Posts Categorised: Labs

“…undoubtedly the one to whom most credit is due for the rise in the popularity of Labradors in the U.S.A.”

– Labrador Retriever Club Yearbook, 1931-1944

Imagine, if you will, the sprawling mansions, huge parties, and nouveau riche of The Great Gatsby era. The Great War had ended, Prohibition brought speakeasies and organized crime, and the stock market crashed. It is in such a setting we find Jay Carlisle and his Wingan Kennel.

Born in Brooklyn in 1868, Carlisle was a stockbroker and the Governor of the American Stock Exchange during the 1929 crash. His wife was Mary “May” Pinkerton Carlisle. (Yes, that Pinkerton family.)

They were avid collectors and built their estate – called “Rosemary” – in East Islip, Long Island, New York. According to Harry W. Havemeyer in Along the Great South Bay, the Carlisle estate “…was one of the showplaces of the East and was decorated with the very finest antique furnishings in the most tasteful way.”

Image courtesy East Islip Historical Society –

Image courtesy East Islip Historical Society –


Carlisle was a sportsman. He had horses that ran on the track and a stable of show horses. He rode to hounds and played polo. He fished and he hunted.

We pick up his story when Carlisle turned his attention to Labrador Retrievers.



Jay Carlisle liked a good-looking dog, but he wanted more. He wanted dogs that could win honors in the field and in the ring. Like many early breeders, he wanted a Dual Purpose dog.

After breeding, raising, showing, and racing horses, he developed a good eye and liked Labrador Retrievers.

However, in the early 1930s, the Lab was still new to America and field trials were just getting started. Carlisle vowed to make the breed as popular in America as it was in Britain.

Although you could say he jumped in with both feet, he actually took the time to study bloodlines. He knew the qualities he wanted in a dog – an acceptable show record and qualified in the field.

Peg was offered for sale for $1700. Today’s equivalent is about $30,000.

After researching, he imported nine of the finest Labs to start his kennel. The best of these was English Champion Drinkstone Peg of Wingan. She was born in 1927 and bred by Dr GH Monro-Home of Scotland.

Of the other eight Labs, three came directly from the Right Honorable Lorna, Countess Howe.

Eng Am CH Drinkstone Peg of Wingan

Peg was sensational in the show ring and earned nine Challenge Certificates which are similar to ‘winning the points’ in America. Three certificates were enough for a championship, but she kept on winning. She also won her show championship in America.

In England there is a ‘show championship’ and a ‘full championship’. A full championship requires the dog to prove it can work in the field as well as win in the show ring. Peg earned her working certificate at the International Gun Dog League retriever trails in 1930 and became a full champion.

“The fact that Drinkstone Peg had carried off 172 prizes at the 68 shows where she was exhibited during her five years in the ring did not weigh as heavily with Mr. Carlisle as her potentialities as a brood matron. Knowing the true principals of breeding, he realized that if his Wingan Kennels was to succeed, it must start off with the right sort of stock. For that reason, he not only purchased Drinkstone Peg, but had her mated to England’s greatest sire and greatest Labrador in the ring today, Dual Ch. Bramshaw Bob, owned by the Countess Howe.” 1

Bramshaw Bob was a top show dog and twice won Best in Show at Crufts 2 handled by Lorna, Countess Howe. Two months later Peg whelped seven puppies at Carlisle’s Wingan kennels.

After her maternal duties, she went back into the show ring and continued winning even as an older bitch. One of her big wins was Reserve at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1934.

Eng Am CH Drinkstone Peg of Wingan
– BLF, dob 4/18/1927
Toi of Whitmore FTW Tyg of Whitmore
Bute of Trentham
Eng CH Pride of Somersby Brayton Siddy
Juno of Somersby FTW

CH Drinkstone Pons

Another dog Carlisle imported was Drinkstone Pons. He was Peg’s son by English Champion Banchory Danilo. He was also bred by Dr Monro-Home.

“Starting his show career as a puppy in March, 1932, Pons carried off, in one year and a half of showing, a total of 111 prize ribbons, consisting of 66 firsts, 30 seconds and 15 thirds.” 3 He often won best Labrador, best retriever and/or best gun dog.

Pons won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club show – twice – and in 1934 also won second in the group competition. And he won Best in Specialty Show at the annual Labrador Retriever Club Inc. show in 1934.

In 1934 he started running and placing in field trials. He won the Open novice stake the the Brookhaven Game Protective Association trial with kennel mates Night Light and Ben taking second and third. A New York Times reporter said “The placed dogs showed the influence of the highest breeding, combined with thorough training. All the Wingan representatives exhibited intelligence in their hunting, with a minimum of direction from their handler.” 4

CH Drinkstone Pons of Wingan
– BLM, dob 5/11/1931
Eng Ch Banchory Danilo FTW Eng Dual Ch Banchory Bolo
Munden Scarcity
Eng Am Ch Drinkstone Peg of Wingan Toi of Whitmore FTW
Eng Ch Pride of Somersby

Drinkstone Mars

“Drinkstone Mars of Wingan is another outstanding one. He also has rolled up a splendid record on the bench, and in addition took his certificate of merit under such exacting judges as the Countess Howe, Hon. Mrs. Hill Wood, and Capt. C. Herseltine.” 5

He was a littermate of Pons, and they often won the brace class together. He won the points at the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. annual specialty show in 1934. He also won in field trials.

Drinkstone Mars of Wingan
– BLM, dob 5/11/1931
Eng Ch Banchory Danilo FTW Eng Dual Ch Banchory Bolo
Munden Scarcity
Eng Am Ch Drinkstone Peg of Wingan Toi of Whitmore FTW
Eng Ch Pride of Somersby

CH Liddly Bulfinch of Wingan

Another import was Liddly Bullfinch of Wingan, bred by H.A. Richardson. He won about 50 firsts at championship shows and certificates of merit at field trials. He won the points at the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. annual specialty show in 1935. Bulfinch finished his championship with a 4-point win at the Long Island Kennel Club show in May 1936.

“This dog is another true black and is well set up in every way… Incidentally, both Bullfinch (sic) and Pons were winners at the 1933 Kennel Club Show.” 6

CH Liddly Bulfinch of Wingan
– BLM, dob 2/7/1932
Eng CH Tar of Hamyax Toi of Whitmore FTW
Sunshine of Fasham
Delyn of Liphook Eng CH Banchory Danilo FTW
Ridgeland Black Diamond

FC Banchory Night Light & CH Banchory Jetsam

Banchory Night Light and Banchory Jetsam were littermates sired by Blackworth Midnight. They were bred by Miss L. Croad of England.

In 1935 Field and Stream Magazine began offering a challenge trophy to the dog that earned the greatest number of points. Only competition in Open All Age Stakes counted.

“Outstanding among the retrievers was the Labrador Banchory Night Light, owned during the year by the late Jay Carlisle of the Wingan Kennels of East Islip, L.I., and now the property of his handler, David Elliott…

“… The contest among the retrievers was much closer than among the springers. Banchory Night Light gained a total of 12 points, as compared with the 10 points compiled by the same owner’s Banchory Varnish of Wingan and 8 points each for Glenairlie Rover and Champion Blind of Arden.” 7

Night Light was a Field Champion and major pointed in dog shows. Jetsam was a Show Champion which included winning the points at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1934.

Night Light’s daughter, Tops of Bigstone, produced several quality dogs including Dual CH AFC Matchmaker for Deer Creek, FC AFC Ladies Day at Deer Creek, and Kingdale’s Ink Spot ***. 8

It’s interesting that Night Light carried the chocolate gene while his sister, Jetsam, carried the yellow gene.

FC Banchory Night Light of Wingan

CH Banchory Jetsam

FC Banchory Night Light of Wingan
CH Banchory Jetsam
– BLF, dob 1/1/1932
Blackworth Midnight Eng CH Wilworth Rip
Brookstone Jet CCW
Dinah of Wongalee Eng CH Beningbrough Tangle FTW
Wendy of Wongalee

Banchory Dapper

Banchory Dapper was a half brother of Night Light and Jetsam, all sired by Blackworth Midnight. He was nice enough to win a 5-point major at the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. specialty show in 1934.


Banchory Dapper
– BLM , dob March 1932
Blackworth Midnight Eng CH Wilworth Rip
Brookstone Jet CCW
Banchory Student Eng CH Banchory Danilo
Eng CH Pride of Somersby

Orchardton Doris of Wingan

Orchardton Doris was bred by S.H. Carruthers and worked as a field dog in Scotland.

After coming to America she was described as “a high class bitch with beautiful style, great pace and very keen… She and her handler, Dave Elliot, gave a beautiful exhibition of giving and taking direction to an unmarked fall by hand and whistle, without undue disturbance of ground on either side. She has an invariably excellent pick-up, carry and delivery.” 9

“In triumphing in the amateur stake, Orchardton Doris of Wingan, … showed to superb advantage. She was a brilliant performer in the field at all times, marking the fall of the birds well and retrieving in a speedy and expert manner.” 10

Doris also had several wins in the show ring.

She was the mother of Pons Junior of Wingan and Wingan’s Daily Double and the grandmother of FC Timber Town Clansman.

Orchardton Doris of Wingan FTW
– BLF, dob 12/31/1930
Eng Ch Ingleston Ben Duke of Kirkmahoe FTW
Ingleston Nancy FTW
Orchardton Dawn Eng CH Brocklehirst Donner
Hardies Choice

Eng Sh CH Am CH Banchory Trump of Wingan

The ninth dog, Banchory Trump, stayed in England until he finished his show championship. After coming here, he finished his American show championship with Best of Breed wins at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and at the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. specialty.

Trump finished his show championship within a year and started winning numerous Bests of Breed awards. He also placed in the group several times.

His Best of Breed winning streak included the following shows:

  • Greenwich Kennel Club, 6/1/1935
  • Morris & Essex, 5/23/1936
  • The Labrador Retriever Club Inc, 6/27/1936 – Best In Specialty Show
  • Ox Ridge Hunt Club, 8/15/1936
  • Morris & Essex, 5/29/1937
  • The Labrador Retriever Club Inc, 6/18/1937 – Best In Specialty Show
  • Westminster Kennel Club, 2/10-12/1938
  • International Kennel Club, 4/2-3/1938
  • Nebraska Kennel Club, 4/6-7/1938
  • Minneapolis Kennel Club, 4/9-10/1938
  • Mankato Kennel Club, 4/14/1938
  • St Paul Kennel Club, 4/16-17/1938
  • St Joseph Kennel Club, 4/23-24/1938
  • Leavenworth Kennel Club, 4/27-28/1938 – Best Of Breed and Group 3rd
  • Kansas City Kennel Club, 4/30-5/1/1938
  • Terre Haute Chapter Izaak Walton League, 5/22/1938
  • Des Moines Kennel Club, 11/12-13/1938 – Best Of Breed and Group 4th

He also excelled as a brood bitch sire. Bred to CH Bancstone Lorna of Wingan he produced Huron’s Lady, the mother of Dual CH Grangemead Precocious. Bred to a daughter of Eng FTCh Banchory Varnish of Wingan he produced Peggy of Pheasant Lawn, the mother of FC Pickpocket for Deer Creek and Bancstone Dinah, grandmother of NFC AFC Massie’s Sassy Boots.

Eng Sh CH Am CH Banchory Trump of Wingan
– BLM, dob 8/21/1931
Blenheim Scamp FTW Balwearie
Blenheim Lady
Lady Daphne Saffrons Bob CCW

Drinkstone Peg’s British litter

Below are Peg’s puppies by Eng Dual Ch Bramshaw Bob.

Litter bred in England, born in America
– dob 8/7/1933
Eng Dual Ch Bramshaw Bob Eng Ch Ingleston Ben
Eng FTW Bramshaw Brimble
Eng Am Ch Drinkstone Peg Eng FTW Toi of Whitmore
Eng Ch Pride of Somersby

CH Bancstone Ben of Wingan

Owned by J.F. Carlisle

Ben placed in field trials and also did very well in shows finishing his championship with multiple five-point majors.


Bancstone Blair of Wingan

Owned by J.F. Carlisle

Although he wasn’t shown much he almost always won his class and even won Best of Breed.


CH Bancstone Bob of Wingan

Owned by J.W. Redmond

Bob also finished his show championship with three five-point majors – including at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1937.


Bancstone Doctor of Wingan

Owned by J.F. Carlisle

Although Doctor was also shown, he didn’t finish his championship.


CH Bancstone Countess of Wingan

Owned by J.F. Carlisle

Countess was another show winner including Reserve Winners Bitch at both the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and the Labrador Retriever Club Inc specialty show in 1935. She finished her championship title with two 5-point and two 4-point major wins.


CH Bancstone Lorna of Wingan

Owned by J.F. Carlisle, later by James R McManus

Another Wingan-bred show dog that also finished her championship with three 5-point majors. And she won Best in Specialty Show at the Labrador Retriever Club specialty show in 1935.

Bancstone Peggy of Wingan

Owned by J.F. Carlisle, later by C.H. Mackay

Although she was halfway to her show championship, it appears she never finished her title.

Other Labs

Carlisle had many dogs – some he bought and some he bred. Here are a few of his better known Labs.

