Posts Tagged ‘working golden retriever’

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This golden retriever is treeing a squirrel, and I think they actually could be used as squirrel dogs.

However, they aren’t barkers– at least in this context.

So you would have to put a bell on the dog.

Some of these dogs, including Miley, are obsessive squirrel treers, and they are actually pretty adept at marking the squirrel’s course through the treetop.

Miley is so good at it that she doesn’t put her feet on the tree anymore. She just watches the canopy and tries to catch the scent.

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I love responsible dog breeders

From the “I Love Responsible Dog Breeders” group on Facebook.

I like what’s on the left.

But I tend to roll that way anyway.


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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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An “Olympian” retrieving dog!


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Both photos come from Of Scottish Pride Golden Retrievers. These dogs are blood trackers, and it’s actually one of the original purposes for the breed:

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