ABDUL HAMET OF DINGLEY (1898)
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In nearly every colour variety of long-haired cat, there can be found examples of either a famous early progenitor, and/or of one outstanding sire or dam, who simply contributed more to the early gene pool, than any of their contemporaries. Easily brought to mind as an example of this, is the Silver Persian, 'Champion Silver Lambkin', who although but one male, soon earned himself the reputation as the 'Father of the Chinchilla' variety. In the case of the Silver Tabby Persian, the most famous early progenitor was 'Ch. Topso of Dingley', but if we were to name a single Silver Tabby male as the one who ultimately contributed more to the early gene pool than any other, we would need to look no further ,than to 'Ch. Abdul Hamet of Dingley'.
When Miss Leake replaced her stud advertisement for 'Abdul Hamet' in the 18th June, 1904 edition of 'Our Cats', a commentary drawing attention to it, was added into the editorial columns which read:
"Abdul Hamet of Dingley - Miss Anderson-Leake places before the public in our columns to-day the redoubtable claims of the silver tabbies of Dingley, as now represented by Abdul Hamet of Dingley. It is, indeed, a proud boast that he is the sire or grandsire of nearly every noted winner of his colour to-day, and has more than 14 years of direct prize pedigree"2.
'Abdul Hamet' was born 22nd April, 1898; bred by Miss A.F. Gardiner, from her silver tabby queen, 'Mimidatzi',(NCC:1593/born in 1893) and sired by Miss Leake's show winning silver tabby male, 'Ch. Abdul Zaphir of Dingley' (NCC:2417/born in 1891). Miss Gardiner's queen, had been bred out of a silver tabby queen, 'Boots of Bridgeyate', sired by the well-known blue Persian male, 'Blue Boy The Great' (of Islington), so the combination represented an outcross that must have appealed to Miss Leake, who subsequently acquired the silver tabby male from the litter3.
Eng Ch Felix, Silver Tabby Eng Ch Abdul Zaphir of Dingley, Silver Tabby | Unkown Abdul Hamet of Dingley, Apr-22-1898, Silver Tabby, M | Eng Ch Blue Boy, Blue Mimidatzie, Silver Tabby Boots of Bridgeyate, Silver Tabby
Although there are no noteworthy full siblings of record, there are a few sire and dam siblings of 'Abdul Hamet' but we will only touch upon one or two.
The first is 'Dainty of Dingley' a silver tabby female born 1st May 1896, who was subsequently sold to Mrs. Florence Champion, and hence changed her name to 'Argent Dainty'. Her dam, was 'Dainty Diamond of Dingley' a valuable female sired by 'Ch. Topso of Dingley' and out of 'Mimidatzi', owned by Miss A.F. Gardiner. This shows us that there was already a friendly relationship between the two breeders, long before Miss Gardiner later bred 'Mimidatzi' to 'Abdul Zaphir'4.
Another sire sibling was 'Abdul Azim', a silver tabby male born circa 1894, by 'Abdul Zaphir' out of 'Oona of Dingley'. 'Oona' (born 1890),was registered as a Chinchilla, but her sire was the well-known blue Persian 'Blue Jack' owned by Mrs. Louisa Herring. In due course, 'Abdul Azim' was subsequently sold to Mrs. Shelley, and was bred to 'Silky' a chinchilla female who could boast to be the full sister of 'Ch. Silver Lambkin'. This produced a Chinchilla male, born 15th April, 1898, who was registered as 'Pathan of Dingley' and was taken up by Miss Leake and retained as one of her primary stud cats. In her cattery advertisements, 'Pathan' almost always appears immediately after her listings of Silver Tabbies5.
Although a First prize winner at The Crystal Palace, the fame of 'Abdul Hamet' rested primarily on his achievements as a sire of show winning progeny. His win at the Crystal Palace, just helped to cement the achievements of his sire 'Abdul Zaphir' who in the register has wins First prize wins recorded at the Crystal Palace in 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1894 plus a Silver Medal and Special. ³ In her advertising, Miss Leake noted that 'Abdul Zaphir' had to his credit no less than six First prizes from the Crystal Palace. Of his son, 'Abdul Hamet' Miss Leake claimed:
"Grand cat with massive limbs, short and cobby. Best headed Silver Tabby living.Absolutely pure colour, carries unusual coat, throws perfectly marked kittens. Sire of winners of 17 Specials Harrogate, of First Prize S.T.kitten, Sandy, winning litter and of Championship winner Manchester, winner of two Firsts, one Second, one Third, Crystal Palace, 1901; of First and Second Prize silver tabby kittens Westminster, 1902; and sire of 'The Marquis of Dingley'.."1.
after which, she then also lists the many wins achieved by his son, 'The Marquis'.