Eng FTCh FC Banchory Varnish of Wingan

Owned by J.F. Carlisle, later by Mrs. Kathleen B. Starr (Timber Town)

In April 1937 Varnish won the Open all-age stake at the Long Island Retriever Field Trial Club. He was described as “consistent in his work throughout a long day … in which champions and top field-trial dogs fell by the wayside.” He “did all that was asked of him in his work on land, quartering, taking direction, showing intelligence in his questing and exhibiting nose for his game.” 11

He won the Open stake at the Brookhaven Game Protective Association trial in the fall of 1937. He is said to have “handled very kindly, hunted cleverly, and constantly improved his position. In the second series, his first bird was easy; but the second was dropped across the road in back of motor cars and gallery. The dog worked out the problem, however, and retrieved the bird in grand shape. In the third series, his speed and precision could not possibly escape the notice of the judges while his marking was exceptional.” 12

“There was a cheer from the gallery when the fourth-place winner was announced as that old-time favorite F.T. Champion Banchory Varnish of Wingan, owned by Mrs. Kathleen B. Starr of Islip and handled by Elliot.” 13

Varnish was also pointed in the show ring.

Eng FTCh FC Banchory Varnish of Wingan
– BLM, dob May 1933
Eng Dual Ch Banchory Painter Eng Ch. Peter the Painter
Glenhead Bess
Hawkesworth Glimmer Banchory Tealer
Bramshaw Gloss

Pons Junior of Wingan

Pons Junior won the Brookhaven amateur trial handled by Mrs. Kathleen B. Starr (Timber Town kennels). He was described as making “two grand retrieves in the water test, going out on a surveyor’s line to both ducks.” The stake was judged by Colonel the Lord Vivian, D.S.O., of Britain, and David Wagstaff of Tuxedo Park, NY. 14

He also did well in the show ring including winning Reserve Winners Dog at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1937.

A year later, Timber Town Clansman, a two-year-old son of Pons Junior won the Women’s Field Trial Club non-winners stake. “He did everything correctly, marking, taking direction, swimming fast and straight to his quarry and making faultless deliveries to his handler.” 15

Rear, left to right: Pons Junior, Ebony of Barrington, Banchory Night Light, CH Drinkstone Pons. Front: Whitecairn Wendy, Banchory Varnish, CH Bancstone Ben.

Pons Junior of Wingan
– BLM, dob 4/30/1934
Drinkstone Pons of Wingan Eng FTCh Banchory Danilo
Drinkstone Peggy
Eng FTW Orchardton Doris of Wingan Eng Ch Ingleston Ben
Eng FTW Orchardton Dawn

Okanagan Sandy

Sandy was bred in Canada and was special enough to earn a place at Wingan Kennels. One of the field trials he ran was under particularly difficult conditions.

“Six dogs were called back for the final elimination with the sea pounding on the outer bars, whitecaps making in the inlet and snow squalls driving inland. Dog after dog was sent into the icy water. Suddenly the black clouds closed down and the whole world was shut out by a driving snowstorm….

“Under Elliot’s excellent handling, Sandy gave a first-class exhibition on the first time down in the morning. He was uncertain on his marking, but he took direction beautifully.

“Going out wide to come upwind to locate his bird. He came in speedily to deliver to the approval of those privileged to see the work. His second series work confirmed everything that had been recorded in his favor.

“Sandy’s water work was little short of perfection, he taking to the water with a huge splash, after having marked his two falls, neither of which was too difficult. He never hesitated when the order was given to enter for the second retrieve.” 16

Okanagan Sandy – BLM, dob 4/5/1934
– bred by R. Leckie Ewing, Canada
Beaver of Bryn Banchory Jock
Munden Stigma
Gay’s Vesta Eng Nat’l FTCh Beningbrough Tanco
Eng FTCh Vidi of Adderley

Okanagan Tanco

Tanco was another import from Canada. In Nov 1936, he won the Derby stake at the Labrador Retriever Club trial in Peapack, NJ. As the winner, he brought home the directors’ trophy and $25. Although that doesn’t sound like much it’s the equivalent of over $500 today.

Okanagan Tanco
– BLM, dob 6/17/1935
Okanagan Rusty Beaver of Bryn
Okanagan Gyp
Gay’s Vesta Eng Nat’l FTCh Beningbrough Tanco
Eng FTCh Vidi of Adderley

Orchardton Duce of Wingan

Owned by Jay Carlisle, later by Mrs Eleanor F. Remick

Duce won the Labrador Retriever Club’s Derby stake at 14 months old. Colonel the Lord Vivian, D.S.O., of Cornwall, England judged together with Dr. Samuel Milbank and Francis Squires. The trial was held at Shinnecock Hills in Nov 1937.

Orchardton Duce of Wingan
– BLM – dob approx Sep 1936
Eng Ch Orchardton Donald Eng Ch Ingleston Ben
Orchardton Dawn
Mona Of Ammurrness Eng FTCh Tag of Clava
Queen of the May

Whitecarin Wendy of Wingan

Owned by Jay Carlisle

Wendy won the Open stake at the Brookhaven Game Protective Association field trail in 1935. The weather was described as “almost ideal, the thermometer hovering around the freezing mark, and the wind was just strong enough to make it a sporting proposition for guns and dogs.” 17

Whitecarin Wendy of Wingan
– BLF, dob approx 1933
Ranger of Kentford Gift of Halleaths
Kirkbean Gyp
Lochar Kate FTW Eng Dual Ch Banchory Bolo
Murrayfield Bet

Wingan’s Daily Double

Another Wingan dog deserving of mention is Daily Double. Bred by Carlisle and sold to Howes Burton, an amateur, who handled her himself. She won at the Long Island Retriever Field Trial Club in 1939 and placed second in what was called “fast company” just a week before. The winner in that trial was Earlsmoor Moor of Arden.

However what makes her special is the combination of pedigree and offspring. She was a half-sister to Blind and Decoy of Arden on her father’s side. And a half-sister to Pons Junior on her mother’s side.

When bred to Eng FTCh Glenairlie Rover, she produced Mint of Barrington who in turn sired NFC AFC Marvadel Black Gum “Blackie”.

Blackie was High Point Derby dog in 1946. He won his first Open stake at 16 months of age and finished his field championship the next year. He qualified for eight consecutive National Opens (1946-1953) and won in 1949. He was awarded the Blind of Arden trophy for the best finish of an American-bred dog in the Open stake. And he was admitted to the Hall of Fame in 1995. Blackie was owned and handled by Paul Bakewell III who also owned and handled Dual CH Shed of Arden.


Wingan’s Daily Double
– BLF, dob 7/9/1936
Odds On FTW The Favorite FTW
Orchardton Doris of Wingan FTW Eng CH Ingleston Ben
Orchardton Dawn FTW


Instead of a heated kennel building with attached runs, Jay Carlisle built condos for his Labs. He felt it would be hard for the dogs to go from a heated kennel to retrieving in icy water.

Each condo was 6×11 feet, made out of redwood and set on 4x4s to avoid rot. The walls were made with clapboards, building paper, and sheathing.

Inside were two rooms – a 5×6 foot vestibule that became a shaded porch in summer and a 6×6 foot sleeping compartment with a hallway to avoid drafts. They even had lights, windows and a hinged roof for cleaning.

The condos were set in 20×30 foot concrete runs with trees for shade. Puppies had a similar set up in a larger grass run.

Nearby was the feed house where they stored supplies and prepared meals for the dogs. Puppies were fed five meals a day – cereal with milk in the morning, cooked beef, raw beef, milk and biscuit and a big-dog meal.

Adult dogs got cooked meat twice a week with commercial food, cod liver oil and yeast. Occasionally they got salmon or raw beef.

Other breeds and their accommodations

In addition to Labs, Carlisle also imported and raised Pointers, Dachshunds and Miniature Bullterriers.

Although he had several Pointers, there were two that stood out. One was a white male named Nepken Carolina Bill who ran in field trials. Bill was considered one of the canniest of the field trial dogs because he knew just where to hunt.

The other Pointer was a show bitch named Pennine Prima Donna of Wingan. She won the points, best of breed and almost always placed in the group when she was shown. She also won Best in Show at Crufts in 1935.

The Bullterriers – all three of them – had a shaded run of about 1/4 acre covered with pine trees. Their condos had portholes for light and ventilation.

The Dachshundes were imported from England and Germany. Their kennel was a 63-foot-long building painted a cheery yellow and green. The front of the building had a huge bay window overlooking boxwood and cedar plants.

Inside, the kennel office was filled with flowering plants, a broad window seat and an antique secretary with a leather-bound book of dog records. Paintings of dogs and shooting scenes adorned the walls and shelves were packed with books about dogs.

Also in the building was a room with a sink and tub and another room to store feed and medications.

A 14×14 foot room in the nearby stable was outfitted as an isolation ward. However it was only used for bitches in season.


While Jay Carlisle was looking for the best Labs, he was also looking for someone to manage his kennel and train the dogs. For that he looked to Scotland where scores of men learned the business as kennel men and game raisers.

With the help of Countess Howe and many others, Carlisle found the right man. In 1934 he brought David D. Elliot to Long Island from Scotland.

A few months later at the Brookhaven Game Protective Association trial they swept all three places in the open novice stake. Drinkstone Pons of Wingan won $50 for first place. That’s over $1000 in today’s currency. Second place and $30 to Banchory Night Light of Wingan. Third place and $20 to Bancstone Ben of Wingan.

Carlisle did indeed find the right man to run his kennel.

David D. Elliot

Elliot grew up near Edinburgh, Scotland, where he learned about sheepdog trials from his grandfather. Watching how the sheepdogs responded to signals gave him the idea to teach signals to Labs. A form of these signals is still used today to guide dogs on blind retrieves.

Lady Howe, Dr. Monro-Holm and David Black (breeder of Peter of Faskally) recommended Elliot as a kennelman for Carlisle. Elliot agreed to come for five years, but instead, he stayed for a lifetime.

In addition to training dogs, he also trained people. They included Dorothy Howe (Rupert), Joan Redmond (later Joan Reed, Chidley) and Kathleen Starr (later Mrs Fredricks, Timber Town). The ladies were sometimes called “Elliot’s Harem.” Cotton Pershall was another person who learned how to handle dogs at Wingan.

Carlisle was pleased with Elliot’s training and thanked him for introducing him to field trialing. The competition made him happy despite the recent death of his wife.

If you’d like to see Elliot and two of his retrievers – Eng FTCh FC Banchory Varnish of Wingan and FC Timber Town Clansman – check out the “Sky Game” video, filmed in 1939.


Jay Carlisle registered Wingan as his kennel name in 1933.

He ran ads in a variety of magazines – from the AKC Gazette to Vanity Fair.

He served as President of the Labrador Retriever Club from 1935-1938. During that time he established the Amateur stake and donated a perpetual trophy so the stake would continue.

The Long Island Retriever Trial Association was formed by leading fanciers, including Carlisle, Anthony Bliss, Franklin Lord, Gould Remick, Henry Root Stern, and Leonard Buck. The club’s purpose was to encourage “the breeding, training, and use of retrievers, and … for holding of all-breed retriever trials.” 18

Carlisle published a book in 1936 written by David D. Elliot about Labs and training them. It included training advice and many photos of Wingan Labradors.

“The efforts and absorbing interest of J. F. Carlisle, his participation in trials and at shows, and his generous offering of dogs at stud to new breeders gave the breed a tremendous push forward in this period. He helped to form a nucleus of good material to build upon, together with the superb group of imports… All this gave the breed the right start, and it was not long before history repeated itself, so that the Labrador was on its way to overtaking all the other Retriever varieties in the New World, as it had in the Old.” 19


Jay Carlisle died in 1937, just eight months after his wife.

He was so respected, that 28 prominent men volunteered to act as pallbearers. A special train transported guests from Penn Station in New York City to Carlisle’s home in East Islip, Long Island.

He was so loved by the retriever community they postponed a field trial so contestants could attend his funeral. However the postponement meant the trial had to be limited in order to finish in one day. This was the start of Limited All-Age stakes.

The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. set up a Jay Carlisle Memorial Trial. It was held from 1938 to 1941 near his home on Long Island. Mrs. Hill-Wood, Morgan Belmont and Robert Morgan judged the first Memorial Trail.

The contents of his home went to auction in 1938 and his beautiful mansion was demolished in 1940.

But what of his dogs, you ask? Most of the dogs were given to the young Scotsman, David D. Elliot. He also received the specially-modified green and yellow dog wagon and the right to rent the Wingan kennel at a reduced rate.

Although it seems like a sad ending, the dogs did continue competing with Elliot. Many people recognized Carlisle’s contribution to early Labs and field trials in America.

David Elliot (right) with Banchory Night Light winning the Field & Stream Challenge Cup for Outstanding Retriever of 1937.



Few people recognize the Wingan name today or they confuse it with Helen Ginnel’s Whygin kennel. But Jay Carlisle’s efforts – importing quality dogs, making his stud dogs available to many people, and promoting Labs in the field and in the show ring – helped make the breed as popular in America as it was in England.

I’m proud to have several dogs that trace back to the Wingan Labradors.

