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Posts Tagged ‘European show golden retriever’

This is the first conformation champion in the golden retriever breed, Ch. Noranby Campfire (b. 1912) :

Check out BOB Crufts 2002.

And check out this stud dog that is producing European show line goldens in the US. He is of Swedish lines. He’s not anything like Noranby Campfire at all. Not even close.

Wow!

They both have feathering, drop-ears, and brown eyes. Both are e/e’s  and likely BB or Bb in terms of color and genotype.

They are both large dogs.

But that’s where the similarities stop.

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The main advantage of the European-type golden retriever is they produce far cuter puppies than the old leggy red dogs do.

Source.

I should note here that this color isn’t rare. It’s only relatively less common in North America than the other colors are. In Europe, the vast majority of goldens look like this.

And the color is not white.

It is a very pale cream.

***

If you want to find a rare color in golden retrievers, you can’t get much rarer than mahogany:

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golden-retriever-cream-pup

Here’s a video of a European show golden with a Show Gundog Working Certificate.

Now, that all sounds good.

But then I looked up what a Show Gundog Working Certificate actually was.

The KC awards a Show Championship, but no gun dog can be a full champion unless it passes this working test. Originally, they had to be run in actual trials, but now, they get to do the sort of amateur behavior. These certificates are given at trials or a special show gun dog working certificate test.

The retrieving behavior tested during this test is pretty much remaining steady to a line and retrieving a dummy from the land and the water. It is the same as the true trial dogs. However, these dogs aren’t expected to beat the performance bred dogs, which they would have a very hard time doing. Instead, they are looking for a modicum of instinct that has been polished through some training. These tests are a wonderful way of getting more dogs in trials, so that the actual performance-bred dogs can clobber them. Brilliant move.

It does take  a lot of training to keep a dog in a line. That really is impressive. The fact that these dogs have enough retrieving instinct to be trained to do this work at this novice level is amazing. But it doesn’t disprove a very simple truth: Performance bred dogs are better at this work than these dogs are. You might find some dogs in the European show-lines that really can do the work. These dogs should be bred from. We need dogs with retrieving instinct to be bred. However, it doesn’t change the fact that their bodies are built incorrectly to really do the work. It also doesn’t change the fact that the very light colors are the result of fad breeding, which started around 1960. The original colors were light gold to mahogany. Some of the early dogs were light golds with cream shadings (like my dog), but none were so pale as to be mistaken for white.

The fact that this dog’s owner says it’s so hard for a show golden in the UK to make the grade here is an admission of what I know and what most serious retriever people know. The European show golden is not the best example of a working dog.

While they were breeding for light color, bone, and blockiness, they forgot to also breed for biddability and drive. And that’s why I’m very wary of these lines. The vast majority of these dogs are not selected for their retrieving instinct, and even if they have it, they may not be properly built to really do working gun dog work.

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When did they change from this,

male-working-golden

this,

tennis-ball-golden

And this

red-golden-with-tennis-ball1

To this,

blond-show-golden

this,

show-golden

and this?

polar-bear-retrievers1

It happened at least ten years ago, when I wasn’t in the market for a golden retriever, and I didn’t realize what was going on with the show lines.

I don’t think I’ll be as quiescent and complacent as I was when the shift happened.

In fact, I’ll do anything within my power to make them shift back.

These dogs are nothing like they once were, and you have to hunt hard to find a good one.

But in the popular imagination, golden retrievers don’t look like the old type, and I find this scary. That means that hundreds and maybe thousands of dogs will not be considered goldens if they are picked up on the street.

I saw a supposed Irish setter/golden retriever cross on the Dogs with Jobs show. He was no such thing. He was just a dark gold dog with a lighter build than what apparently show up in the ring and in dog breed books.

If you see a dark golden with  a light build, the odds are in favor of it being a golden retriever, not a crossbreed. I wouldn’t have had to say this ten years ago, because most golden retrievers in this country looked more like the old way.

This is the first real shift I’ve seen in goldens in this country, although the Europeans shifted their golden retrievers many decades ago.

So the dog fancy hates conserving the dog type. It claims to do so, but in reality, it is as susceptible to fickle caprices as virtually any fashion trend in clothing.

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