Posts Tagged ‘Lough Neagh’

Coney Island


This is the Coney Island in Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

No mention of that “mongrel” retriever.


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This is the dog from the “Wildfowling on Lough Neagh” video that I wrote about earlier.

The dog is “just a mongrel,” but the narrator calls him the “best retrieving dog [he’s] ever seen.”

I would venture to say that this dog is a golden retriever/Labrador cross, but it’s a brown-skinned yellow, something that would be uncommon in European golden retrievers.

It’s just a purpose-bred mongrel or crossbred retriever with a thick golden coat.

Everything about the dog say “I’m a retriever. Don’t ask for my papers. Now, just let me swim out and get you that duck.”

Whatever his pedigree, he is a relic of sorts.

At one time, all the retrievers were like this dog.

They were bred solely for performance.

They weren’t given a lot of fancy training, but they did their job.

The pedigree didn’t matter.

They were retrievers.

No certificate told them what they were.

Only the splash into the cold water and the struggling wounded duck revealed their identity.

That’s the way it is with this retriever.

Whatever he is exactly doesn’t matter; he is a retriever.

And that’s all we need to know.

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Lough Neagh is a lake or “loch” in the middle of Northern Ireland.

Wildfowling is English for “duck hunting.”


The pochard is a close relative of the North American redhead duck, and it looks very much a redhead.

And the “good retriever” on the lough is “just a mongrel.”

However, the dog looks very much like I imagine a Tweed water spaniel looked like– a yellow retriever with a thick, slightly wavy coat, and brown skin pigment.

Of course, the dog is likely a Labrador cross, and the other dog is almost like a retriever-derived lurcher.

But its similarities to my understanding of what a Tweed water spaniel or Tweed water dog was are awfully beguiling to my imagination.

The water spaniel or water dog of Northern Ireland was also very similar to the Tweed– and they were likely close relatives. It was also very much like a retriever, but it was always either solid liver or liver with some white markings on the chest and feet. ¬†Yellows didn’t exist in that breed.

Yes. It also resembles a deadgrass Chesapeake Bay retriever.

I guess in this part of Northern Ireland, retrievers are still bred in the old way. If it retrieves, it gets bred to another dog that retrieves. Pedigree doesn’t matter.

There is no pretense in this hunting expedition. It is just a couple of guys getting together with the dogs to shoot some wild ducks for supper.

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