— Chip and his descendants trace to –

* NFC Banchory Night Light of Wingan (grandsire of Dual CH Matchmaker for Deer Creek)
* Am Eng CH Banchory Trump of Wingan (grandsire of Dual CH Grangemead Precocious and FC Pickpocket for Deer Creek)
* CH Bancstone Lorna of Wingan (granddam of Dual CH Grangemead Precocious)
* Penney of Wingan (dam of NFC AFC Massie’s Sassy Boots)

— Dee and her descendants trace to –

* CH Banchory Jetsam
* NFC Banchory Night Light of Wingan (grandsire of Dual CH Matchmaker for Deer Creek)
* Am Eng CH Banchory Trump of Wingan (grandsire of Dual CH Grangemead Precocious and FC Pickpocket for Deer Creek)
* Eng FTCh FC Banchory Varnish of Wingan
* CH Bancstone Lorna of Wingan (granddam of Dual CH Grangemead Precocious)
* CH Bancstone Ben of Wingan
* Bancstone Blair of Wingan (grandsire of NFC NAFC CFC Major VI, 1993 Hall of Fame)
* CH Bancstone Peggy of Wingan
* Eng Am CH Drinkstone Peg (dam of the Bancstone litter by Eng Dual CH Bramshaw Bob)
* Orchardton Doris of Wingan (dam of Pons Junior Of Wingan and Wingan’s Daily Double)
* Pons Junior of Wingan (sire of FC Timber Town Clansman and great grandsire of NFC Dual CH CFC Bracken’s Sweep)
* Wingan’s Daily Double (granddam of NFC AFC Marvadel Black Gum)


[1] Arthur Frederick Jones, “True Labradors and Traditions Live at Wingan,” American Kennel Gazette, February 1934

[2] Crufts is the largest dog show in the world with over 23,000 dogs competing recently. It was first held in 1891 and has been held annually (except for the war years) in the United Kingdom.

[3] Jones, “True Labradors and Traditions”

[4] Henry R. Ilsley, “Carlisle’s Entries Take All Three Places in Open Novice Retriever Stake,” New York Times, December 29, 1934

[5] Jones, “True Labradors and Traditions”

[6] Jones, “True Labradors and Traditions”

[7] Henry R. Ilsley, “Award of 1937 Among Field Trial Retrievers Won by Banchory Night Light,” New York Times, January 16, 1938

[8] Some dogs have either QAA or *** listed after their names. This means Qualified All-Age. It’s not a title, but rather a way to show that the dog has done well in the minor field trial stakes and is eligible to run in major stakes.

[9] Helen Warwick, “The Complete Labrador Retriever” (New York: Howell Book House, 1965), 137

[10] Emanuel Strauss, “Hollister’s Jet and Carlisle’s Doris of Wingan Lead Retrievers,” New York TImes, November 14, 1935

[11] Staff correspondent, “Carlisle’s Labrador Beats 22 Dogs in Long Island Retriever Clubs Trial,” New York Times, April 18, 1937

[12] Ned Corey, “Banchory Varnish of Wingan First in Brookhaven All-Age,” American Kennel Gazette, December 1, 1937, 94

[13] Henry R. Ilsley, “Earlsmoor Moor of Arden Takes Long Island Retriever Laurels,” New York Times, October 19, 1942

[14] Staff correspondent, “Brookhaven Field Trials Are Marked by Splendid Work and Keen Competition,” New York Times, October 31, 1937

[15] Henry R. Ilsley, “Labrador Handled by Mrs. Starr Is Stake Winner at Huntington,” New York Times, October 11, 1938

[16] Henry R. Ilsley, “Retriever Laurels Annexed by Carlisle’s Dog at Trials Held in Snowstorm,” New York Times, November 29, 1936

[17] ] A.F.J., “Whitecairn Wendy of Wingan Wins Brookhaven’s Open Stake,” American Kennel Gazette, January 1, 1936, 168

[18] Anthony A. Bliss, Chesapeakes column, November 1, 1934, 41

[19] Warwick, “The Complete Labrador Retriever,” 126


BLF / BLM – black Labradror female or black Labradror male
CCW – Challenge Certificate winner (show win, but not a title)
CH – show championship
FTW – field trial winner (not a title)
QAA or *** – the dog has proved himself in the Qualifying stake and could enter the limited Open or Amateur stakes

What Is CNM In Labradors?

Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM) is an inherited congenital disorder that causes muscle dysfunction.


In a nutshell, CNM in Labradors causes muscle wasting which makes moving normally difficult. Some dogs have severe symptoms while other dogs are only mildly affected.

In the past, it’s been called generalized muscle weakness, polyneuropathy, muscular myopathy, muscular dystrophy, hereditary myopathy.

Breeds affected are Labrador Retrievers, plus doodles and other Lab mixes.

Here is a video of a Labrador suffering from acute CNM.

To develop a genetic test, researchers collected samples from 7,426 Labradors living in 18 countries. They found 80 dogs from various countries had two copies of the mutated gene. These dogs all showed muscle wasting symptoms. Of the 1,172 dogs that had one copy of the mutated gene, none showed symptoms which showed that CNM in Labradors is caused by a simple recessive gene.

Dogs with two normal genes are normal. Dogs with one normal gene appear normal, but could pass the mutated gene to their puppies. Dogs with two mutated gene are affected and will develop muscle wasting.

Currently researchers believe the mutated gene is the result of a single mutation. Also that the gene spread rapidly through the Labrador population because many people bred to a small group of popular sires about 60 years ago.

CNM also affects people. Locating the mutated gene in Labradors is helping scientists study the disorder in people.


Symptoms generally develop between two to five months of age and include gait abnormalities, generalized weakness, tiring easily and muscle wasting. CNM can affect both sexes and all three recognized colors.

Puppies seem normal at first, but as they grow they develop generalized muscle weakness and abnormal postures. Another sign is an odd “bunny hop” with the rear legs. Often they can’t exercise much and may collapse in colder weather.

Here is a video of another Lab having a particularly tough day although she’s determined to get her bumper.

Affected dogs will never develop normal muscles. You can see the difference most clearly in the chest and rear legs.

There is no cure. However some dogs, with their owner’s help, have learned how to overcome most symptoms. This dog is doing quite well.

According to his owners, “As a puppy, he couldn’t hold his head up, control his tongue, hold a tug toy, walk for more than a few feet without having to crawl, or climb stairs.”


CNM is caused by a recessive gene which means a dog can have one copy of the gene and appear normal. If that dog is bred to another dog that appears normal, but has the same recessive gene, some of the puppies may be affected with CNM.

CNM affected dogs should not be bred as all of their puppies will carry the gene. Because of the muscle dysfunction, it may be difficult for a male to breed naturally and even harder for a female to carry and whelp puppies.

Genetic testing is the best way to prevent producing a dog with CNM. Many laboratories offer the testing, but my favorite is DDC. They are available to answer questions, can help order the correct tests and are reasonably priced. They can also provide the swabs needed to collect DNA.

To collect your dog’s DNA, make sure he hasn’t eaten or had anything to drink for at least an hour. You may need to put a leash on your dog and/or have a helper handy to keep him still. The collection doesn’t hurt, but some dogs may object anyway.

Wash your hands and pull out one swab at a time. Lift your dog’s lip on the side of his muzzle and insert the swab between his lip and gums. Swirl several times and remove. Place the swab back in the plastic wrap. Repeat on the other side of his muzzle and then a third time on one side or the other.

Write your name, your dog’s name, breed and registration number on an envelope and place the swabs inside. Seal and place the envelope inside another envelope, seal, address and mail.

If you are collecting samples from more than one dog, be sure to keep their swabs separate and wash your hands between collections.

And, no, CNM is not the same as Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), although both disorders are genetic. CNM is a muscle weakness whereas EIC is a neurologic dysfunction.


(Originally posted October 25, 2012 – Updated November 18, 2022)

Halloween Costumes For Dogs

A costume contest for pets in 2006 got me thinking about what costumes I could make for my dogs. Yes, it had to be for more than one. I had three dogs that were my constant companions – Chip, Tory and Arwen.

I also wanted to make the costumes myself rather than buying something ready-made.

So come along with me to learn about my thought process every year and what supplies I bought to make the costumes.

The 3 Musketeers started it all

One for all and all for one!

Designing the costumes was interesting because they had to be instantly recognizable, but my dogs also had to walk in costumes. After a quick Google image search, I decided on hats with feather plumes and the signature musketeer tunic. I also bought plastic swords for all of them, but could only convince one dog that they weren’t chew toys.

Off to the store for blue felt fabric, gold braid trim and fabric paint, black cowboy hats, fluffy white feathers, and three plastic swords. The tunic/cape was cut and stitched at the top corners of the tunics then decorated with the gold braid and painted crosses. Next were the hats that had to be reshaped and adorned with white feathers. They also needed some thin elastic as chin straps to keep the hats on their heads.

Luckily Labs are usually willing to play silly games like dress up! They did spectacularly and even won the costume contest at the local Labrador club. I was hooked!

Three Musketeers Halloween costume
3 Labs dress up as ghosts and carry their own Jack O Latern

Trick or treating ghosts

The next year was a test of their obedience skills because I decided to dress them up as ghosts and have them carry plastic jack-o-lantern buckets.

Off to the store for three flat sheets and three jack-o-lanterns! That was the easy part. Next came draping a sheet over each dog and trying to determine the best place to cut holes in brand new sheets. It took some trial and error – with each dog – to find the perfect place and sizes for the holes.

Because they were hunting dogs they were all taught to fetch on command, but it took a bit to convince them that fetch also applied to the thin bucket handles that are nothing like a bird or a bumper. Then they had to learn that I wanted them to sit, with a sheet draped over them AND hold the bucket. And they had to do it at the same time and for long enough to get pictures.

They did it and got plenty of treats!

Four-legged duck hunters

The next year had to be something simple because I didn’t have time to make elaborate costumes for Halloween. So I dug out some hunting clothes – ball caps, camo shirts, duck calls, whistles, etc. But something just didn’t look right. Off I went to the nearest thrift store where I found three pairs of kid’s pants in tan and green.

Getting all three dogs to wear the hats, shirts, whistles and duck calls was easy. Putting pants on them took a bit more work.

When they were (somewhat) dressed and sitting with the bird vest containing their two ducks hanging on the fence post, I took the picture. Just as the shotgun fell over. No, it wasn’t loaded, but it got their attention and as they moved hats fell off, pant cuffs were stepped on and general mayhem ensued. Good thing that one photo turn out so well!

Labradors dress up as duck hunters of Halloween
Follow the yellow brick road! The tin man, scarecrow and cowardly lion costumes

Follow the yellow brick road

As Halloween 2009 drew nearer, I was trying to come up with a theme so each dog would have a unique costume but be recognizable as a trio. Pairs are easy, threesomes take more work!

Meet the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.

Good thing Tory the Tin Man had learned the Stand for Exam obedience exercise because otherwise that aluminum foil covered box would fall off. The metal funnel stayed put with a thin piece of elastic under his chin.

Arwen‘s scarecrow costume took some sewing and several fittings to come close to fitting her. And by now she was used to having to wear a hat of some sort.

What took the longest to make was Chip‘s lion mane. I sewed a whole skein of tan yarn, piece by piece, to a stretchy piece of fabric.

I’m not sure if they were starting to enjoy Halloween dress up or if they were just resigned to my shenanigans.

Old west characters

In early October 2010 I found myself wandering the Halloween aisle in the local store, trying to come up with another trio of costumes. Checking a bit of this and a bit of that and I came upon a red bustier (corset) that was sized for a child. There were also cowboy hats and six guns nearby. Hmmm.

In addition to the bustier, I wound up buying:

  • a black wig,
  • two cowboy hats,
  • two sets of six-guns with belts and holsters,
  • a sheriff’s badge,
  • a red bandana and
  • some fabric pieces in black and tan.

Tory and Chip were perfect in their roles – the black-wearing outlaw and the sleepy sheriff. Arwen was not pleased though. I don’t think she liked having to wear a girly outfit with a wig AND sit up. She would have made a good outlaw, but for this year she was the dance hall gal.

Labs dress up in western costumes - an outlaw, a sheriff and a dance hall gal
Harry, Ron and Hermoine as portrayed by three Labrador Retrievers
Labs dressed as Harry Potter and friends pose with Professor McGonagall

You’re a wizard Harry

For Halloween 2011, I decided to show them that dressing up isn’t all that bad. So I joined them.

Another trio – Harry, Hermione and Ron – plus one – Professor McGonagall. And yet another trip to the store where I bought:

  • three white shirts,
  • three men’s ties,
  • red and yellow fabric paint,
  • a black witch’s hat,
  • two pairs of reading glasses,
  • white chalk and
  • black fabric.


Starting with the ties, I turned them into Gryffindor ties with SEVERAL coats of the red and yellow paint. Notice how one turned out a bit wrinkly? That was Ron’s tie. His shirt didn’t tuck in well either.

Next was sweet talking Tory into wearing glasses and Arwen into wearing the wig again. The glasses didn’t show up well on a black dog, so I took the lenses out and painted them white. Much better!

I also sewed the black fabric into robes (kinda) for all four of us. Got us all dressed, added a lightning bolt on Tory’s forehead with white chalk and told them to say ‘cheese’! And, yes, they smiled! They also got to go to the Halloween party and schmooze everyone for tasty treats.

Tip: Start your shopping at local thrift stores. I bought all the shirts and ties for less than $10. The stores will usually also have lots of ready-made costumes for sale.

