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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 day.

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.

Related link
08/24/00 Stud Dogs: Ch. Row-Bar's Southern Heritage HT

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