won and in the second Mr Murrell’s King Orry. This walking match was unique in Bulldog annals.

Notwithstanding his merits, Dockleaf had many detractors, for the dog was so cloddy and heavy that it was contended he was a monstrosity or deformity. Mr Murrell at a show was holding forth in this strain and asserting that a Bulldog should be active, when the late Mr J S Pybus-Sellon, being present, asserted Dockleaf, which he’d bred, was active, and offered to match it (his owner permitting) for £5 aside to walk against Mr Murrell’s King Orry. This Mr Murrell immediately accepted and the event took place in July, it being one of the most exciting events ever known in the dog world. The course selected was from The Roebuck at Lewisham to Bromley Town Hall and back, a distance of ten miles.

Mr G R Krehl was the judge, while Mr Edgar Farman acted as referee. The dogs were started, and Mr Krehl elected to follow whichever dog kept in front, Mr Farman watching the other. While at it Dockleaf walked pluckily, but there was never any doubt about it from the start. King Orry and Mr Krehl soon being out of sight. Dockleaf was hampered by the crowd at first, but there was no question that he was unequal to the task, and two miles from the start he was withdrawn from competition. King Orry went over the whole course in capital style and won the stakes. It was extremely sportsmanlike of Mr Woodiwiss to lend his dog for the purpose of deciding this bet, for he gave £250 for the animal, and had no interest in the match.



‘Ch Dockleaf, owned by Mr Sam Woodiwiss. Born October 28, 1890 by Dandelion ex Damson. Breeder J S Pybus Sellon.’


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