I’d just as soon kiss a wookiee

Since we were overdue for another Star Wars movie, Halloween 2012 became an homage to the series, but which three characters should it be? Darth Vader, of course. And when you have bad, you need good. Luke, Leia or Yoda? Costume-wise, Luke was boring and I didn’t want to try hanging cinnamon rolls on my dog’s head, so Yoda was it. And, of course, you need the iconic R2D2.

Next was figuring out which parts of the characters were needed for people to recognize the costumes: Yoda’s ears and light saber, Darth’s light saber, cape, chest plate and helmet (well, most of it because the mask wouldn’t fit) and R2D2’s shape and coloring.

Back again to the store to get a round, plastic bowl, white fabric, blue, white, green, red, silver and black paint, black, green and light tan fabric pieces plus some fusible interfacing. I also had to dig around in the Christmas wrapping paper to find two cardboard cores.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to paint a bowl and fabric to look like R2D2? And that was just the start. Darth’s helmet and Yoda’s ears both took several fittings, plenty of sewing and LOTS of interfacing to make them stiff enough to look right. Then more sewing to make Yoda’s robe plus painting two light sabres. Luckily last year’s Gryffindor robe worked great for Darth too.

It was worth it though because this was one of the most popular sets of costumes. They were dubbed R2-Dog2, Dog Vader and Yo Dawg.

Labradors in costume as R2D2, Darth Vader and Yoda
Chevy Chase, Martin Short and Steve Martin as portrayed by Labrador Retrievers

All of us has an El Guapo to face

If you can’t tell, I choose characters that are usually a bit over the top to make interesting costumes. So it should be no surprise that Chevy Chase, Martin Short and Steve Martin made an appearance for Halloween 2013 as the Three Amigos!

With a bit of silver paint, the Gryffindor robes became sparkly jackets. The white shirts were reused too. So I only needed to buy three more hats and some red fabric for the ties and cumberbunds.

And then paint. And paint some more. I think Arwen finally liked her costume though.

Down the rabbit hole

Liking her costume was short-lived. For Halloween 2014 I put Arwen in a pink Cheshire cat costume and had her lay down on a bench. If looks could kill…

I bought the Cheshire cat costume at a yard sale, used a couple of my jackets and remade a red tie from the Three Amigos costumes. I only had to buy some white, black and green construction paper for the hat and ears plus a small piece of green fabric for the tie. I used a thin piece of elastic to hold the hat on and a plastic headband for the ears.

This was a tough set to get right, especially a black Labrador as the white rabbit! Ears, tie, jacket and a clock kinda worked.

The Mad Hatter was a little easier with the tall green hat even though you can’t really see the playing card stuck in the brim.

There was a fourth player too, but it wasn’t me this year. In the story, there is a Dormouse who pops out of a teapot. I tried James the rat as a stand-in, but he never got his cue right…

Down the rabbit hole! Halloween costumes for dogs
Labs can wear traditional costumes for kids

Kids costumes for dogs

By Halloween 2015 we were winding down. Chip was nearly 17 and slept a lot. Tory had been diagnosed with cancer. And I was heart sick. I felt I needed to do one more Halloween photo, but it would have to be simple.

Off to the store again where I found some ready-made costumes – a devil, a witch and a ninja turtle.

I lost Tory just a few days later and Chip that December.

Easy to make deer costume

In 2016 Arwen was still willing, so back to the store I went. This time I needed some felt in brown and tan, a girls plastic headband and some wire.

I cut a big piece of cardboard into a shield shape and added some ‘wood grain’ with a Sharpie. Next I cut the felt into some oval shapes and rolled and glued them to make ears. Then I attached the ears and a couple bits from a tree to the headband with wire.

With a little persuasion, Arwen sat with this contraption on her head while I took pictures.

Isn’t she cute?

Labrador in costume as a trophy deer head
Labs can wear traditional costumes for kids

Simple costume for St Paddy’s day

After ten years of Halloween costumes, it was a time of change. More dogs went to the Bridge, but eventually young dogs “volunteered” to carry on the tradition.

In the spring of 2018 I had a litter of puppies who were ready for their 7-week evaluations. A good friend came over, we evaluated puppies, took lots of pictures and decided to give costuming another try. I already had a bag of small, sparkly green party favor hats. After poking small holes on each side of the hats, I threaded thin black elastic to help hold them on the puppies’ heads. Luckily they’d run off some energy, but weren’t quite ready for a nap. Perfect!

We put two puppies on a table as my friend stood to the side to hold them still. Checking the pictures afterward, we saw the background was too busy. Bless her heart! She let me throw a white blanket over her head while she stood behind the puppies, keeping one hand on each puppy’s hip.

It took a little Photoshopping to blur the background and add a St. Patrick’s Day wish, but the final photo was worth the effort!

Which witch is which?

In 2019 I was finally ready to try Halloween costumes again. Tisket and Wynk were both obedience trained, so although skeptical, they were willing to sit as I fussed.

For the hats, I rolled some black construction paper into cones with glue to hold it. Then I cut a couple donut shapes for the brims and glued those to the base of the cones. After adding a couple pieces of black elastic to keep the hats in place, they were done. But they were kinda boring. Hmmm. Hot glue gun to the rescue! I added several stripes of glue to the cones and brim to give the hats a little sparkle.

The broomsticks were fairly easy, although a bit messy. I bought two 1/2 inch dowels and a bag of raffia ribbon. Grabbing some raffia, I wound it into two bundles about 10 inches long and wrapped rubber bands near one end. After sticking the dowels into that end, I cut apart the other end and skrunched until it looked right. To hide the rubber bands, I wrapped some raffia over them and tacked it in place with hot glue. Voila!

I hoped to take the photos in front of some small trees that had already lost their leaves, but it was too cold and windy. Back inside, I taped a gray sheet on the wall as a background and started taking pictures. But after checking, I decided the background just wasn’t right so we’d try again. Nope. They’d already had their treats and were done for the day!

Photoshop to the rescue. After removing the background, the pictures looked better, but not great. Luckily it was a snap to change the background to transparent, then decide what I wanted instead. Off to check Pixabay which has lots of free images to download. I found a colorful sunset that looked great, added a bit of text and my signature. Done!

What do you think of my pretty witches?

Labs can wear traditional costumes for kids

“Girls, sit. Good!”

“No, no. Head up or your helmet will fall off.”

“Sketch, stop stepping on your tutu.”

“Splash. Yeah, you, Splash. You need to look this way.”

Fun space cadets costumes

I had an idea I wanted to try for Halloween 2020, but it’s a good thing I started early.

Off to the store where I bought two stretchy pullover shirts, some yellow and orange tissue paper, a bag of big pipe cleaners, a bag of blow up balloons, lots of duct tape and two really cute tutus in sparkly red and purple!

First task was testing the concept. I blew up a round balloon and covered it with criss-crossing duct tape, leaving a large hole on one side. It took a lot of tape. When I thought it had enough tape to hold it’s shape, I popped the balloon. Nope, it needed more tape.

But before adding more tape, I decided to test fit it. Splash thought I was certifiable, but consented to having the contraption put on her head. I made a few modifications and continued adding tape. I also added the pipe cleaner antennas. Then duplicated the process for Sketch’s helmet.

Next were the power packs. I had a few plastic soda bottles and painted them silver. While I was at it, I also painted both stretchy shirts. When the bottles were dry, I taped them together. I added Velcro to the bottles and backs of the shirts. Then I added some tissue paper to the ends of the bottles to simulate flames.

Now the test. Would they wear all this stuff AND sit still? Obedience training sure helps, but it was hilarious watching them step on the tutus.

Introducing Space Cadets Sketch and Splash from the Department of Intergalactic Security and Information ( ready for service.

By the way, their great grandmama Arwen would be proud!

Christmas party costumes

For Christmas 2020, Sketch, Splash and Wynk got their party on!

I bought a Santa hat, some green, tan and red felt, two plastic headbands, some tiny decorations, more glue sticks, and black elastic. I also mangled a couple of old wire hangers.

Starting with the easy outfit, I added a piece of black elastic to the Santa hat to hold it on. After test fitting, I also added a stitch to hold the pompom in the right place.

Next up was Sketch’s Christmas tree. I cut two pieces of the green felt into a Christmas tree shape. Using the old hanger, I cut and shaped it into an upside down V shape. With the hanger ends sticking out of the bottom about an inch, I hot glued the hanger to the felt. I bent the ends and left them long for support at the back of the tree. Then I glued the front to the back and to the hanger and added the small decorations. It did take a bit of tweaking to keep the tree from falling over.

Splash’s antlers were made similarly to the tree. I made the red nose from a circle of red felt stuffed with cotton balls. It weighed nothing, but Splash thought she should hold it in her mouth instead of balancing it on her nose. Tiny black elastic to the rescue.

I love that in this photo Splash is trying hard to balance that thing on her nose!

Super simple costumes for July 4th

Costumes for July 4, 2021 were a snap! I bought three red, white and blue bandanas, three decorated headbands and a small fireworks sticker for the wall.

Wynk, Sketch and Splash really got in the spirit this time!

Inexpensive skeleton for Halloween

Halloween 2021 was supposed to be two canine skeletons. Alas, there was only time enough for one.

I tried white chalk, but it didn’t cover well enough on a black dog. Instead I used nearly a bottle of white acrylic paint. It took quite awhile to paint and Splash needed several breaks. She was carefully supervised so she didn’t spread the paint around the house.

Even a first year veterinary student would probably laugh at the bone placement, but I think she turned out cute. Especially when Splash thought she saw a “ghost” popping out from behind the couch.

Splash got to model her costume for another day, then needed a bath to look like herself again.

Tip: Try colored chalk or paint if your dog isn’t black.

Cap’t Jack Sparrow

Halloween 2022 brought a new player to the lineup. This is 5-month old Boo, a chocolate Lab. I think he was born for the limelight!

To prepare, I went to the store looking for items to capture the essence of Cap’n Jack Sparrow. I bought a skein of brown yarn, some small strings of craft beads, a couple pieces of cloth on sale and a toy sword.

The first task was cutting and gluing the fabric into a vest shape. It needed a color boost and a bit of craft paint worked just fine.

Next was cutting yarn into 24 inch pieces, folding them in half and gluing together into clumps. I also braided a couple pieces of yarn.

In the movies, Cap’n Jack often wears a dirty red bandana around his head. However the difference in anatomy between human and canine presented a bit of a problem. To solve it, I first tied the bandana like it was on a head. Next I glued all the yarn clumps, plus the braid and a string of beads to the inside of the bandana. I also added a string of beads to the top of the bandana.

It wound up looking like a fez, but at least the whole shebang didn’t need elastic to stay put. I should mention it got mouthed a bit, but I think that added to the authenticity.

Next we had some rehearsals. Wear the hat and wig while sitting? Check. Wear the blue vest and a white shirt while sitting? Check. Wear all of it plus the sword while sitting? Check. Added a smudge of mascara under his eyes and on his lip. AND WE ARE READY!

Boo did a great job as the dashing, yet goofy, Cap’n Jack.

This post was originally published on October 31, 2019. Edited and updated with new content on October 31, 2022.

Origin of Chocolate Labs

Studying the pedigrees of chocolate Labrador Retrievers, you often wonder where the chocs are coming from. All of a sudden they are there, out of the blue. I studied the files in the LabradorNet database, which contains the pedigrees of more than 90,000 Labradors, and came to the conclusion that there are roughly 8 routes to the origin of chocolate Labs.

One of the reasons that you’ll find no chocolate Labs in the older files, is that they weren’t in fashion for many decades, so they just weren’t registered. However, the blacks and the yellows carrying the choc gene kept reproducing, and that’s why we’re able to trace them all the way back to the late 1800s.

Note: This article was written by Jack Vanderwyk. After his death his domain name was usurped by someone else. Fortunately I had a copy of his work and it’s shared here in a tribute to the research he did on Labrador Retriever pedigrees.


According to the studbook of Buccleuch Kennels, the chocolates in that kennel came through FTW Peter of Faskally (1908). However, Peter of Faskally was a descendant of Buccleuch Avon (1885).

Peter of Faskally

Buccleuch Avon

The Earl of Feversham had some typical specimen of chocolates, his Nawton Pruna (who produced yellow offspring) did well at field trials in the years preceding the First World War.

One of the chief supporters of chocolates was the Hon. Lady Ward of Chiltonfoliat, near Hungerford, the dogs from her kennel being very typical with particularly good tails and coats. Her chocolate bitch FTW Darry of Chiltonfoliat (Braeroy Darkie) (1930) was sired by an unregistered chocolate dog called Jimmy, while her dam descended from the chocolate Flatcoat Clyde (see further down).

Mr. J.G. Severn of Tibshelf Kennels wrote: “My first experience of the chocolate Labradors was in February, 1938, when I visited Dr. Montgomery of Sutton Ashfield, about three miles from Tibshelf. We had mated his black bitch Shelagh of Brasidonia to my black dog Danilo of Tibshelf. Result: 4 blacks, 2 chocolate dogs, 1 cream bitch. I later bought Shelagh and mated her again to Danilo. Result just the same.”

Miss Wills of Metesford Kennels produced several chocolates in the late 1940s, early 1950s, but their descendance is not known.



Further more we should keep in mind that there are a lot of missing links in our database, and sometimes the reasons for this are rather obvious. I found 21 interbred or fullbred Flatcoats or Chesapeake Bay retrievers in our Labrador retriever database, all born in the U.K. between 1914 and 1933.

