Posts Categorised: Field

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, an historic Labrador, 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. A few months later, Augie flew out to California to take Soupy to Rex Carr for training.

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

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.

What about genetics? His parents were both grandchildren of DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious who was sired by 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden out of Huron’s Lady who was a mixture of English show, field and dual champions. Add in crosses to Am Eng FC Hiwood Mike and to NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane plus a few more crosses to Shed and his cousin, DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek and a few other dual champions. There is also 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

* 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 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.

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

He was born in 1939 and bred by William A. Harriman who was a US Ambassador to the UK, Governor of NY and Secretary of State under President Johnson.

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

He was owned by Paul Bakewell III of St. Louis. 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).


SHED OF ARDEN pedigree:

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

Click for extended pedigree

Some of Shed’s full siblings included CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden, CH Earlsmoor Marlin of Arden, Gorse of Arden and Braes 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) and Marvadel Cinders (dam of Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek and NFC AFC Marvadel Black Gum).

His uncle, FC Blind of Arden (Eng FTW Odds On x Eng FTW Peggy of Shipton), won what was called the “No. 1 U.S. retriever stake of the year” in November 1938. The following month he was featured on the cover of Life magazine.

Shed also had a cousin, DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek, who shared a maternal grandmother, Eng FTW Peggy of Shipton.



Eng FTCH Am FC Hiwood Mike Eng FTW Pettistree Dan Eng DUAL CH Banchory Painter
Eng FTCH Quest of Wilbury
Pettistree Poppet Eng Ftw Cedars Michael
Cransford Flapper
NFC Tar of Arden Hiwood Risk Hiwood D’Arcy
Eng FTCH Hiwood Chance
Eng FTW Peggy of Shipton Ronald of Candahar
Gehta of Sigeforda

Little Pierre was bred and owned by Paul Bakewell III. Like Shed, Little Pierre earned both a field and a show championship which qualified him as a DUAL champion. He also earned a Canadian field championship and qualified for five national field championships and was a finalist in 1946 and 1948. Unfortunately he died young after being poisoned.

He left behind quite a legacy as the sire (and grandsire) of DUAL CH AFC Matchmaker for Deer Creek and sire of Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek, FC Mary-Go-Round Deer Creek and CH St Jones Blackie QAA (just a few points short of AFC).

You might be wondering where these dogs show up in modern pedigrees. Let’s take a look at FC 2xNAFC 3xCNFC River Oaks Corky.


FC Martens Mister Nifty Royal of Garfield FC ROY’S ROWDY (click for more below)
Pierre’s Kit of Garfield
Martens Black Badger NFC AFC CFC CORK OF OAKWOOD LANE (click for more below)
FC Martens Little Bullet
Don’s Ginny Soo DON-EL’S DOO LEE (click for more below) Black Gum Gus
Don-Els Tor Chee
BEAUTYWOOD’S CREOLE JANE (click for more below) DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious
FC Gilmore’s Peggy

Click for extended pedigree. There’s also a link to a 5-generation pedigree on that page.

If you check the pedigree for Roy’s Rowdy (below), you’ll find both Shed and Little Pierre, plus Marvadel Cinders who was a half sister to Shed (both sired by Raffles of Earlsmoor) and Shed’s DUAL CH son, Grangemead Precocious.


ROY’S ROWDY pedigree:

NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek
Marvadel Cinders
Akona Liza Jane of Kingdale NFC DUAL CH CFC Bracken Sweep
Kingdale’s Belle
Beautywood’s Creole Jane DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden
Huron’s Lady
FC Gilmore’s Peggy Montahome Don of Arden
Betty of Blake

Roy’s Rowdy was bred to Pierre’s Kit of Garfield who was a great granddaughter of Shed on her father’s side and a great granddaughter of Little Pierre on her mother’s side.

So Rowdy’s son, Royal of Garfield, has 2 crosses each to Shed and Little Pierre, plus a cross to Shed’s half sister.

So far:

  • Shed of Arden = 2 crosses
  • Little Pierre of Deer Creek = 2 crosses
  • Shed’s half sister = 1 cross

Royal of Garfield was bred to Martens Black Badger, a daughter of Cork of Oakwood Lane. And guess what? Cork brings in another cross to Little Pierre through Coastal Charger of Deer Creek, plus a cross to Shed’s half sister, Marvadel Cinders.



Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek FC Hiwood Mike
FC Tar of Arden
Marvadel Cinders CH Raffles of Earlsmoor
Marvadel Topsey
Anoka Liza Jane of Kingsdale DUAL CH Bracken’s Sweep Glenhead Sweep
CFC Bracken of Timbertown
Kingdale’s Belle Tar of York
Jet of Runymeade

Cork of Oakwood Lane was bred to Martens Little Bullet who was a great granddaughter of Little Pierre on her father’s side and a great granddaughter of Shed on her mother’s side.

Keeping track so far, Royal of Garfield, has two crosses each to Shed and Little Pierre, plus a cross to Shed’s half sister (Marvadel Cinders). Martens Black Badger has one cross each to Little Pierre and to Shed.

So far (Royal of Garfield PLUS Martens Black Badger):

  • Shed of Arden = 3 crosses
  • Little Pierre of Deer Creek = 3 crosses
  • Shed’s half sister = 1 cross

Now let’s look at River Oaks Corky’s mother’s pedigree.

