Posts Categorised: Field

After a rewarding hunting season, you might find yourself looking for more challenges and opportunities to bond with your dog. That’s where hunt tests come into play.

Some hunters may feel their dogs are skilled enough without needing titles and ribbons, but hunt tests offer much more.

It’s a great way to keep your dog active and in sync during the off-season. Plus, it’s an opportunity to showcase your dog’s abilities and to connect with others who share the same passion. Many lifelong friendships are forged while training and competing.

With your curiosity piqued, I’ll bet you’re wondering, “What can I expect at a hunt test?” Well, grab your favorite beverage and settle in to learn about the fascinating world of retriever hunt tests.



Retriever breeds have competed in field trials in the US since the 1930s. In the beginning, the tasks required of the dogs were not much different than we see in hunt tests today. But as the dogs got better, the tasks got harder. And as the tasks got harder they became less like hunting.

Eventually, hunters wanted a way to test their dogs’ actual hunting abilities. A few different programs were tried but with little success.

Then in 1979, Omar Driskill started a “gun dog club” in Louisiana that became very popular. A few years later Bill Tarrant wrote an article saying that field trials were producing dogs that were different than what the average hunter wanted. And Richard Wolters (author of “Water Dog”) wrote an article asking if there was a need for the hunting retriever movement.

Hunting enthusiasts got together in New York to discuss forming an organization for hunting retrievers. Present were trainers, writers, and representatives from AKC and UKC.

First Hunt Tests

Based on that meeting, the first hunt test was held in Arcadia, LA in 1983 under rules developed by the North American Hunting Retriever Association (“NAHRA”).

A year or so later HRC was formed and shortly after that AKC held its first retriever hunt test. Because of their common start, the rules and the stakes offered are very similar. The tests are not competitive so the dogs pass or fail on their own merits. There are three basic levels with titles in each organization.

In 1985, the first year that AKC licensed tests, there were 13 events with 681 entries. By 2005, there were 341 events with nearly 35,000 entries.

It wasn’t long before owners who had titled their dogs in Master or Finished, wanted something more to achieve. This led to the development of the Master National Hunting Test (affiliated with AKC) and HRC’s International Grand Hunt.

Something the original organizers probably didn’t consider is as training methods improved the tests would gradually became more difficult. A Junior stake 20 years ago was very different from tests today despite the rules changing very little. This seems to be the case in both organizations, but it’s a bit more apparent in AKC tests.


Getting ready

AKC vs HRC hunt tests

The AKC and the HRC offer similar hunt tests. Each offers three levels for weekend hunt tests, plus a more difficult annual (twice annually for HRC) test. HRC also offers an Upland test.

AKC requires handlers to wear “dark or customary hunting attire”. HRC requires the handler to wear ALL camo – shirt and pants, shorts, or a skirt. Hats and waders, if worn, also need to be camo.

Titles earned in AKC hunt tests are listed after the dog’s name, while HRC titles are listed before the name.

The levels are:

Stake and Title
Junior / JH Started / SHR
Senior / SH Seasoned / HR
Master / MH Finished / HRCH
Upland / UH
Master National / MNH International Grand Hunt / GRHRC

The rules are similar, but not exactly the same. Be sure to check before entering and running your dog. It is a good idea to read the rule book, making notes and highlighting important information so you can find it easily when you need a refresher.

AKC Rule Book

HRC Rule Book

Although you don’t have to be a member of a club to run a hunt test, having a group to train with can be very helpful. Also if you run HRC there are additional fees if you are not a member of the national club or if your dog is not UKC registered.

Find a local AKC club (select ‘Hunting Test’ and your state)

Find a local HRC club (click on ‘State’ to group clubs by state)

Join HRC (national club) It’s not expensive and you get an informational magazine six times per year.

You can start the UKC registration process here. If your dog is AKC registered, have that information handy to fill out the UKC form.

Allowed breeds:

You’d think retriever hunt tests would be for retrievers, but both organizations opened the tests up to many hunting breeds. In a nutshell, they allow retrievers, plus Standard Poodles and a variety of spaniel and pointer breeds.

Spayed/neutered dogs and dogs that would be disqualified in the show ring are also welcome.

AKC restricts the hunt tests to dogs over six months, individually registered (not just litter registration), and of eligible breeds. There are special rules for entering imported dogs that are not yet registered with AKC.

HRC limits the tests to hunting breeds on their list which does not include dilutes (the “Silver Labs”). Note: if a dilute dog is entered in a hunt test the hunt test committee should be notified.

Click to watch a video of Omar Driskill talking about the start of hunt tests.


Junior vs Started hunt tests

The Junior and Started tests are very similar. They include two series – a land series and a water series with two single retrieves on land and two single retrieves on water.

Both allow you to hold your dog at the line. In Junior, you can loop a slipcord through the collar which must be a flat buckle collar. Or you can hold the dog by the collar. In Started, you can hold the dog by a collar, leash, or line around its neck. (As a judge, I always recommend holding your dog. If you don’t and your dog breaks, he will likely fail.)

A change in AKC rules as of August 1, 2023 allows handlers to speak quietly to their dog and be allowed to touch their dog for reassurance or positioning. This is only allowed at the Junior level.

You don’t handle a gun in AKC and rarely handle one in HRC although in HRC you can opt to shoulder and shoot a popper. However in that case you cannot hold your dog and you are also judged on gun safety.

There are some differences

You’ll need a whistle in either test and a duck call in HRC. Although the AKC premium usually says to bring a duck call, many judges don’t require it. You should, however, have your own duck call, know how to blow it, and have your dog used to it. Just in case.

The maximum distances are different. In AKC, the test distance on land and water “should not normally exceed 100 yards.” But in HRC, the “maximum land test distance will not exceed seventy-five (75) yards, but may be less.” The wording is the same for water, but the maximum distance is 60 yards. Some judges like to push the distance out further, particularly in AKC where the wording is not as definite.

You’ll often stand beside your dog in AKC vs HRC where you’ll generally sit on a bucket beside your dog. Be prepared to run your dog from either position.

Also, HRC limits the number of entries to 50 per flight. Most tests don’t fill, but if you want to make sure you can enter check for when entries open and go online right after that time. Many clubs allow “walk ups” – entering the morning of the test, but only until the limit is reached. AKC doesn’t limit entries.


Ducks are often used, but occasionally you’ll see a mixed bag of ducks on water and upland birds on land.

In AKC, you’ll have at least one shot flyer (unless using live ammunition is prohibited by law or the land owner). That means a live bird will be thrown in the air and shot. Depending on the skill of the gunners, your dog may have to retrieve a dead bird, a lightly-hit runner, or a hard-hit bird that would not be suitable for the table. In HRC the birds are usually humanely killed with gas on the morning of the hunt test. If your dog has never run an HRC test, you may want to ask if you can run a bit later. New dogs can be unsure of a bird that smells of gas, but the scent wears off quickly.

After the bird lands you must wait for the judge to release you in an AKC test. In HRC, you’re allowed to send your dog as soon as the bird hits the ground or water. However, you should wait a couple of seconds so there’s no question the bird landed before you sent your dog.


Sometimes a dog will start toward a mark and stop within about 15 feet. In AKC, the dog can be recast because he may be confused about if he was actually sent to retrieve it. This is different from a dog that goes to the area of the fall, fails to find the bird, and comes back to the handler. But in HRC you can cast your dog a maximum of two times from the line per bird. There isn’t a limit on how far the dog can go or how long he hunts or is called back and cast a second time.

Your dog must deliver all birds to hand in AKC. If he drops it, perhaps to shake off water, you can tell him again to fetch it. You may have to tell him several times, but the more commands, the lower his score. On the other hand, if he’s unwilling to release the bird he’ll be scored low in Trainability, even to the point of failing. In HRC, your dog must deliver to your immediate area, but not necessarily to your hand. If the judges don’t explain their measurement for “your immediate area” you should ask as it’s not clearly defined. Generally, judges will allow you to take a long step to pick up the bird.

Second series

In AKC, the judges will confer after completing the first series. A dog that both judges have failed is not called back to run the second series. The judges will list the dogs (by number) that are passing and the marshal will advise handlers of the “callbacks.” In HRC, you can continue to run your dog even if you failed the first series with some exceptions. Exceptions include a gun safety violation, dog fighting, or a handler ejected for bad behavior.

HRC awards five points per pass with 20 points required for the Started (“SHR”) title. In essence, both AKC and HRC require four passes in Junior or Started for a title in that organization. Passes from a higher level do not count toward the Junior or Started titles.

Watch an AKC Junior Test or an HRC Started Hunt Test.


Senior vs Seasoned hunt tests

Although the basics are similar, there are a lot of differences between Senior and Seasoned tests.

What is similar

Both include double land and water marks, a land blind and a water blind, but they’re run differently.

Senior has two series: land double and blind, water double and blind, plus at least one diversion shot, a walk-up to start one of the tests, and an honor. Dogs that fail the first series are not called back to run the second series.

Seasoned has five tests: a walk-up, a double land mark, a land blind, a double water mark, and a water blind. There is also a diversion bird.

Pretty similar except Senior has a walk-up to start a double while Seasoned does the walk-up separately.

Dogs run without a collar in both organizations, but when the collar or slip lead is removed is different.

In Senior it’s removed before going to the line from the final holding blind. The dog is put back on a lead when the series is finished and the dog and handler are behind the judges. You may be asked to put your dog on a lead to honor if your dog has failed the test.

For Seasoned, the dog goes to the line on a lead and the lead is removed before starting the test. If the dog runs the marks and blind from a different line, the dog is put back on a lead when moving to the next line. The dog is also put on a lead when the series is finished.

Handlers in both organizations must shoulder the shotgun. Senior tests have a non-operational gun and there is no shooting from the line. Seasoned tests require handlers to shoulder, aim and shoot a popper at each bird.