Of all the 21 interbred or fullbred Flatcoats or Chesapeake Bay retrievers, most of them being Field Trial champions, we could only track the ancestors for more than two generations of two dogs. The information about the ancestors of the other 19 interbred dogs was simply removed from the files in the 1930s. It seems that some well known Labrador breeders didn’t want the public to know that their successful dogs were partly the offspring of interbred dogs.

Two well known Chesapeake Bay retrievers were a dog called Jolly, who sired the male Labrador retriever Jolly Sam, born before 1933, and the bitch Corydalys, who was the dam of the female Labrador retriever Micklefield Juno, born before 1925.

Clyde, born before 1923, was the “liver” (chocolate) Flatcoat retriever who sired the male yellow Labrador FTW Folkingham Bexter (1925), who in turn sired the yellow bitch FTW Limekiln Rhoda (1927). She and the yellow dog FTW Golden Morn (1926) had a litter that was registered as “half Golden Retriever and half Labradors”. The separation was by coat length, because all puppies were yellow. Apparently the third generation showed some traits of the original breed involved.

The chocolate Labrador may not have been very popular prior to the 1960s, but they were mentioned as early as 1927, in The Book of Dogs, published by the National Geographic Society in 1927: “This Labrador dog, crossed probably with the English setter, and perhaps with other breeds, produced the Retriever, which may be either black or liver-brown.” (The yellow Labrador was organized in The Yellow Labrador Retriever Club, in 1924.)



Route 1 (version 1):

– Morningtown Tobla (f, choc, < 1976)
– Brentville Ebony (f, black, <1974)
– Knavery Mistress Meg (f, black < 1972)
Sandylands Mark (m, black, 1965)
– Reanacre Mallardhurn Thunder (m, black, 1960)
– Mallardhurn Pat (f, yellow, < 1958)
– Poppleton Lieutenant (m, yellow, 1949)
– Poppleton Golden Sunray (f, yellow, < 1947)
– Poppleton Golden Major (m, yellow, < 1940)
– Poppleton Black Lancer (m, black, 1934)
– Haylers Danilo (m, black < 1932)
– Banchory Danilo (m, black, 1923)
Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).

Sandylands Mark

Route 1 (version 2):

– Morningtown Tobla (f, choc, < 1976)
– Brentville Ebony (f, black, <1974)
– Knavery Mistress Meg (f, black < 1972)
– Sandylands Mark (m, black, 1965)
Reanacre Mallardhurn Thunder (m, black, 1960)
– Mallardhurn Pat (f, yellow, < 1958)
– Poppleton Lieutenant (m, yellow, 1949)
– Poppleton Golden Sunray (f, yellow, < 1947)
– Poppleton Golden Major (m, yellow, < 1940)
– Poppleton Black Lancer (m, black, 1934)
– Haylers Danilo (m, black < 1932)
– Boris de Main (f, yellow, < 1930), child of:
Sceptre (m, colour unknown, not registered, < 1928) and
Countess (f, colour unknown, not registered, < 1928).

However, Buccleuch Avon, born in 1885, so almost 40 years before, is known to have produced some chocolate offspring, so it’s more likely that either his sire Malmesbury Tramp, or his dam Malmesbury June (f, black, 1880), or both, already carried the chocolate gene.

Reanacre Mallardhurn Thunder

Route 2:

Follytower Merrybrook Black Stormer (m, black, 1969)
– Sandylands Tandy (m, yellow, 1961)
– Sandylands Shadow (f, black, 1959)
– Diant Pride (f, yellow, < 1957)
– Poppleton Lieutenant (m, yellow, 1949)
– Poppleton Golden Sunray (f, yellow, < 1947)
– Poppleton Golden Major (m, yellow, < 1940)
– Poppleton Black Lancer (m, black, 1934)
– Haylers Danilo (m, black < 1932)
– Banchory Danilo (m, black, 1923)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).

Follytower Merrybrook Black Stormer

Route 3:

Fabracken Comedy Star (m, black, 1979)
Martin of Mardas (m, black, 1975)
– Ballyduff Marketeer (m, black, 1974)
– Sandylands Mark (m, black, 1965)
– Reanacre Mallardhurn Thunder (m, black, 1960)
– Mallardhurn Pat (f, yellow, < 1958)
– Poppleton Lieutenant (m, yellow, 1949)
– Poppleton Golden Sunray (f, yellow, < 1947)
– Poppleton Golden Major (m, yellow, < 1940)
– Poppleton Black Lancer (m, black, 1934)
– Haylers Danilo (m, black < 1932)
– Banchory Danilo (m, black, 1923)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).

Fabracken Comedy Star

Route 4:

– Olivia of Blaircourt (f, black, < 1954)
– Lawrie of Blaircourt (m, black, < 1952)
– Fiona of Blaircourt (f, black, < 1950)
– Treesholme Thunder (m, black, < 1948)
– Triumph of Treesholme (m, yellow, < 1946)
– Poppleton Golden Sherry (f, yellow, < 1944)
– Poppleton Golden Gleam (f, yellow, < 1942)
– Poppleton Golden Major (m, yellow, < 1940)
– Poppleton Black Lancer (m, black, 1934)
– Haylers Danilo (m, black < 1932)
– Banchory Danilo (m, black, 1923)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).

Martin of Mardas

Route 5:

– Pride of Craigavon (m, chocolate, < 1974)
– Taffy of Keithray (m, black, 1965)
Sandylands Tweed of Blaircourt (m, black, 1958)
– Ruler of Blaircourt (m, black, 1956)
– Olivia of Blaircourt (f, black, < 1954)
– Lawrie of Blaircourt (m, black, < 1952)
– Fiona of Blaircourt (f, black, < 1950)
– Treesholme Thunder (m, black, < 1948)
– Triumph of Treesholme (m, yellow, < 1946)
– Poppleton Golden Sherry (f, yellow, < 1944)
– Poppleton Golden Gleam (f, yellow, < 1942)
– Poppleton Golden Major (m, yellow, < 1940)
– Poppleton Black Lancer (m, black, 1934)
– Haylers Danilo (m, black < 1932)
– Banchory Danilo (m, black, 1923)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).

Sandylands Tweed of Blaircourt

Route 6:

– Cookridge Oscar (m, chocolate, < 1960)
– Bickerton Salmon Prince (m, yellow, < 1958)
– Blondie of Gloamin (f, yellow, < 1956)
– Raider of Gloamin (m, colour unknown, < 1954)
– Marquis of Gloamin (m, yellow, < 1944)
– Poppleton Golden Major (m, yellow, < 1940)
– Poppleton Black Lancer (m, black, 1934)
– Haylers Danilo (m, black < 1932)
– Banchory Danilo (m, black, 1923)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).

Munden Sentry

Route 7:

– Chocolate Lady (f, chocolate, < 1954)
– Harehope Bliss (m, black, 1936)
– Weston Bunty (f, black, < 1934)
– Adderley Tyke (m, black, 1929)
– Adderley Trim (f, black, 1927)
– Beningbrough Tanco (m, black, 1924)
– Banchory Corbie (m, black, 1921)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).

Route 8:

– Hiwood Mike (m, black, 1935), via Pettistree Dan (m, black, 1934)
– Quest of Wilbury (f, black, 1930)
– Muntham Raven (f, black, 1924)
– Banchory Corbie (m, black, 1921)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878),

via Pettistree Poppet (f, colour unknown, < 1933)
– Cransford Flapper (f, colour unknown, < 1931)
– Peter of Bircham (m, colour unknown, < 1930)
– Banchory Danilo (m, black, 1923)
– Banchory Bolo (m, black, 1915)
– Scandal of Glynn (m, black, < 1913)
– Shelag of Glynn (f, black, < 1911)
– Shelag (f, colour unknown, < 1909)
– Munden Sentry (m, black, 1900)
– Munden Sixty (m, black, 1897)
– Buccleuch Nith (m, black, 1891)
– Buccleuch Avon (m, black, 1885)
– Malmesbury Tramp (m, black, 1878).


I researched some 30 well known chocolate Labrador Retrievers without any known chocolate ancestors, and their pedigrees all fit in with one (or several) of the routes above. Please keep in mind that famous Labradors like Boothgates Headliner, Lindall Mollie Malone, Morningtown Stormette etc all descend from Morningtown Tobla (route 1).

Aroscas Chocolate Surprise: route 1, via Sandylands Mark.
Bradking Cassandra: route 2, directly and via Ardmargha Mad Hatter and Sandylands Mark.
Brendale Brown Betty: route 2 and 5.
Brentwoods Sweet Molly Brown: route 2, via Mardas Brandlesholme Sam’s Song.
Captain Kirk of Rangeways: route 1 and 2.

Castlemore Bramble: route 1 via Sandylands Mark, route 5 via Pride of Craigavon.
Charway Mattie Brown: route 3.
Charway Sally Brown: route 2.
Chocolate Lady: route 7, via Harehope Bliss.
Cookridge Oscar: route 6, via Bickerton Salmon Price.
Cookridge Tango: route 5, via Sandylands Tweed of Blaircourt.
Could Be’s Chestnut Wrangler: route 4, via Could Be’s Rusty Rock, Could Be’s Haven Rock, Indian Valley Rob Roy, Bart of Blaircourt and Rush of Blaircourt.
Follytower Brownthorn: route 2, via Charway Blackthorn of Follytower.

Castlemore Bramble

Gunfield’s Super Charger: route 8, via Shamrock Acres Super Drive, Super Chief, Paha Sapa Chief II, Freehaven Muscles, Grangemead Sharon.
Gunotter’s Chocolate Nip: route 5, via Harris Tweed of Ide and Sandylands Tweed of Blaircourt.
Haverhill’s Brown Belle: route 1, via Dickendall Flip Flop, Sandylands Midas and Reanacre Mallardhurn Thunder.
Ironwood Cocoa Mocha: route 8, via Del Tone Colvin, Cork of Oakwood Lane, Coastal Charger of Deer Creek, Little Pierre of Deer Creek.
Lawnwoods Chocolate Fudge: directly via route 2, and route 1 via Lawnwoods Tapestry and Reanacre Mallardhurn Thunder.

Gunfield’s Super Charger

Lawnwoods Hot Chocolate: route 2.
Lenches Chocolate Liquor: Route 1 via Lasgarn Ludovic and Sandylands Mark.
Loughderg Fiona: route 4, via Ruler of Blaircourt.
Marbra Leprechaun: route 2.
Pride of Craigavon: route 5.

Lawnwoods Hot Chocolate

Pumerang Connection With Stormley: route 2, the easy way via Harrop Black Jack, or take the detour via Stormley Lynx with Pumerang, Ravenshall Charmer at Stormley, Clayford Music At Midnight At Stormley, Lawnwoods Midnight Folly and Lawnwoods Fandango.
Roydwood Rowntree at Ravenshall: route 1 and 2, via Keithray Lucinda, Contessa of Keithray and Sandylands Tandy.
Simandem Sam Browne of Balrion: route 2, via Charway Blackthorn of Follytower.
Sorbus Brown Jay: route 5, via Alvgardens Sam, Alvgardens Jet, Alvgardens Flap, Sandylands Twanah and Sandylands Tweed of Blaircourt.
Tracers Sweet Georgia Brown: route 2, via Follytower Chevalier of Ranfurly and Follytower Augusta.
Waltham Galaxy of Condor: route 1, via Jayncourt Stormer and Sandylands Mark.
Whisky Creek Brown Buina: route 4, via Indian Valley Raed Wulf and Bart of Blaircourt.

Pumerang Connection With Stormley

Williston Brown Smith: route 1, via Sebastian of Anderscroft, Sandylands Midas and Reanacre Mallardhurn Thunder.

Williston Brown Smith

I’m pretty sure that at least 99% of all chocolate Labradors can be categorized using one of the 8 routes above.

Several routes can be taken to track the origin of chocolate Labs.

Wetherlam Nutcracker, ancestor of most of my chocs.

Jack Vanderwyk,
May 5, 2003

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)

Bringing your new puppy home is such an exciting time, but are you ready? Puppies need care and a lot of attention. It’s up to you to provide a safe environment. Check your house and buy your supplies before you bring your puppy home.

Here’s a checklist to help you get started!



Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a day or so after you’re scheduled to pick up your puppy.

Identify an emergency veterinarian as not all vets are available at night or on weekends.

If needed, find a reputable day care, puppy class and/or trainer.

Determine where the puppy will sleep, preferably in a crate to start.

Determine who will be primarily responsible for feeding and caring for the puppy. As the puppy starts to learn commands, be sure everyone uses the same command to not confuse the puppy.



Safety first! Get down at your puppy’s level and search for everything that could be potentially dangerous and for anything you don’t want chewed. Also be aware of anything your puppy could jump or climb on to reach higher.

Check every room in your house plus the yard, garage and any other buildings your puppy might be able to access.


In the house:

Check behind any furniture where your puppy could hide and block it off. Block access to under beds.

Protect electrical cords, TV and computer cables and electrical outlets. It’s very common for puppies to chew on wires, but it can be deadly. Don’t forget about remote controls.

Keep shoes and clothing picked up or behind closed closet doors.

Place all medication and supplements inside a cupboard well out of reach of your puppy’s best efforts. Those bottles might be “child proof”, but they won’t last long against puppy teeth.