Don’s Ginny Soo’s paternal grandfather, Black Gum Gus, had two crosses to Little Pierre (through Stonegate’s Captain and Comay Classey Chassis) plus a cross to Shed’s half sister (Marvadel Cinders) through Marvadel Black Gum. And her paternal grandmother, Don-Els Tor Chee, was a granddaughter of Cork of Oakwood Lane (who had both Little Pierre and Shed’s half sister in his pedigree) and she was a granddaughter of Shed’s half brother, FC Gun of Arden.


DON-EL’S DOO LEE pedigree:

Black Gum Gus Stonegate’s Captain DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek
Stonegate’s Wasp
Little Peggy Black Gum NFC AFC Marvadel Black Gum
Comay Classey Chassis
Don-Els Tor Chee Smudge of Prairie Creek Farm FC Gun of Arden
Blackhawk Queen Susan
Del-Tone Bridget

So Corky’s maternal grandfather, Don-El’s Doo Lee, had three crosses to Little Pierre plus two crosses to Shed’s half sister, Marvadel Cinders, and one cross to Shed’s half brother, Gun of Arden.

So far (Royal of Garfield PLUS Martens Black Badger PLUS Don-El’s Doo Lee):

  • Shed of Arden = 3 crosses
  • Little Pierre of Deer Creek = 6 crosses
  • Shed’s half sister = 3 crosses
  • Shed’s half brother = 1 cross

One more grandparent to check and I’ll bet you know what we’ll find!

Beautywood’s Creole Jane was sired by Shed’s son, Dual CH Grangemead Precocious. Her mother, Gilmore’s Peggy, was a granddaughter of Shed and a granddaughter of Shed’s brother, Earlsmoor Moor of Arden.



DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden CH Raffles of Earlsmoor
FC Decoy of Arden
Huron’s Lady Am Eng CH Banchory Trump of Wingan
CH Bancstone Lorna of Wingan
FC Gilmore’s Peggy Montahome Don of Arden 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden
Nell of Barrington
Betty of Blake CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden
Bright of Blake

So Corky’s mother, Don’s Ginny Soo, had three crosses to Little Pierre, plus two crosses to Shed’s half siblings through her father Don-El’s Doo Lee. Ginny Soo also had two crosses to Shed and one cross to Shed’s full brother, Earlsmoor Moor of Arden, through Beautywood’s Creole Jane.

All four of River Oaks Corky’s grandparents descended from Shed and/or Little Pierre plus Shed’s siblings.

Final count (Royal of Garfield PLUS Martens Black Badger PLUS Don-El’s Doo Lee PLUS Beautywood’s Creole Jane):

  • Shed of Arden = 5 crosses
  • Little Pierre of Deer Creek = 6 crosses
  • Shed’s half sister = 3 crosses
  • Shed’s half brother = 2 crosses

Granted these crosses to Shed and Little Pierre are back a bit even in Corky’s bloodline, but when you stack a pedigree with quality dogs who are related you’re apt to see those same qualities continue through generations.

We’re happy to see Shed of Arden shows up in Chip’s pedigree at least nine times and Shed’s cousin, Little Pierre of Deer Creek, shows up at least seven times. And Dee comes by her loveliness with at least 43 crosses to Shed and 48 crosses to Little Pierre. And I’m sure those numbers will increase as we haven’t thoroughly examined Dee’s pedigree yet.

If you’d like to learn more about how breeders can structure pedigrees to keep the genetics of great dogs, you should read Patricia Trotter’s book, Born to Win Breed to Succeed. Although she’s best known for her success with Norwegian Elkhounds, her knowledge of structuring pedigrees can be applied to any breed.


River Oaks Corky’s Descendants

To give you an idea of the strength in these pedigrees, here are some of Corky’s descendants. Imagine the list if we took it a few generations farther or started with Shed or Little Pierre.

DUAL AFC Hiwood Shadow
NAFC FC River Oaks Rascal
NFC NAFC Candlewood’s Super Tanker
NFC AFC CFC PP’S Lucky Super Toby
AFC Black Gold’s Candlewood Kate
FC AFC Wilderness Harley To Go
FC AFC MD Candlewoods Houston
FC AFC Black Gold’s Kates Rascal
FC AFC Les Coup de Grace TD
FC AFC CFC CAFC Candlewoods Mad Mouse
FC AFC Canis Major’s River Bear
FC AFC River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky
Candlewoods Nifty Nick QAA
FC AFC Mon Tour de Force
FC AFC Big Lost River Mike
FC AFC Corky’s Ramblin Riley
FC AFC Shot Gun Willie VII
FC AFC Chica Chica Boom Boom
FC AFC CFC Rascal’s Medicine Man
FC AFC CFC Express Charger
FC AFC CFC Hillock’s Spice
AFC Wineglass Kuku Koko
FC AFC Toby of Southern Comfort
FC AFC Star Lab’s Lucky Strike

