Margaret Manning



Margaret Manning

Masha Zarnova supplied this article about the late Margaret Manning of Manitias Kennels


I have had dogs and horses all my life and have always been interested in all animals.

The first Borzois I saw was well over 40 years ago. Mr. Ernest Guy arriving at Tiverton Railway station with his Borzois going to the Tiverton Agricultural Show in Devon. Tiverton is where I was born. Mr. Guy was the first person I knew who owned Borzois and he kindled my interest in the breed. It was from Mr. Guy that I got my passion for Borzois and also learned a great deal about the breed; lessons which have never left me. Borzois are so much like Arab horses which I have owned since going to school. My father gave me 2 Borzois for my birthday, they were of Zomahli breeding and I kept them as pets, only. They were not registered with the Kennel Club, because my father did not believe that registration is necessary for any breed of dogs. They were my private pack and they all lived together and ran together. This is how I learned that movement and temperament are very important and must be sound for Borzois. When my first litter was born, I kept all the five puppies. They lived for 14 years and died within 10 months from one another. That was it – Borzois ever since. I fell in love with their power, intelligence and beauty – one need to look no further.

In the early days when I exercised my horses for point-to-point races, the Borzois would come along as well – they hunted well with the horses – and because they had to keep up with the horses for miles, I soon learned about the conformation and movement! For instance, if they had straight shoulders, upright pasterns and no drive from the hind quarters, they would not last the day and, of course, they also needed the very deep chest to give enough room for the heart and lungs. If they can’t breathe in large amounts of oxygen deeply, then they won’t have the stamina to run. Like any athlete, stamina and fitness is the order of the day, so the hounds should be in a very good physical condition.

I never really had interest in showing until later in life, then I started to show my dogs only for fun, but I am very serious about breeding and strive to breed top quality Borzois. If other people can see in my hounds what I see, then that is the greatest compliment that I could receive. Champion titles do not always mean good Borzois in my opinion. I get excited every time a litter is born hoping that it will be better than the last one. All my Borzois breed naturally (but kept on a lead when mated) and also deliver puppies naturally, none of my bitches ever had a Caesarian section. I only breed to improve my own stock, if others like what they see then they can have a puppy that pleases me. I do not sell “show “ puppies. I sell well-reared, pure- bred puppies with good temperaments. If the new owners want to have some fun showing them, all well and good. Many of the dogs I have bred have won well in the show ring, but all the dogs I have bred have had their role to play, whether it was a companion or show dog or as a foundation dog or bitch for someone else’s kennels.

My ideal Borzoi is the one that fills my eye and have substance and elegance. Movement is also very important – powerful hind movement and extension in the front, low to the ground and daisy cutting action only seen in Borzois. The “daisy “ being Bellis Perrennis, not the Veldt daisy which is 2 feet high! This daisy cutting action is unique to the Borzoi breed and we must preserve it. The movement should be light but with power. Please remember that we are the guardians of what we breed.

In the early days of my breeding program I brought hounds from the lines of Ch. Keepers MichaelAngelo, Ch. Keepers The Baron, Ch. Keepers Baroness and Int. Ch. Wellthornes Tilosky. And I shouldn’t leave out Ch. Bacaret Copper Queen… in my opinion one of the most beautiful bitches of the recent times.

Through the years I bought several dogs and bitches from the Keepers Kennels –two of these being Keepers Juliana and Keepers Imperial Legend. Legend was too tall for me and too heavy, Keepers Juliana was a very good and sound bitch. She was mated with Manitias Marengo and produced Manitias Valshebnik and from him came one of my main lines.

I also acquired Rodgivad Sea Nymph, sired by Ch Keepers The Baron from Mrs. Etheridge.

A few years later I bought Dimland Iago of Colhugh from Mr. Reg Basset, whose brothers have been used many times by the famous Colhugh and Dimland kennels, producing numerous champions. He was my guard dog, he could sit on my coat the whole day and would not let anybody pick it up. He was the most faithful dog I have ever owned. Dimland Iago of Colhugh produced several dogs and bitches for me, especially Manitias Marengo and Manitias Pitasia. Manitias Baron Selderhof and Manitias Prince Peridarchus are Manitias Valshebnik’s sons . And Manitias Blacklord Caesaro is Manitias Prince Peridarchus’s son . And Manitias Ice Bear is sired by Manitias Baron Selderhof. All these dogs had genotype and, in my opinion, phenotype as well and have been exceptional producers for Manitias Kennels.

There have been some beautiful and influential dogs in England, including some of my favourites – Ch Livny Black Eagle, who had genotype and phenotype , as did Ch Falconcrag Krassai, Ch Zomahli Gueroy and I must mention Ch Manitias Count Hugo and, of course, not forgetting Ch Diamond Edge of Enolam , a super hound of the highest quality. Two dogs who did not become champions but were superb hounds and who appear several times in my lines – Falconcrag Khristov and Karissoff Zaromski, two good lines to double on or go back into to get good movement. Any breeding with Francehill in it had good legs and were very fast; this breeding mixed with Keepers breeding produced the fastest hounds have ever seen, and they also had good show gait . I believe that movement comes from the brain, aided by good construction.

In order to get black breeding for my Manitias Blacklord line I bought Ch Falconcrag Krassai and Ch Falconcrag Centime. They were not large hounds but sound. I bought Ch Falconcrag Krassai for his reach of neck, chapel arched and superb movement. To understand his movement, one had to watch his side gait with the super extension and drive, which he passed to his progeny without exception.

Then I looked for a dog to continue with Manitias Ice Bear daughters to produce white and light colors but there was no dog suitable for them at that time in the UK. So I looked at many kennels of hounds and eventually came across Hepi Hepri Kennels in Moscow, Russia. With the help of Nadezhda Mostyaeva I found a dog which I thought will be good to continue with. I purchased Hepi Hepri Liman (Int Ch Aldebaran de Nobile Veltrus x Ch Metelitsa Hepi Hepri). Liman sired several litters from Ice Bear daughters which are very exciting and produced desired colors.

However, I used Liman on Blacklord Caesaro daughter and this mating produced several black , self red brindles and self reds.

I find color permutation interesting. Liman, himself , is a grey and white and has produced the dark colors from a self red bitch. Krassai, on the other hand, who is self black, have produced some superb sable from a tortoiseshell/white bitch.

Now we wait and see if my selection was right. I am extremely pleased so far.

I have exported several Borzois back to Russia and also to the USA and other countries. They are all performing very well in the show ring and several of them already closed their Championships, including Ch Manitias Krasniy Oriel who became the Junior World Champion in Milano.

I feel honored and privileged to be involved in breeding this beautiful and noble hound. My Borzois are my life, and I have given and can continue to give them as much as they have given to me over the years. No Borzois – No Life.

Margaret Manning

November 2002