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Posts Tagged ‘red golden retriever’

Gabe. Source for image is this wonderful post.

Gabe. Source for image is this wonderful post.

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Golden Retriever Edwin Megargee 1942

This painting is by the well-known dog artist and dog fancier Edwin Megargee, and it appeared in his book that was simply called Dogs (1942).

In the 1940’s, golden retrievers were quite uncommon in the United States. The only ones that existed were hunting dogs that were largely derived from the darker-colored, more lightly built stock that was common in the UK during the 1920’s and 1930’s. For most of their history in the United States,  this is what most Americans would associate with golden retrievers– lithe, wiry, fox-colored retrievers.

In 1942, the received wisdom is that the golden retriever was an off-shoot of some Russian dog crossed with a bloodhound, as Megargee’s text clearly explains:

Megargee text golden retriever

Of course, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the Russian story was finally debunked. The golden retriever is just an offshoot of the wavy-coated/flat-coated retriever type.

Also of interest is that Megargee mentions that the dog can e used as a “combined setter and retriever.”  Many golden retrievers do point, and some people have trained them for them for this purpose.

Of course, most golden retrievers are used as combination “duck dogs” and flushers. There has never been the strong separation between retriever work and spaniel work in North America as there has been in the UK.

Our hunting culture is more egalitarian, and our waterfowl seasons are more strictly regulated.  It’s always been a bit of a tradition in America to keep a retriever for waterfowl but also use it as a spaniel in pursuit of other birds. That way, you don’t have to buy and keep two dogs. One dog can do both tasks.

In the 1940’s, golden retrievers were holding their own with Labradors in retriever trials.

But the golden retriever is a very pretty dog, and it wasn’t long before it became consumed by the pet market and the show ring.

And as a result, working strains of golden retriever are quite a bit less common than working strains of Labrador.

This type of golden retriever still exists, but it’s most common in North America, where, for whatever reason, we’ve been able to hold onto it. Many European working golden retriever strains now include outcrosses to American or Canadian imports.

Most European breeds bred in North America wind up degenerating rapidly. There are no German shepherd breeders importing North American GSD’s to cross with their dogs. I know of no British border collie breeders who are importing American stock to improve their lines.

But you very often see working golden retrievers in Europe with American and Canadian ancestors.

It’s not just with dogs that Europeans shun American-bred domestic animals. The only European-derived domestic animal breed I know of other than the America working golden retriever that has been in demand to improve native European strains is the Vermont strain of the Merino.

This says a lot about American priorities in animal breeding.

Just as Hollywood and much of our new media is a sensationalized distortion of reality, maybe our entire culture is nothing more than a sensationalized distortion of Western civilization.

Maybe that’s why we’re in so much trouble. We can’t even breed domestic animals right!

 

 

 

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binks golden retriever

Painting by Reuben Ward Binks.  

Most golden retriever people are of an agreeable sort.

Do not assume that I am.

I’m really a contrarian. It’s my default position.

I often called it my “Prussian personality.”

But there are many things that bother me.

One of these is the problem with the golden retriever.

Miley is currently grounded due to lameness. I think it’s in her hip, and although she’s a very athletic sort of dog, she has some issues with her conformation.

One is that is she is a larger dog than a golden retriever bitch should be. She weighs anywhere from 73 to 77 pounds, which is actually on the upper end of what a golden retriever dog should be.

She has quite a bit of bone, though not as much as other golden retrievers, and although her legs are relatively short compared to her body size, she normally can move really efficiently and quickly.

But this lameness in the hip really has me bothered. I wonder if she had a lighter frame and a smaller body, if she’d be having these problems.

My old dog never had any lameness. She was built like a red rocket of a retriever. Soaking wet, she was 6o pounds of hard muscle,

She was of the old red retriever type that used to comprise the bulk of the golden retriever breed in the Midwest and much of the rest of the Flyover Country. She lived to the ripe old age 13, broke ice to swim in ice covered pond, and was the most annoying obsessive retriever that ever lived.

She was a good dog.

She is one of the muses of this blog.

I’d really like to have a dog like her again.

This old red dog haunts me, as do the photos and paintings of all the old red and dark golden retrievers of yore.

I still get nostalgic when I see the old Bush’s Baked Beans ad from 1996.

I get nostalgic when I see this photo of the first dual champion golden retriever in the United States, Dual Ch. Stilrovin Rip’s Pride:

Stilvron Rip's Pride

These dogs are not cute.

The are comparatively harder to live with that the laid-baid, “sooky” type of golden retriever.

They are also annoyingly intelligent dogs, the kind that can open doors and train people to do their bidding.

The golden retriever has become domesticated, suburban animal.

The old type of dog doesn’t fit in that world very well.

But it’s still a good dog.

There is a sadness in me that so few people will ever know that there are golden retrievers like these dogs

There is also a sadness in me that is nothing more than I miss the old dog.

I never get over the loss of dogs or people. Over time, I just sort of get accustomed to their absence.

But I never let it go.

 

 

 

 

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This golden retriever puppy has a white spot on its head.

It also has a few white hairs on one toe.

Both of these features will likely disappear as the puppy matures.

Darker goldens often have these little white tags, and some are born with what look like full blazes running down their heads and spots on their chests.

But they almost always disappear as the dog matures.

This puppy will be quite dark as when it matures. The ear and muzzle color are significantly darker than the rest of the pup, and when it’s about two years old, its entire coat will be that color, although there may be some lighter shadings.

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Memarken's Spice

From Kennel Memarken in Sweden.

“Roll that beautiful bean footage!”

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Unfortunately this dog has been listed (incorrectly) as a mix:

It’s much more likely that he’s purebred, just not of the type one sees at dog shows or on TV.

Compare with this photo of some Noranby goldens from the 1930’s, which is sort of the blog’s thematic photo:

You can still find these dogs in working and performance lines in the breed.

 

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