Irish Wolfhound History

The Cotswold Kennels

Major and Mrs. Percy Shewell started in the breed with the purchase of Princess Patricia of Connaught from Major and Mrs. E.H. Richardson. Princess Patricia was bred by Mrs. Gerard of the Kidnal House Kennels, born 31st January 1898, by Ch. Dermot Asthore ex Cheevra, and was a littersister to Ch. Sportella owned by Mrs. Lane Jackson. She is listed in Graham's Pedigrees as belonging to Major Shewell but she was listed in the KC Stud Book as being owned and shown by the Richardsons, and there is nothing in the KC Records about her change of ownership until February, 1902, which is the month in which a registration for her first litter (bred by Major Shewell in 1901) was made. That same month Major Shewell took Kilcullen from Mr. Crisp.

Princess Patricia was twice mated to Ch. O'Leary. The first time she produced a litter on May 21, 1901, from which came a bitch registered (the first time that Major Shewell shows up in KC records) as Alsia, and she was the hound with whom Captain Graham shared the last years of his life. Following the second mating to O'Leary, Princess Patricia produced a litter on March 7th, 1902 from which came Cotswold, a dog that was to take the wolfhound world by storm and be held up as the goal towards which all breeders should work. He is listed in Graham's Pedigrees as being named Wallace but his KC registration was made under the name of Cotswold and there is no Wallace registered.


The Shewell's kennel name was taken from this dog. He quickly became a champion and won 17 CCs during his career. CCs were introduced in 1893 with the winning of three making up a champion but all three could be won under the same judge. It was in 1904 that it was ruled that all three had to be under different judges in order for the dog to become a champion, and it was not until 1907 that actual Certificates were printed by the Kennel Club.

Ch. Cotswold 

At the Kennel Club Show in 1904 Captain Graham was the judge and said about Cotswold: "In Open Class, Cotswold, well known and certainly the most perfect dog of the breed as yet, was 1st."

At the L.K.A. in 1908, the judge J.F. Baily said of Cotswold: "Open Dogs - I had no hesitation in placing Champion Cotswold at the head of affairs, as he has got nearly everything we want, great size, good girth, plenty of coat, well carried ears, and a beautiful outline. He goes, perhaps, rather wide behind, but as I have seen many good horses do the same and still gallop fast, it may not be such a fault after all. He is unquestionably the most perfect specimen of the breed we have got, or that I have seen, and I think I have seen every good specimen that has ever come out since 1879."

In October, 1902 Kilcullen was sold on and Major Shewell bought Wolfe Tone from Mrs. Compton.

Wolfe Tone and Cotswold 
 Wolfe Tone and Cotswold

However, although Kilcullen was supposed to have left the Shewell's ownership in 1902, he appeared in the registration of a litter born August 16, 1903 as belonging to Mrs. Shewell, and again in 1906. He was again listed as having been transferred from Major Shewell - to a Mr. O'Mahony - in June, 1908.

Princess Patricia of Connaught was transferred from Major Shewell to Mrs. Shewell in February,1903, and in October 1903 Mrs. Shewell registered a litter from Princess Patricia, sired by Wolfe Tone, and born on October 28th, 1902. For the next several years, Mrs. Shewell was the listed breeder and exhibitor of the Cotswold hounds.

Cotswold first appeared in the Kennel Club Calendar & Stud Book for 1904, which was the first time that the Shewells were listed as having exhibited at shows. Cotswold's littersister, Cotswold Biddy, was not registered until February, 1904. This was not unusual; hounds were often not registered for years after their birth.

Mrs. Shewell bought in several bitches, including Dhudesa and Felixstowe Dromore, the transfers of both being registered in April, 1905.

Dhudesa   Felixstowe Dromore
bred by Mrs. Howard,
by Connaught ex Nuala
wh. July 8th, 1902
 Felixstowe Dromore
bred by Dr. Tucker, by Finn
out of Juno of the Fen
wh. February 17th, 1902

Dhudesa later became a champion.

A second litter by Wolfe Tone out of Princess Patricia of Connaught was born January 24, 1904 and included Cotswold Patricia. This bitch became a champion and was highly regarded by several judges.

Cotswold Patricia 
 Cotswold Patricia

At Birmingham Show in December, 1907 the judge, Arthur Gerrard, said of Cotswold Patricia: "Champion Cotswold Patricia, is a grand type of bitch and a typical Wolfhound with plenty of size, good body and loins". And the judge at a show held on June 17th, 1910 said of her: "Open: That topper, Ch. C. Patricia, promptly put paid to the others' account; her equal wants finding."

