In Memory of the late Mr & Mrs Rankin (affectionately known to many as Will & Marge)
The World Famous Ramacon GSD's
I feel very fortunate that I have been given the personal collection of Will & Marge Rankin's photographs of their much loved RAMACON ALSATIANS.
This unique collection of photographs cover the late 60's through to the 80's and shows the beautiful quality of these dogs.
A critical eye may consider some to be rather long considering the conformation as we now see it of approx 8/10 however in their day these were some of the finest specimens of the breed, several of whom I am sure many people would be proud to own in 2012.
Please enjoy............and thank you for visiting this historic page.
I feel very privileged to have known both Will & Marge Rankin and so grateful to them for providing me with such a wealth of knowledge about G.S.D's, or Alsatians as they were still known at the time, and also for my foundation bitch Ramacon Wind at Carernwil who set the benchmark for the Carernwil line of G.S.D's. She was a wonderful bitch who grew up with my Children and gave us endless fun in the show ring, unfortunately this was to be the last litter bred under the Ramacon Affix as Will passed away only a few months later.
Marge, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 91 and her late husband Will, who passed away in the mid eighties, found their lifetime passion for German Shepherds or Alsatians as they were then known, in the mid Fifties when they purchased a bitch from Valerie Egger of the Tadellos Affix. They purchased their foundation bitch, Ramacon Gephyra of Helmdon, from which the Ramacon line was founded producing many memorable dogs of whom they were most proud to own such as CH Ramacon Philanderer, CH Ramacon Virginia, Ramacon Donna Mia (Best Puppy Crufts 1964) and of course the most famous of all CH Ramacon Swashbuckler (Supreme Champion Crufts 1971) but to name only a few of the dogs who made such a large contribution to the breed as it is today. Marge managed to work in London and then come home to feed puppies through the night, clean the kennels and exercise the dogs, only to get a break at the weekends when I used to go and help out, that was when there was not a show to travel to of course when we would pack the car with everything except the kitchen sink! The dogs jumping happily into the car followed by a stern shout from Will "Watch those dogs legs, Marge".
A few of us were very fortunate to be taken under the wing of Marge and Will Rankin who were good enough to provide top quality foundation bitches, help and advice to anyone who asked for it, her advice frequently followed by the reserved and modest comment "but what do I know", but above all provided a good educational grounding for anyone new to showing in the breed. Not many people have had the benefit of such guidance but one piece of good advice that will always remain with me was, "if you like the stud dog use its sire because this produced what you like". This enabled me and a few others to establish a line of our own which produced consistently good quality dogs.
Marge was a wonderful feisty lady with a wicked sense of humour and an excellent eye for a quality dog, who knew her own mind even fighting the Council on a local issue right to the end. She successfully predicted the success of many a junior dog, and I don’t think she was ever proved wrong, enjoying life to the full still driving her car and even working in a charity shop one day per week right up until a year ago. Although the last litter ever bred under the Ramacon Affix were born on 9th May 1984, Marge remained very active in the Breed working tirelessly on the committee of The GSD (Alsatian) Club of the United Kingdom for many many years into her late 70's organising seminars with superb catering for everyone who attended. So many people in the Breed owe a vote of thanks for her unselfish work in establishing such a good grounding for the breed in the UK.
It is very sad that the wealth of information held by this wonderful lady about all the dogs and Affixes most people can only read in pedigrees, is now lost, however, the information and knowledge imparted to a few of us will live on. I remember fondly the happy times when I was trusted to walk CH Ramacon Philanderer or "Landy" as he was known at home and the excited birth of Ramacon Donna Mia not forgetting the heart breaking time when Ramacon Buccaneer (Nicky as he was known) slipped a disc in his back and became paralysed all this, when I was in my early teens, many moons ago but, unfortunately, the impact on myself and many others cannot be summed up in these few words, only to say "It may be the end of an era but the legend lives on" and I will be eternally grateful for the high standard of education they gave me and the wealth of knowledge they imparted to me over our 48 years friendship.
Thank you to Marge's family for entrusting all the "Ramacon" KC CC's, old Pedigrees and wonderful photographs to me, I have spent hours remembering the very happy times I spent with these dogs during my "teens" and all the time learning about the breed from one of the most successful show kennels in the country at that time, I feel greatly honoured to have known and worked with them.