The "Warlock" Myth
BORONG THE WARLOCK
Every field has its legends. In the entertainment world Elvis Presley has become a legend. Although he has been dead for a number of years, his popularity amongst many people has increased. Each year people spend more money on visiting his home Graceland in Memphis than Elvis usually earned in a year. There are many who still make a living impersonating him. There are stories constantly popping up in the supermarket newspapers stating that he is still alive. He has become a legend although many considered him just a better than average singer, actor, and entertainer.
In the Dobe world, there is also a legend. His name is Borong the Warlock. It is not unusual for someone to call a Dobe club Breed Referral number and say, "I have this Warlock male. He is a fawn and one hundred and ten pounds. I want to breed him to a bitch that is strong and exceptional, preferably a Warlock bitch." Or for another caller to state, "My bitch is a Warlock but she is getting old, I would like to get another Warlock bitch." Members of many Dobe clubs report that they get calls very similar to the ones just described.
In 1973, there was a person who lived in Pasadena, Texas who told people that her Dobes were Warlocks. She did a lot of breeding and sold her puppies to people who really did not know much about Dobes. The Dobes she bred were not exceptional and in some instances were rather poor specimens of the breed. That was more than twenty years ago!
Was there a Warlock? If there was, why do people still use his name? Frank Grover in The Doberman Scribe, No. 7, in an article entitled "American Doberman Pinscher Legends" wrote about Borong the Warlock. Frank stated, "The Doberman who began the legend was born in Florida in the middle 1950's. His breeders were Theodosia and Henry Frampton. They named this pup Borong the Warlock."
A warlock is a male witch, sorcerer, wizard or demon. Grover points out that the name did not describe Borong because he was a direct, rather quiet-mannered dog, well trained and never aggressive toward anyone nor other dogs.
Borong was not picked as best in his litter. The pup adhered himself to Henry Frampton. Many thought that it was the pup that picked Henry rather than Henry picking the pup. When the pup grew up, Henry began to show Borong and he began winning. This was the beginning of what would go on for years.
Borong came along at the right time. In the early 1950's, the Dobe world was dominated by Rancho Dobe's Storm, a back to back Best in Show winner at Westminster in 1952 and 1953. Storm was never beaten in the breed ring and he dominated Dobe publicity all over the nation. When Storm retired, exhibitors and judges foundered for a while. There were also many who resented Storm's successes and his popularity, and were looking for a different kind of Dobe. Borong fit the bill. He was clearly a different kind of Doberman. Grover states that breeder judges welcomed him. Forty years later, Storm's wins are history; Warlock's name is legend.
Henry Frampton's business required that he travel a great deal around the country. He took Borong with him and showed him at shows that were near where his business appointments were. Borong was shown all over the country and became known. Henry was sociable and friendly. He talked to people and he told them of Borong's achievements. When Borong did not win Best in Breed at a show, Henry would tell the judge what Borong had accomplished and what he had won. He would do this politely and when he showed under the same judge again Borong would usually win.
In 1957, Borong won Best in Breed at the DPCA National. Henry continued to show Borong. When jet travel began in 1959, Henry told people he could buy two first class seats, one for him and one for Borong. Henry also trained Borong in obedience and Ch. Borong the Warlock, CD, was the only male that went Best of Breed at the National with an obedience title. He went Best in Breed at three Nationals. Breeders eventually sought him out because they wanted winning pups. One of his daughters won the National. In his old age he won his first all-breed Best in Show. Many of the pups he sired in his later years established him as one of the fine sires of his time.
Before Borong retired Henry Frampton took him to Germany where he competed against the top German Dobes. It was at a time when the German members of the breed were aggressive towards other dogs and judges. Borong was a quiet, well mannered Dobe without an enemy in the world. He came in second and Henry complained about this for a long time stating that the judging was done using temperament rather than the conformation of Borong.
Borong's career ended when Henry Frampton died of a heart attack. It was not long after that Borong died. The many who knew how close Borong was to Henry thought the great Dobe died of grief over losing his human companion.
The legends grew from his fame. His interesting name helped the growth of the legends. It is reported that the legends started in Texas where some of Borong's excellent descendants lived. People began to believe there were signs that identified a Dobe as a Warlock. The sign could be a lock of hair, a great size, small but powerful, a look in the eye, or something else. The name "Warlock" had an air of mystery about it and people began to see all sorts of signs that a Dobe was a Warlock descendant.
In the 1970's, Doberman Pinschers began to experience a phenomenal increase in popularity. It was a period when people living in the suburbs began to discover that they were not safe from crime. The Doberman, according to the AKC, became the "watch dog of the moment". The "moment" lasted for years. The breed that traditionally ranked around 20th in annual AKC registrations moved up to 2nd in registrations by the early 1980s. Grover states, "When Dobermans were being bred by everyone and sold as ways to get rich quick, hundreds were sold in the underground as Warlocks, each with a secret sign of distinction and value known only to a few."
The legend has been used by some to take money from people under false pretenses. It has been used by others to see what they would like to see. When all of that is stripped away, Borong the Warlock was a wonderful dog, an outstanding member of the breed, and an ambassador for all Dobermans with an unusual name. Most of all Borong was a great companion to his owner, Henry Frampton.
Over the years Warlock has been associated with oversized Dobes. Dobe fanciers in Texas thought this was just a local phenomenon, but there have been reports that there are "Warlocks" in many other states. Because of their size, the "Warlocks" are not shown and have no connection to the original Borong the Warlock.
There probably always will be breeders telling people their puppies are "Warlocks" so the name will live on. Regardless of their size and their pedigree or lack of pedigree, the Warlocks have one thing in common with the best of the Dobes in the show ring and that is they are loved by the people who own them. When one of them dies the owner will start looking for another Warlock.
Copyright Jim Kearns