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Labradors and Retrievers


I have completed many pictures of these most popular of dogs. Have a look at these examples.









The history of the Golden Retriever is interesting. The were "developed" in the late 1800's by Lord Tweedmouth at his Estate near Inverness. He was on a quest to develop a dog which was spirited and energetic yet loyal and kind with a love for water and an ability to retrieve, in particular waterfowl. It was bred originally by crossing a golden dog pup from a black retriever litter with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, the Newfoundland, the Irish Setter and a variety of water spaniels. Retrievers are now very popular and have become valued family companions, hunting companions, obedience dogs and show dogs. Early golden retrievers ranged from medium gold to dark gold and copper gold but the lighter colours are more favoured nowadays with colours ranging from cream to dark gold.

The Labrador Retriever, despite his name, did not come from Labrador, but from Newfoundland.  Small water dogs which were popular in the area were bred with Newfoundlands to produce a breed referred to as the St. John's Water Dog, a prototype for the Lab of today. The Earl of Malmesbury reputedly saw one of the dogs of this type early in the 19th Century and imported it to Britain. The first and second Earls of Malmesbury, who bred for duck shooting on their estate, and the 5th and 6th Dukes of Buccleugh and youngest son Lord George William Montagu-Douglas-Scott were instrumental in establishing the Labrador breed in nineteenth century Britain.  Lord Malmesbury gave the Duke of Buccleuch two dogs Avon ("Buccleuch Avon") and Ned to assist the Duke of Buccleuch's breeding program in the 1880s and these are usually considered the ancestors of all modern Labradors.  In 1830, the noted British sportsman Colonel Hawker referred to the Lab as "the best for any kind of shooting...generally black and no bigger than a Pointer, very fine in legs, with short, smooth hair.....and their sense of smell is hardly to be credited."  They were not initally known as Labradors but the Earl of Malmesbury called them (his) Labrador dogs. Some early photographs of the St John's water dogs from the 1800s can be seen on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrador_Retriever

By registered ownership, the labrador is considered the most popular breed of dog in the world and is by far the most popular breed in the United States and the UK. They are very popular as assistance dogs because of their wonderful good nature and intelligence. There are three recognised colours for Labs ; black (a solid black colour), yellow (anything from light cream to reddish gold), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Puppies of all colours can potentially occur in the same litter.

Although Labradors and Retrievers are some of the most popular family dogs, they have not had great success at Crufts interestingly, where the only recorded Supreme Champions have been for Champion Shargleam Blackcap, known as Brett, a flat coated Retriever who won in 1980 and Bramshaw Bob, a Labrador Retriever, who won in 1932 and 1933.

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