History of the BCCA

Reprinted from the original as found in the 1989 BCCA Yearbook

Message from the First BCCA President, Larry Levy

I appreciate being asked to contribute to the beginning section of the Yearbook commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Bearded Collie Club of America. I don’t think that we have another member left who can remember our founding meeting.

There is one basic problem — I’m not sure that I am capable of writing a “few words.” This will probably wind up being a long-winded reminiscence.

In 1962, when my wife Maxine and I came back to the United States with our first Bearded Collie and tried to register it with the AKC, we were rudely apprised of the fact that Beardies were not a registerable breed. This did not become meaningful to us until we had successfully showed in Europe, where Beardies were allowed in any FCI-sponsored dog show, and we wanted to continue to do so in the U.S. Now came the hard part.

In 1966, before we left Europe the second time, I did some research at the Kennel Club and discovered the only other American who had registered a Bearded Collie. Fortunately for the Bearded Collie Club of America, Mrs. Stone, the other registrant, was quite a knowledgeable and successful breeder of Cairn Terriers. She knew what was needed and pointed out the path that Maxine and I would have to follow in order to be able to have an AKC-registerable breed.

Maxine undertook the first task of acting as the breed’s public relations expert and spokesperson. She got Beardies several mentions in national dog magazines and newspapers and even was able to place articles devoted to the breed. This was quite time consuming.

During this time, we had begun to breed, whelping the first American litter in our home in Mansfield Center, CT, in 1968, and to correspond extensively with people who had an interest in Bearded Collies. When we knew of a dozen Bearded Collies in the U.S., I took the next step and began a shadow registration (Ian Morrison used this pseudo-stud book as the foundation for his exemplary job in creating and maintaining the Bearded Collie Club of America Stud Book).

Early in 1969, we thought there was sufficient interest in the breed and laid the groundwork for starting the breed club. From the beginning, we were lucky. Andrew Davis, an attorney, and the husband of Dr. Jessie Davis, the first club vice president, volunteered to draft the initial club constitution and bylaws. On the day man first strode upon the moon, at the Davis’ summer home in Stephentown, New York, we officially founded the Bearded Collie Club of America. We had five original members (Larry Levy, President; Dr. Jessie Davis, Vice President; Maxine Levy, Secretary and Treasurer; Helen Beitel and Mary Wright were members).

Very shortly, we had over thirty members, and there were over two dozen people in attendance at our second meeting on Long Island. At this meeting we founded the Beardie Bulletin, selected the other offices (most importantly, Ian Morrison as registrar) and determined to hold our first Bearded Collie Club sanctioned dog show.

We held the first show at the home of Mrs. Stone. Dr. Tom Davies helped me in both organizing and running the show. As any of you who has run a dog show must already know, Tom and I (and Maxine and Barbara) were there quite early, laying out ring, pounding stakes, etc. It was very successful. By now, there must be at least some of you who have recognized a few of the names mentioned above. Tom and Ian are two people without whom it would have taken the Bearded Collie Club of America a lot longer to get AKC registration.

With a club publication (unfortunately the original editor had to beg off her assignment, and I assumed the role of editor, typist, publisher, and mailer of the Beardie Bulletin, stud book and ongoing show, we were well on the way. Our next task, according to AKC dictates, was to establish local breed clubs. There were not many concentrations of Beardie people.

Again we were lucky. I asked Iris Cashdan to start a club in New York and Norm Kroll to start one in Chicago. The present existence of both clubs is testimony to their work.

Within a relatively short time, we had made a good start toward meeting the requirements of the AKC. Unfortunately, there was a feeling among some of the members that the BCCA was run by only one person, and I knew that unless we got more involvement, we would have a great deal of trouble with the AKC. I thought that it was necessary for someone else to hold the office of president and asked the nominating committee not to nominate me for reelection.

The club’s luck held true again, the committee nominated, and the Bearded Collie Club of America elected, Tom Davies. It was during Tom’s industrious presidency that the AKC began the acceptance process for Bearded Collies. Tom was nice enough to include me when he and Ian made their original outstanding presentation.

That’s it for the few words…

Lawrence Levy was president of the BCCA from 1969-1971. Dr. Tom Davies was president from 1971-1975 and has continued in the sport of dogs as a breeder, judge and AKC Board Member. Learn more about the early influencers of the club here.