There is little doubt, that in breeding terms, 'Abdul Hamet of Dingley' probably contributed more to the gene pool of Silver Tabby Long-hairs, than any other Silver Tabby male in pedigreed feline history. By making him available at public stud, Miss Leake is responsible for helping to establish a bevvy of new cattery lines, and promoting the colorvariety to a wider audience. Most notable among the new catteries was that of Miss Cope, whose 'Roiall' kittens were almost solely based upon Miss Leake's bloodlines and were selectively line-bred upon the same.
'Abdul Hamet' also appeared to work well with outcrosses, as had his sire, 'Abdul Zaphir', who may be found on a number of successful 'chinchilla' pedigrees.
The list of the most noteworthy progeny sired by 'Abdul Hamet' is not inconsiderable with the ones listed below, being only the most obvious, but by no means, all.
THE MARQUIS OF DINGLEY, Silver Tabby male, born 21st March, 1901
Fluffie of Dingley', born in April 1894. As a daughter of 'Ch. Felix', she brought back a close breeding of Miss Leake's original great silver tabby, 'Ch. Topso of Dingley' as a close line-breed into any male bred down from that line. 'Marquis of Dingley' was the product of just such a breeding. That she considered it a great success, can be seen from the fact that not only was 'The Marquis' a top show winner, but he was retained by her and placed at stud.
A stud advertisement for the DINGLEY HALL cattery that appears in Charles House's book Cats: Show and Pet (1903) records 'The Marquis' many successes on the show bench, which included Firsts at Westminster in 1902, and 1903; also two gold medals, challenge and breeders cups, the Countess of Aberdeen trophy, and S.C.R. trophy and medal; as well as a 2nd and 3rd and four Specials at Slough.1.
In 'Fur and Feather' he was summarily described as:- "A magnificent young Cat, superb coat and markings, lovely ground colour, rare head and face, good, bold hazel eyes."1.
'The Marquis' was advertised for sale in June 1904 and was sold to Mrs. Clarke of 'Ashbrittle' cattery fame, who was in the process of moving to new lodgings near Bath. Sadly, within three months of his move, he fell victim to an accidental and tragic poisoning through a drain being left open near his cage.
ZANO, Silver Tabby Female, born 24th March, 1901.2
This appears to be the only litter sibling of record to 'The Marquis of Dingley'. She was sold for breeding to Mrs. Paisley.
Born as 'Roiall Don Pedro', this handsome male was originally registered with 'The Cat Club' as 'Edgbaston Don Pedro'4 which suggests he was intended to go to a Mrs. McMichael, a breeder resident in nearby Edgbaston, Birmingham. For whatever reason, this sale appears to have fallen through and he was eventually taken up by Mrs. Slingsly of Thorpe Hall, hence is final appellation.
'Don Pedro' was a strikingly marked robust male, who was a successful show kitten and an excellent stud cat. Along with his half-brother 'The Marquis of Dingley' and their common sire 'Abdul Hamet', he helped to dominate the Silver Tabby classes with cats from the 'Dingley' strain. With the sad loss of 'The Marquis' reported in September, 1904; the 'Don' became the young and pre-eminent successor in the male line, his main competition coming from a younger full brother to 'The Marquis' in the form of 'Dingley Fashion'. But it is mostly to the progeny of 'Don Pedro' that we find the continuation of the Dingley lines in the United Kingdom, initially through his sons, 'Don Roderick of Thorpe' (1902), 'Don Pasquale of Thorpe'(1906) and 'Monarch of the North' (1909).
ROIALL STARLET, also known as 'STARLET', Silver Tabby female, born 7th April, 1901
A full litter sister to 'Don Pedro', 'Starlet' was retained by Miss Cope for breeding and showing. Mr. C.W. Witt, on a visit to the 'Roiall' cattery in 1903, comments on the shortcomings of her dam 'Roiall Dewdrop' whom he claimed - "carries immense coat, lovely clear colour, but to me fails somewhat in head." But then goes on to add - "but is better known perhaps as the mother of the sensational kittens of 1901, Don Pedro and Starlet, by Abdul Hamet".4
As far as can be ascertained, there are no other recorded offspring from this breeding, nor any subsequent offspring from 'Starlet'.
ROIALL FLUFFBALL, Silver Tabby female, born 12th July 1901
Described by Mr. C.W. Witt in June 1903 as 'absolutely the best silver tabby queen living'6, 'Fluffball' was in fact a three-fourths sister to Don Pedro, being from the same sire and her dam being his grand-dam. In this combination, which was another line-bred, there was no outcross to 'Thames Valley Silver King'. Like 'Don Pedro', 'Fluffball' was shown for spectacular wins as a kitten, taking first at Westminster in 1902, then in 1903, taking first at both Westminster and Bath.
