British field trials
The first documented field trial was held in England in 1899 and consisted mostly of Flat-Coated and Curly Coated Retrievers.
Four years later Munden Single became the first Labrador to win a Challenge Certificate (like 'winning the points' in AKC).
Then the following year she became the first Labrador to run in a field trial.
Dual purpose Labradors have been around for a long time!
"It is improbable that Labradors will be as popular as the Flat-coated Retrievers; they are essentially a working breed and do not lend themselves to popularity. However, if one can take the numbers registered at the Kennel Club as some sort of a guide, the breed is becoming more widely known and appreciated, but it is hoped that they will never be kept for the purpose of showing only."
The Labrador Retriever - A complete Anthology of the Dog
Quoting Maurice Portal, circa 1912
Courtesy: Google Books
Maurice Portal and FTCH Flapper
A few years later, three Labradors ran in another field trail against a field of mostly Flat coats. All three Labs were related.
Munden Single had three Buccleuch grandparents and the fourth descended from Buccleuch dogs.
Flapper's pedigree included Buccleuch Avon, Buccleuch Ned, Malmesbury's Tramp, Malmesbury's Juno - dogs that also appear in Munden Single's pedigree.
The third Lab was Dungavel Juno, a granddaughter of Munden Sentry who was a full brother to Munden Single.
Note: Flapper is also shown laying down at the top of the page.
"The next item of importance that took place in 1907, was the 2nd All-Aged Stake held by the [English] Kennel Club on November 26th & 27th.
"In a field of 20 runners there were fifteen Flat Coats, three Labradors, and two others.
"The Labradors were Mr. Portal's Flapper, The Duchess of Hamilton's Dungavel Juno, and Holland-Hibbert's Munden Single.
"So foul was the weather on the morning of the first day that a vote was taken of handlers and guns whether to continue after lunch - a situation known to many hardened field triallers. Fortunately, they voted to continue, which gave an historic result.
"Flapper was first, Juno was second and M. Single gained the fourth prize. The Labrador had arrived on the field trial scene with a vengeance.
"Flapper, who became a FT Champion, was handled by Maurice Portal, a man who, as Vice Chairman, was to play a major role in the direction of the Labrador Club in its formative years.
"This was the first time a Labrador had won a major stake. Flapper was 5 years old when he won this trial and was to continue to win further honours. He was to become a powerful stud force siring many litters.
"It was Flapper more than any dog to date, whose brilliant accomplishments made an enormous impression on the shooting public. More than any other dog he convinced the public of the superiority of the Labrador over the previously ubiquitous Flat Coats."
Field Trials - Past Achievements (Part I to 1914) - George Jenken on
FTCH Peter of Faskally
In 1911, FTCH Peter of Faskally won the International Gundog League's Championship Stake for retrievers. His handler, Archibold Butter, adapted whistle and hand signals from working sheepdogs to guide Peter to unseen birds. This was the beginning of 'handling' that we see today in field trials and hunt tests.
Peter also descends multiple times from the Buccleuch and Malmesbury dogs. His paternal grandfather, Sherfield Spratt, was a full brother of Munden Single. And Sherfield Spratt was bred to his niece, Waterdale Twinkle. Peter's maternal grandfather, Munden Sovereign, was a son of Munden Single.
Many great dogs descend from Peter through FTCH Patron of Faskally, FTCH Peter of Whitmore and Dual CH Banchory Bolo.
American field trials
It's interesting to note that Labradors weren't accepted for registration with the American Kennel Club until 1917. And even ten years later, there were only 23 new registrations.
In the early years in America, field trials were the sport of wealthy families and they were a closed group. Sometimes trials were held on Mondays so few working people could attend.
Often the dogs were trained by British experts who had been enticed to America to manage the kennels. And because the kennel men who trained Arden Labs were so good, there was a rule change in 1936.
The new Amateur Open class required the owner, Averell Harriman, to handle his own dogs or admit defeat. Although he had never been to a trail nor had he ever handled his own dogs, he had to try.
The first two of his dogs didn't do well, but Blind of Arden became one of three finalists. He was the last to run after the other dogs failed to find the bird. Harriman sent Blind well downwind of where he thought the bird had landed for the best chance of scenting it. But Blind continued past the spot and Harriman watched helplessly because he couldn't whistle him back.
Good thing! The bird was probably a runner, but Blind followed his trail and brought him back.
He won the field trail and even graced the cover of Life magazine.
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.