Born in Jersey in 1923 my mother Margaret Journeaux nee Le Cornu, was given her first Japanese Chin Oki, in 1939 when she was just fifteen years old. Oki was a gift from a couple who were fleeing the German occupation of Jersey and the Channel Islands. Oki had been bred by Mrs Mitchell of Houge Bie, Jersey, the person who had introduced the breed to the Island some years previously. Margaret adored Oki and took him everywhere with her, including riding in the front basket of her bicycle. Oki was one of a large litter of nine and was sired by a Swiss dog out of an English dam. Mrs Mitchell had been an actress when she was young and was a wealthy woman. Margaret and she struck up a friendship based on mutual love for the Japanese Chin breed, which lasted until Mrs Mitchell’s death at the age of ninety. During their friendship Margaret gave Mrs Mitchell several Navy Villas Chins, to the delight of the latter.
Margaret married my father Bevan Journeaux during the German occupation of the Channel Islands, in 1944 and Oki went with her to their new home 4, Navy Villas, Millbrook, Jersey. After the war, in 1946 Margaret and Bevan joined The Jersey Dog Club. They decided that Oki should have a wife and set about finding a little bitch. After consulting Dog World, the canine press of the time, they contacted Miss Constance Jameson of Worthing, England, the breeder of the world renowned Red Cedars Japanese Chins. Happily Miss Jameson let them have Keshi a delightful black and white girl who weighed just five and a half pounds when fully grown. Oki, now seven years old was pleased to have a friend but sadly was not interested in mating with Keshi, a great disappointment to Margaret. As a result Miss Jameson sent two more dogs to Jersey.
Red Cedars Kyo – above, a beautiful deep red and white boy who went on to win many prizes at Jersey Kennel Club shows in the 1940s and 1950s, sired Keshi’s first litter which consisted of three puppies, two of which were red and white and one black and white. Margaret kept the black and white girl Navy Villas Blossom, and the two red and white boys went to a home in Jersey, with a lady who had previously had a Chin when living in England before moving to the Channel Islands.
Keshi and Kyo had several litters of beautiful puppies and several years later Margaret returned to Miss Jameson’s breeding and bought Red Cedars Tensi who won many prizes at Jersey Dog Club shows. The photographs below show Margaret and Tensi at the Jersey Dog Club in 1954, and Tensi in his prime :
During this period Navy Villas dogs became very desirable and were exported around the world, most notably to the USA, Canada and France. Eleven of these went on to become Champions. Champion Navy Villas Wee Wun, a tiny four pound red and white dog was unbeaten in America. Champions Navy Villas Peter Pan and Navy Villas Petti Sing were exported to Canada and made up to champions by Mr Stephen Poltera.
In the images below Champion Navy Villas Peter Pan is on the left, and on the right he is with Champion Navy Villas Petti Sing:
In France Madam Racquet imported Navy Villas Yoki and Navy Villas Kathe, who both became champions, and in Holland Mrs Bylord imported a pair of Navy Villas Chins as pets.
The Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 9th June 1954 ran a front page article entitled ‘Jersey Exports To U.S.A.’ with a photograph of three young Navy villas Chins, and the following text:
“It is not unusual to hear of Jersey exporting cattle to the U.S.A., but it is most unusual to report the shipment of dogs across the Atlantic. Yet, yesterday, the three Japanese Chin puppies shown in the accompanying photograph left Jersey by air, their ultimate destination being New York, where they will be met by their new owner Mrs. Mary Brewster. Jersey bred, they were purchased from Mr. and Mrs. B. G. Journeaux, of 4, Navy Villas, Millbrook, and the problems of export were looked after by Mrs. Jean Clarke, who met the dogs on arrival in London and got them away last evening on B.O.A.C. for the cross Atlantic trip. Mrs. Brewster, the new owner of the Chins, already has the grandparents of the puppies which were sent out from the UK some nine months ago. They are the first two international champions of this breeder.”
The first photograph shows the three dogs en route to the USA, and the second photograph is of Sharon ‘Sari’ Brewster Tietjen as a child with her Champion Robwood Chin. Mrs Tietjen (1945 – 2019) raised and owned over fourteen different breeds of dogs, but is most closely associated with Japanese Chins, which she had for sixty five years. Mary Brewster – Sari’s mother, was the founder of Robwood Kennels and an eminent breeder and show judge.
In the early 1950s Margaret was invited to go and stay with the President of The Japanese Chin Club Mrs. Eileen Craufurd and her famous Rui Gu Chins, at The Glebe House, Broadway, Worcester. Mrs. Craufurd was hosting a garden party and show in the grounds of her beautiful home. Margaret travelled with Red Cedars Kyo on a tiny plane from Jersey to Staverton Airport in Gloucestershire.
Many years later my mother wrote of this trip:
“Eileen Craufurd was holding a garden party at her house in Worcester and I was invited. My little dog Kyo won a third prize – what a thrill! I met many charming people at the show. Eileen Craufurd’s brother was so friendly and made me feel at home. I met the Goldings, Mrs. Alexander, Miss Tovey and Peggy Searl who was at that time a kennel maid at Glebe House. Mrs. Craufurd had sixty Japs at that time. I watched with amazement as the kennel maids laid out sixty dishes of food and each Chin went to, and kept to, their own dish! Eileen Craufurd spent a long time talking to me about Japanese Chins. She was a very charming person with a great love for the breed, and I returned to Jersey having learnt a lot.”
