Dog Pigmentation

In reading about all these different dogs used for retrieving and also in looking at the dogs that were bred by Lord Tweedmouth at the inception of the Golden Retriever breed, one has to consider color. I found a really great website that explains dog color genetics really well: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/index.htm .

I have taken time out to study this since I do not have formal training in genetics.

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A Retriever’s Worth

In the books that I have been reading regarding hunting in the later half of the 1800’s, the authors’ generally express how hunting was changing since rifles were advancing and vast areas of land were being cleared. There is a very nicely written and illustrated book: “Shooting: Field and covert; with contributions by Hon. Gerald Lascelles and A.J. Stuart-Wortley” dated 1887.

In this book, the retriever and how to choose, train, and keep him/her, the authors cover what they feel makes a good modern hunting dog. I find it to be interesting. As opposed to today’s breed ring for Goldens, these authors feel a retriever should not have his head held straight up and high (handlers in breed rings today yank the poor dogs’ heads up straight) but rather a retriever should be interested in the ground and smelling for game. They say the chest should be deep but not overly wide since too much bulk is not good in the field.

“A retriever, to be useful, should have legs short and as straight as darts, firm and strong ; a full-sized head (a dog with a too small head is rarely a clever worker), a tail that does not curl over his back, but is borne high and light, good loins, a shaggy and yet glossy coat, small ears, large feet with well-planted toes that do not splay outwards, and a deep well-formed chest, which does not imply a broad, massive one — the latter is a disadvantage, as it means a slow and heavy dog, especially in covert”

Of course today the Golden is bred for a broad head but I find the overly exaggerated heads of today to be almost comical. It seems that short legs are exaggerated today. Also the shaggy coat has been exaggerated to be overly long and open and rather than a hard glossy finish the coats of today in the ring are seen as soft and silky with a matte finish.

In the book I referred to yesterday, the author felt that the smaller dog was the better in the field and also in the boat. He felt the smaller the better and said that the “true” Labradors were much smaller than the Newfoundland and the Newfoundland he described is smaller than today’s breed by about half the size.

Our canine needs today are not what they were back in the 1800’s. We probably use golden Retrievers as much for tracking, assistance dogs, and therapy dogs as we do for hunting which tends to be mostly a sport today. The overly large and heavy Goldens tend to be better at therapy and assistance and the smaller more lively dogs seem better suited for field and agility. They both make great house pets but you want land for the smaller livelier type whereas the heavier more calm type is happy quite often to be house bound.

Different world, different needs, different types…

 

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Retrievers in 1897

I came across a book that was very interesting in that it mentioned in better detail than some the Retriever of the late 1800’s. The author writes about the retrievers that were popular of that time period: the curly, flatcoat, and wavy coat which is how they were generally categorized rather than the modern breed terms that we use today.

This author goes beyond the 3 retriever categories of his time period and specifies a number of “other” retrievers. He talks of the cross breeding of flat coats and tweed water spaniels to the Labrador (Of St. John’s ilk) in order to keep the bloodline fresh. He also mentions that retrievers were used in Scotland deer forests to “stalk” deer which I thought interesting in reference to the Golden since Lord Tweedmouth was an avid deer hunter.

I may have referenced this in an earlier blog since I know I have read this information before but I was unable to find it in my search so I am adding it now. I have posted the plate before of the flatcoat/wavy coat but this is a much clearer version. Beautiful ancestors of the Golden Retriever.

I also found the description of the St. John’s dog that was trained by Mr. St. John himself:

Mr. Kerss alludes to a Newfoundland dog mentioned in ” Highland Sports.” With regard to that dog a correspondent of the Field, a relative of the author, says :
” This dog was obtained and imported direct from Labrador by a friend for Mr. St. John, and broken in by Mr. St. John himself. Body long and low, with very deep chest ; tail carried low, and never curled over back ; head very broad, rather short in proportion to breadth ; eyes set wide apart, large, full and deep hazel, very gentle and full of expression, prominent and not sunken ; legs very well set on and very strong ; feet round and partially webbed between toes ; colour black, lower part of legs showing a tan colour with white star on chest ; temper perfect in every way ; coat very heavy and wavy, soft and silky, with an undercoat of down. I have never seen a dog equal to him in the water ; he seemed to float in it, and could remain in it for any length of time, and after coming out the water seemed to run off, and he got dry quicker than any dog I have ever seen. He was a most intelligent dog. My father found him very easy to break in, and he was a perfect retriever in every way. Once having seen a true Labrador, there could be no chance of mistaking the ‘ small ‘ Labrador for the large Newfoundland, as they are perfectly different. Weight and height I cannot recollect. The former was considerable, as he was very strongly made, and had a very wide straight back.”