FC AFC Candlwood’s Zackley Right
FC AFC Candlewoods Travelin’ Man
AFC Sumac’s Corinne E
FC AFC Sumac’s Alyce Rae
FC AFC Sumac’s Elvira
FC AFC Jigger of Glenfiddich
FC AFC River Oaks Black Bingo
FC AFC River Oaks Di Di
FC AFC River Oaks Twiggy Tou
FC AFC Penny Oaks Flint
FC AFC Ripple River
AFC Suncrest Super Streak
FC AFC Bry-Bry’s Charger
FC AFC Utopian High Plains Drifter
FC Blackguard’s Magician
FC AFC Burgundys’ Super Rookie
FC AFC Rookie’s RBI MH
AFC My Angus
FC AFC Brush Creek’s Jessie
Lakenheath’s Zero Gravity
FC AFC Gandalf The Golden
FC AFC Rocky Mountain Star II
FC AFC Moon’s Carolina Cajun

FC AFC CFC Rascal’s Medicine Man
FC Candlewoods Bad Company
FC AFC Krugerrand
AFC REO Speedwaggin
FC AFC Candlewoods Flash Back
FC AFC Donnybrook’s St Jude
FC AFC Trumarc’s Monster Malone
AFC Kizzie of Southern Comfort
AFC CAFC Minnie Mouse
BJ’s Crystal Light Brigade
FC AFC Hellda Dolly
AFC Sasse-Ville Sambo
FC Lakeview’s Magic Marker
FC AFC Sasse-ville Toro
FC AFC Shamrock Acres Whiskey Jake
FC AFC CFC CAFC Ironwood Peggy
FC AFC River Oaks Black Bingo
AFC River Oaks Roscoe
AFC Hilltop’s Blackjack
AFC Streak of Sunkist
AFC Powder Keg Meg
FC Sierra Vistas Con Mucho Gusto
FC Lone Hickorys Last Chance
FC Starlab’s She’s Areal Dandy-SAS

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?

British field trials

The first documented field trial was held in England in 1899 and consisted mostly of Flat-Coated and Curly Coated Retrievers.

Four years later Munden Single became the first Labrador to win a Challenge Certificate (like ‘winning the points’ in AKC).

Then the following year she became the first Labrador to run in a field trial.

Dual purpose Labradors have been around for a long time!

“It is improbable that Labradors will be as popular as the Flat-coated Retrievers; they are essentially a working breed and do not lend themselves to popularity. However, if one can take the numbers registered at the Kennel Club as some sort of a guide, the breed is becoming more widely known and appreciated, but it is hoped that they will never be kept for the purpose of showing only.”

The Labrador Retriever – A complete Anthology of the Dog
Quoting Maurice Portal, circa 1912
Courtesy: Google Books

Eng FTW Munden Single, born 1899

Maurice Portal and FTCH Flapper

A few years later, three Labradors ran in another field trail against a field of mostly Flat coats. All three Labs were related.

Munden Single had three Buccleuch grandparents and the fourth descended from Buccleuch dogs.

Flapper‘s pedigree included Buccleuch Avon, Buccleuch Ned, Malmesbury’s Tramp, Malmesbury’s Juno – dogs that also appear in Munden Single’s pedigree.

The third Lab was Dungavel Juno, a granddaughter of Munden Sentry who was a full brother to Munden Single.

Note: Flapper is also shown laying down at the top of the page.

“The next item of importance that took place in 1907, was the 2nd All-Aged Stake held by the [English] Kennel Club on November 26th & 27th.

“In a field of 20 runners there were fifteen Flat Coats, three Labradors, and two others.

“The Labradors were Mr. Portal’s Flapper, The Duchess of Hamilton’s Dungavel Juno, and Holland-Hibbert’s Munden Single.

“So foul was the weather on the morning of the first day that a vote was taken of handlers and guns whether to continue after lunch – a situation known to many hardened field triallers. Fortunately, they voted to continue, which gave an historic result.

“Flapper was first, Juno was second and M. Single gained the fourth prize. The Labrador had arrived on the field trial scene with a vengeance.

“Flapper, who became a FT Champion, was handled by Maurice Portal, a man who, as Vice Chairman, was to play a major role in the direction of the Labrador Club in its formative years.

“This was the first time a Labrador had won a major stake. Flapper was 5 years old when he won this trial and was to continue to win further honours. He was to become a powerful stud force siring many litters.

“It was Flapper more than any dog to date, whose brilliant accomplishments made an enormous impression on the shooting public. More than any other dog he convinced the public of the superiority of the Labrador over the previously ubiquitous Flat Coats.”

Field Trials – Past Achievements (Part I to 1914) – George Jenken on

Eng FTCH Peter of Faskally, born 1908

FTCH Peter of Faskally

In 1911, FTCH Peter of Faskally won the International Gundog League’s Championship Stake for retrievers. His handler, Archibold Butter, adapted whistle and hand signals from working sheepdogs to guide Peter to unseen birds. This was the beginning of ‘handling’ that we see today in field trials and hunt tests.

Peter also descends multiple times from the Buccleuch and Malmesbury dogs. His paternal grandfather, Sherfield Spratt, was a full brother of Munden Single. And Sherfield Spratt was bred to his niece, Waterdale Twinkle. Peter’s maternal grandfather, Munden Sovereign, was a son of Munden Single.

Many great dogs descend from Peter through FTCH Patron of Faskally, FTCH Peter of Whitmore and Dual CH Banchory Bolo.

