Ch Zeloy Emperor
CH. ZELOY EMPEROR, bred by Ernest "Robby" Robinson in March 1960, had an enormous influence on the breed. He was the sire of 22 British champions and 33 US champions, as well as siring numerous champions throughout Europe, Japan and Australia. He must surely be considered the greatest-ever producer of wire fox terrier champions. Ch. Zeloy Emperor represented the culmination of two decades of Robby Robinson's breeding. This he achieved through an enormous amount of skill and dedication because all the Zeloy dogs were generally owner conditioned and handled - something virtually unheard of in the 60's and 70's. Robby began exhibiting his wires in 1939 and although it took 20 years for him to produce his first CC winner in 1959, his successes thereafter were manifold but the jewel in his crown must surely be Emperor.
Billy, as he was known, first appeared in the showring at Cruft's in February 1961 where he won a puppy class of 14; he also won the Undergraduate class with 7 entries and Graduate with 8 entries. The judge, John Hamilton of the Burntedge Wires, made the following comments:
...This puppy is most attractively hound marked, short coupled, nice head, good reach of neck, uses his ears very well indeed, is possessed of good bone and feet. I thought that this could be my ultimate winner but he has not yet the maturity to warrant this, but unless I am very much mistaken this is a rod in a pickle.
Billy was beaten in the challenge at Cruft's by Ch. Penda Peerless and Ch. Crackwyn Cockspur - two of the top winners of that period. He won his classes in his next three outings and achieved Reserve CC at both the Scottish and West of England Club shows in April but at Bath in May, under Mrs. Josephine Creasey, he gained his first CC and was awarded Best of Breed. Billy continued to win his classes in his next seven shows but failed to gain a second CC. At this point, he was handed to the talented professional handler, Tommy Brampton, who "finished" him in the summer of 1962 . He quickly gained 4 more CC's - all six of them with best of breed. Billy was shown once more in 1968 when he was eight and a half years old, and was Best of Breed at the Scottish Kennel Club under the American judge, Mrs. Augustus Riggs IV. On this last occasion he was handled by Robby.
At this point in his life Billy had an enormous and respected reputation as a sire and it is claimed that Robby Robinson refused sums of £1,000 and more for Billy on many occasions, even in his later years, but he could never be persuaded to part with his favourite. It is true that some things are beyond price. On many occasions he frequently competed with his progeny one particular bitch being Ch.& American Ch. Zeloy Mooremaides Magic who, later in her career, achieved Best in Show at Westminster in New York in 1966.
When Robby died in 1972 Billy left England to live out his remaining years in Holland as the house pet of the van der Hoevens, long-time wire fanciers of the Pickwick Kennels which already had Ch. Zeloy Select and Ch. Zeloy Escort in residence. In tribute to Billy, Mrs. van der Hoevens wrote...
..."Billy was a sensible dog. He was soon accustomed to his new life and nothing was more appreciated than a walk in the fields or a drive to the woods. He liked to accompany me when shopping. He was eager to examine everything and twice he saw his chance to snatch a bun or some sweets. Owing to his excellent disposition, everybody was fond of him. In March 1973 a sudden stroke put an end to his happy life. A great sire had passed away and I am proud that I could give Billy a comfortable and happy old age."
Mrs. van der Hoeven had a mausoleum built for Billy which can still be seen in Holland.
It is now over thirty years since the first champion from Emperor emerged and since then, nearly three quarters of those champions in the UK carry one or more lines to him. In the United States his champion descendants number many hundreds. No dog has had a greater influence on the breed in modern times.
The article on Zeloy Emperor, has been modified from Terrier Type's special issue on the Fox Terrier in 1983 and also from the Wire Fox Terrier issue in 1995