A lasting friendship developed between Mrs. Craufurd and Margaret and visits to England nearly always involved a visit to Glebe House to see Mrs. Craufurd and the many Chins that lived there. The photograph below is of Mrs. Eileen Craufurd and two of her lovely dogs at a show.
In the late 1950s Margaret and Bevan started a family. In 1959 I was born and we moved from Navy Villas to our new house Heathside, in Grouville, with ten Japanese Chins. As a child I was always surrounded by these beautiful dogs and I have numerous photographs of myself and my twin sisters Fiona and Suzanne, who were born in 1963, with dogs in our prams in the garden at Heathside.
In 1963 Bryan Mitchell visited Jersey and stayed at Heathside, bringing with him his little black and white bitch for mating. In the same period Margaret bought a Riu Gu bitch from Mrs. Craufurd and in return Navy Villas stock moved to England to join the Riu Gu kennels. Margaret also introduced the Eleesa line to her breeding through a bitch that she bought from Mrs. Ethel Pedley.
In 1966 the family left Heathside and moved to Les Grandes Vagues at Pontac, St. Clement, Jersey. At this point Margaret and Bevan had three young children, ten dogs and a small hotel to run so dog breeding and showing had to take a back seat for a while.
In the early 1970s Margaret was approached by Michael and Francine Macey, residents of Jersey, who were interested in buying a puppy. Margaret did not have any available at that time so Mr. and Mrs. Macey bought a male dog from Mrs. May Robertshaw’s Lotusgrange kennel, and a black and white bitch Gaystock Tamsan from Mrs. Tessa Gaines. The two puppies were from Miss May Tovey’s world famous Yevot breeding and eventually Margaret bought three Japanese Chin puppies from Mrs. Macey’s Franling stock in order to introduce the Yevot characteristics to her breed lines. One of the three puppies, Franling Sandpiper was sent to Miss Kathleen Sully to be mated. Miss Sully took her to Mrs. Craufurd’s Riu Gu Champion Yama Kiko. This mating produced two male puppies – one of which was sold, and the other Navy Villas Sokai. Margaret put Sokai to Franling Noriko and they produced Navy Villas Osho. Osho won two Championship Cards and a Reserve CC. In 1979 Navy Villas Osho won Best in Show in the Jersey Dog Club Summer Show, under Judge Richardson. Had Margaret not had the demands of a business and three children she could certainly have made this gorgeous boy up. I had many happy moments in the ring with him myself and I loved this little boy as the photograph below shows.
Margaret had a deep and enduring love of red and white Chins, especially the deep red ones , although she believed that they tended to be at a disadvantage in the show ring as black and white Chins “always look so smart”!
Navy Villas Amber went on to win two Firsts at Crufts and was unbeaten in England in Red and White Chin classes.
In 1981 Margaret and Bevan sold Les Grandes Vagues and moved to Number 1A Grouville Park. Margaret wrote of that time:
“After much work we sold Les Grandes Vagues, and bought a house in Grouville Park. The dogs were none too happy especially Navy Villas Jasper who tried to run away. However, eventually they settled and life began anew and became very enjoyable. I did not miss looking after the guests at all! I was able to take several trips to England each year to show my dogs and I became a Championship Judge.”
Margaret and Bevan moved again in 1983, this time just across the road to Murmah, 10 Grouville Park, which had an extensive garden right around the house and was ideal for the twenty one dogs.
In 1985 Margaret judged The Ladies Kennel Club Association (LKA) Championship Show where she had the biggest entry ever to that point, of Japanese Chins. Maurice Cook and I acted as stewards on that occasion. In that same year she judged the Japanese Chin Championship Show awarding Mrs Appleby’s Champion Pomona Best In Show. In 1986, at The Japanese Chin Club Show held in Birmingham Navy Villas Red Queen took Reserve Championship card and won Best Red and White in Show. The picture below shows Margaret with Red Queen on the left, Mrs. E. Wickham, Judge in the centre, and Mrs Botting on the right with the Championship Card winner.
In 1987 Margaret won First Prize with Navy Villas Sanji in the Junior Bitch Class at Crufts and then a Reserve Challenge Certificate at that show. See below:
In 1988 Margaret judged Japanese Chins at Crufts – it was a great joy for her and she felt honoured to be asked. Margaret was made Vice-President of the Japanese Chin Club, and later President (1992 -97), roles that gave her great pleasure.
The images below show her judging at Crufts, and with her chosen Best In Breed.
In the mid 1990s Margaret’s health began to to deteriorate and she was unable to travel to the UK for shows as frequently as she wished. She very reluctantly resigned as a Kennel Club Championship Judge in 1997 and focussed instead on showing her dogs in Jersey. In 1999 Bevan died. Margaret continued to live at Murmah , and drew great comfort from the Japanese Chins that she had – as many as twelve and as few as two at different times. She developed a close and very valued friendship with Miss Sue Curwood who at that time lived close to Margaret in Jersey. Sue became interested in owning and showing Japanese Chins and went on to become a very dear friend up until Margaret’s death in 2012.
The first photograph below is Margaret with Miss Kathleen Sully and their dogs, and the final two were taken in 1982 at the Jersey Dog Club Show, when she was showing under Judge Jack Mitchell. The little red and white puppy is Navy Villas Red Duke born in 1985.
The content of this site is based on my mother’s dog breeding archives and copious notes and photographs, my memories and the book ‘The Complete Japanese Chin‘ by Pamela Cross Stern and Tom Mather, published in 1997 by Ring Press Books, UK.
Let’s make something together.