Blinds must be outside of the marks and delivering the bird to hand is required in both stakes.

What is different

In Senior, the test distance on land and water “should not normally exceed 100 yards.” While in Seasoned, the “maximum land test distance will not exceed one hundred (100) yards but may be shorter.” The wording is the same for water, but the maximum distance is 75 yards. The blinds “will not exceed sixty (60) yards…”

Diversion shot(s) must be used and diversion bird(s) may be used in Senior. Seasoned requires a diversion bird that “can be thrown after the walk-up, blind, or last retrieve of a double mark.” Switching to the diversion bird is a mark-down, but not a failure in Seasoned. Switching or returning to an old fall in Senior is a failure.

Seasoned can be cast from the line two times per bird, but in Senior the dog can be sent more than once only in cases of confusion. There is no second chance if the dog doesn’t go when sent for a blind retrieve.

Popping isn’t penalized in Seasoned. It is a mark-down in Senior, earning a bigger penalty the more the dog pops.

Senior dogs must honor a working dog at least once.

Also, HRC limits the number of entries to 40 per flight. If you want to make sure you can enter check for when entries open and enter online as soon as possible after that. I’ve never seen an AKC club limit Senior entries. However if there are too many entries to finish the test in one day, you may have to come back. If the test starts on Sunday, that means coming back on Monday.


If a dog has a Junior title, four passes are required for the Senior title. Without a Junior title, five passes are required.

The Seasoned (“HR”) title requires forty (40) points for a title and can include points from Started (5 points), Seasoned (10 points), or Finished (15 points). However, only 10 points from Started can be counted toward the Seasoned title. Basically, if you have a couple of Started passes you need three Seasoned passes. Otherwise, four Seasoned passes are needed for the HR title. If your dog has a lot of training before running in tests, you can run Finished with each pass counting as 15 points. So three passes (45 points) for an HR title and those points count toward the 100 points needed for a Finished title.

Watch an AKC Senior Test or an HRC Seasoned Hunt Test.


Master vs Finished hunt tests

In these tests, almost anything goes. There will be multiple marks, sometimes multiple blinds, diversion shots and/or birds, an honor and/or a walk-up. Dogs might run from a boat or from beside a layout blind. There may be a mixed bag of birds (for example, retrieving ducks and pheasants in the same series). Handlers of the working AND honor dogs may have to shoot at birds. There might be a “poison bird” (a bird the dog may not retrieve until he has done another task).

Luckily there are limits to what the judges can require.

What is similar

Dogs are taken off lead before leaving the holding blind. They are judged until the series is finished and the dog and handler are behind the judges. An exception is made when they’ve failed the test and have to honor on lead.

Although Junior or Senior entries aren’t usually limited, Master can be – and often is – limited. Clubs can choose to limit the number to 66, 100, 132, or 200 entries or can have unlimited entries.

HRC limits the number of Finished entries to 30 dogs per flight. Many clubs schedule a second or third set of judges to run more flights

Master test requirements:

  • has three series – a land series with multiple marks, a water series with multiple marks and a land and water series with multiple marks
  • at least two of the multiple-marking situations must have three falls before the dog is sent to retrieve
  • a land blind and a water blind with at least one double blind
  • dogs must honor at least once
  • there must be a walk-up, diversion bird and/or shots at least once
  • will be scheduled to run over a minimum of two consecutive days

Finished test requirements:

  • has four tests – a land triple, a water triple, a land blind, and a water blind – may be required to retrieve in an established sequence
  • at least one of the triples must include an honor
  • the blinds may or may not be included with one of the triple retrieves
  • there must be a diversion as the dog returns from any retrieve
  • the test is completed in one day

Test distances are similar

Master on land and water, shall not normally exceed 150 yards.

Finished land distance will not exceed 150 yards, but may be shorter. Water distance will not exceed 125 yards, but may be shorter. Blind retrieve distance will not exceed 100 yards.

Switching is similar

In Master it shall be scored low, to the point of failing.

In Finished switching to a diversion bird is a fail.

A controlled break is similar

Master dog fails.

Finished dog may be failed for a controlled break or excessive, consistent creeping.

The use of the shotgun is similar

A Master handler “shall always carry and shoulder an empty shotgun except when honoring the working dog or when running a blind.”

A Finished handler “must shoulder the shotgun, aim, track, and shoot at the top of the arc of the thrown bird.”


If a dog already has a Senior title, five passes are required for a Master title. Without a Senior title, six passes are required.

A Finished title (“HRCH”) requires 100 points and points can be earned in Started (5 points per pass), Seasoned (10 points per pass) and/or Finished (15 points per pass). However, 60 points must be earned in Finished with a maximum of 40 points from Seasoned. If 10 points were earned in Started, then a maximum of 30 points can come from Seasoned.

Watch an AKC Master Test or an HRC Finished Hunt Test.


HRC Upland hunt tests

The Upland Hunter stake is designed for dogs trained to the Finished level. However dogs don’t need to have any titles before entering an Upland test.

There is a simulated walk-up followed by a quartering test where the dog will locate and flush at least two birds. The handler must aim, track and shoot a popper at birds his dog flushes, keeping gun safety in mind. Once the handler has fired a shot, the official guns may shoot the bird, if it can be done safely. The dog must retrieve any birds shot for him and must honor another dog. Each passing score earns the dog 10 points with 40 points needed to earn an Upland Hunter (“UH”) title.

Watch an HRC Upland test.


Master National vs International Grand Hunt

These events are very different from weekend hunt tests. Dogs must qualify to enter, their work is held to a higher standard, and the events are run over several days.

To qualify for the Master National, the dog must have passed six Master tests between August 1 of the year before the event and July 31 of the event year. There are exceptions for dogs running tests exclusively in Alaska or Canada. A dog that qualified at the previous year’s Master National needs four Master passes to enter. A dog that has the MNH title doesn’t have to requalify.

The Master National Hunter (“MNH”) title requires three passes at the Master National Hunting Test. This title is in addition to the MH title. Unlike other hunt test titles, the owner must request the title certificate and pay a fee.

There is also a Master Amateur Hunting Title (“MAH”) which is similar to the MNH. Dogs must pass the Master Amateur Invitational Hunting Test three times to title. The owner must request the title certificate and pay a fee.

Two Grand Hunting Tests are held each year and are open to retrievers that have earned a Hunting Retriever Championship (“HRCH”) title. There are five series. Two series have multiple mark land tests with a blind retrieve and at least one honor and a diversion. The two multiple mark water tests must have a blind retrieve and at least one honor and a diversion. The fifth series consists of an upland quartering test.

Prompt and precise responses are expected from retrievers at this level. Distances may be longer than any weekend hunt tests. A quad or delayed quad and/or having the dog retrieve in a particular sequence can be used.

Watch a Master National or an International Grand Hunt.


Now it’s your turn

Finding tests to enter

Tests in both organizations can be entered online. Go to EntryExpress for AKC or HuntSecretary for HRC. (Note: be sure to check both platforms if you’re running AKC as some tests are showing up on HuntSecretary.)

Entries are limited in HRC and Finished usually fills up very quickly. Seasoned might fill up quickly as well. AKC tests can also be limited but generally only Master. Be sure to check for when entries open and close.

You can run your dog in HRC without a UKC registration, but you’ll pay more, and your dog must be registered within 60 days of earning points or you forfeit those points. Note: it often takes a month or more to get your registration from UKC.

Preparing to go

Start a list of what you should bring so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. For example, you might include a collar, leash, whistle, duck call, crate, bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, rain gear, jacket, rubber boots and/or waders, water, shade, fan for hot weather, camera or cell phone with a camera (be sure to turn off the ringer), chairs, sunshade, coolers with drinks, snacks, and lunch.

Don’t forget “dark or customary hunting attire” for AKC tests. Or all camo for HRC tests. If your family or friends are coming make sure they don’t wear anything white or neon colored.

Spray all your clothes with insect repellent about 3-4 days before the test and seal them in plastic bags until the day of the test.

Re-read the pertinent portions of the rule book.

And don’t forget your dog! Don’t laugh – it’s happened.

Also, be aware of what not to bring: training aids such as an e-collar, heeling stick, prong collar, choke chain, and especially a female dog in season.

Morning of the test

Be sure you know where and when you’re to meet and how to get there.

When you get there, check in with the hunt secretary at the headquarters and pick up a catalog. I mark my dog’s number on the catalog, or if I’m running more than one dog I’ll write their numbers on the back of my hand.

If you have a female, check where to take her so she can be checked. Females in season, cannot run the test.

Air your dog on a leash and pick up any solids. Be sure to listen for the call to gather. The hunt chair will tell you where the stakes are located, restroom locations, where to park, and rules for these grounds. No smoking and staying on roads are common rules. They will also have you go as a group to your stake.

When you get there, grab your whistle and duck call, and make sure your dog is comfortable with water and shade. Then go find the marshal and check in. If you’re also running in another stake, let the marshal know. Sometimes the running order will be modified so handlers with several dogs that are running multiple stakes can finish one stake quickly. Be flexible if that happens.

Handlers meeting

When the judges are ready, they will call for a handlers meeting where they will describe the test and what they expect. They will also go over gun safety. Even fake guns must be treated as loaded when you’re at a hunt test.

A test dog will run to demonstrate the test, and judges will answer any questions. If you don’t understand something, ask. The only stupid question is the one not asked. Be sure to check where the gallery can gather and pay attention to any other instructions given.

Airing your dog

Ask the marshal where you can air your dog because you don’t want air him where the next series will be run. Keep your dog on leash unless you are a very long way away from the line. Your dog will fail if he runs back and interferes with the running dog. Or worse if he starts a dogfight.