Store all cleaning supplies in a cabinet secured with a cable or in a high cabinet that the puppy can’t climb. Don’t forget to put bars of soap, bottles of shampoo, makeup, razors, cotton balls, tissues, aftershave, perfume, etc out of reach.

Secure all trash containers with a puppy-proof lid or inside a cabinet.

Store decorations, candles, plug-in scented sprays out of reach or in a secured cabinet.

Store office supplies such as rubber bands, staples and paperclips in drawers or a secure cupboard.

Keep cigarettes, cigars and loose tobacco out of reach of puppies.

Check for toxic plants inside – and outside – of the house. Move them safely out of the puppy’s reach. Check for plants are poisonous for dogs.

If you have cats or other pets, move the litter box where the puppy can’t get to it.

Don’t forget to check every closet or cubbyhole.

If there is an area that just can’t be puppy proofed, use a quality baby gate and/or an exercise pen to keep him out.

Be vigilant about keeping everything put away, out of puppy’s reach.


Garage and yard:

Check for holes in or under your fencing and anything your puppy could climb in, on or under.

If you have a deck, place a barrier so the puppy can’t fall off or down the stairs.

Move all paint, pesticides, rodent poisons, cleaners, chemicals, bug spray, fertilizers, etc out of puppy’s reach – at least five feet off the floor – or in a secured cabinet.

Store tools and power equipment out of puppy’s reach.

Do the same with antifreeze, fuel and other car fluids. These may taste sweet to a puppy, but they are deadly.

If any trash cans don’t have a secure lid, place the can in a secure cupboard or out of puppy’s reach.

Check for plants that could be potentially toxic to your puppy using the link above. These items are also toxic:

  • pit fruits such as apricots, cherries, peaches, plums and avocados
  • garlic, onion and chives
  • grapes and currants
  • chili peppers
  • lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit
  • potatoes and tomatoes
  • rhubarb
  • tobacco
  • coffee grounds and tea bags

Move or place a puppy-proof barrier around any toxic plants.

Check everything a second time a day or so before you welcome your puppy home.



Now that you’ve found potential trouble spots, here are some products that might help.



For some reason, puppies are attracted to power cords. They’re small enough to fit in their mouths, easy to chew and potentially deadly.

Clear Electrical Wire Protector (Total 30 Feet)

Wire Loom Tubing To Protect Wires from Pets

Outlet Covers 38-Pack White Child Proof Electrical Plug Covers

Electrical Outlet Cover Box Childproof Large Plug Cover (Transparent)

Dual Fit Outlet Plug Cover White 2 Count


Securing cabinets and other areas:

Child Safety Strap Locks (10 Pack) White/Gray

Under Bed Couch Blocker for Pets 8 Pack 4.7″ High 126″ Long

Mom’s Choice Award – Metal Baby Gate, 29-48″ Extra Wide Pressure Mounted

Banister Guard Child Safety Net – 15ft x 3ft tall (white)

Outdoor Deck Rail Safety Net – 16ft x 38″ tall (black)



Now that your house is safe, what do you need for puppy?



Pet Thermometer Waterproof Fast and Accurate Measurements

Disposable Probe Covers for Thermometer, 50 Count

Pet Infrared Ear Thermometer for Dogs and Cats, Rechargeable ℃/℉


Collars and leashes:

If you must add tags to your puppy’s collar, tape them flat to the collar. Dangling tags can be caught in heat/AC vents, openings in crates and many other narrow openings. When that happens dogs will often fight against it and may twist to the point of strangulation.

Also, if you have more than one dog and they like to play – especially if they grab each other by the neck – remove the collars. Too many dogs have died of strangulation when they caught their lower jaw in another dog’s collar. Both will struggle and twist. And it happens fast. I had it happen. Both dogs wore quick-release collars, but one twist and one dog was choking while the other dog fought to get free. Had I not been 15 feet away when it happened, at least one dog would probably have died. My dogs no longer wear collars except when competing, however they are all microchipped.

Unless you have a short nose dog like a Pug or a dog with a slender head like a Greyhound, avoid using a harness. Harnesses can be hard to fit and a poorly-fitted harness can cause chafing or allow the dog to slip out. It should also be taken off when the dog doesn’t need to be on leash.

Reflective Multi-Colored Stripe Adjustable Dog Collar, Violet and River Blue, Medium, Neck 14.5″-20″

Avoid retractable leashes – “flexi-leads” – especially for puppies. More accidents seem to happen with these leashes. Even a small dog running toward an attraction can hit the end of the cord and snap the clasp or collar. When that happens the cord will quickly retract and possibly hit you or bystanders causing “broken teeth, due to the collar or metal clasp breaking and swinging back into your face.” Grabbing the cord or having it wrap around a hand or leg can lead to deep cuts and even amputation.

Reflective Multi-Colored Stripe Dog Leash with Soft & Comfortable Handle, 5 ft x 3/4″, Violet & River Blue

This is a better option than a flexi-lead. It adjusts to 3 lengths: 4, 5 and 7-1/2 feet. Clip it around your chest, waist or shoulder to free your hands. It’s available in a variety of colors.

Adjustable Dog Training Leash | Secure & Non-Slip Rubberized Nylon Grip Hands Free Dog Leash (Black)



I have some of these bowls. They’re almost indestructible, dishwasher safe and don’t move around like regular stainless steel bowls.

Deep Stainless Steel Anti-Slip Dog Bowls, Set of 2, Each Holds Up to 6 Cups

Another option if you have a fast eater is this slow feeder bowl. There are several design, color and size choices.

Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl, Slow Feeder Dog Bowl, Medium/Mini, Orange



Reasonably priced washable dog beds, sized to fit in crates. Medium for puppies and smaller Labs 30x20x3″. Large for an adult Lab 36x24x3″. Extra Large for a big, adult male Lab 48x24x3″.

Waterproof Dog Bed, Reversible, Removable Washable Cover & Waterproof Inner Lining – Medium

Probably best to wait on introducing a quality dog bed until your puppy is house-trained and past the teething stage. Otherwise these are outstanding dog beds.

Best Friends by Sheri The Original Calming Donut Cat and Dog Bed in Shag Fur Taupe, Extra Large 45×45 – big enough for adult dog



This is my go-to brush for Labs. It’s great for removing dirt and dead hair and the dogs love the attention.

Zoom Groom Dog Brush, Groom and Massage While Removing Loose Hair and Dead Skin – Blue

If your dog grows a thicker coat than the Zoom Groom can get through, this rake can go deeper to remove dead hair. Just use it gently.

Ergonomic Undercoat Pets Rake, Dog Dematting Brush

For young puppies you can use fingernail clippers to just cut the sharp hook off the end of each nail. Remember to do this every couple of weeks. Be careful of cutting too deep and making the nail bleed. As your puppy matures, switch to a dog nail clipper.

Dog Nail Clippers Safety Guard and Nail File

For some dogs who have learned to fear nail trimming, here is a smooth and quiet clipper.

Dog Nail Trimmer for Anxiety Sensitive Dog, Quiet Sharpest Smoothest Dog Nail Clippers

4 Pack Dog Toothbrush for Dog Teeth Cleaning Dog Finger Toothbrush

The cleanest teeth I’ve ever seen belonged to dogs fed a raw meat and bones diet. This is likely due to the chewing involved, but also because of the enzymes in the meat. Another option is brushing their teeth with an enzymatic toothpaste.

Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs and Cats (Poultry)

Burt’s Bees for Puppies Natural Tearless 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner



Don’t skip crate training! It makes house training easier and will help in an emergency, such as a fire, tornado or flooding especially if you have to transport your dog or place him in a boarding kennel.

For a puppy, set up a wire crate with the divider panel positioned so he can stand up, lie down, turn around, and stretch. Don’t make it any bigger because he will likely potty in one end and sleep in the other. Gradually move the divider to give the puppy more space as he grows.

To help with crate training, place the crate close enough so the puppy can see you, but not in a busy area. Watch for when he’s starting to tire and place him in the crate so there’s less resistance. Add a puppy blanket and a toy in the crate with him.

Double Door Dog Crate, Includes 2 Doors, Leak-Proof Pan, Floor Protecting Feet and Divider Panel – 36″

You can get a plastic airline-type crate instead, but they don’t generally have a divider. Instead you will have to block off part of a bigger crate or buy a few crates in different sizes. There are generally used ones for sale on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, just be sure to clean a used crate well.

For people who cannot take their new puppy out to potty every 2-3 hours, you can set up an area with access to the outside or to a litter box or doggy lawn. Surround the area with an exercise pen and clip it to a crate to help keep it from moving around. Or use a baby gate to partition a room.

This is an excellent exercise pen for occasional use such as while traveling or attending competitions. However it’s probably not suitable for a puppy without supervision as it can be tipped over. It folds to about 24 x 30 x 3″

Foldable Metal Dog Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen, 24″W x 30″H

After a bit of training, this pen could be used for a puppy left alone for awhile. It is made of heavier construction with additional features:

  • automatic gravity lock design ensures you can open and close the door smoothly and reduce the chance of your dog unlocking it
  • Muffler Tube installed on the rings can minimize any noise caused by the rattling of the rods or panels
  • Anti-slip silicone pads installed on the stakes and the bottom of the panels provide friction to reduce the possibility of the pen being pushed down and can prevent the stakes from scratching your floors

HomePlus Playpen Designed for Indoor Use 32″H 8 panels

Here’s a waterproof tarp for under an exercise pen – indoors or outdoors.

Heavy Duty Poly Tarp – 8′ x 10′ – 10 Mil Thick Waterproof

Puppies seem to like these grass mats more than pee pads, however they require cleaning while the pee pads can be thrown away.

Grass Mat with Tray, Complete Potty System for Indoor/Outdoor Puppy Training, Reusable Pet Litter Box 23×19″

Puppy Pad Holder Tray – Silicone, 24 x 24″

Super Absorbent Pee Pads for Dogs, Leak-Proof


Clean up:

Time-tested style of pooper scooper. Metal. Requires two hands – one to hold the tray and one to use the scraper or rake.

Pooper Scooper, Extra Large with Long Handle, Metal Poop Tray and Rake Set

Newer style with one-handed operation and spring-loaded clam shell pickup. Handle folds in half.

Pet Pooper Scooper for Dogs and Cats with Long Handle

Zero Odor – Pet Odor Eliminator – Permanently Eliminate Air & Surface Odors

Go Here Attractant Indoor and Outdoor Dog Training Spray

Amazon Basics Unscented Standard Dog Poop Bags with Dispenser and Leash Clip, 13 x 9 Inches, Black – 20 Rolls (300 Bags)



First off, here are several treats and toys to avoid:

  • Rope toys can be dangerous – if they’re too small, the dog might swallow it whole, ropes labeled as indestructible or cotton-blend likely contain indigestible nylon and/or polyester and, unlike other things puppies might swallow, long strands of rope can get tangled in your dog’s stomach or intestines.
  • Toys small enough to get stuck in their throat are a choking hazard.
  • Rawhide treats are not digestible and, if your dog swallows a large piece whole it could cause choking or an obstruction. Also they are often coated with toxic chemicals.
  • Cooked bones are usually very hard and brittle. They can cause a broken tooth, cuts or obstructions in the dog’s mouth, throat and digestive system, and round bones can get stuck around the lower jaw.
  • Although some people swear by Greenies, they do pose a risk of intestinal blockage and possible death despite the claim of being “highly digestible.” Instead you might try a single-ingredient chew such as pig, cow or lamb ears, duck or chicken feet, beef trachea or tendon or bullysticks. Because of their natural origins, you may want to give them as outdoor treats.
  • Avoid tennis balls as the fuzz will wear down teeth, they can get stuck in your dog’s throat and strong chewers may swallow the fuzz and/or parts of a split ball which can lead to an obstruction. It’s better to give your dog a ball specifically designed for dogs and big enough to prevent a choking hazard.

Here are a few treats and chews we like:

N-Bone Puppy Teething Rings Chicken Flavor Dog Treat, 6 count bag, 7.2-oz

SPOFLY Puppy Teething Chew Toys, Freezable Puppy Teething Toy, 1 Teething Ring 1 Teething Bone Freezable Dog Chew Toys Set (Blue)

KONG – Puppy Toy Natural Teething Rubber – Fun to Chew, Chase and Fetch – for Medium Puppies – Pink

Best Pet Supplies Crinkle Dog Toy for Small, Medium, and Large Breeds, Cute No Stuffing Duck with Soft Squeaker

Multipet Plush Dog Toy, Lambchop, 10″, White/Tan, Small

iHeartDogs Heartbeat Puppy Toy – Comfort Cuddler Pillow – Dog Anxiety Toy

HOUNDGAMES Puppy Toy Mat with Teething Chew Toys (20” x 20”) Ropes, Squeaker, Plush Foam Bed, Durable

BoniVet Bully Stick Holder for Dogs, Chew Holder, Prevent Choking Safety Device



Several years ago, factories in China added wheat gluten adulterated with melamine to pet food and treats as a cheap way to boost the protein percent. Many animals died after eating these foods. Since then other products from China, including milk, ice cream and canned coffee drinks, have tested positive for melamine. It’s probably best to avoid any food products made in China.

For other things to avoid, check out People Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Eat.

We feed Dynamite Super Premium dog food.

