Anastasia M.E. Noble
Among the several remarkable individuals in Great Britain who have played major roles in the preservation and promotion of the Scottish deerhound, it can be argued that none surpassed either the character or the significance of the contribution of Anastasia Mary Elizabeth Noble.
Miss Noble, who died in 2000 at age 88, devoted 70 years of her life to Scottish Deerhounds, and she and her Ardkinglas hounds were world-famous: her hounds for their quality and achievements, and she for her irrepressible personality and unquenchable enthusiasm for all she could experience in life.
She acquired her first deerhound, Nora of Enterkine, as a pet from Miss Bell, but Nora went on to become the foundation bitch for the Ardkinglas line, with 90 percent of Miss Noble’s dogs going back to her.
Miss Noble bred 135 litters and produced 24 champions, of which the first was Tessa, produced by Nora’s daughter, Aphra, who also was the dam of the great Monarch, from her first litter to carry the Ardkinglas prefix, her second champion, and the winner of 20 club championships.
Among her many great hounds were the beautiful Aurora, immortalized in a famous photograph in front of Ardkinglas House; Ardkinglas Val, the first winner of the Top Show Dog in Scotland award; and Ardkinglas Azalea and Ardkinglas Sonnet, who won reserve in the Hounds Group at Crufts in 1990 and 1977, respectively.
It is estimated that Miss Noble sold 150 of her hounds for export, going as puppies or young adults to Scandinavia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and North and South America. Besides being a breeder, Anastasia was renowned as a judge and performed that task at shows in Australia, North America, Scandinavia, and Europe, as well as in the United Kingdom.
Hare coursing was her passion, and she and her hounds were regular and successful participants in events all overthe United Kingdom. Her favorite, not only for the challenging venue but the parties which attended it, was the Dava Moor event for deerhounds and salukis, of which she was a co-founder and an entrant for some 50 years. It was at Dava coursing that Miss Noble’s competitive fire could overcome her polite restraint, as she twirled her leads over her head as her hound raced in the finals against the saluki.
Her dedication to the breed and her interest in her fellow deerhound fanciers—indeed, her interest in all people—took her to every part of the world, and she is arguably the principal linking force behind today’s global community of deerhound enthusiasts.
She loved attending deerhound events in countries that stretch from Finland to Australia, and she was a special friend to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America as a regular visitor to our annual specialty show, serving as a judge, sideline commentator, and bon vivant. She loved the opportunity to see different parts of this country, to make new acquaintances, and visit old friends. As she frequently said, “It isn’t the dogs I come to see; it’s the people.”
Miss Noble’s achievements and her contributions to our breed and our community are without rival, touching us all directly or indirectly.
Stanley G. Fisher, Jr.