Posts Categorised: Labs

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

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



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

Training Greatness

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

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

Handling Expertise

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

Soupy had a good trainer and good handlers.

Superb Genetics

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

Add in two crosses each to:

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

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

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

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

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

Click to see his 5-generation pedigree.



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

Some of his offspring include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Shamrock Acres Juego de Azar
Granddam of FC AFC River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky

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

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

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

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

* FC Shamrock Acres Super Value 1998 Hall of Fame

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

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

And several more titled offspring.

Is Soupy in our pedigrees? Yes, many times.

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

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

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



Shed was born in 1939 and bred by William Averell Harriman, Arden kennels.

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

Paul Bakewell III of Deer Creek Kennels owned Shed. He had him originally on a trial basis from Arden Kennels.


First National Championship

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

Madison, Wisconsin hosted the National on December 4-6, 1942. The weather was as expected for Wisconsin in winter. “The Yahara River and adjoining marshes which ordinarily afforded everything desired for water tests were frozen solid, the first time in 40 years. This necessitated moving the water tests to the University of Wisconsin property along the shores of Lake Mendota. Heavy ice floes made it dangerous for dogs to get into the water. Several refused to enter, others only after repeated commands. …

“Even the land presented problems. Many falls were buried in deep snow. It was a rugged trial for dogs, judges and trial personnel.” The National Retriever Field Club, 1941-1960

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

At the time of the stake, Shed had already finished his field and show/bench championships making him a Dual Champion.

Second National Championship

Shed won the National Championship again the next year, 1943, handled by CH Wallace because Lt. Bakewell couldn’t get leave.

This time Bourbon, Missouri hosted the stake on December 3-5, 1943. Twenty dogs started – 15 Labs and five Golden Retrievers. It took 12 series to determine the winner between two dogs – Shed and a Golden named FC Stilrovin Super Speed. Both dogs were owned by Lt. Bakewell.

Pictured: Mrs. Bakewell with Shed and handler CH Wallace.


Third National Championship

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

Fourth National Championship

In 1946, Shed reclaimed his crown. The National Championship was held at Crab Orchard Lake, Herrin, Illinois on December 6-8. The grounds were good, as was the weather. Herrin is located in a coal mining area and, at the time of the National, the mines were on strike. “… the gallery was augmented by many hundred miners who came to see the event. Some estimated the gallery at 10,000. Traffic presented a bit of a problem.” The National Retriever Field Club, 1941-1960

Twenty dogs started the stake and eight finished, including several handled by amateurs.

Pictured: Paul Bakewell accepting the championship trophy for Shed’s third win.


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

“Scoronine led the field until the last day, then refused to plunge into the 45° water. (Shed had won his first U.S. championship on a day that was 16° below. ) Now it was Shed’s turn.

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

“… One-third of the way across, Shed’s black head turned at a whistle from Bakewell to get directions. He entered the cattails just six feet from where the mallard was hidden, sniffed for a second, found his bird. A few minutes later, Shed did it again, and won his third U.S. championship.” Time magazine, “Sport: An Old Dog’s Day”, Dec. 23, 1946


Fifth National Championship

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

These dogs were:

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

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

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



Shed’s Pedigree:

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

Click for extended pedigree

Some of Shed’s full siblings included:

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

Half siblings included:

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

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


Little Pierre

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

Pierre’s Pedigree:

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

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

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


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

Corky’s Pedigree:

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

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


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

Rowdy’s pedigree:

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

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

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

So far:

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


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

Cork’s pedigree:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don-El’s Doo Lee pedigree:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautywood’s Creole Jane pedigree:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


River Oaks Corky’s Descendants

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

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

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

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

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.

So, one for all and all for one! They became the Three Musketeers.

Designing the costumes was interesting because they had to be instantly recognizable, but my dogs also had to walk in costume. 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 the 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 spectacular 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

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!

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

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. It took a whole skein of tan yarn sewn 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. After all, I was the one who fed them!

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.

The things my dogs have to do!

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

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 found 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. Whew!

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. It didn’t look quite right though, so I took the lenses out of one pair of glasses and painted them white to show up better on a black dog.

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 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.

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 I think 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

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.