Don’t throw a bumper for your dog near the test as that can be interpreted as training on the grounds that could lead to your dog failing.

Holding blind etiquette

Dogs can be failed if they see another dog run a series before they run. Do your best to keep your dog inside the holding blind and not peeking around, over, or even under the blind. Also, do your best to keep your dog quiet so you don’t disturb the running dog.

If your dog takes a dump in the blind, let the marshal know so no one has to find it by accident.

To the line

Do not leave the blind until the judges call you to the line. Often they will first ask for your number (make sure you have this memorized) so they can have the correct page open before you come to the line.

If you still have any questions be sure to ask before running your dog.

Sit your dog facing the area of the fall, take your time getting you both ready, and make sure your dog is looking in the right direction.

When you have another handler and dog honoring your dog it’s courteous to ask if they’re ready before signaling to start the test. The honor is only in Senior, Master and Finished.

In an AKC test, let the judges know you’re ready by nodding or waving a hand behind you. Do not turn around or your dog might get up. Wait to send your dog until the judge calls your number. In an HRC test, judges often have you blow a duck call to start the test. You can send your dog once the bird lands (or after the last bird in the case of multiple marks).

You don’t have to send your dog immediately. Be sure he is locked onto the bird’s location and ready to retrieve it first.

In a multiple-mark series, try to decide beforehand the order you want to pick up birds, but also pay attention to your dog. He may scoot a bit to get a better look at a bird. Or he might watch all the birds, but lock onto one once they’re all down. You can tell by watching his head or sometimes just his eyebrows. Ignore that at your peril, unless the judges have told you to pick up the birds in a particular order.

Also, remember to breathe!

Running the next series

Unless the judges have already told you you’re out, wait for the marshal to do callbacks in AKC. If you didn’t pass the first series, you don’t get to run the next series.

However, in HRC, you can run both series. Also, you don’t have to run the second series if you think it might compound any errors your dog made in the first series. Just be sure to tell the marshal so they don’t spend time looking for you.

If you’re still in the running, there will be another shorter handlers meeting and a test dog. Again ask any questions you have.

Although the running order might change, your dog’s number remains the same.

Getting your ribbon

The marshal will tell you when and where ribbons will be given out. Most HRC clubs have a Saturday night social and give out ribbons there, but on Sunday ribbons are often given out shortly after finishing the stake. Usually, they do it at the test headquarters, but check to be sure.

Most AKC clubs will meet at the clubhouse or headquarters after judges have reviewed their judging sheets and discussed passes and fails.

You should go even if you’re sure your dog failed because you can ask the judges why your dog didn’t get a ribbon. Just remember to be polite!

The drive home

Pass or fail, remember the important point is spending time with your dog. Make it a tradition to stop for a hamburger or other treat as a reward for your dog – even if he was a complete dufus!

If you got a ribbon, display it proudly on your dashboard. Take a picture and post it on social media. If it’s your first pass or maybe the first pass at an upper level, shout it from the rooftops!

And even if you and/or your dog totally bombed, someday you will look back on this day and smile. Believe me. I know.

Ready to do it again?

I hope so!

Take stock of how you and your dog did and what weaknesses you should work on. Make a plan for how you can do better and then work the plan.

Other organizations

There are other retriever competitive associations:

North American Hunting Retriever Association

Super Retriever Series

This post was originally published on January 24, 2022. Edited and updated with new content on August 21, 2023.
Header image courtesy Linda Alexander

Shed of Arden’s qualities were of the highest: he epitomized an ideal. …By those who are knowledgeable, he was considered to have embodied the greatest qualities a Retriever can possess in equal parts: looks, performance, and the priceless gift to transmit these from generation to generation.

~ Helen Warwick, Lockerbie Labradors


3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden is one of the best-known Labrador Retrievers in history, but what do we know about him and his family?

Shed was born March 26, 1939, and bred by William Averell Harriman who owned Arden kennels. Paul Bakewell III of Deer Creek Kennels bought Shed as a young dog.

There’s a story that his siblings were all named for fish and that he was supposed to be Shad of Arden. Due to a clerical error he became Shed instead.

The Arden ‘fish’ litter, including Shed, Bass, Marlin, Trout.

Show competition

Although Shed often competed in the show ring and field at the same time, he started his career in the show ring. At 14 months old he won Winners Dog and Best of Winners for a 5-point major at the Labrador Retriever Club’s specialty show in 1940. His older brother, CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden, won Best in Specialty at that show. A week later the brothers repeated their wins at another show with another major for Shed.

He finished his show championship 15 months later with two Best of Breed wins and a Group 4th.


Field Competition

Retriever field trials in America were still in their infancy when Shed was born. It was only nine years since his uncle, NFC Blind of Arden, won the first field trial.

Shed started his field career with a Derby second at 20 months, still owned by his breeder.

The next year he started earning points in field competition. By the fall of 1942, he had finished his field championship to become a dual champion. He also qualified for the National Retriever Championship.


First National Championship

As a 3-year-old, Shed won his first National Championship. He was handled by Lt. Bakewell who was on leave from the Navy Air Corps.

Madison, Wisconsin hosted the National on December 4-6, 1942. The weather was cold. “The Yahara River and adjoining marshes which ordinarily afforded everything desired for water tests were frozen solid…. This necessitated moving the water tests to the University of Wisconsin property along the shores of Lake Mendota. Heavy ice floes made it dangerous for dogs to get into the water. Several refused to enter, others only after repeated commands.” 1

Icy conditions on Lake Mendota. Photo courtesy American Kennel Gazette.

“The weather was bitter and difficult on the great gallery, but it was weather to be expected in the final week of the Wisconsin duck hunting season and no dog who could not meet these conditions could rightfully aspire to the national title.” 2

“To win, Shed had to show supreme ability to bound over frozen hummocks in quest of pheasants and to break sheets of ice in swimming after ducks. In fact, it is hard to imagine more trying conditions than those which the dogs, their handlers and the gallery faced during the three days of the stake. The thermometer was never far from zero, and frequently was below that mark….” 3

Eighteen dogs started, but only five finished, including two owned by Bakewell – Shed and FC Stilrovin Super Speed. The other finishers were FC Hiwood Mike, Patricia of Roedare, and Seaborne’s Black Prince.

Shed of Arden delivering a bird. Photo courtesy American Kennel Gazette.

“Throughout the meeting Shed did everything asked of him, and did it brilliantly. Probably the thing that most pleased the gallery was the way that willingness was demonstrated when, in the final water test, he never hesitated a minute in crashing his way out through brittle ice…”  4

Second National Championship

Shed won the National Championship again the next year. He was handled by Clifford H. Wallace because Lt. Bakewell was on active duty.

Bourbon, Missouri hosted the stake on December 3-5, 1943. Twenty dogs started, of those 15 were Labs and five were Goldens. It took two extra series to determine the winner between two dogs – Shed and a Golden Retriever named FC Stilrovin Super Speed. Both dogs were owned by Lt. Bakewell.

Cotton Pershall trained Shed until until it was time to join the Army. At that point, Clifford Wallace took over and guided Shed through the grueling tests in Missouri.

Trophy presentation at the 1943 National Retriever Championship

Mrs. Bakewell with Shed and handler C.H. Wallace. Presenting the trophy was M.B. Wallace Jr, trail chairman. Photo courtesy American Kennel Gazette.


Shed didn’t compete in the 1944 National. However, he did travel to Vancouver, British Columbia in October where he finished his Canadian Field Championship.

Third National Championship

World War II ended in 1945 after Germany surrendered in May and Japan surrendered in September. That November Shed and Bakewell were back to compete in the National Championship. This time it was held at Shelter Island, Long Island, New York, which meant a daily ferry ride from Riverhead. The stake was held on November 30-December 2, 1945.

The first day brought blinding snow and sleet which limited the day to only one series. The second day was cold and windy with high tides and northerly winds. The judges ran land tests in the morning and water tests as the tide ebbed. Despite the conditions, only six dogs were dropped.

Although Shed was a finalist, the judges awarded the win to Black Magic of Audlon.


Fourth National Championship

Although Shed was now seven-years-old, he continued competing at trials around the country. At a trial in Oregon he had a 300-yard blind retrieve across the tip of a lake for a shackled duck planted several yards off the shore. He was one of only six dogs to complete the series.

In the fall of 1946, Shed reclaimed his crown and is the only three-time winner of the National Championship. It was held on December 6-8. The grounds were good at Crab Orchard Lake, Herrin, Illinois, as was the weather. This is a coal mining area, and the mines were on strike at the time of the National. “… the gallery was augmented by many hundred miners who came to see the event. Some estimated the gallery at 10,000. Traffic presented a bit of a problem.” 5

The 20 dogs entered in the 1946 National Championship Stake. Photo courtesy American Kennel Gazette.

Twenty dogs started the stake and eight finished.

In the final series, Shed faced off against three tough competitors. They were his kennel mate, Dual Champion Little Pierre of Deer Creek, plus FC Scoronine of Deer Creek, and a Golden retriever named Stilrovin Nitro Express.

“Scoronine led the field until the last day, then refused to plunge into the 45° water. Now it was Shed’s turn.

“In the toughest test, he had to find two dead ducks which had been planted among the rushes across a 150-foot-wide bay. Shed waited calmly at the water’s edge until he got the signal from Bakewell. Then he plunged bravely into chilly Crab Orchard Lake, but not with his old zip.

“… One-third of the way across, Shed’s black head turned at a whistle from Bakewell to get directions. He entered the cattails just six feet from where the mallard was hidden, sniffed for a second, found his bird. A few minutes later, Shed did it again, and won his third U.S. championship.” 6

Paul Bakewell received the championship trophy for Shed’s third national championship.