ROIALL SILVER BUTTERFLY, Silver Tabby female, born 12th July 19012
As a litter sister to Roiall Fluffball, 'Silver Butterfly' was a wise investment by Mrs Slingsby, as a future mate for 'Don Pedro". Upon this purchase, she became 'Silver Butterfly of Thorpe', was bred to 'Don Pedro' and produced the silver tabby male, 'Don Roderick of Thorpe'.
THE DINGLEY OWLET, Silver Tabby female, born 25th February, 19036
Two factors muddy the waters of the siblings, 'Dingley Owlet' and her litter brother 'Dingley Fashion'. Both are sired by 'Abdul Hamet'' and out of 'Miss Fluffie of Dingley'. The first is in regard to their respective dates of birth. While 'The Dingley Owlet' is recorded as born 25th February, 1903, 'Dingley Fashion' has for his birth-date, 5th March, 1903. 'Miss Fluffie' was already approaching 9 years of age at the time of their birth and of course it was not possible for 'Miss Fluffie' to give birth 8 days apart, so one of the dates is in error. In this instance, we have decided to accept the earlier date as the correct one.
The second point is that in the ACA Register, Volume One, 'The Dingley Owlet' is registered as a Shaded Silver, while in most data-bases, she is listed as a Silver Tabby. Both parents are registered as Silver Tabbies, but 'Miss Fluffie' had on previous occasions, produced Silvers (Chinchilla's and Shaded Silvers) when outcrossed to predominantly unmarked silver Lines. Both parents contained marked and unmarked silver heritage. Given that both her photos show a much lighter cat, with a general absence of bars except on the forelegs, we have erred on the side of Shaded Silver. There is no evidence of any progeny being recorded from 'The Dingley Owlet'.
DINGLEY FASHION, Silver Tabby male, born 25th February, 19032
A litter brother to 'The Dingley Owlet' and, on paper, a full younger brother to 'The Marquis of Dingley', who had subsequently been sold. Maintained at stud, his services were duly advertised in a number of 1904 editions of Our Cats, along with the NCC registrations of subsequent progeny. By the time this image was published, he had attended only his first two shows, gaining two first prizes at the Crystal Palace, and a second at Birmingham. This image by J. Russell was likely taken at the Crystal Palace Show in late 1903.
THE DINGLEY POTENTATE, Silver Tabby male, born 4th June, 19045
This male is a full younger brother to brother to 'The Marquis','Dingley Fashion' and 'The Dingley Owlet'. It seems conceivable that in order to strengthen her chances of breeding silver tabbies, Miss Pollard may have sought to bring in a male of the same breeding as 'The Dingley Owlet' whose colour development had so far favoured towards 'Shaded' rather than 'Tabby'. With the importation of 'The Dingley Potentate' she now had the ability to produce both, and to line-breed. It is also possible that 'The Dingley Owlet' had not bred successfully as we can find no progeny from her on any register, whereas 'The Dingley Potentate' is recorded as the sire of ACA registered cats.
ARLINGTON DINGLEY BAR ABDUL, Silver Tabby male, born 3rd August, 190110
Won a Third at Westminster in 1902, before export, and a Second at Clevedon, in the United States in December of the same year. ?
ARLINGTON DINGLEY BELLE, Silver Tabby female, born 3rd August, 1901.10
Litter sister to 'Dingley Bar Abdul'. Shown at Detroit winning First and Specials in 1901.
DUNSDEN ABDUL, Silver Tabby male, born circa 1903
This handsome male gained two seconds at the Sandy Show of 1904, and three seconds at the Crystal Palace, 1904. His seconds at Sandy were gained directly behind 'Don Pedro of Thorpe', who was Best of Variety and ultimately Best Long-hair Cat in Show, opposite Mrs. Collingwood's 'Miss Toodles', another Silver Tabby who was Best Short-haired Cat in Show. 'Dunsden Abdul' duly went on to become a Champion in his own right.
MISS HAMET, Silver Tabby female, born 13th April, 19012
Other than this lovely photo of 'Miss Hamet' we know little other than she was the product of a mating with an outside queen. To date, we have found no evidence of any progeny being registered from 'Miss Hamet'.
It is a sad fact but true, and more so in this day and age, that the bloodlines of some very excellent cats have been ultimately lost or severely limited rather than promulgated to improve the breed, sometimes through an owner's lack of desire to share them, or an inability to do so, with impunity. It is those stud males which are placed at stud to outside queens, or whose sons are carefully homed in catteries of wide repute, that ultimately contribute the most to the gene pool for their respective breed.
'Abdul Hamet' was a prime example of what could be achieved within a colour variety in a very short space of time, when the lines were generously shared with like-minded breeders and exhibitors, with a mind to achieving the greatest impact on the show bench for their chosen breed and color. He simply basked in the reflected glory of his outstanding progeny, establishing for himself, a permanent place in the history of 'The Silver Tabby'.
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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