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…

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

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.

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 a little persuasion, Arwen sat with this contraption on her head. Isn’t she cute?

Labrador in costume as a trophy deer head


I hope you found some inspiration to make costumes for your dogs.

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

Why was he so influential?

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

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

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

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

Here’s his 3-generation pedigree:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Dual purpose Labradors have been around for a long time!

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

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

Eng FTW Munden Single, born 1899


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

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

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

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

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

More on this early field trial:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eng FTCH Peter of Faskally, born 1908


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

Peter descended multiple times from the Buccleuch and Malmesbury dogs. He also had a good dose of Munden dogs in his pedigree. His paternal grandfather, Sherfield Spratt, was a full brother of Munden Single. And Sherfield Spratt was bred to Waterdale Twinkle, his niece by Munden Sentry. Peter’s maternal great grandmother was Munden Single.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FC Blind of Arden - 1936 National Field Champion

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

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

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

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


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

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

Many others show up several times, including:

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

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

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

Many others show up several times, including:

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

Mary Roslin Williams of Mansergh Gundogs

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

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

Mary Roslin Williams taught from practical experience and common sense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Dual-Purpose Labrador

Advanced Labrador Breeding (aka Reaching for the Stars)

Despite what some people might say, a LabraDoodle is a mutt. They’re not purebred. They’re not special.

It’s a marketing ploy. They slap a cute name on something (like “LabraDoodle”, “Puggle” or “Poochon”) and charge a high price to make you think it’s special or a “designer” breed.

What they are is a cross between a Poodle and some other breed, such as the Labrador Retriever.

Unfortunately when you cross two different breeds, you get a mish-mash of genes.

They don’t come out the same way each time. It’s unpredictable – looks, coat, behavior and health.

You might get a puppy that looks like a Lab, but acts like a Poodle. You might get a tall one or a short one.

It could have a coat that’s wiry or soft, or curly, wavy, or straight. Many doodles do shed and some need to be shaved every 6-8 weeks.

Owners are often surprised to find they are allergic to their dogs.

You may also get a puppy that inherited the genetic problems or diseases from BOTH breeds.

Or you might get poor temperament despite the docile Lab temperament that is often advertised.

Some LabraDoodles are high-strung (like Poodles can be) and may not be good with children.

They can also be needy and crave attention which makes them a poor choice if there is no one home during the day.

After paying 2-4 times the cost of a purebred Lab or Poodle, owners sometimes dump them at shelters. Too often it’s due to aggression towards children.

Because of the high price people are willing to pay, Doodles are the “breed” of choice for many puppy mills.

The man credited with creating them said he regrets introducing this mix-bred dog to the world. He was trying to breed a guide dog that was also hypoallergenic, but he failed over and over.

“I opened a Pandora’s box, that’s what I did. I released a Frankenstein. So many people are just breeding for the money. So many of these dogs have physical problems, and a lot of them are just crazy.”

If you still want a LabraDoodle, do your homework. Meet the breeder and the parents of the puppy you’re considering buying. Check temperament and trainability. Check for health certifications. When your puppy is old enough, enroll him in a Puppy Kindergarten class. It’s good for basic training and socialization.

We don’t breed LabraDoodles or any mix-bred dog. Nor will we sell a puppy to someone who wants to breed Doodles or any other mix-bred dog.

I was cleaning house – having to move ribbons around to dust – and got reminiscing about everything Arwen has accomplished. I’m so proud of my girl! In between having three litters of beautiful puppies, she finished her Companion Dog obedience title; Junior and Senior Hunter field titles; Hunting Retriever and Hunting Retriever Champion field titles; Rally Novice, Rally Advanced, and Rally Excellent titles; a Canine Good Citizen Award and a Conformation Certificate.

Yes, we still have more to do – finish her Master Hunter title, earn at least one Tracking title, and she’s even dabbling in Agility. But even more important than all the initials around her name – she’s a champion snuggler!

© 2023 Justamere Ranch All rights reserved.
Do not copy photos and content without written permission.

Website by: Exede Digital

TOP Order Dynamite Specialty Products Watch Justamere Ranch videos on YouTube Connect with Justamere Ranch on Facebook