Fifth National Championship

Shed ran the National Championship one more time. The 1947 National was again held at Crab Orchard Lake, Herrin, Illinois. The weather was good with only occasional light rain. Twenty one dogs started, but only four dogs finished. These dogs completed the tenth – and the eleventh – and the twelfth series in an effort to determine the winner. The final series was completed in near darkness.

These dogs were:

FC Black Panther, owned by CW Carlson
FC Black Roland of Koshkonong, owned by Wesley Jung
FC Bracken’s Sweep, owned by DE Pomeroy
DUAL CH & 1942 , 1943, 1946 NATL CH Shed of Arden, owned by Paul Bakewell

Bracken’s Sweep, handled by TW “Cotton” Pershall, was crowned the winner.


CH Raffles of Earlsmoor Thatch of Whitmore CCW Eng DUAL CH Titus of Whitmore
Tee of Whitmore
Task of Whitmore CCW Toi of Whitmore FTW
Eng CH Teazle of Whitmore
FC Decoy of Arden Odds On FTW The Favorite FTW
Peggy of Shipton FTW Ronald of Candahar
Gehta of Sigeforda

Click for extended pedigree

His parents

Shed’s sire, Raffles, was Dr. Samuel Milbank’s first Labrador although dogs were always part of his life. His father, Dr. Milbank, Sr., bred Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and terriers. A Scottish surgeon started the junior Dr. Milbank into Labradors when he found and shipped Raffles to him. According to Helen Warwick in The Complete Labrador Retriever, importing Raffles “started a collaboration of Dr. Milbank and W.A. Harriman that molded the fortunes of the Arden kennel, setting a precedent for quality that has never been equaled by any other Labrador Kennel in America.”

Show champion Raffles of Earlsmoor

Decoy, Shed’s mother, was the second Lab to earn a field trial championship in America. Her full brother, Blind of Arden was the first to earn a field trial championship and also won the first US retriever field stake in 1938.

Field champion Decoy of Arden

His siblings

Some of Shed’s full siblings included:

  • CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden
  • CH Earlsmoor Marlin of Arden
  • DUAL CH Gorse of Arden
  • DUAL CH Braes of Arden
  • CH Bass of Arden

Half siblings included:

  • FC Gun of Arden
    – Grandsire of 2xNFC Spirit Lake Duke and great-grandsire of DUAL CH CFC Ridgewood Playboy and CH Whygin Gentle Julia Of Avec
  • Marvadel Cinders
    – Dam of Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek and NFC AFC Marvadel Black Gum

His titled offspring include:

Dual CH Grangemead Precocious

CNFC FC AFC Ardyn’s Ace of Merwalfin
FC AFC Bigstone Bandit
CFC Chanbar Jigaboo ***
CH Chukker of Bonniehurst
NFC AFC Creole Sister
FC Dacity Bill
CH Dauntless of Deer Creek
CH Deer Creek Black Ace
FC Firelei’s Hornet
FC CFC Jibodad Gypsy
CFC Nelson’s Black Prince
FC Pickpocket for Deer Creek
CH Snikeb’s Cookie
CH Trixie’s Black Cargo ***
CH Wardwyn Jackpot

Shed’s descendants at Justamere Ranch:

Chip descends multiple times from Shed. Those bloodlines include:

NFC Dual CH CFC Bracken’s Sweep
Dual CH Grangemead Precocious

CFC Chuck of Bracken
FC Dacity Bill
FC Freehaven Muscles
FC Gilmore’s Peggy
FC Shoremeadow Tidewater
FC AFC Tar Baby of Hilly Hill

Dee also descends multiple times from Shed. Those bloodlines include:

Dual CH AFC Alpine Cherokee Rocket
Dual CH Cherokee Buck
Dual CH Grangemead Precocious
Dual CH Ridgewood Playboy
Can Dual CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek
Can Dual CH Dart of Netley Creek

FC AFC Air Express
FC Beautywood’s Carbon Copy
CNFC FC AFC Belle of Zenith
FC AFC Bigstone Bandit
FC AFC Black Cougar
NAFC FC Bracken’s High Flyer
FC AFC Canis Major’s River Bear
CFC Chanbar Jigaboo QAA
CFC Chuck of Bracken
NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane
FC AFC Cougar’s Rocket
CFC Craigend Rock
CFC Crevamoy Iron Duke
2xNAFC FC Dee’s Dandy Dude
FC Deer Creek’s Bewise
2xNFC CNFC AFC Del-Tone Colvin
NAFC FC Dude’s Double or Nothin’
FC Firelei’s Hornet
FC Freehaven Muscles
FC Gilmore’s Peggy
FC AFC Ginger’s Choc August
FC AFC CFC Grady’s Shady Ladee
NAFC FC CFC Guy’s Bitterroot Lucky
AFC Jilly Girl
FC AFC Les Coup De Grace TD
FC Luka of Casey’s Rocket
FC AFC Meg O’Tar
FC Martens Little Bullet
FC Martens Mister Nifty
FC AFC Mon Tour De Force
FC Mueller’s Stormy Canada
FC Nelgard’s Counter Point
CFC Nelson’s Black Prince
FC AFC Paha-Sapa Chief II
AFC Penny Girl
FC AFC Raider’s Piper Cub
FC AFC Rip’s Bingo
2xNAFC 3x CNFC FC River Oaks Corky
NAFC FC River Oaks Rascal
FC AFC River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky
FC Roy’s Rowdy
FC AFC Serrana Sootana of Genesee
Shamrock Acres Windridge Samba CDX
FC AFC Shed’s Prince of Garfield
NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief
FC AFC Tar Baby of Holly Hill
2xCNFC AFC Tar Baby’s Little Sweet Stuff
FC AFC Toni’s Tar
FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead
FC AFC CFC Triple Echo
FC AFC Trumarc’s Raider
AFC Westwinds Shadow of Hope
2x NFC Whygin Cork’s Coot
CNFC FC AFC Yankee Clipper of Reo Raj
FC Zipper Dee Doo

CH Dauntless of Deer Creek
CH Rupert Dahomey
CH Whygin Poppitt
CH Woodcroft Daisy,


During his career, Shed earned both US and Canadian Field Championships and a US show championship which qualified him as a DUAL champion. He also ran in five national field championships – winning three times and finishing as a finalist the other two times. At one point his owner turned down an offer to buy him for $10,000 (equivalent of about $150,000 today).

Sometimes the descriptions of field trials from years ago sound more like hunt tests. Don’t be fooled. The tests were real hunting scenarios. On the East Coast, birds were often thrown from a boat well out in the mouth of a bay. An outgoing tide could carry that bird out even farther. Trials were held even if the temperature was below zero, but jumping into frigid water and breaking ice was one of Shed’s specialties. A trial he won as a seven-year-old, included “a 300-yard blind retrieve across the eastern tip of the lake for a shackled duck that was planted several yards from the opposite shore.” 7

He was a good ‘un.

3x National Field Champion, Canadian Field Champion, Dual Champion SHED OF ARDEN

Whelped: March 26, 1939
Owner:  Lt. Paul Bakewell III, Deer Creek Kennel
Breeder:  W. Averill Harriman, Arden Kennel
Registration:  A-330767


CH – Show champion
FC – Field trial champion
NFC – National field trial champion
CCW – English Conformation Certificate winner (not a title)
FTW – English Field trial winner (not a title)
CFC – Canadian field champion


[1] The National Retriever Field Trial Club, 1941-1960, 62.

[2]  “Victory Well Earned”, New York Times December 12, 1942

[3]  “Dual Ch. Shed of Arden Wins Retriever Championship”, American Kennel Gazette, January 1943, 65.

[4]  Ibid

[5]  The National Retriever Field Club, 1941-1960, 79.

[6]  “Sport: An Old Dog’s Day”, Time magazine, December 23, 1946

[7] “Shed of Arden Wins Oregon Open All-Age”, American Kennel Gazette, June 1946, 92.


Banchory Bolo was the first-ever Dual Champion Labrador Retriever.

His is an interesting story. Not just rags to riches, but riches to rags and back to riches. Pull up a chair and learn about the dog who still has an influence on Labradors over one hundred years after his birth.


Bolo was two years old when Mrs. Quintin Dick (later Lorna, Countess Howe) entered his life. She had owned his sire, Scandal of Glynn, who was “a charming and beloved companion and a great game-finder.”

When Scandal died, she wanted to find a dog to replace him. Unfortunately, none of the other dogs she owned could fill the gap his passing caused.

Her husband, Quintin Dick, suggested a son by Scandal. However, during the First World War breeding was restricted and Scandal had only sired one litter. In it, there were 13 puppies of which 12 were females.

The only male – originally named Caerhowell Bully – had been given away by his breeder. When Lorna(1) found him, he was given to her with the advice that if she didn’t want to keep him to have him put to sleep. They told her the dog was “hopeless” and had “an evil temper.”

When she picked him up at the train station, she realized what she’d been told was true. The dog was unkempt, had sores on his ears and he growled at her through the heavy muzzle he wore. Although he had a wonderful pedigree, she debated: Should she keep him or put him to sleep as she’d been advised?

Dual Champion Banchory Bolo

Banchory Bolo

Lorna and Bolo

She must have had a kind heart as she took him home with her. After taking off the muzzle and chain, she turned him loose in a spacious room, but he was distrustful and surly. He wouldn’t come to anyone and it took quite a while to catch him.

Something must have happened to him in his earlier life. Heavy-handed trainer? Malicious kennel help?

He avoided people. When turned out for exercise, he was hard to catch. How could he be trained when he was so distrustful of people? What could soothe the savage beast?

It turns out it wasn’t music, but Lorna’s gentle care. When he became seriously ill, she nursed him back to health. During that time, he realized she was someone he could trust. As he recovered he became devoted to her and was always at her side.


