John ‘ Johnny’ Richardson, more usually referred to through dogdom as JR was raised in a family with connections to dog showing.
Based on Bert Lloyd’s world famous ‘Of Ware’ cocker spaniels they started off with progeny from Whoopee of Ware. Her descendant, Covetside Capable being a dual purpose double CC winner on the show bench, until the decision was taken to abandon showing in favour of field work. The family had its own pheasant shoot at Bag Enderby (although JR is now against bloodsports).
As a prepubescent child JR colour bred fancy mice, until his mother scotched that interest when numbers were peaking at around 50.
At 14, (1966), to get the irritating little brat from under her feet one day, his mother despatched him and his seal colour pet rabbit to a local show. He returned clutching the Certificate for winning Best in Show ! He still has the certificate.
After reading English at the University of London, he remained in London and was invited to audition for a glam rock era cabaret ‘boy band’ in the days of ‘soup in a basket: live entertainment. Signed up to an agency, they were continuously in work through the South of England and across much of Europe.
The group disbanded in 1976, and JR bought his first house in Ealing, W. London (aged 24) where he began his career in dog showing whilst working in recruitment and later full time employment for the RSPCA.
His first ‘proper’ showdog was the homebred Blenheim CKCS, Reeberrich Daisy Gamble, followed by the tricolour, Reeberrich Rest Assured ( a name he nicked off a furniture van !)
In 1980, he sold the Ealing house and decamped to Lincolnshire and built a boarding kennels/show kennels. He won a single CC on the CKCS, Reeberrich Feather Wait and on Tweedworth Persuasion of Reeberrich.
In 1984 he was offered a one year contract in the job of Kennel manager/handler by the highly successful Dreamridge American Cocker Spaniels kennel. On his second day in America, at his first show he outhandled the kennel owner who was handling the winning dog to take BOB with a bitch, which gave her, her champion title ( not the owner’s preferred plan!).
Returning to England, he settled in Cambridgeshire, and began showing seal point dwarf lop rabbits where he made up 6 champions in rapid succession. The most successful being the 29 CC multi Best in Show winner, Ch Reeberrich Running Buffet. He soon tired of exhibiting rabbits and turned his attention back to dogs.
By now a partner in an antiques and interiors business, he analytically went through the Toy breeds list to ascertain which breed would most fit in his lifestyle. He settled on the ETT, but on seeing them en masse at a CC allocated general championship show found himself shocked at the endemic unsoundness across most of the breed. He resolved to improve soundness and bring showmanship along with American style handling techniques into the breed.
Mrs Kitson (Quinoa,) agreed to sell him a show potential pup, but it had to be a dog, as the one bitch puppy was promised elsewhere.
JR’s ethos was that dogs needed lots of fresh air and exercise, a tip he gleefully stole from Sheila Smith’s highly successful CKCS kennel. Therefore he kept all his subsequent ETTs in a kennel range outdoors. No other breed kennel did this, with the exception of Brynlythe which went one better and kept theirs free range. Most everyone else kept them in the house.
He struck gold immediately with Quinoa Pinstripe of Reeberrich winning his first CC at his second show, and fairly quickly went on to become the first Reeberrich Champion.
The Reeberrich kennel continued to produce champions in a steady stream, and from only a small nucleus of dogs. JR was insistent that his numbers remained low, and never exceeded 8 at any one time, and more usually 6. He had established a kennel type which continually produced an instantly recognisable Reeberrich type, mainly due to the prepotency of Ch Reeberrich Katydid who found herself, during her lifetime as the joint top producing brood bitch of all time (since then, as one would hope overtaken by recent bitches).
Whilst active the Reeberrich kennels was joint top third winning kennel in breed history. His kennel accounted for 12 ETT champions, making him, currently (2018) joint 4th Top winning kennel of all time. He has also made up champions in 4 other breeds, which if they are added into the total tally makes 22 British champions, placing him firmly second on the champions table behind Witchstone.
Undoubtedly outspoken and not afraid of being controversial he built a reputation for being sometimes difficult. He was not averse to telling someone they were an idiot if they made sweeping unsupportable comments. On one occasion he judged the breed to discover before him one he had bred. He awarded it the CC and BOB, commenting, ‘ You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You are there to judge the dogs. I liked it the best and therefore I have appraised it accordingly’. ( The KC permitted one to judge any you had bred back in the day).
Further controversy arose when he exported a dog puppy to the USA to go into the TMT breeding. ‘They’re different breeds was the general response’. The dog, Reeberrich Hyperion won his title and then his way into the AKC book of merit for the number of champions he sired.
By early 2005 he was finding himself becoming disinterested in exhibiting and bred one final litter of ETTs to give Haydonn Wines a new show prospect , appropriately naming the singleton puppy, Reeberrich The End Result. The End Result returned to Reeberrich at the end of his puppy career. JR was determined to exit at the top, on the basis that there is not much sadder than to watch a once successful kennel go sliding down the greasy pole. The End Result won his title and JR immediately retired from showing. He has not shown since.
Within the breed club, he created the prestigious champions book, the short run of annual yearbooks, the Within The Standard booklet, and as manager of the club stand, the breed was twice Best Toy Group stand and twice runner up. He was organiser of the one off 2 Breeds Challenge dinner dance. He has also written extensively on the breed and has an enduring passion for breed history. For a number of years he served on the Club committee. The KC appointed him breed speaker for the judges training scheme where he was described by the legendary Ellis Hulme as ‘ the person who has singlehandedly brought soundness back to the ETT.
He helped a number of kennels become established in the breed either with stock or advice including , Arachne, Etruria, Jayztoys, Joruben, Kadaz, Sharex, Sirfon, Witchstone, and worked in tandem with Marja Huttunen to re establish the ETT in the Scandinavian countries.