American field trials

It’s interesting to note that Labradors weren’t accepted for registration with the American Kennel Club until 1917. And even ten years later, there were only 23 new registrations.

In the early years in America, field trials were the sport of wealthy families and they were a closed group. Sometimes trials were held on Mondays so few working people could attend.

Often the dogs were trained by British experts who had been enticed to America to manage the kennels. And because the kennel men who trained Arden Labs were so good, there was a rule change in 1936.

The new Amateur Open class required the owner, Averell Harriman, to handle his own dogs or admit defeat. Although he had never been to a trail nor had he ever handled his own dogs, he had to try.

The first two of his dogs didn’t do well, but Blind of Arden became one of three finalists. He was the last to run after the other dogs failed to find the bird. Harriman sent Blind well downwind of where he thought the bird had landed for the best chance of scenting it. But Blind continued past the spot and Harriman watched helplessly because he couldn’t whistle him back.

Good thing! The bird was probably a runner, but Blind followed his trail and brought him back.

He won the field trail and even graced the cover of Life magazine.

FC Blind of Arden - 1936 National Field Champion

It’s interesting to note the depth of quality that came from Harriman’s Arden kennel.

His breeding program started with importing Peggy of Shipton and breeding her to another import FC Odds On. They produced Blind and his sister, Decoy of Arden who became the first AKC field champions.

Decoy was bred to CH Raffles of Earlsmoor and produced the top show dog CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden.

A repeat breeding produced 3x NFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden.


And, yes, these dogs do appear in the pedigrees of Justamere Ranch Labs.

In Dee‘s pedigree, Munden Single shows up at least twice through NAFC FC River Oaks Rascal.

Many others show up several times, including:

  • FTCH Flapper, Dungavel Juno and FTCH Peter of Faskally through Eng DUAL CH Banchory Painter and his grandson, FC Eng FTCH Hiwood Mike
  • FTCH Peter of Faskally through Eng CH Banchory Danilo and Eng CH Jerry of Sandylands
  • NFC Blind of Arden through FC AFC Trumarc’s Raider and 2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky
  • Peggy of Shipton through NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane, DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek, 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden, NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief, DUAL CH CFC Ridgewood Playboy, Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek
  • FC Decoy of Arden through 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden and CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden
  • Eng CH Raffles of Earlsmoor through his son, 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden
  • CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden through 2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky
  • 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden through FC Martens Mister Nifty and all of the dogs listed under his ancestors Raffles, Decoy of Arden and Peggy of Shipton

So all of Arwen’s and Cotti’s descendants trace back to these dogs.

In Chip‘s pedigree, FTCH Flapper, Dungavel Juno and FTCH Peter of Faskally show up through FC Eng FTCH Hiwood Mike.

Many others show up several times, including:

  • NFC Blind of Arden through FC AFC Trumarc’s Raider and 2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky.
  • Peggy of Shipton through NFC AFC CFC Cork of Oakwood Lane, DUAL CH CFC Little Pierre of Deer Creek, 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden, NFC 2xNAFC Super Chief, DUAL CH CFC Ridgewood Playboy, Can DUAL CH Coastal Charger of Deer Creek.
  • FC Decoy of Arden through 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden and CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden.
  • Eng CH Raffles of Earlsmoor through his son 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden.
  • CH Earlsmoor Moor of Arden through 2xNAFC 3xCNFC FC River Oaks Corky.
  • 3xNFC CFC DUAL CH Shed of Arden through 2xCNFC FC AFC Tar Baby’s Little Sweet Stuff, NAFC FC Ray’s Rascal, DUAL CH Grangemead Precocious, NAFC-FC River Oaks Corky and all of the dogs listed under his ancestors Eng CH Raffles of Earlsmoor, FC Decoy of Arden and Peggy of Shipton.

Why Title A Dog?

Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just an adjunct to competitive scores, a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in record and in memory for as long as anything in this world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better in that regard.

And though the dog itself doesn’t know or care that its achievements have been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.

A title says your dog was intelligent and adaptable, and good-natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that please you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed.

And a title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with it because it was a good dog, that you believed in it enough to give it yet another chance when it failed, and that, in the end, your faith was justified.

A title proves that your dog inspired you to that special relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in return.

And when that dear short life is over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of pride in one small set of initials after the name.

A title earned is nothing less than love and respect, given and received, and permanently recorded.

~ Sandra Mowery

In tribute to all the dogs who compete with us silly humans. Why do they do it when that bit of ribbon means nothing to them? Yes, it’s for the scratch behind the ear and the happy praise, but more, it’s for the look of love in their masters’ eyes.

These are mostly American titles (AKC and UKC/HRC), but there are also some we see from Canada and England.

In the pedigrees I share I try to differentiate between titles earned in the US versus other countries.

For example, CH = AKC show champion, U-CH = UKC show champion, Can CH = Canadian show champion, Mex CH = Mexican show champion, Eng CH = English full show champion, and English Sh CH = English show champion.

Also included are some that are not technically titles because they’re not bestowed by the country’s governing body.

For example, WC and CC are certificates given by The Labrador Retriever Club rather than by AKC.

There are many organizations awarding titles, but these are the main titles we see for the retriever breeds.