When he started in training, Lorna found he had “a natural love of retrieving, an excellent nose, and a perfect mouth.” However, he also had two failings: he loved chasing rabbits and was terrified of cracking whips. One day when a stable boy happened to crack a whip near him, the fear took over and Bolo blindly sought escape. A tall, spiked gate didn’t stop him from running.

He returned early the next morning, covered in blood. “He had two very deep wounds on his chest, a tear three inches long in his groin and his hind leg and hock torn so badly that the bone was visible.” Because a veterinarian was too far away, Lorna stitched his wounds as he lay still for her.

Her doctoring and subsequent training was well done as the next fall he won a field trial prize. Then he quickly won two field trials and became a field champion. Two years later he also finished his show championship and became the first Dual Champion Labrador.

Lorna said, “He had quite the best nose I have ever seen in a dog and with apparently the greatest ease he would collect runner after runner after several other dogs had failed. I have never had a dog with such great natural ability or one so anxious to please me in every possible way.”

Mrs. Quintin Duck and her Labrador, FT Ch Banchory Bolo

Lorna, Countess Howe and Banchory Bolo


The genes from several great dogs came together in Banchory Bolo. We have Lord Malmesbury, the Dukes of Buccleuch, and Lord Knutsford (Munden kennels) to thank for their breeding insight and the dogs they produced.

Banchory Bolo’s pedigree:

Scandal of Glynn English FTCh Peter of Faskally Waterdale Gamester
Birkhill Juliet
English FTW Shelagh of Glynn English FTW Scamp of Glynn
Shelagh of Danesbury
Caerhowell Nettle Foxley Kennett Hirsch’s Ranger
Bendysh Bess
Baker’s Nora unknown
Extended pedigree

His family

Looking backward in time, Bolo’s sire, Scandal of Glynn, was a son of English FTCh Peter of Faskally. Peter won the International Gundog League’s Championship Stake for retrievers in 1911, but it was his partnership with his handler, Archie Butter, that set him apart from the other retrievers.

Butter realized that if a dog could be guided by his handler, the quicker he would be able to find and retrieve game. To do this, he adapted the methods used by shepherds when handling their dogs using whistles and hand signals. We still use a form of this method today.

Peter of Faskally’s pedigree is filled with dogs from the Munden and Buccleuch kennels. Munden Sixty (born 1897) appears three times in Peter’s pedigree and once more in Scandal of Glynn’s maternal line.

Buccleuch Avon

Sixty’s paternal grandfather, Buccleuch Avon (born 1885), was a gift from the third Earl of Malmesbury to the sixth Duke of Buccleuch.

Avon was sired by Malmesbury Tramp (born 1878) and out of Malmesbury Juno (born 1878). Another male, Buccleuch Ned (born 1882), was also a gift. These dogs were bred to bitches that descended from dogs imported originally by the fifth Duke of Buccleuch.

Another great in Peter of Faskally’s pedigree is Munden Single (born 1899). She was sired by Munden Sixty and descended from Munden, Buccleuch, and Malmesbury dogs. She’s best known for being the first Labrador to win a Challenge Certificate and the first Labrador to run in a field trial.

More Munden, Buccleuch, and Malmesbury

Less is known about Scandal of Glynn’s maternal side. His maternal grandfather, Scamp of Glynn FTW, traces to Buccleuch Ned, the other male gifted by Lord Malmesbury. And his maternal grandmother, Shelagh of Danesbury, is mostly from Munden dogs that trace back to the Buccleuch and Malmesbury kennels.

Even less is known about Banchory Bolo’s mother, Caerhowell Nettle, although her father traces back to Peter of Faskally as well.


With all the good genes passed down from his ancestors, it’s not surprising that he also produced well. He sired both show champions and field trial champions.

Bolo’s show offspring

In 1921, he was bred to Brocklehirst Nell (owned by Mrs. Dinwoodie) and sired English Ch Banchory Bluff, English FTCh Nith of Halleaths, and Brocklehirst Daisy FTW. Bluff was the maternal grandsire of English FTCh Balmuto Hewildo. Bluff was owned by Lorna.

Also in 1921, he was bred to Murrayfield Bett (owned by Mr. Dinwoodie) and sired English Ch Brocklehirst Donner. This dog was also owned by Lorna.

Yet another litter in 1921, produced English Ch Beningbrough Tangle. He finished his show championship, including winning the CC at Crufts in 1930 and he also won a field trial. So close to being another Dual Champion! He was bred by The Earl of Chesterfield and owned by Lorna. His mother was Thyme, a daughter of English Ch Ilderton Ben.

In 1922, Bolo was bred to a granddaughter of English Ch Ilderton Ben. Her name was Malta of Lunn and was owned by the Earl of Clarendon. In this litter was a female named English Ch Banchory Kelpie, owned by Lorna.

Breeding dogs all but stopped during World War I. This sent the Munden kennel to the edge of extinction. However Lorna “gave Lord Knutsford a puppy on the condition that he should eventually breed her with Dual Champion Banchory Bolo.”

He registered this puppy as Munden Scarcity. Her sire was English Ch Banchory Lucky and her dam was Banchory Betty. In Scarcity’s litter by Bolo, she produced both English Ch Banchory Danilo FTW and English Ch Munden Solo FTW. Lord Knutsford also kept Singer, a bitch, and another bitch was given to His Majesty the King.

Banchory Danilo

One of Bolo’s best sons

Danilo won 33 Challenge Certificates in the show ring and won the best exhibit in the Kennel Club Show in 1925. He went on to also win two field trial honors in 1924, handled by Lorna. Danilo sired English Ch Drinkstone Pons of Wingan (sire of American Ch Echo of Arden), English Ch Drinkstone Dan, and Haylers Danilo (sire of English Ch Poppleton Black Lancer).

When Danilo’s grandson, Hiwood Risk, was bred to Peggy of Shipton we see some of the Arden dogs, including American National Field Champion Tar of Arden and her offspring – American FC Firelei of Deer Creek, American NFC Black Magic of Audlon, American Dual Ch CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek.

Danilo’s brother, Munden Solo, also did well at shows. At Crufts in 1927, he competed in ten classes, won six, and placed in three more. The judge wrote of him, ‘If there had been a little more of him in size, I think he would have been very near perfection.’

Bolo sired another English show champion, Banchory Bolo’s Trust, in 1926. His mother was Beaulieu Nance (daughter of English DUAL Ch Banchory Sunspeck).

English DUAL Ch Bramshaw Bob, double-bred on Bolo, won Best in Show at Crufts twice – 1932 and 1933. Lorna bought him from Sir George Thursby and when she took him to Crufts in 1932, Bob won all the classes he was entered in and won Best in Show on the second day.

Lorna said, “Cruft’s Show was, and still is, a great meeting place for gamekeepers. I shall never forget the overwhelming reception they gave Bob when the award was announced; it was so kind of them. They were pleased that a working gundog should receive this much-coveted award.”

Bolo’s field offspring

Bolo was bred to Kirkmahoe Dinah FTW in 1921. This litter included English National FTCh Kirkmahoe Rover, Banchory Corbie FTW, and Choice Of Kirkmahoe FTW.

Banchory Corbie won one Challenge Certificate (show points) and won the 1923 International Gundog League (IGL) Nomination Stake. Then he “broke his shoulder by galloping into a guard post” thus ending his show and field trial career. Lorna described him, “Corbie was in character and temperament all that a Labrador should be. He was highly intelligent, very faithful, a wonderful watch-dog and guard, yet very gentle with children. He had the great game-finding ability which goes with good nose and the brains to use it.”

Banchory Bolo and his son, Banchory Corbie

Another Bolo son was born in 1923, Banchory Roger FTW. He was linebred on English National Ch Peter of Faskally and on Munden Sentry.

Another male, English FTCh Balmuto Hewildo, was also double-bred on Bolo. Instead of winning in the show ring, he won the IGL Retriever Championship in 1936. This is comparable to the National Retriever Championship in the US.

In short, Bolo was a great producer.


Author C. Mackay Sanderson wrote, “Bolo’s coming may be said to have breathed a spirit of new life into the breed, the prestige enjoyed by this dog as a competitive and stud force giving lasting impetus to Labrador fortunes and subsequently his name runs like a golden thread through all the vital streams of progress.”

“The Field wrote of Bolo: ‘If ever evidence were needed of the character of a great dog, and of his influence on the generations following him, it was to be found at the Retriever Championship Trial held at Idsworth last week [December 1932]. Out of fourteen dogs that won prizes, eight were descended from Banchory Bolo.'”

But Bolo also had another legacy – he tended to throw white hairs on the feet. These ‘Bolo marks’ or ‘Bolo pads’ are still sometimes seen on the bottom of the front feet and/or the back of the front pasterns.

Bolo died in July 1927. It was ten years before Lorna was able to give her heart to another dog.

English Dual Champion Banchory Bolo

Whelped: December 29, 1915
Died:  July 10, 1927
Owner:  Lorna, Countess Howe (AKA Mrs. Quintin Dick)
Breeder:  Sir John S Harmood-Banner
Original name:  Caerhowell Bully
Registration:  KC SB 218AA

1. Although she became Lorna, Countess Howe because of her second marriage, she was known as Mrs Quintin Dick during Bolo’s lifetime. However for the sake of ease, I’ve used her first name here as it’s how she’s known by Lab enthusiasts worldwide.


Ch – Show champion
CC – Challenge Certificate (show points)
FCh – Field trial champion
NFCh – National field trial champion
FTW – Field trial winner (not a title)
CFC – Canadian field champion
IGL – International Gundog League

The first championship stake was held in Southampton, Long Island on November 20-21, 1938. Twenty-two of the best retrievers in the US came to compete. They retrieved pheasants shot in the field and ducks shot over water. The dogs saw some birds shot while other birds were planted out of sight. Dogs had to be guided by their handlers to find these birds.