Leighton's New Book of the Dog (1907) states " has taken close upon a quarter of a century to produce the magnificent champions Cotswold and Cotswold Patricia, which are such brilliant examples of the modern breed - a brace of Wolfhounds who bear living testimony to the vast amount of energy and perseverance which Captain Graham and his enthusiastic colleague Major Garnier have displayed in evolving from rough material the majestic breed that holds so prominent a position to-day."

Cotswold Watch was by Cotswold out of Miss McCheane's Wolfe Watch, and was whelped April 1, 1907, and registered by Mrs. Shewell in June, 1908.

Cotswold Watch 
 Cotswold Watch

A bitch, Cotswold Bloom, by Cotswold out of Mr. G. Spooner's Felixstowe Dromore (even though Dromore was still listed as belonging to Mrs. Shewell) and whelped July 27, 1907, was registered by Mrs. Shewell in October, 1908. In November, 1908 Dromore was listed as being transferred from Mr. Spooner to Mrs. Shewell.

Cotswold Bloom 
 Cotswold Bloom

A dog from the same litter was registered by Mr. I.W. Everett as Felixstowe Kilronan.

Cotswold, Cotswold Bloom, Cotswold Patricia, Cotswold Watch, Dhudesa and Felixstowe Dromore were listed in March, 1909 as being transferred from Mrs. Shewell to Major and Mrs. Shewell. In the same month Felixstowe Kilronan was transferred from Mr. Everett to Major and Mrs. Shewell.

Ch. Felixstowe Kilronan 
 Major Shewell with Ch. Felixstowe Kilronan

John F. Baily, judge at the L.K.A. in 1908 said of Kilronan: "Felixstowe Kilronan. This is really a wonderful puppy, not yet twelve months old; he stands a good 34 in. and makes the most of it in the ring. He stands perfectly true and straight in front, his neck is long and graceful, his shoulders good, he carries his ears well and promises to have plenty of coat. At present he is rather narrow and a trifle stilty behind, but as time will change all this I predict a brilliant career for him." He did quickly become a champion.

Kilronan won 16 CCs, and among his progeny was Wyke Mark Dan O'Hagarty who appears in the pedigree of almost every present-day hound.

At Birmingham National Dog Show, 18th & 19th January, 1911 Kilronan was listed in the schedule as for sale for the sum of £3,500, Cotswold Patricia for £3,000, and Ch. Dhudesa for £1,500! However, at Crufts that same year, and just a month later, Kilronan's price had been dropped to £300, Cotswold Patricia to £200, and Ch. Dhudesa to £100.

Ch. Cotswold   Ch. Cotswold Patricia
 Ch. Cotswold and Ch. Cotswold Patricia in 1910  

In 1912 Isaac Everett reported thus in his Wolfhound Whines column in Our Dogs: "The news will be received with the greatest regret that Major P.G. Shewell, of Cotswold, Cheltenham, has decided to disperse his magnificent collection of Irish Wolfhounds. Ever since we can remember, Major Shewell's kennel of this historic breed has been in the forefront, and we believe that his present collection embraces every living champion of the breed, and a number of others quite capable of following in the footsteps of the older animals. A list of the dogs is published in our sale columns, and early application should be made by those desirous of securing any of the dogs."

The sale list read: List of hounds for sale

Cotswold Patricia and Felixstowe Kilronan were transferred to Mrs. Trethewy (Wyke Mark) in January, 1912. Several other of the Cotswold hounds went to America to a nephew of Theodore Roosevelt.

The Shewells came back into the breed after only a couple of years, with Lindley Hector and Lindley Lupin being transferred from Dr. and Mrs. Fisher (their breeders) to the Shewells early in 1914. The Shewells seemed to do particularly well in choosing hounds that would do well in the showring and in breeding. Lindley Lupin was by Felixstowe Kilronan out of Mr. H. Pemberton's Frona, and whelped May 27, 1910. Lindley Hector was by Silver King out of Fillongley Queen, and whelped October 6, 1910. Both became champions. Felixstowe Gelert was also a member of the Cotswold kennel for some years.

Phyllis Gardner, in her Portraits, says of Lindley Lupin "A contemporary critic said she was the dominating factor in all stock immediately descended from her. The female line from Major Garnier's Juno goes in single line down to Cheevra, thence in two single lines from Cheevra's two daughters Nancy of Kidnal (Frona's granddam - Frona being Lupin's dam) and Princess Patricia of Connaught (Hindhead Mollie's great granddam)."