From their website at
“A superior kibble free of the common allergens corn and wheat is made with fresh, hand-trimmed USDA chicken. It also contains chicken cartilage that is rich in natural glucosamine. On top of that our Super Premium contains prebiotics and probiotics to aid digestion.

“Made with minimal processing to help preserve the natural goodness of the ingredients, our small-batch recipe is not baked. Instead, we use state-of-the-art technology that utilizes a low-temperature, high-moisture extrusion. This method assures all starch is cooked and minimal damage occurs to the proteins.”

We also give DynaPro:
“Canine health depends on a thriving population of beneficial gut microbes. Factors such as stress, diet changes, chemical wormers, vaccinations, and antibiotics will cause a dog’s gut to become an unfriendly environment and will force microbes to go dormant. Dyna Pro is designed to create the ideal conditions for good microbes to come out of dormancy, multiply, and thrive so your dog gets optimal utilization of food and supplements, resulting in a vibrant animal!”

An alternative food is Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food.



Kasa Indoor Pan/Tilt Smart Security Camera, 1080p HD Dog Camera 2.4GHz with Night Vision, Motion Detection for Baby and Pet Monitor, Cloud & SD Card Storage, Works with Alexa & Google Home (EC70)

Petcube Cam Indoor Wi-Fi Pet and Security Camera with Phone App, Pet Monitor with 2-Way Audio and Video, Night Vision, 1080p HD Video and Smart Alerts for Ultimate Home Security



Take a towel or a small blanket to wrap puppy in for the drive home. Also a roll of paper towels, a plastic bag and a spray cleaner for any accidents on the way.

Take puppy’s new collar and leash. Buy them before going to pick up your puppy. You shouldn’t be taking him into any stores or to any parks or other public places until he has at least his second set of vaccines. Check with the breeder for correct size.

Put out a fresh bowl of water. Feed your puppy three times a day for the first couple of months. Pick up the food bowl after 15 minutes, whether he’s finished eating or not. Allowing your puppy to nibble any time of day will start a bad habit. One cup of food at each meal should be about the right amount for a Labrador or similar size dog. Check with your breeder if you have questions.

Keep the toilet lid closed if you use any cleaners.

Don’t use a flea collar, sprays or any other pesticides except on your veterinarian’s advice and preferably not until your puppy is at least four months old.

Don’t have other dogs over to meet your puppy until his vaccinations are completed.

Lastly, be sure to have your veterinarian’s phone number posted by the phone!

What Is PRA In Labradors?

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease that affects eyesight in Labrador Retrievers and several other breeds. It causes degeneration of the retina which is where light is changed into electrical signals and sent to the brain.

PRA is not painful but affected dogs will go blind.



There are several forms of PRA in dogs, and Labs have the prcd-PRA form. The PRCD part stands for progressive rod-cone degeneration and is caused by a mutation in the PRCD gene.

Affected puppies are born with normal retinas, but over time the cells break down which causes the blindness. When that happens varies however it often starts when they’re about three to five years old.

The rod cells – helpful with night vision and motion detection – generally break down first. The cone cells – helpful with color detection – will break down next, ending with complete blindness.

You may not notice it right away because dogs adjust very well. It is more noticeable after dark or when the dog is away from home. Some signs include:

  •  bumping into things
  •  hesitating to use stairs
  •  seeming disoriented
  •  reluctant to go outside after dark
  •  dilated pupils



PRA is a preventable genetic problem.

Annual eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist can detect a variety of eye problems. Early detection may make a difference in some diseases.

However, you can have your dog tested with a simple test. Get a few sterile swabs (they look like a long q-tip). Wait an hour after your dog has eaten, then wash your hands and position the swab between his cheek and gums. Swirl it ten times and place the swab back in the packaging. Repeat with another swab inside the other cheek. Package and mail the swabs to a laboratory that does genetic testing for dogs.

I use DDC and like that they’re polite, fast, and reasonably priced. They offer a variety of genetic tests, and you can do several tests or just one at a time. They’ll also send you a packet of swabs if needed.

About two weeks later, you’ll get an email with the results. Dogs that are clear of the mutated gene are not at risk and will pass clear genes to their puppies. Labs having one copy of the mutated gene are not at risk but may pass that gene to puppies. Labs having two copies of the mutated gene will gradually go blind, and all of their puppies will have at least one copy of that gene. There is no cure.

If you plan to breed your dog, this is one of the tests you should do. Finding out whether your dog is clear, a carrier, or affected will help avoid producing puppies with prcd-PRA. An exception would be if both of your dog’s parents were tested clear AND you have copies of those results.

Prevention is as easy as choosing at least one parent tested clear of PRA.



If your dog has two copies of the mutated gene, he will gradually go blind. Dogs generally accept it much better than people do, but you’ll want to help him cope anyway.

Be aware that blind dogs may become disoriented and anxious. Losing sight can also reduce his quality of life if he can’t do some of the things he enjoyed doing.

Start helping him by fencing off potentially dangerous areas, such as:

  •  long flights of stairs, indoors and outdoors
  •  holes and steep slopes
  •  cactus and other similar plants

If you have any remodeling plans, try to finish that while your dog can still see. Do the same with rearranging furniture.

You may notice he doesn’t see as well in dim light. If so, provide additional lighting if you can.

Keep your dog’s bowls and crate or bed in the same spots.

Add tactile and/or scent clues so he can find his way. For example, add throw rugs in front of furniture and gravel or wood chips in front of bushes. Spray a particular scent near his bowls and another scent on his bed. Always use those same scents in each location.

If he likes toys, get some that make sounds. A giggle ball can be particularly fun.

And best of all, talk to your dog. He may jump if he doesn’t know you’re about to touch him, so talk or make some noise first. When calling him to come to you, don’t just say it once, continue speaking so he can find you. He can also learn cue words, such as “watch out” and “step”, to help him navigate.



Even if your dog has been tested for PRA, an annual eye exam is a good idea. Other conditions can affect vision and overall eye health.

Some of the most common eye problems in Labs include:

  •  Cataracts: a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can cause vision problems or blindness. Labs are prone to developing juvenile cataracts, which appear before the dog is a year old.
  •  Retinal Dysplasia: a developmental disorder that affects the retina, and can cause vision problems or blindness. This is another hereditary condition in Labs.
  •  Corneal Dystrophy: a group of genetic disorders that affect the cornea, which can cause vision problems or corneal ulcers. Labs can be affected by epithelial/stromal corneal dystrophy.
  •  Glaucoma: a condition that causes increased pressure within the eye, which can damage the optic nerve and cause blindness. Labs are prone to developing glaucoma.
  •  Entropion: a condition where the eyelashes rub against the eye and cause irritation. Labs are prone to developing entropion.

Dr. Becker Discusses Blindness in Pets


PRA is a significant health concern in Labs. There is currently no cure for PRA, but genetic testing is quick and easy.

If you’re planning to breed your dog, have him or her tested. Ensure at least one potential parent is clear of PRA.

If you’re considering buying a puppy, check if the parents have been tested clear. Check for proof, not just that they’ve been cleared by the local vet.

No dog should go blind because of PRA.

The Silver Labrador Myth

Can you tell which is a purebred Weimaraner and which is a ‘Silver Lab’?

Years ago it was really hard to tell a silver from a Weimaraner. Unless you looked at the tail. In the US, Weimaraners have their tails docked to six inches. Other countries have outlawed cropping ears and docking tails, so looking at the tail in those locations is not helpful.

Over time, silver breeders have bred their dogs to purebred Labs so the silvers are looking more Lab-like. And they decided to lie and declare their mixed-breed dog are purebred Labradors. This is the silver Lab myth.



The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland and the early dogs were black. Some had white markings from the St John’s dog.

Several of these dogs were imported to England and Scotland during 1800s. Impressed by their retrieving desire and overall work in the field, wealthy sportsmen imported more dogs and began breeding them.

The majority of these dogs were black, but breeders documented an occasional brown or yellow puppy. But black was – and still is – the most common color.


According to the Factual Review by Margaret Wilson, “There was never any mention in the meticulous and exhaustive breeding records, whelping logs, descriptions of markings colors, etc., and stud books kept by gentlemen of unimpeachable integrity of any dog being produced that was, in fact or in fantasy, a dilute. Not in ANY of the retriever breeds developed from the St. John’s dog during that time in Great Britain. The dilute allele was introduced after the establishment of the recognized breeds. In the case of the Labrador this introduction occurred in the USA during the latter part of the 20th century.”

Because a variety of breeds were crossed with Labs early in their history, occasionally a mismark will pop up. Some have tan markings like a Doberman, some are brindle like a Great Dane, some are splashed with white. These mismarks are rare, but they do still occur. Unlike the ‘silver Labs’ these dogs are considered purebred Labs.

Interestingly there was no mention of ‘silver Labs’ until the mid-1900s. And for years after that they were only found in the US. There were none in the United Kingdom until 2006 when some silvers were exported from the US. If these dogs really were purebred Labradors they should have appeared a long time ago in the breed’s home country.

So where did this color come from?

Most likely from the Weimaraner which comes “in shades of mouse-gray to silver-gray” per the breed standard. Every dog of this breed has two copies of the recessive dilution gene (“dd”) which gives them the silvery color.

Labs, however, do not have the dilution gene. A purebred Lab is “DD” which means they have two copies of the dominant, non-dilute gene.

Breeding Labs with Weimaraners will produce dogs with normal Lab colors, however they will all carry the dilute gene (“Dd”). Breeding these dogs together can produce dogs that don’t carry the dilute gene and dogs that carry one copy of that gene. These dogs will have normal Lab colors. However that cross can also produce dogs that have two copies of the dilute gene (“dd”) with diluted colors.

The dilute colors have been named “charcoal”, “silver” and “champagne.” These dogs often have a lavender cast to the coat and light greenish eyes, both traits from the Weimaraner.

When and how did ‘silver Labs’ appear?

Just about every ‘silver Lab’ can be traced back to two breeders – Crist Culo Kennels and Beaver Creek Labradors. They gained notoriety in the mid-1980s. Neither has a current website. There is also mention of a magazine advertisement for “rare gray Labradors” that appeared sometime in the 1950s. Although it’s mentioned over and over again, no one has been able to produce a copy. They can’t even even agree on which magazine it appeared in. Perhaps it’s just a legend like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

In 1987 the American Kennel Club (“AKC”) investigated a litter of silver puppies. After looking at the puppies and paperwork they decided “there was no reason to doubt that the dogs were purebred Labrador Retrievers.” That statement is not the same as saying the dogs were purebred. Rather it meant they had no proof the dogs were of mixed parentage. Genetic testing would likely have proven the records were falsified, but without it they relied on the breeder’s word. Read on to learn about his veracity.

Crist Culo Kennels

Dean Crist appears to be the first person to market ‘silver Labs’ and was adamant that they were purebred Labs. He even boasted that he “offered $100,000 to anyone who could simply prove” he was cross-breeding to produce ‘silver Labs.’ It was a safe bet without genetic testing. When testing did become available, it could only show whether a particular dog was a parent of a specific puppy. It couldn’t prove anything about the first cross-breeding.

The dogs at Crist Culo Kennels were intensely inbred – mother to son, father to daughter, brother to sister. This was most likely done to increase the number of dogs carrying the dilute gene and thus his profit margin.

Half-truths, at best

On his website this breeder claimed “… there is also little doubt AKC will eventually have to concede to the growing public pressure to make Silver a recognized color for Labs in America.” I guess he didn’t know that AKC doesn’t have the power to make silver a recognized color of Labradors. The Labrador Retriever Club (“LRC”), as the parent club for Labs in the US, is in control of the breed standard and does not recognize any dog with a dilute color as a purebred Lab.

He also claimed that “…kennel clubs around the world (who do not have the political pressure from mercenary American breeders of ‘normal’ color Labs) already accept Silver Labs without all the political fuss and pressure being applied to AKC.” The truth is, except for AKC, no kennel club, anywhere, accepts “silver Labs” as purebred.

And despite numerous breedings of ‘silver Labs’, he claimed “Genetically speaking, Charcoal Labs are silver factored Yellow Labs.” When in fact dilute yellow Labs are a pale yellow with a lavender cast to their coat and “charcoal Labs” are diluted black Labs.

In more hyperbole, he claimed “Chocolate Labs were both controversial and rare in the U.S. in the early ‘80s.” Although not as common as black Labs, they were not controversial nor rare and many champions were chocolate:

  • Am Mex CH Gunfields Super Charger CD WC (born 1969),
  • CH Wingmasters Cobe of Mandigo CD (born 1972),
  • CH Shamrock Acres Coco Bo (born 1974),
  • CH Mallards Brown Spinner (born 1974, great great grandmother of NFC AFC Storm’s Riptide Star),
  • CH Shamrock Acres Pot of Fudge CDX (born 1975),
  • CH Wingmaster’s Swiss Ms CD (born 1977),
  • CH Wingmasters Chisim Trail (born 1979),
  • FC Mueller’s Stormy Canada (born 1980),
  • CH Marshview’s Danick Big Bang CD (born 1980),
  • CH Simerdowns Charley Brown CD (born 1980),
  • CH Fantasy’s O’Malley CD (born 1983).