In the header image, you can see the judges, owners, handlers, spectators and dogs trudging across the field trial grounds.



One dog, Field Champion (FC) Blind of Arden did the work without a mistake. He clinched the win with the final blind retrieve described as follows:

“…a dead duck, unseen by the dogs, was planted on an island. At a signal from his handler, Blind jumped into the water and swam to the island. There he scented the bird, looked back only twice to the handler, who with his arm waved him in the right direction. Quickly finding the duck, Blind picked it up with a firm mouth, started swimming back to his handler.”

Blind of Arden retrieving a duck

Blind retrieving a duck to his handler, Jasper Briggs.

Life Magazine featured Blind on the magazine’s cover on December 12, 1938. This was the first time a dog had ever been on the cover. (Note: You can see a copy of the cover here.)


The Labrador Retriever breed was just getting started in the United States and had only been officially recognized by the America Kennel Club five years earlier.

The first retriever field trial was held in 1931. In 1935, Field and Stream Magazine provided a perpetual trophy that would be awarded each year to the dog that earned the most points in Open All-Age stakes. Blind of Arden won it the first year and his half-sister, FC Tar of Arden, won it a few years later. It was 1941 before the National Retriever Field Trial Club was formed.

(left) A handler controls the dog using whistle and arm signals.
(center) Three retriever breeds – a Curly coated retriever, a Labrador and a Chesapeake Bay retriever.
(right) Judges inspect a retrieved bird. Dogs must hold them firmly, but gently so as not to break the skin or crush the bird. After the trial, the birds are sold.

Images from the first retriever championship stake

At that time, retriever trials were the realm of the very rich. Owners imported dogs from England, enticed dog trainers from Scotland and set up amazing hunting estates on the east coast. To have a chance of winning the Field and Stream trophy, dogs had to run in many trials throughout the East and Mid West.

Blind’s owner was W. Averell Harriman of New York. He was the son of a railroad baron and, in his own career, he served as Secretary of Commerce under President Truman, served as a diplomat in relations with the Soviet Union during World War II and later served as governor of New York.

Blind of Arden training with a live pheasant

Blind of Arden training with a live pheasant.



Odds On FTW The Favorite FTW The Limit
Cache Of The Rhins FTW
Jest Mansel’s Timothy
Peggy of Shipton FTW Ronald of Candahar Eng FTCh Rag Tag
Gehta of Sigeforda Eng FTCh Banchory Bluff
Eng CH Balbeardie FTW

Extended pedigree

Although Blind didn’t seem to produce any titled dogs himself, he did pass on his genetics to future generations. Some dogs that descend from him include:

  • CNFC FC AFC Ardyn’s Ace of Merwalfin
  • FTC AFTC Slo-Poke Smokey Of Dairy Hill
  • FC AFC Jet of Zenith
  • CNFC FC Rip of Holly Hill

Jet of Zenith’s pedigree is interesting.

Starting at the bottom of the pedigree, Blind’s daughter, Graysmarsh Middy, was bred to her cousin, 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden, thus doubling up on Peggy of Shipton.

A female from that litter, Graysmarsh Christmas, was bred to CNFC FC Rip of Holly Hill. Rip was a great great grandson of Blind through Okanagan Molly, thus doubling up on Blind.

A female from the Rip x Christmas litter, Thornwood Rhea, was bred to NFC AFC Massie’s Sassy Boots. Boot’s mother, Penney of Wingan, had several lines back to Eng DUAL CH Banchory Bolo and other dogs owned or bred by Lorna, Countess Howe.

Then there’s Blind’s full sister – FC Decoy of Arden – who was an outstanding producer. She was the mother of:

  • 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden,
  • DUAL CH Braes of Arden,
  • DUAL CH Gorse of Arden,
  • CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden,
  • CH Earlsmoor Marlin of Arden (all by CH Raffles of Earlsmoor) and
  • FC Gun of Arden (by Toff of Hamyax FTW)

And Blind’s half-sister – NFC Tar of Arden (by Hiwood Risk) – who was the mother of Dual CH CFC Little Pierre Of Deer Creek.

(Click for help understanding the various titles dogs have earned)

Not only one of 37 Labradors in the US to earn both a show and a field championship, but part of a dynasty. Four Dual Champions in four consecutive generations – 3xNFC CFC Dual CH Shed of Arden, father of Dual CH Grangemead Precocious, grandfather of Dual CH Cherokee Buck and great grandfather of Dual CH AFC Alpine Cherokee Rocket.


Precocious was bred and owned by Thomas W. Merritt, a man who spent many years supporting the breed and competition he loved.

  • Judged over 50 field trials, including the first National Amateur Stake in 1957 and the National Open (4 times).
  • One of the original incorporators of the National Club.
  • Past President of the Labrador Club.
  • Was a Director of the American Kennel Club.
  • President and Editor-in-Chief of the Retriever Field Trial News.

That’s in addition to breeding and owning some of the top Labs of the 1940s and 1950s. He reminds me of Lorna, Countess Howe in their efforts for the breed plus the great dogs they each owned.

Merritt mentioned one of his first puppies was Grangemead Angel who was sired by FC Freehaven Jay. Her mother was a granddaughter of Eng CH Banchory Trueman – another link to Lorna. He bred Angel to Am FC Eng FTCh Hiwood Mike who was a grandson of Eng Dual CH Banchory Painter, yet another link.

Grangemead Sharon, mother of Dual CH Cherokee Buck, was a puppy from the Angel x Mike litter.


3xNFC CFC Dual CH Shed of Arden CH Raffles of Earlsmoor Thatch of Whitmore (Eng CCW)
Task of Whitmore (Eng CCW)
FC Decoy of Arden Odds On (Eng FTW)
Peggy of Shipton (Eng FTW)
Huron’s Lady Am Eng CH Banchory Trump of Wingan Blenheim Scamp (Eng FTW)
Lady Daphne
CH Bancstone Lorna of Wingan Eng Dual CH Bramshaw Bob
Eng CH Drinkstone Peg

Extended pedigree

The Labrador Retriever was still pretty new to our shores at this time and all eight of Precocious’ great grandparents were British. Shed of Arden was sired by a British import and his maternal grandparents were both British imports. Precocious’ maternal grandparents were also British imports.

CH Raffles of Earlsmoor

3xNFC CFC Dual CH Shed of Arden

FC Decoy of Arden (right)

Banchory Trump of Wingan

Bancstone Lorna of Wingan



He was born June 21, 1946, along with at least two litter brothers, Jock of Athabaska and Deer Creek Black Ace. Both brothers finished their show championships.

Merritt remembers Precocious as “a bigger dog than Shed. He was a good marking dog, especially in water and especially strong in water triples.” According to Helen Warwick in The Complete Labrador Retriever.

He was trained and handled by Harold Berentsen. He won his first Open stake at 28 months and finished his field championship about a year later.

During the summer of 1950 he became a show dog and often won Best of Breed. He even placed in the Group a couple of times. Admittedly entries were much smaller than they are today. He won his first Best of Breed on May 7, 1950 and finished his show championship on June 18, 1950. Having already finished his field championship, he became a Dual Champion that same day.

He qualified for and ran in four National Championships – 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951. He was a finalist in 1950 and 1951.



Some people say he was named Precocious because he sired his first litter at the age of six or seven months. Based on birth dates, he was actually a grand old pup of nine months when he did the deed.

But what a deed! In that one litter with Grangemead Sharon he sired:

– sire of Dual CH AFC Alpine Cherokee Buck
— grandsire of NAFC FC Andy’s Partner Pete
– sire of Ironwood Cherokee Chica
— grandsire of NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief (Hall of Fame), FC AFC Carr-Lab Penrod, FC Chief Black Feather, FC AFC Paha Sapa Warpaint, FC AFC Paha’s Pow-Wow, Spring Farms Lucky QAA
– sire of Luscious Licorice Lass
— grandsire of FC AFC CFC Triple Echo


– sire of FC AFC Paha Sapa Chief II (Hall of Fame)
— grandsire of NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief (Hall of Fame), FC AFC Carr-Lab Penrod, FC Chief Black Feather, FC AFC Paha Sapa Warpaint, FC AFC Paha’s Pow-Wow, Spring Farms Lucky QAA
— grandsire of NAFC FC Rebel Chief of Heber (Hall of Fame) and AFC Jilly Girl
– sire of FC Nelgard’s Counter Point
— grandsire of Dual CH CFC Ridgewood’s Playboy and FC AFC Sand Gold Kim

You can see these boys in the header image – left to right – Grangemead Precocious, Freehaven Muscles, Cherokee Medicine Man and Cherokee Buck.

Unfortunately Grangemead Sharon was given away before her sons were able to prove themselves. Who knows if a second litter of Precocious x Sharon would have equaled or bested the first litter.

