Obo II and History of the Obo II Cup
American Kennel Register 1884 Obo II Article
OBO II, whelped 1882.
Sire: English Ch. Obo Dam: English Import Chloe II
The Obo II Grave with snow is how it looked when
it was discovered.
Photo: Staci Stanley.
The grave was reported to the ASC Archival Work Group July 2001. It is
located on the former property of Mr. J.P. Willey, behind the only
elementary school in the small city of Rollingsford, New Hampshire, once
known as Salmon Falls. The street adjacent to the school is named for Mr. Willey.
The Obo II Grave the way it looks today.
Photo: Staci Stanley.
At the request of the American Spaniel Club's Board of Directors the grave was
recently registered at the Rollinsford Historical Society as a Historical
Monument to the Cocker Spaniel.
Special thanks to Barbara Kolk, AKC Library, for the submission of this article.
The American Kennel Register 1884 Obo II Article
Note: The American Kennel Register operated in the 1880's and was a
competing registry (with separate numbers from the AKC Stud Book). Its last
issue was December 1888. The following month, January 1889, was the debut
issue of the American Kennel Gazette.
History of the Obo II Cup
This Special Prize for Best Cocker Spaniel at the New Haven Kennel Club was awarded to Obo II in 1884.
In Jan 2004 secretary, Dot Mustard, received a letter from Dr George Whitney son of the late dog author, Dr Leon Whitney of Orange CT. Dr George said his hearing was impaired and he preferred to communicate with us through letters. He went on to write he had many items that might be of interest to the ASC that were gifted to his father from OB Gilman/ Idahurst Kennels.
ASC records describe O.B. Gilman as a successful Boston business man. He was a small man in stature with aristocratic airs. He purchased his first cocker in 1883 and 50 years later Gilman reigned supreme as the oldest and largest breeder of cockers in Massachusetts, if not all New England. The Idahurst cockers won a world of championships and one of those, Idahurst Lofty, was mounted after his death and placed on exhibit at the Peabody Museum, Yale University, as showing what a cocker spaniel should be. Gilman also had an intense interest in the experimentation work of his close friend, Dr Leon Whitney, especially in feeding and color breeding of canines.
Dr George said “ It was in the 30’s that at daybreak one morning 3 flatbed trucks drove up behind our home in Orange with me sleeping in a second floor bedroom. When the trucks stopped it must have been a signal for close to about 100 of OB Gilman’s dogs to all bark together. There were crates on crates of cockers. Along with the animals came a trunk of trophies, paintings and papers concerning cockers. All, a gift to my father.
Mr Gilman had reached an age at which he had to dispose of his dogs and since my Dad had been helpful in suggesting diet and breeding advice over the years and since Dad was interested in coat color inheritance he agreed to take all these beautiful animals with the understanding that all past breeding age would be euthanized. Mr Gilman did not believe in killing his animals just because they were old. Each of those dogs had love and caring and each one it’s own personality with not one with a personality problem. In a few days the numbers had dwindled to about 50 as Dad must have eliminated the others. I was the kennel help in those days but Dad did not expose me to that unfortunate duty of euthanasia at my tender age of 12 years.”
He wrote that in the event of his untimely passing the Gilman collection would likely be tossed. His interest was to preserve them for education within the American Spaniel Club. He said one award cup in particular was always his favorite because he thought the design with the 3 shotguns was interesting and went on to comment the cup was a trophy awarded to Obo II.
A few weeks and several packages later I opened a delivery box and sure enough among an array of long ago awards was a taller cup. The proof of its being used as a flower pot was readily visible… some of the soil lingered. The cup was bent and stood a bit crooked with its tripod of shotguns leaning to one side. Time had been unkind as it was black and way beyond elbow grease and polish but it was for real. It was genuine and engraved as being awarded to our own Obo II in 1884, the one dog, considered to be the sire and father of the cocker spaniel breed.
In an informative article on the ASC website the win and the cup is recorded in “The American Kennel Registry” an 1884 publication by Forest and Stream. http://www.asc-cockerspaniel.org/history/obo.pdf
This piece was probably commissioned especially for the award as it is elaborately designed with the sporting dog in mind. The cup features a quail sitting in a cover of beautiful artistically designed wheat and wildflowers. It rests on a tripod of shotguns and. below stands a sporting dog fastened to a rounded embossed base. It is the unique design of Simpson, Hall and Miller of Wallingford, Connecticut, well known during the1800’s for Britannia ware. In 1898 the Wallingford factory became The International Sterling Center.
The cup is engraved
NH Kennel Club
1st ABS 1884 Special Prize for Best Cocker
Awarded to Obo 2nd AKR 432
It is unknown how Gilman came to be in possession of the Obo cup and it is fortunate for us he had the foresight to put his collection in the hands of the Whitney family.
The Obo II cup was unveiled at the Flushing Show Jan 2005. I feel certain our late ASC historian, Dr Frances Greer, was smiling down. To our knowledge the cup is the oldest cocker spaniel award in existence to date. The specially built showcases and the restoration of the cup were gifted to the American Spaniel Club.
Wilma Parker, ASC Curator