Saddest of all is that he claimed “sensitive skin or allergies … occur at the same frequency in Silver Labs as they occur in Chocolate Labs” and blamed puppy buyers for feeding a poor diet. In fact ‘silver Labs’ are commonly afflicted with color dilution alopecia, a genetic disorder in which the dog loses most or all of its hair. It’s not curable and is associated with the dilute color.

Although he has retired from breeding, other breeders of ‘silver Labs’ continue to spread his false information.

Beaver Creek Labradors

This kennel showed up in the 1990s – about 10 years after Crist Culo. They practiced less intense line breeding – using distant relatives – compared with the inbreeding done at Crist Culo Kennels. According to Crist, this kennel culled silver puppies until they saw him advertising ‘silver Labs’ for sale. He volunteered to sell the puppies for them so they could, apparently, avoid the backlash of cross breeding. Eventually they chose to market their own puppies.

Other breeders fell to the ‘shiny object syndrome.’ Some sourced their first dogs from early breeders, while others decided to breed their own ‘silver Labs.’ At least one was caught falsifying records and was suspended from AKC.


There are a variety of stories told to explain the sudden appearance of “silver Labs” in the 1980s.

Some silver breeders point to gray puppies noted by Mary Roslin-Williams, however they only included the part that makes it seem like ‘silver Labs’ have been around for many years. What they didn’t share is that when those puppies shed their puppy coat they were black. Not silver, not charcoal.

A Dutch researcher created a database of Labs and traced most silver pedigrees back to two dogs from a large mid-western kennel. However he failed to mention that to register Labrador x Weimaraner puppies with the AKC, a false name and registration number from a Lab had to be used in place of the actual Weimaraner parent as noted in the recipe below. The dogs he pointed to were likely the “parents” only on paper.

Another oft-repeated myth is that the level of inbreeding at the Culo kennel resulted in the silver color. Rather the tremendous amount of inbreeding in these early silvers suggests producing the silver color was deliberate.

It only took one fraudulent breeding to introduce the dilution gene to the Lab breed and then lots of inbreeding to develop a line of ‘silver Labs.’ Since then there have been many more fraudulent registrations of Labrador x Weimaraner crosses registered as purebred Labs.

Interesting how there were no ‘silver Labs’ until the mid-1900s. And for years after that they were only found in the US. There were none in the UK until many years later. The silvers there were all imported from the US or descended from imports. You would think if these dogs really are purebred Labradors that they would have shown up a long time ago in the breed’s home country.


It’s not hard to make your own ‘silver Lab’ bloodline, but it will take at least three dogs and two generations. Oh, and if the AKC catches you, plan on at least a lengthy suspension.

Step One:

If you have full registration for a Lab male and a Lab female plus access to a male Weimaraner, you could breed the Weimaraner to the Lab female and fraudulently claim the puppies’ father is the Lab male. With the vast number of puppies registered every year, AKC can’t check each and every litter.

Every puppy in this cross-bred litter will carry the dilute gene, but won’t have the dilute-colored coat.

Step Two:

When the puppies are old enough, breed them together. Yes, brother to sister. Just like the Crist Culo Kennels did. Statistically, their litters should be about 25% dd (dilute color), 25% DD (non-dilute) and 50% Dd (dilute carriers). The colors you get will depend on the color of the Lab grandmother. If she was a chocolate, you should have some ‘silvers.’

Step Three:

To “prove” these dogs are purebred Labs, buy AKC DNA kits and test the parents and puppies of this second generation. AKC is a registration body and will register any puppy when both parents are AKC registered and of the same breed. They don’t care if the puppy is pink with purple polka dots. The DNA is only to check whether a particular puppy could have been sired by a particular male and out of a particular female. They don’t check any farther back.

Congratulations! You have now committed fraud and potentially introduced additional health issues to the Labrador Retriever breed.

* Note: I do not condone fraud. This “recipe” is only to show how easy it is for crossbred dogs to contaminate a breed. And it is happening in many breeds, not just the Labrador Retriever.

However, not all crossbreeding is bad. In the Dalmation there is a problem with high levels of uric acid in their urine which can cause an obstruction. This problem is called hyperuricosuria (HU). Dalmations around the world were tested and all had HU, although it is rare in other breeds.

The Dalmatian/Pointer Backcross Project started by crossbreeding to a Pointer, a breed that does not have HU. After several generations of breeding back into Dalmations, the AKC accepted these dogs into the registry as Dalmatians. However it was another 30 years before a genetic test was available to determine which dogs carried the recessive HU gene and which were clear.

Why provide such a recipe?

To prove a point. Many people rely on the findings of that Dutch man who collected Labrador pedigrees. Developing the database was a wonderful undertaking. Tracing the dilute gene in his database and claiming it came from two dogs that were bred by a mid-western kennel was not.

As in the recipe above, the Lab males contributed NO genes to the puppies and grandpuppies. They were only listed as the fathers so the first-generation puppies could be AKC registered as purebred Labs. The male Weimaraner actually provided the genes.

Claiming those two dogs were the source of the dilute gene has cast doubt on the hundreds of actual descendants of those dogs.


‘Silver Labs’ are prone to color dilution alopecia which is a painful and chronic condition linked to the dilute gene. Dogs appear normal as puppies, but at about six months begin to lose their hair. Some dogs may only have bald spots while others may lose all of their hair. Affected dogs may develop infections and granulomas which are the body’s attempt to wall off foreign bodies. There is no cure.

Read about a lady who believed the hype that the dilute gene was “inherent in the Lab gene pool” and that silvers didn’t have any health issues. Sadly her experience (and the experience of many others) was very different from what she was told. Her dog didn’t lose some hair; she was hairless. Not knowing any better back then, the lady bred her silver and produced puppies with allergy and coat problems.


“The overwhelming consensus among breed experts from legitimate Labrador clubs, the position of these accredited Labrador clubs, and a growing number of recognized purebred dog registries, is that the dilutes are the result of a cross breeding, with Weimaraner being the source of the dilute allele, and are therefore not registerable in a purebred registry.” LRC_News_Spring2018.pdf

In addition, the breed standards for Labrador Retrievers around the world only recognize the colors of black, chocolate and yellow. AKC lists any other color as a disqualification. Labs with the diluted color cannot be shown. Some countries do not allow them to be bred.

The Labrador Retriever Club (US)

The Labrador Retriever Club Inc is the parent club for the breed in the US and they are the liaison to the AKC. They do not condone the breeding of ‘silver Labs’ and have “good evidence in scientific literature indicating that the Labrador has never been identified as carrying the dilute gene…”

In other words, these dogs are not purebred Labradors.

The United Kennel Club and Hunting Retriever Club

The UKC standard is clear. Any color or combination of colors other than yellow, black, or chocolate is a disqualification. UKC does not recognize any form of silver coloration as a variation of the chocolate color and UKC does not and has not knowingly accepted registrations for Labradors that have a silver coat coloring.

Further they are not eligible to run in HRC hunt tests because the tests are only open to ‘gun dog’ breeds and dilutes are not considered purebred Labradors. They can participate in other UKC performance events, but must be neutered.

Great Britain

Dilute colors in Labradors are not recognized


Not a breed standard recognized color for Labrador Retrievers

The Netherlands

Dilute colors are not naturally occurring in Labradors. Breeding dilute Labs is banned.

New Zealand

At least one parent must be clear of the dilute allele.


Dilute Labradors may not be registered.

American Kennel Club

On the other hand, the AKC is a registration body. It’s position is if two dogs have full registration and are ‘registered’ as the same breed, they will register their puppies.


Had the early silver breeders been truthful about what they were doing there would probably have been some backlash, but not to the extent caused by the lies. What I – and most Labrador breeders – object to is calling these dogs ‘silver Labradors’ when they clearly have Weimaraner characteristics above and beyond the silver color. It’s particularly noticeable in the head, ear shape and eye color. Many ‘silver Lab’ breeders are now trying to breed to better quality Labradors to improve the look of their dogs. I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen.

Too many lies have been told and too much false information has been spread by these ‘silver Lab’ breeders. It’s time to ferret out every one of these cross bred dogs and stop calling them Labrador Retrievers. The LRC has offered to help them set up their own breed, but the silver breeders have refused. If they don’t want to have their own breed, so be it. Strip the AKC registration of every one of these crossbred dogs and see the breeders’ profits plummet.

As the name suggests, dogs with Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) may collapse after several minutes of strenuous exercise.



It is found mainly in Labrador, Chesapeake Bay and Curly Coated Retrievers, and Boykin Spaniels. Similar genes occur in other breeds – Cocker spaniels, German wire-haired pointers, Old English Sheepdogs, Bouvier des Flandres, Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Clumber Spaniels.

Originally the disease seemed to be limited to field-bred Labradors, however, it is also in conformation, service and pet bloodlines. It can affect both males and females and, in Labs, all three colors.

It can also occur in mixed breeds, such as doodles and dilutes, that have genetics from one of the affected breeds.

Collapsing due to EIC is most often seen in excitable, very fit dogs with lots of drive. It usually only takes a few minutes of strenuous exercise to cause a collapse which starts in the rear legs – wobbling and often crossing before they stop working. The dog will try to continue running with its front legs while dragging the rear legs.

Some dogs have died while exercising or while resting immediately after an EIC episode. Therefore it’s important to stop all exercise and cool the dog down at the first sign of an episode.

Other EIC affected dogs have never experienced a collapse. This might be because they are not an excitable dog or don’t participate in strenuous activities.

Here is a video from the University of Minnesota where they are researching EIC.


Symptoms may not be triggered until young dogs – about seven months to two years – start heavy training.

Common triggers, especially when combined:

  • excessive excitability
  • strenuous exercise such as repetitive retrieving, intense play, upland bird hunting, long-distance running
  • higher temperatures and humidity than the dog is used to

Often the first signs are a rocking gait, followed by weakness in the back legs, sometimes to the point of dragging their legs. Dogs may stand with their feet further apart or pick them up higher than normal.

As the collapse progresses, the dog may drag their back legs while running with the front legs. Or they might fall over while trying to run.

Most dogs are alert, but may seem confused. Some dogs may still try to run and their front legs might be stiff. Or they may not be able to move their head and legs. They don’t seem to be in pain. Body temperature is often high.

Symptoms may worsen for a few minutes, but after 10-20 minutes the dog should start returning to normal. It may take longer for their body temperature to return to normal.

In extreme cases, there could be seizures and even death.



Researchers found a gene that appears to be the main cause of EIC. If a dog has two copies of the affected gene, it is at risk of collapsing. These dogs are called ‘affected.’ If a dog has two copies of the normal gene, they are not at risk of collapsing due to EIC. They are called ‘clear.’ If a dog has one copy of the affected gene and one copy of the normal gene, they are called ‘carriers.’

A carrier is not at risk of collapsing due to EIC, however, they may pass the affected gene to their puppies. Therefore it’s important to never breed a carrier with an affected or to another carrier. Doing so will likely produce some affected puppies.

However this may not be the entire story. There are some dogs with two copies of the affected gene that have never collapsed. Some dogs may be just more laid back and don’t reach the level of excitement to trigger a collapse.

Or there may be another gene that modifies the affected gene. If such a gene exists, it may cause some dogs to collapse more often than other dogs. Or it may help protect some dogs from collapsing at all.

Or there may be something in how the dog is fed, exercised, or trained that changes their susceptibility.



A genetic test is available to identify the gene that causes exercise induced collapse.

Because EIC is caused by a recessive gene, both of a dog’s parents must carry at least one copy of the gene for a dog to be affected. About 30% of tested Labradors carry the gene.

If you’re buying a puppy or dog, make sure at least one parent is clear of EIC. Or you can have the puppy itself tested. The test is simple – just three swabs between the cheek and gum. Make sure the dog hasn’t eaten anything for at least an hour. Wash your hands and keep the dog separated from other dogs until you’ve finished swabbing – twice on one side and once on the other side. Place the swabs back into the packaging and into an envelope to send to the lab. There are more extensive directions and a link to the lab I use on the CNM page.

Provided one parent is clear, the worst the puppy can be is a carrier (one copy of the gene). Carriers won’t suffer EIC collapses, make fine pets and even competition dogs. However if they are bred, it should only be to a dog that has been tested clear of EIC.

Many top competition dogs carry one copy of the EIC gene, so don’t let that stop you from choosing the best dog for you.

Better conditioning and avoiding strenuous exercise during warmer weather may help prevent collapsing. Many affected dogs can tolerate mild to moderate exercise. The high-energy, excitable dogs may need to be removed from training.



The best treatment for most dogs affected by EIC is avoiding known trigger activities, especially when they are combined with extreme excitement and warmer-than-normal weather.

Most dogs that are retired from activities that trigger collapsing can live out their lives without problems. However, it’s still a good idea to be aware and stop all of the dog’s activity at the first sign of weakness. If the dog seems overheated, you can also lightly spray it with cool water to bring down its temperature.

Keep your veterinarian informed if your dog does have an episode. She may want to do some tests to confirm your dog is otherwise fine.



Overheating (this can be an emergency)

  • frantic panting, increased heart rate, extreme drooling, labored breathing, bright red membranes
  • may be dizzy and appear confused
  • may collapse and/or experience seizures
  • may vomit and/or have diarrhea

CNM (learn more)

  • gait abnormalities
  • generalized weakness
  • tires easily
  • muscle wasting
  • symptoms usually develop as a puppy (2-5 months old)
  • once the symptoms develop they are almost constant

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