The Dogs of Rockwood

The Dogs of Rockwood

Dogs have been part of the Rockwood picture since Joseph Shipley built it in 1854.  According to 1847 shipping receipts sent from England to Shipley, he had his dog Toby, a mixed breed dog, and another unnamed English pointer sent with the first shipments to Rockwood in order to make it feel like his home.¹  This unnamed English pointer is rumored to be Hamlet, an ill behaved English pointer gifted to the Bringhursts by Joseph Shipley and mentioned in the Bringhursts letters. Dogs continued to become more prominent on the estate in 1892 when Edward Bringhurst Jr. acquired Rockwood from the Shipley family. The Bringhursts often had several terriers, beagles, and other breeds around the house as lapdogs.   Edward’s son, Edward Bringhurst III (later becoming Edward the 5th), bred dogs commercially at Rockwood and began documenting them and the other housedogs in photographs.
By 1900, dog shows became popular among the upper class; Edward, an avid lover of dogs, quickly joined in.  His passion soon became the breeding and care of Great Danes.  Edward registered “Broughton” as the on-site kennel name at Rockwood after Robert De Bringhurst, Lord of Broughton, who was the first documented Bringhurst.  As Edward’s involvement in dog shows grew, so did his other interest, amateur photography.  Owners often photographed their competition dogs to be featured in ads to celebrate wins or as self promotion for upcoming events and Edward was no different.  Edward’s involvement in photography deepened as his participation in dog competition grew and he took more pictures of his dogs.  This has provided excellent documentation of the dogs of Rockwood. The subject of a majority of Edward’s photographs is Guido of Broughton. Guido was the Bringhurst’s prized and award winning dog with 26 first place finishes in the Great Dane and Open catagories listed in the 1904 Official American Kennel Club Stud Book².  Guido is also mentioned in several articles including an article about breeding champion Great Danes featured in a 1908 edition of the magazine Country Life in America.³  Gretzel, Sandora, Stettin, and Tristen were other Great Danes often photographed.
Edward also breed Fox Terriers.  His prized and most often featured Terrier was Dinah who has four 1stplace finished attributed to her name in a 1904 show in Wissahickon, PA in the American Bred Terrier category.4
In addition to his role as a breeder, Edward also cared for many other dogs as family pets, which he named affectionately and photographed. Dinah’s puppies were the subjects of many these other photographs with Horrace, Corron Nova, and Chester also often being captured in candid and posed shots around the grounds of Rockwood.  Several other dogs are seen around Rockwood through out the vast collection of photographs but are mostly unidentified.

[Rockwood Archives: Box 40][Rockwood Archives: Box 40][Rockwood Archives: Box 40][Rockwood Archives: Box 40]


[Rockwood Archives: Box 40] 

-Kyle Herring

1- Receipts, Gillows & Co., Lancaster, England, to Joseph Shipley, July 11, 1846 and Oct. 27, 1847, Rockwood Archives; Rockwood Archives, passim

2- The National Kennel Club, American Kennel Club stud book, Volume 21(California: American Kennel Club., 1905) 107.

3- S.L. De Fabry, “The Great Dane,” Country life in America, May to October, 1908.

4- The National Kennel Club, , American Kennel Club stud book, Volume 21, 157.