The Cotswold Kennel 
 The Cotswold Kennel

Major Shewell died in 1915 and Mrs. Shewell carried on for some years, the last mention of her in the registrations for the breed being in March, 1920.

The following is part of an article which appeared in Country Life on May 15th, 1909. To read the full article, click here.


An eye of sloe, with ear set low,
With horse's breast, with depth of chest,
With breadth of loin, and curve in groin,
And nape set far behind the head -
Such were the dogs that Fingal bred -

Probably no breed of dog has been the subject of greater controversy than Ireland's historic hound. About thirty years ago a long and important discussion was carried on in the Press on the nature and history of the Irish wolfhound. The principal writers were Captain Graham, the Rev. W.B. Wynne and Mr. F. Adcock. The chief point at issue was whether the hound of that day was descended from the Canis Graius Hibernicus, or whether it was a dog evolved from a combination of two or three other breeds. Some of the writers contended that the original type was extinct, but Captain Graham held, and, I think, rightly so, that the ancient breed was still extant, though the examples were few and degenerate in type. Working upon that assumption, he gave much time and labour to the resuscitation of the breed. To him, more than to anyone else, all lovers of the Irish wolfhound are indebted for the present handsome dog, whose history has for so many centuries been associated with that of the Emerald Isle. The antiquity of this breed is beyond question. The first authentic mention of it is made by Consul Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, A.D. 391, who sent seven of these dogs to Rome, where they were used in the arenas to fight lions, bears and captive Saxons. The wolfhound is frequently mentioned in Irish history. The old chieftains called it the Mil-Chu. Wolfhounds were used in war, as well as in the chase, and were held in great reverence, only princes and chiefs being allowed to keep them. The coat of arms of the early Irish kings was composed of the harp, the shamrock and the wolfhound, with the motto underneath, "Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked."

Three Cotswold hounds 

Champion Cotswold Patricia. She is by Wolf Tone out of Princess Patricia of Connaught, and is a home-bred one. Her colour is light brindle. She has a great deal of bone and is very active, being able to run a rabbit down with ease. In the showring she has beaten every bitch she has been shown against, and has won thirteen challenge certificates at the following shows: Kennel Club (3), Cruft's (3), Dublin (2), Ladies' Kennel Association (2), Belfast, Richmond and Birmingham. Her prize list totals thirty-five wins, all of which are firsts but two, when she was shown in mixed classes and was beaten by Champion Cotswold. In 1905 at Richmond she won four firsts, also the silver challenge shield for the best bitch and the ladies' silver challenge cup; at the Crystal Palace she was awarded two firsts, a special, also the ten-guinea challenge cup; at Belfast one first, and at Birmingham two firsts and a second. In 1906: Crufts - first open, silver shield and silver bowl; Birmingham - second open and silver medal. In 1907: Cruft's - first open, special for best of her sex in the show; silver shield and silver medal. In 1908: Cruft's - first open; Dublin - first open; Ladies' Kennel Association - first open; and at the last Kennel Club Show - first open, silver shield, silver medal and a silver bowl.

Champion Dhudesa is a dark grey in colour and almost perfect in type. Her certificates were all won in 1907 at three of the principal shows in the lands of the rose, thistle and shamrock - London, Edinburgh and Belfast. She has won the principal prizes for her breed at Dublin, Ladies' Kennel Association, Belfast, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Richmond, etc.

Cotswold Bloom is not fully matured and has only been shown once, when she took first in all her classes but one, where she was beaten by Cotswold Patricia. She is litter sister to Felixstowe Kilronan, and is a light brindle, measuring nearly 33 in. and weighing about 110 lb. If given the opportunity she will do a great deal to uphold the high reputation of the Cotswold kennels. In addition to the hounds mentioned, many fine specimens have borne the Cotswold prefix, amond which are O'Leary, Cross, Paddy, O'Shea, Wolf and Astore; and added to these must be Felixstowe Dromore, Wolf Tone, Kilcullen, St. Canice, Iris, and Artara Astore.

Ch. Dhudesa 

Major and Mrs. Shewell are devoted to their hobby, and grudge neither time nor money to further the interests of what has been called the "king of dogs". Major Shewell, who until two years ago was the hon. secretary of the Irish Wolfhound Club, was an admirer of the breed long before he kept them. He says: "I remember as a boy seeing Captain Graham's hounds, and thinking them the handsomest, biggest and gentlest dogs living, and I now know them to be all this.

H. BOYCOTT ODDY May 15, 1909

Some more on the Cotswold Kennels can be seen here

Back to the page on others involved in the resuscitation of the breed

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July 3rd, 2005