KENNEL STORIES: THE ROW-BAR NAME
Robette and Stephen Johns
by Robette Johns
In 1973 I started attending dog shows with a friend of
my older sister. She knew I was extremely interested in
animals and was thinking about attending veterinary school.
From my very first show, breeders started prompting me
about thinking up an unusual name that someday I could
use as my very own kennel name.
My first two show dogs, blue rough collie males, were
registered with the breeders' kennel names. Neither prospect
turned out but, in the mean time, I had proven that I
would show, obedience train, kennel sit, help with whelping,
basically you name it, I was happy to do it.
Judge Stephen J. Field pictured
with Robette Ehrbar (Johns)
and her foundation bitch Ch. Mar-K's Inspiration of Ro-Bar.
I was present at the whelping of my third show dog, a
replacement for my first, and was told I could use my
kennel name in her name as long as the breeder's kennel
name appeared first. I was thrilled, but now the pressure
was on. I had a few weeks to make a decision that would
unknowingly affect me for years to come. I thought about
all the kennel names past and the winning kennels of present
I had been lucky enough to attend the 1973 CCA National
Specialty in Anaheim, California. I saw many great dogs
that day representing many great kennels. All names chosen
for a reason -- Tartanside, Kasan, San Lori, Wickmere, Kanebrier, Hanover, Two Jays -- too
many to list. The dam of my third show dog, which would
become my foundation bitch, Mar-K's Sophistication CD,
won the rough open tri bitch class.
I had a few weeks
to make a decision
that would unknowingly affect me
for years to come.
I realized that many kennel names were parts of proper
names -- husband and wife, children, towns, etc. Since
my name was already very unusual, Robette Ehrbar, I figured
combining the Ro and the Bar to make Ro-Bar, would work
just fine. My foundation bitch was registered Mar-K's
Inspiration of Ro-Bar, Mandy.
In 1977 after several years of being mentored by some
of the best breeders in southern California, I was ready
to breed my first litter. Mandy had ranked number ten
in 1976 in the Hawkins System. I was just showing her
for fun and was thrilled with this achievement. When I
went to register her puppies, AKC rejected the kennel
prefix Ro-Bar, saying that although it was not registered,
it was being frequently used in another breed. I was sick.
I had "campaigned" my first dog and couldn't
use my kennel name. After many conversations with people,
and wanting everyone to remember my first show dog, I
decided to add the "w" to create Row-Bar. This
would only change the spelling not the name itself.
Now it represents not only myself, but also my husband,
Steve, who became involved in our Collies even before
we were married in 1991. We have also finished our first
homebred Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Ch. Row-Bar's Romantic Interlude. When we added Corgis
to our kennel in 1992, we switched from Row-Bar Collies
to Row-Bar Kennels. Sometimes it just amazes me how a
decision I made as a teenager has followed me throughout
the years with such great consequences.
Stud Dogs: Ch. Row-Bar's Southern Heritage HT