DC or DUAL CH A Show Champion AND Field Champion – Note: We haven’t had one of these in Labradors since the early 1980s
FC Field Champion
AFC Amateur Field Champion
“C” in front of FC or AFC Canadian Field Champion – sometimes seen as FTCH
“N” in front of FC, AFC, CFC OR CAFC National Field Champion titles
Eng FTW English Field Trial Winner (part of the Eng FTCH, but not actually a title)
QAA Qualified All-Age – means the dog has won enough in the Qualifying stake to compete in the Open or Amateur stakes at field trials, not actually a title (sometimes seen as *** following the name)
QA2 Qualified All-Age 2, recent AKC title for dogs that have twice met the requirements to compete in the Open or Amateur stakes at field trials
JH Junior Hunter
SH Senior Hunter
MH Master Hunter
MNH Master National Hunter – listed as MNH4 or MNH5, etc when the dog has passed the Master National more than 3 times
SHR Started Hunting Retriever (HRC/UKC title)
HR Hunting Retriever (HRC/UKC title)
HRCH Hunting Retriever Champion (HRC/UKC title)
GRHRCH Grand Hunting Retriever Champion (HRC/UKC title)
UH Upland Hunter (HRC/UKC title)
CPR Certified Pointing Retriever (APLA title)
APR Advanced Pointing Retriever (APLA title)
MPR Master Pointing Retriever (APLA title)
GMPR Grand Master Pointing Retriever (APLA title)
WC Working Certificate (LRC certificate)
WCX Working Certificate Excellent (sometimes awarded by local breed clubs)


DC or DUAL CH A Show Champion AND Field Champion – Note: We haven’t had one of these in Labradors since the early 1980s
CH Conformation Show Champion
Pointed or Major pointed The dog has won in the show ring, but is not yet a champion – not actually a title
GCH Grand Champion – also GCHB Bronze, GCHS Silver, GCHG Gold, GCHP Platinum
U-CH UKC Conformation Show Champion
U-GRCH UKC Conformation Show Grand Champion
Eng CH English Show Champion w/field qualification certificate or Eng Sh CH if the dog qualified in the show ring, but has not qualified in the field (approximately WC equivalent)
Eng CCW English Challenge Certificate Winner (part of the Eng CH, but not actually a title)
BIS Best in Show (achievement, not a title)
BISS Best in Specialty Show (achievement, not a title)
BPIS Best Puppy in Show (achievement, not a title)


CGC Canine Good Citizen
CGCA Advanced Canine Good Citizen
BN Beginner Novice
CD Companion Dog
GN Graduate Novice
CDX Companion Dog Excellent
GO Graduate Open
UD Utility Dog
UDX Utility Dog Excellent
OM Obedience Master
OGM Obedience Grand Master
OTCH Obedience Trial Champion
NOC National Obedience Champion


RN Rally Novice
RI Rally Intermediate
RA Rally Advanced
RE Rally Excellent
RM Rally Master
RAE Rally Advanced Excellent
RACH Rally Champion
RNC Rally National Champion


TD Tracking Dog
TDU Tracking Dog Urban
TDX Tracking Dog Excellent
VST Variable Surface Tracking
CT Champion Tracker


ACT1 Agility Course Test – Introduction to Agility
ACT2 Agility Course Test – in between Introduction and Novice levels
NA Novice Agility
NAP Novice Agility Preferred
NAJ Novice Agility Jumper
NJP Novice Agility Jumper Preferred
OA Open Agility
OAP Open Agility Preferred
OAJ Open Agility Jumper
OJP Open Agility Jumper Preferred
AX Agility Excellent
AXP Agility Excellent Preferred
AXJ Excellent Agility Jumper
AJP Excellent Agility Jumper Preferred
MX Master Agility Excellent
MXP Master Agility Excellent Preferred
MXJ Master Excellent Jumper
MXP Master Agility Jumper Preferred
MACH Master Agility Champion
PACH Preferred Agility Champion
AGCH Agility Grand Champion
NAC National Agility Champion
U-AGI Agility I (UKC title)
U-AGII Agility II (UKC title)
U-ACH Agility Champion (UKC title)
U-ACHX Agility Champion Excellent (UKC title)


VCD Versatile Companion Dog
VCCH Versatile Companion Dog Champion


TKN Trick Dog Novice
TKI Trick Dog Intermediate
TKA Trick Dog Advanced
TNP Trick Dog Performer

Mary Roslin Williams of Mansergh Gundogs

She bred Labs, she hunted over Labs, she competed with Labs and she taught about Labs. She had 7 generations of champions, and 15 or so dogs who won field trial awards.

In the early days, she lived in Mansergh Parish, just south of the Lake District, in England.

Mary Roslin Williams taught from practical experience and common sense.

Although she’s no longer with us, she left behind knowledge that she shared. Take a half hour to listen.

“It was with great sadness to me, that when they named the Labrador they didn’t call it the ‘Labrador Water Retriever’ … because we forget that the dog is a water dog. It’s job was water work.

“It’s job still is water work and we’ve adopted it and adapted it for different works… We ought to remember that, both when we breed and when we judge….

“Now here is a difficult thing because this is type and however much you have a standard, one thing it cannot describe is type. You’ve got to have type in your head. …

“My criteria for Labrador type is a very simple one. It must look like a Labrador.

“… a Labrador’s job is not to hunt in front of you, flushing rabbits, flushing pheasants, however good.