Other offspring:

– sire of CFC Highlander’s Buccaneer and CAN CH Highlander’s Diana
— grandsire of Can Dual CH Blyth’s Knave of Spades

– sire of Beautywood’s Creole Jane
— grandsire of Don’s Ginny Soo
— great grandsire of 2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky (Hall of Fame)
— grandsire of FC Roy’s Rowdy

And, yes, we have a bit of Precocious in our dogs. Our pretty Dee  and all her offspring, including Arwen, Tory and Cotti, trace back to Precocious several times.
1 – Through 2xNAFC FC River Oaks Rascal to Beautywood’s Creole Jane to Precocious
2 – Through 2xNAFC FC River Oaks Rascal to Dual CH AFC Alpine Cherokee Rocket to Precocious
3 – Through Shamrock Acres Juego De Azar to FC Freehaven Muscles AND Dual CH Cherokee Buck to Precocious
4 – FC AFC Raider’s Piper Cub to FC AFC Paha Sapa Chief II to Precocious
5 – Timberlane Cinnamon to 2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky to Precocious
6 – Timberlane Cinnamon to Black Beauty of Random Lake to FC Freehaven Muscles to Precocious
7 – Timberland Cinnamon to Muscle Man of Random Lake to Rise and Shine at Duckwind to Precocious
8 – Timberland Cinnamon to Cherokee King Bojo to Precocious
9 – Timberland Cinnamon to Luscious Licorice Lass to Precocious
10 – FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead to FC AFC Paha Sapa Chief II to Precocious
11 – FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead to Ironwood Cherokee Chica to Precocious
12 – FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead to AFC Jilly Girl to Precocious
13 – Dale’s Double Hope to Dual CH CFC Ridgewood Playboy to Precocious
14 – Dale’s Double Hope to FC AFC Serrana Sootana of Genesee to Precocious
15 – Dale’s Double Hope to FC AFC Toni’s Tar to Precocious
16 – Dale’s Double Hope to Ebony Sally of Widgeon Bay to Precocious
17 – Hard Driving Abigail to Cherokee King Bojo to Precocious (twice)
18 – Hard Driving Abigail to Luscious Licorice Lass to Precocious

And Chip too goes back to Precocious. Through Jilly Girl (twice), Beautywood’s Creole Jane (9x), Super Chief (twice), Gunfield’s Super Charger, Paha Sapa Chief II (separate from Super Chief) and Howmor’s Dark Gypsy.

DUAL CH Grangemeade Precocious
Whelped: June 21, 1946
Breeder: Thomas W. Merritt
Registration: S-127563

Named for her birthplace in Georgia, Chicka made a name for herself running in field trials.



Her intense retrieving drive was apparent while she was still with her littermates. Her owner said, “She would whirl, twirl and do somersaults” to retrieve anything thrown.

At 4 months she won a Puppy Stake against dogs more than twice her age after swimming across a large pond full of sticks and lily pads.



At a bit over two years old, she won the first of three Double Headers (winning both the Open and Amateur stakes at the same field trial). In all, she qualified six times for the National Open and seven times for the National Amateur and was a finalist four times.

In 2004, she won the National Amateur with her owner, Lynne, handling. Lynne described the fifth series, “There were 4 marks, 2 of which were flyers and 2 dead bird-retired marks – the longest of which was about 200 yards. The flyers were visually close to each other and a high number of dogs had to be handled. It was a beautiful series set in a hay bale field with interesting terrain but the hay bales did confuse the dogs. We had all kinds of weather…from hot to cold and rain to sun, plus difficult winds. Additionally, it was a ‘mixed bag’ of birds, which is the most difficult form of retrieval in terms of game. The dogs become keyed into the scent of the first bird retrieved and then have to re-focus on very different scent for subsequent birds of different species. It really was a make or break series.”

What makes Chicka’s career even more impressive is the injuries she overcame. She had two ruptured lumbar spinal discs removed and a total replacement of her right hip. She spent more time in rehab than in training in the 2-1/2 years before her National win.

She was also featured in a magazine for disabled sports men and women.



2xNAFC 2xCNAFC FC CFC Ebonstar Lean Mac CNFC CNAFC Waldorf’s High Tech CFC Rascal’s Super Spud
Itch’s Flying Tiger
Ebonaceae Princess WCX QAA Trieven El Conquistador
Skookum’s Sky Raider
Lazer’s Razor Sharp MH FC AFC Donnybrooks Rocky Road FC AFC Connies Little Thunder
Raintree Farms Mint Julep
Snakes Midnight Lazer MH Spider Man II
Snake’s Whistling Wind

Extended pedigree

Sired by Lean Mac and out out of Lazer’s Razor Sharp MH, Chicka descends several times from NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief (Hall Of Fame) and his relatives FC AFC Air Express HOF, FC AFC Ithin’ To Go, FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead HOF, CNFC FC Wanapum Darts Garbo, Super Powder QAA and Shamrock Acres Super Duster.

Her pedigree also includes such greats as NAFC FC Ray’s Rascal HOF, NFC AFC San Joaquin Honcho, FC AFC CFC CAFC Gahonk’s Pow-Wow, FC AFC Snake Eyes-Double or Nothin’ HOF, NAFC FC Guy’s Bitterroot Lucky, 2xNFC Whygin Cork’s Coot HOF and NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane.

Plus there are several show champions, English imports and dual champions, including 3xNFC CFC Dual Ch Shed of Arden HOF.

Although she’s the best known dog in her litter, there are other active dogs. Her brother, Law Abiding Ezra, earned his FC and AFC plus an Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH). Ezra also sired a daughter who earned her OTCH plus UDX2 and MH. Other siblings have field championship and/or hunt test titles. Then you could spend hours looking through the list of half-siblings sired by Maxx.

NAFC FC Chickamauga Choo Choo

Whelped:  May 21, 1996
Died:  Dec 5, 2008
Owners:  Lynne and Mac DuBose, Hillsborough, NC
Breeders:  Vincent and Phyllis Garner
Registration:  SN36231305

34 Derby points
QAA before 2 years old
3x Double Header winner
64.5 Open points
120 Amateur points
National Amateur Field Champion
2012 Retriever Hall of Fame

CH – Show Championship
FC – Field Championship
AFC – Amateur Field Championship
NFC – National Field Champion
NAFC – National Amateur Field Champion
CFC – Canadian Field Championship
CAFC – Canadian Amateur Field Championship
CNFC – Canadian National Field Champion
QAA – Qualified All-Age
MH – Master Hunter
OTCH – Obedience Trial Championship
UDX – Utility Dog Excellent obedience title
HOF – Hall of Fame

Mouse. What a name for a Labrador.

It’s memorable. Probably a good thing for a Hall of Fame dog.

I love the story of how Charlie and Yvonne Hays acquired him. They saw him in South Carolina when he was a young dog chasing fun bumpers. He beat his kennel mates to the bumpers and Charlie was so impressed he offered to buy him. The owner told him that he thought he was sold and the check should be in the mail.

So Charlie asked, “Mind if I check the mailbox?”



Born on Christmas day in 1973, Candlewoods Mad Mouse qualified for and ran in his first National Open as a TWO year old. He was not yet titled, but made it to the seventh series handled by his owner. He finished both FC and AFC titles the following year.

He won a double header – winning both the Open and Amateur stake in the same trial.

He qualified for eight National Amateur trials and was a finalist in four. He also qualified for six National Open trials and competed in five. At the time of his death, he was the all-time high point yellow Labrador.

Mouse also ran field trials in Canada where he earned his CFC and CAFC as well.

In 1994 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Mouse died in October 1984. He “… was known for his intelligence and his wagging tail. He was both a great field trial dog and a wonderful house pet.”



2xNAFC FC River Oaks Rascal (Hall of Fame) 2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky (Hall of Fame) FC Martens Mister Nifty
Don’s Ginny Soo
Random Rapscallion FC CFC Duxbak Scooter (Hall of Fame)
Random Shot
Shamrock Acres Duck Soup NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief (Hall of Fame) FC AFC Paha Sapa Chief II (Hall of Fame)
Ironwood Cherokee Chica
Shamrock Acres Smoke Screen NFC FC Marten’s Little Smoky
Shamrock Acres Starlight

Extended pedigree

Mouse was inducted into the Hall of Fame, as were his father, both grandfathers and two of his great grandfathers. Also four of the dogs in his three-generation pedigree were National Champions, some winning multiple times.

His Father

2xNAFC FC River Oaks Rascal
Hall of Fame

His Paternal Grandfather

2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky
Hall of Fame

His Maternal Grandfather

NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief
Hall of Fame

By the way, for those of you who know I’m fascinated with the DUAL CHAMPIONS, here’s who shows up just a bit farther back in Mouse’s pedigree.

  • Martens Mister Nifty was a great grandson (and great great grandson) of Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek.
  • Don’s Ginny Soo was a granddaughter of DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious (by 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden).
  • Random Shot was sired by DUAL CH AFC Alpine Cherokee Rocket (by DUAL CH Cherokee Buck by DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious by 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden).
  • Paha-Sapa Chief was a grandson of DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious (by 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden).
  • Ironwood Cherokee Chica was sired by DUAL CH Cherokee Buck (by DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious by 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden). And she was out of a granddaughter of Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek.
  • Marten’s Little Smoky was a great grandson of DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious.
  • Shamrock Acres Starlight was a grand daughter of DUAL CH Dela-Winn’s Tar of Craignook (a little known DC).

Although not a DUAL CH, Duxbak Scooter’s grandmother was Eng Can CH Sandylands Jilly who is also an ancestor of Ebonstar Lean Mac (among others).



  • FC AFC Hellda Dolly (ex Ishtar’s Raider)
  • AFC Kizzie of Southern Comfort (ex Agassiz Shores Coli-Ann CD)
  • AFC CAFC Minnie Mouse (ex Belmars Black Castle) When Minnie was bred to AFC Westwinds Pedro, they produced CNFC CNAFC FC AFC The Marathon Man (Hall of Fame).

Mouse’s line continues through yet another daughter, BJ’s Crystal Light Brigade (out of BJ’s Dawn of Early Morning, a show-bred bitch of mostly Shamrock Acres breeding). And their daughter, Floodbay’s Caramel Crystal WCX (by FC AFC CNAFC CFC Gunstock’s Caramel Crunch) and their daughter, Clubmead’s Dark Crystal JH (by FC AFC CFC CAFC DB’s Cracker of Club Mead). Dark Crystal, better known as “Raven,” was a dog I owned. When bred to BISS Am Mex CH GMHR Cook’s Midnight Bandit MH, she produced Justamere Canis Major JH and Justamere Catalyst RA CGC CC. Many more dogs descend from these two littermates.

