Born in 1901, Old Kep’s contribution to the breed was his ‘eye’ – he had the ability to control sheep with a look, which resulted in 45 first places at the trials. His kind nature was also a great influence; the first Border Collies were averse to strangers, whereas Old Kep was the kindest dog.
Old Kep’s genes were passed down the breed through, among others, his son Don (ISDS 11) and Herdman’s Tommy (ISDS 16), bred by William Wallace of Otterburn. Three distinct ‘family’ lines can be traced from Tommy (a grandson of Hemp) – bred to Ancrum Jed, a daughter of Kep, out of Cleg produced Tyne 145, Moss 22 and Trim 37; each being the direct forbear of a specific line of different Supreme Champions. Bred to A. Brown’s Old Maid 1, Tommy produced another line of champions and bred to G. Brown’s Nell 205, yet another distinct line. Another grandson of Hemp, T. Armstrong’s Sweep 21, son of Trim 37, headed the other main line. All descended from Hemp and yet so wisely were these outstanding dogs bred, that the strength and beauty, the quality of their unique working method, and the health of the breed are as sound today as ever.
Don (ISDS 11) was exported to New Zealand where he contributed greatly to the Border Collies of Australia.
With thanks to Cynthia McCracken.