“It is not to be a guide dog for the blind.

“It is not to be a dog for finding drugs or any of these useful things [like] finding … a dead body… That’s not it’s job.

“It’s very nice of it to do it… but it is not it’s job.

“It’s job is to sit or walk at heel until told to go. And it’s only told to go either at the end of the drive or when the bird comes down if you’re in … a duck blind and you want it to go.

“It shouldn’t run in, you should say “Right, I see that goose is going to escape. Right, go.”

“But it’s very easy to sit here and say it and very difficult to do, but that is it’s job.

“Then when the bird is down, the dog is supposed to go out and to get the scent – not 300 yards away like a Pointer, not groveling like a Spaniel with it’s elbows out – it’s supposed to get the best high scent from a reasonable distance and then be able to put it’s head down, follow the scent without difficulty … and then it picks it’s bird up. And it may have a very heavy thing to pick. And it’s supposed to have the lift and the shoulders to take it.

“And for that you need a dog bred on exactly classical lines. And a classical line is a level back, not a rake. A level back. Any retrieving dog that has to also mark should have a level back. …

“It should have a longer back to its neck than to it’s throatline. … It should have an 11″ back to its neck and a 4″ throatline, not an 11″ throatline and 4” back.

“If it was a horse it would be putting it’s ear in your mouth…

“It’s very dangerous for a Labrador to have that enormous exposed windpipe… And then when they pick their bird, it stands to reason that… the long line is on the top and the short line is underneath.

“Now the shoulders should be laid back and this is very important too.

“In a pointing setter, they have a laid back shoulder. Fair enough. But they don’t have the classical right angle at the point of the shoulder. They are over angulated… We want the right angle or thereabouts give or take a few degrees.

“If you have a laid back shoulder, a right angle there and a level back … the foreleg comes back under the girth. It’s not under their ear and neither is it straight under the point of the shoulder. It is back and the elbow is under the girth.

“So there you have the exact angulation that the dog can easily mark the bird when he’s walking because it’s easy for him to have his head up. He can get a scent within a reasonable distance… and then put his head down. And he can get his head down perfectly easily without having to put his elbow out like a Foxhound does. So therefore you have a perfect mechanism there.

“And he must have that long line on the top of his neck to pick his bird. He then picks his bird – which takes a lot of strength – and gets it back onto the layback of his shoulders easily carrying it on the layback of his shoulders.

“So if you have the classical front, that is exactly right for a Labrador, a Golden, a Flatcoat, a Curly, a Ches, but it isn’t right for a Pointer and Setter. And it isn’t right for a Foxhound. They have their own fronts, slightly open.

“Now we come to the Spaniels. The Spaniels job is to grovel about on the ground.

“He has to quest with his nose down and so therefore he is over angulated. His shoulder is slight constantined so that he has less than a right angle at the point of the shoulder and he has a more open angle at the elbow. And that is so he can grovel and get down and shovel about.

“And he has to pick up a thing that is very, very much heavier in proportion to his weight, particular a Cocker… and they do it because they can get their heads underneath.

“They don’t pick them up like a show Cocker does and this is why the show Cocker is very useless for work. They are over their legs and they are not angulated properly for a working Cocker.

“They more or less got a Labrador’s angulation. And when they try to put their heads down they’re trying to lift a very heavy weight … and they can’t do it. It’s too heavy for them.

“And so with that working angulation … they come under their bird… and before you can say Jack Robinson, the hare is across their shoulders and they’ve got the weight back on their shoulder blade.

“So the angulation is the most important thing and if anybody says to you a shoulder is just one of those things, it isn’t. It is absolutely important in a working dog… You must breed your shoulder to suit your work. …

“Being able to get down as easily as up and being able to up as easily as down, you need to have a level back.

“And if you have a level back, it very nearly stands to reason that your angulation will be right behind. And if your angulation isn’t right behind, then you can be jolly sure the shoulder is wrong.

“… if you have an over angulated shoulder with open angles, like a Pointer – I’m citing one of my own dogs now.

“I had a lovely dog name Tarmac … and a very good worker. But I can cite him because he was wrongly made.

“He had a marvelously erect shoulder. He then had a raked back. And the consequence was that he was over angulated behind so that he had too much stifle and too much hock – too long a hock – and it was too far behind him. And that is what happens when you get a raked back.

“Now that was the most rightful inconvenience to him when he was swimming because he swam like a Pointer.

“He was all right once he got the bird in his mouth, but when he didn’t have a bird in his mouth the fact that he didn’t have a level back and that he had an over angulated hind legs because of the fact that the rake pressed them down, he had difficulty in the water work. So I know from experience that is not a good thing. …

“At one time because we had a craze for very, very short backs – which they were mistaken for short coupling because a short back is not short coupled, the word ‘short-coupled’ means the loin – and because they thought they must have very short backs, they were absolutely cramming dogs so close together that they had no where to put their feet when they ran because they were crabbing and they had a very short line … from the point of the hip to the point of the buttock, they had no rumps whatsoever.

“And I am quite certain for work – particularly swimming – you must have a decent balanced length from the point of the hip to the point of the buttock. …

“Now if you’ve got your backline right, then you’re going to have your angulation just about right.