Another link to Mouse is through his 3/4 brother, FC AFC Canis Major’s River Bear. Bear was also sired by Rascal and out of a daughter of Super Chief. In turn, he was the sire of FC AFC River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky who figured prominently in our early dogs, including Arwen, Tory and Cotti, through his daughter Dee.

FC AFC CFC CAFC Candlewoods Mad Mouse

Yellow Labrador male
Breeder: Mary Howley (Candlewood)
Owner: Charlie and Yvonne Hays
Born: Dec 25, 1973
Died: Oct 1984
Registration: SB538973

What makes a great dog? Is it genetics? Is it the way he’s raised? Is it due to training? Is it due to handling? Or is it all of the above? NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief would probably say all of the above.



Born in 1962, Soupy was given to August “Augie” Belmont IV by his breeder because a previous dog from the breeder had turned out unsound. The Belmonts raised Soupy on Long Island until he was six months old.

Training Greatness

At that time, Soupy was old enough to begin serious training, so Augie flew him to Rex Carr in California. Carr is called “the father of modern retriever training.”

To be trained by a legend would definitely help a dog achieve greatness.

Handling Expertise

Rex Carr often trained the owners to handle their own dogs – a task that’s probably more difficult than training the dogs. It must have worked though as Augie and his wife, Louise, handled Soupy to many field trial wins. Starting with five Derby wins by 19 months, Soupy won 40 Derby points, 112 Amateur points and 242 Open points. He also won the 1967 and 1968 National Amateur Retriever championship plus the 1968 National Retriever championship.

Soupy had a good trainer and good handlers.

Superb Genetics

What about genetics? His parents were both grandchildren of DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious. Precocious was sired by 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden out of Huron’s Lady – a mixture of show, field and dual champions.

Add in two crosses each to:

  • Am Eng FC Hiwood Mike
  • DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek
  • NFC AFC Marvadel Black Gum
  • Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek

Plus NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane and NFC Tar of Arden.

Plus more Dual Champions – DUAL CH Cherokee Buck and DUAL CH NFC CFC Bracken’s Sweep.

Plus a line that includes dogs from the Sandylands show kennel through FC The Spider of Kingswere.

FC AFC Paha-Sapa Chief II FC Freehaven Muscles DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious
Grangemead Sharon
Treasure State Bewise *** FC The Spider of Kingswere
FC Deer Creek’s Bewise
Ironwood Cherokee Chica DUAL CH Cherokee Buck DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious
Grangemead Sharon
Glen-Water Fantom NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane
Little Peggy Black Gum

Click to see his 5-generation pedigree.


Soupy was bred to a variety of bitches, some with field breeding, but also to some with show breeding. Between his pedigree and his offspring, I’d say he also had good genetics.

Some of his offspring include:

* DUAL CH Shamrock Acres Super Drive
Sire of Am Mex CH Gunfield’s Super Charger CD WC who did much to improve chocolates

* DUAL CH Royal Oaks Jill of Burgundy 2005 Hall of Fame

* NFC NAFC 2xCNFC Wanapum Darts Dandy 1992 Hall of Fame

* FC AFC Air Express
Sire of many field champions, including FC AFC Itchin’ To Go, CNFC FC Overland Express, FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead, FC AFC CFC CAFC Wanapum Super Sioux, NAFC FC Winsom Cargo and DUAL CH AFC Trumarc’s Triple Threat

* FC AFC Candlewood’s Nellie B Good
Granddam of FC AFC Wilderness Harley To Go 2003 Hall of Fame and FC AFC Candlewoods M D Houston 1996 Hall of Fame

* NFC FC AFC Euroclydon (pronounced u-roc-li-don)
1993 Hall of Fame and dam of NFC FC AFC Orion’s Sky 1994 Hall of Fame

* FC Candlewood’s Super Deal
Grandsire of 3xNFC FC AFC Candlewood’s Tanks A Lot

* Super Powder QAA
Sire of NFC AFC FTCH Risky Business Ruby 1993 Hall of Fame and FC AFC Volwood’s Ruff And Reddy 2000 Hall of Fame plus grandsire of FC AFC Code Blue 2000 Hall of Fame and FC AFC CNFC CAFC Chena River No Surprise 2004 Hall of Fame

* Shamrock Acres Juego de Azar
Granddam of FC AFC River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky who was the sire of our Knight’s Tail Dehlia.

* Shamrock Acres Super Sioux
Dam of FC AFC Raider’s Piper Cub

* Sirion’s Super Snooper
Dam of CFC Rascal’s Super Spud who sired CNFC CNAFC Waldorf’s High Tech who sired 2xNAFC 2xCNAFC FC CFC Ebonstar Lean Mac

* Paha Sapa Greta
Dam of FC AFC Ironwood Tarnation 1995 Hall of Fame

* Cup A Soup
Dam of NFC AFC CFC CAFC Yankee Independence

* FC Shamrock Acres Super Value 1998 Hall of Fame

* Shamrock Acres Duck Soup
Dam of FC AFC CFC CAFC Candlewoods Mad Mouse 1994 Hall of Fame

* FC Wanapum Sheba
Dam of NAFC FC Kannonball Kate 1992 Hall of Fame

And several more titled offspring.

Is Soupy in our pedigrees? Yes, many times.

  • Chip and all of his descendants trace to him through DUAL CH Shamrock Acres Super Drive (12 times!) and CH Gunfields Super Charger CD, DUAL CH Trumarc’s Triple Threat, FC AFC Air Express, FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead, FC AFC Candlewood’s Nellie Be Good, CH K’s Jetta of Someday, AFC Shamrock Acres Whiskey Jake
  • Dee and her descendants trace to him through FC AFC Canis Major’s River Bear
  • Cat and her descendants trace to him through 2xNAFC 2xCNAFC FC CFC Ebonstar Lean Mac, CNFC CNAFC FC AFC The Marathon Man, FC AFC CFC CAFC Candlewoods Mad Mouse (twice) and NFC FC AFC Westwind Supernova Chief

By the way, if you follow horse racing you’ll recognize the family name. Although Augie also owned race horses, he was not as active as his grandfather, August Belmont II, or great grandfather, August Belmont, who founded Belmont Park and for whom the Triple Crown race was named.

Out of curiosity, I looked into the pedigree of 2xNAFC 2xCNAFC FC CFC Ebonstar Lean Mac who was probably the most influential field Labrador Retriever in recent history.

Why was he so influential?

He earned a Field Championship (FC) and an Amateur Field Championship (AFC) in BOTH the US and Canada.

He also won the National Amateur Field Championship (NAFC) twice and he won the Canadian National Amateur Field Championship (CNAFC) twice. (Learn more about title abbreviations here.)

And he produced many dogs who earned hunt test titles, field championships and won more national championships.

But today we’re going to look at some of his ancestors. So who does he descend from?

Here’s his 3-generation pedigree:

CNFC CNAFC Waldorf’s High Tech CFC Rascal’s Super Spud NAFC FC Ray’s Rascal
Sirion’s Super Snooper
Itch’s Flying Tiger FC AFC Itchin’ To Go
Thor’s Tiger Lillie
Ebonaceae Princess WCX QAA Trieven El Conquistador FC AFC CFC Trieven Thunderhead
Trieven High Speed
Skookum’s Sky Raider CFC CAFC Virdon’s Tuktoyaktuk
Wilkie’s Cinderella Liberty

It’s when you go back further that you find ancestors some people might find surprising –

3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden (19)
DUAL CH Matchmaker for Deer Creek (4) – and his sire and grandsire:
DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek (15)
Am Eng CH Banchory Trump of Wingan (4)
DUAL CH Cherokee Buck (6) – and his sire:
DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious (12)
Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek (16) (another son of Little Pierre)
NFC DUAL CH CFC Bracken Sweep (8)
CH Whygin Poppitt (3)
Can DUAL CH Dart of Netley Creek (3)
FTCH CAN DUAL CH Treveilyr Swift (1)
Eng Can CH Sandylands Jilly (1)
DUAL CH CFC Ridgewood Playboy (1)
DUAL CH AFC Hello Joe of Rocheltree (1)
CNFC CAN DUAL CH AFC Stormy Of Spirit Lake Gal (1)
ENG DUAL CH Staindrop Saighdear (1)
CAN DUAL CH CAFC Netley Creek’s Black Drake (1)

(The numbers following the names are the number of times that dog shows up in his 10 generation pedigree.)

Maxx is very well known in the field trial and hunt test communities, but many people don’t realize how many SHOW DOGS are in his pedigree.

To be fair, many of these dogs lived during a time when Labs competed in both field trials and dog shows and could earn championships in both. There hasn’t been a DUAL CHAMPION Labrador since the 1980s though.

There are also numerous FC, AFC, NFC and NAFC dogs, such as NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief, NAFC FC CFC Guy’s Bitterroot Lucky, NFC AFC Massie’s Sassy Boots, Eng IGL CH FTCH Glenhead Zuider, NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane, NAFC FC Ray’s Rascal, NFC AFC Marvadel Black Gum.

I had two of Maxx’s granddaughters, including Clubmead’s Dark Crystal,  and many of my current dogs descend from her. While her pedigree has several American and Canadian FC and AFCs, plus a healthy dose of National Field Champions, if you follow her maternal line you’ll find some show dogs in her pedigree too. One top dog – AM CAN CH Shamrock Acres Light Brigade – shows up three times. By the way, CH Whygin Poppitt, who shows up in Maxx’s pedigree, is also the grandsire of Light Brigade.

It wasn’t that long ago Labradors came from one gene pool. There weren’t “American” Labs or “English” Labs, they were all just Labrador Retrievers.

Does that make you stop and think about recent breeding choices?

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