“And it’s well to remember – again – that a Labrador is not meant to stand with it’s legs out behind it like a Pointer or a Setter. They’re meant to stand more or less under the point of the buttock.

“In other words the dog is standing slightly over his leg and he mustn’t stand sickle-hocked with his feet too far forward.

“He mustn’t stand like a Pointer or Setter with … a rakish backline which means he’s over angulated.

“And a very important point, … for a perfectly balanced dog … from the hock to the ground … should be at exact right angles to the ground – not stretched out back, nor sickle underneath. …

“If that dog drops it’s hock correctly, then it is standing absolutely correct on it’s feet and you’re less likely to have foot trouble.

“… If you’ve got your angulation right and your level back, you’ve got a balanced dog standing on it’s feet correctly with it’s weight very, very slightly on it’s hocks … and it should stand in a position … that it could jump in any direction immediately. It can either jump forward or backwards or to either side because it’s slightly on it’s hocks.

“Any horseman will know that you must not turn a horse on its forehand… if they stand just in that balanced position, so that they could take off in any direction, you’re much less likely to have joint trouble in later life and you won’t have foot trouble. You won’t have toe trouble.

“Those, to me, are the salient points of a Labrador’s conformation.

“You must have the coat. You must be coated right over, even the testicles and inside of the thighs … with the same coat all over. And it must be dense.

“You want the nice balanced dog with a correct backline, very particularly the correct shoulder and then you will get the correct hindquarters.

“Standing correctly on it’s feet. And then you get a Labrador which can do absolutely any job. …

“And besides that, …it has to have a tender mouth and the ability to retrieve, the ability to mark and a thousand other things that you have in field trials and it’s like trying to get your football pools right. You’ll never do it, but we try.”


Would you like to learn more? She wrote two books – and although they can be hard to find – they are worth the effort.

The Dual-Purpose Labrador

Advanced Labrador Breeding (aka Reaching for the Stars)

Judging an AKC Senior Hunt Test

The last local AKC retriever hunt test of the season is in the books.

Beautiful property with fabulous water, good weather (yes, a bit hot) and lots of great dogs and their handlers.

There was even a chocolate boy I’ve got my eye on!

My co-judge, Jeff Baldwin, drove all the way from Utah to bake in the high plains sun while Wyoming lent us some of their wind every afternoon. After we designed the Senior test on Friday, he also judged Junior on Saturday while I worked at Master and then we judged Senior together on Sunday.

It was a long weekend.

So what did Jeff and I set up and why?

The requirements for an AKC Senior test are a double retrieve on land and a double retrieve on water plus a land blind and a water blind.

Then we have to throw in a live flyer, an honor, a walk-up, a diversion shot and multiple decoys and other trappings to simulate a real bird hunt.

Here are some definitions by Rich Carpenter of PVHRC:

  • BLIND RETRIEVE – The dog is sent to retrieve a bird that it did not see fall. The dog is expected to take hand, voice and whistle signals to direct it to the bird.
  • DIVERSION – Either a shot or a fall designed to divert the dog’s attention from the task at hand.
  • DOUBLE – Two birds to retrieve.
  • HONOR – Dog to sit quietly off-leash on or near the line while another dog retrieves.
  • MARK – A retrieve that the dog has seen fall.
  • MEMORY BIRD – First bird the dog sees thrown/shot on a multiple mark. Usually the last retrieved.
  • STEADY – Dog does not leave assigned spot until instructed by the handler to retrieve.
  • WALK-UP – Bird is thrown while handler and dog are walking with the dog at heel, much like jump shooting.

You can see the entire glossary at

We chose to start off with the land series in the morning and the water series afterward to give the dogs a chance to cool off in the afternoon heat.

The first two photos were taken from the “line” – the spot where handlers bring their dogs to start the test.

To begin, we ran a “test dog” (a dog who was not in contention) to make sure everything worked as we planned and to show all the handlers the test set up.

Of course, the dogs in contention didn’t get to watch!

Click the image to see a larger version

After completing those two marks successfully, the test dog (and handler) moved to the “honor box” which is a spot nearby where the dog can watch the next dog work.

Having just completed two retrieves the honor dog is often still excited, but must be “steady” (remain quietly in place, off leash) and watch the next dog retrieve the same marks.

This is often a challenge for dogs at this level.

Next the handlers brought their dogs one-by-one to the line.

When they signaled they were ready, we had bird tech #1 throw a duck from a winger hidden behind a clump of trees near the left side of the field.

The bird went from right to left and landed in some rather sparse cover, about 70 yards away. There were multiple goose decoys the dogs had to run through to get to the bird. Just before throwing the bird, the bird tech blew a duck call and shot a blank to get the dog’s attention.

As the birds are thrown, handlers must bring the shotgun to their shoulder like they were actually shooting.

For safety reasons, the guns are disabled.

Many dogs wanted to retrieve right away, but they had to be steady and wait for the second bird to be thrown – a “double retrieve.” This bird was a “flyer” (a live bird that was thrown and then shot in the air) which is very exciting for the dogs. All the other birds were already dead before being thrown.

This bird #2 came out from a winger that was hidden behind the berm that ran parallel to and behind the line of trees. Flyers rarely land in exactly the same place for each dog so the distance to the bird varied, but averaged about 60 yards.

Because of the excitment caused by a live flyer, several dogs “broke” (ran to retrieve it before the handler’s command). Dogs that retrieved the bird without being released were disqualified. However if the handler was able to stop the dog quickly (within about 15 feet) and get it back to heel, they were allowed to continue but were penalized for a “controlled break.”

Some dogs didn’t break, but couldn’t contain themselves completely and moved a little bit towards the birds. This is called a “creep” and is penalized, but less than a controlled break. Any dogs that moved beyond the length of the gun barrel had to return to heel before they could be sent to retrieve.

Click the image to see a larger version

After both birds were down, we gave the handler permission to send his dog. They could pick up the birds in any order, but usually chose to get the last bird down first. This is especially so when that bird is a flyer!

After delivering one of the birds “to hand” they were sent to retrieve the other bird. After the working dog was sent on the first retrieve, we dismissed the honor dog.

Sometimes dogs forgot where the other bird landed and had a big hunt or started back towards where they already found a bird.

Returning to an old fall and switching are both disqualifications. They are similar faults, but “returning to an old fall” is going back to where they already retrieved a bird while “switching” is abandoning a hunt for one bird to go to a different bird.

When a dog started hunting too far away from the bird or they started toward the other bird, handlers would blow their whistle and handle the dog to the bird using the same technique as a “blind retrieve.”

If the working dog did a passable job on the double retrieve, they next had a “blind retrieve.”

This is picking up a bird the dog didn’t see fall and so had to be directed to it. We “planted the blind” (placed a bird in a specific location when the dog wasn’t watching) near a small bush about 50 yards from the line.

To get to the blind, the dog had to pass some larger bushes and diagonally cross a dirt track. The location was to the left of bird #1 and slightly out of the left side of the first photo.

To get a passing score, the handlers had to “challenge the blind” by keeping their dogs close to a direct line to the blind and not let the dog run all around in hopes that he would eventually find it on his own.

Dogs were penalized each time they didn’t stop on the whistle or take the correct cast or maintain the new direction for at least a few yards. Because Senior dogs are at an intermediate level of training and still learning how to apply their training in a field situation, each penalty was only counted as a minor deduction.

We repeated this sequence of double retrieve, blind retrieve and honor for 31 dogs – 29 in contention plus the test dog (who honored for the first dog) and a bye dog (who was asked to retrieve while the last dog in contention honored him).

Click the image to see a larger version.

Dogs who had a passing score on land were “called back” to run the water series.

We moved a 1/4 mile south to a spit of land with a water channel on the left side and open water on the right.

This series was a double retrieve and a blind retrieve with a walk-up and a diversion shot. No honor, no live birds.

We started with the handler walking down the spit with their dog at heel. When they got to a certain point (known only to the judges), there was a gun shot and a bird was hand thrown to land in grass about 8-10″ tall and about 4-6′ from the water’s edge.

The second bird came out slightly left to right, with another gun shot, and landed with a splash about half way down the channel. Both bird techs were hidden behind tall bushes.

The dogs could retrieve the birds in any order, however when they were returning with bird #1, there was a diversion shot to set up the blind.

Most dogs did fairly well to great on the water double retrieve. There were a few that needed to be handled and some who needed to be handled to both the memory bird on land and one of the birds on water.

The blind was across to another spit of land and was placed just out of the water.

Except for some suction to the old falls and to a tiny bit of land poking out of the water, this was a straight forward blind. All the dogs who attempted it did fine.

Click the image to see a larger version. This is the same setup, just from a slightly different angle.

Our goal as judges was to make both series as hunt-like as possible while staying within AKC’s rules for a Senior retriever hunt test.

We also wanted the handlers and dogs to enjoy it and to make sure everyone was safe.

Some dogs did very well overall, some did better on one series or the other and some had enough trouble that we couldn’t give them a ribbon this time.

I’m grateful to the Mile High Golden Retriever Club for asking me to judge, to the owners and handlers who entered their dogs, to all the helpers for handling the myriad of jobs and to my co-judge who made it so easy, it felt like we’ve been working together for years.

By the way, all of my dogs got to experience that great water.

The adult dogs loved it. The younger ones quickly learned that the end of grass doesn’t always mean there’s a gentle slope into shallow water. =D

And the drive home was rather quiet – except for some snoring coming from the back.

People have relied on their dogs for help retrieving game for many years. Probably many, many, many years.

As often happens when people get together, they’re compelled to see which dog is better. Thus the birth of competitive field trials.

Not everyone has the time, money or desire to compete in field trials, but they sure do like to show off what their huntin’ dawgs can do! Thus the birth of the Hunting Retriever Club.

“Conceived by Hunters for Hunters” became the motto of the HRC. Judges strive to set up realistic hunting scenarios with duck calls and camo, real birds and handlers shooting shotguns (albeit with blanks).

Omar Driskill, Richard Walters and Bill Tarrant are some of the men instrumental in the founding of retriever hunt tests and the HRC.

I was lucky to be able to run my first HRC test under Omar and still have the ribbon he awarded my dog!

Watch the video to learn some history of retriever sports in general and the beginning of the Hunting Retriever Club in particular. I especially like the comment someone made about misnaming the Started stake. See if you can catch what he thought Started should have been called!

(video courtesy of the Hunting Retriever Club Inc.)

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