The Retriever section begins:

“The retriever is a creation within the past fifty years, and he was no doubt, in the first instance, pro duced from crossing the old English or Irish water spaniel with the setter, the collie, and the smaller Newfoundland, usually known as the St. John or Labrador Newfoundland. Colonel Hutchinson, in his admirable work on dog breaking, gives us pictures of various crosses, and in general appear ance these illustrations are of dogs bearing very much the characteristics of the modern retriever. Colonel Hutchinson published his book in 1847. Still, there were retrieving dogs long before Colonel Hutchinson’s time. Dr. Caius wrote of dogs that brought back the ” boults and arrows ” that had missed the mark, and also such waterfowl as had been stung to death by some ” venomous worm.”

Conrad Gesner, in the early part of the sixteenth century, wrote of dogs trained to bring back birds to their masters ; but such animals as these were the spaniels commonly used at that time.

It must be taken for granted that our modern retriever, be he either curly-coated, straight or wavy-coated, black, brown, black and tan, or pale liver in colour, at some time was produced from one or other of the crosses I have named. The ” nick ” answered well, and what is now an actual and distinct variety resulted therefrom — one that with careful crossing produces a type quite as well defined as is to be found in the mastiff, bloodhound, and bulldog, which may be taken as our oldest British varieties of the canine race. With the improved farming, close cropping, increasing wildness of game arising from a variety of causes, and a disinclination in the modern shooting man to fill his bag over pointers and setters, the retriever is in many quarters considered to be the dog of the future. Whether this will prove to be the case or not, time will tell.

“A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland” Rawdon Briggs Lee

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Currently Reading…

I found this book on-line and am in the process of reading…

Plublished in 1905: Retrievers and Retrieving … – W. G. Eley

book1book2book3

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A Pointing Retriever

Dash, retriever

Dash, retriever

“And I read this morning,” Mr. Graham continued, “an interesting story of a retriever named Dash, and his performances in a village in Massachusetts. One day a party of ladies, made up of summer sojourners at the place, went out for an afternoon’s berrying. They tramped over a lot of country and brought home a great many berries, but one thing they did not bring home – the handsome gold watch belonging to one of the ladies of the party. She had lost it somewhere on the tramp – she had no idea where. Nest morning a search party was organized, and the fields and hills were fairly soured in quest of the watch. But no trace of it was found. The owner gave up the search in despair. But at this juncture Dash’s master resolved to make a test of his capabilities. He asked the lady who had lost the watch for the pocket in which she had carried it, and obtained it. He made Dash smell of it and then gave the command: “Bring in dead bird!” Dash started off into the fields, his master following. He ran here and there and everywhere and finally “pointed” at a little tuft of grass and bushes, waiting until his master came up. The latter put his hand into the clump and drew out the gold watch, which was in perfect condition.

“Dash bore the honors which followed this exploit very meekly. What added to the astonishment of the lady whose property he recovered, was the fact that the watch was found in a part of the field where she was ‘quite sure’ she had not been.”

“This same accomplished Dash, by the way, performs a feat which is a marvel to many people, but not to those who know how the scent of a thoroughbred setter may be trained. His master takes a handkerchief out of his pocket, manages to give the dog it’s scent, and then borrows the handkerchiefs of a dozen members of a party. He mixes all the handkerchiefs together, throws them in a heap, and tells the dog to bring him his. Dash picks up the handkerchiefs one by one and throws them down again until his master’s is reached, and then brings it to him in triumph.” 

 

Dog Stories and Dog Lore: Experiences of Two Boys in Rearing and Training Dogs; with Many Anecdotes of Canine Intelligence

by Thomas Wallace Knox

Published
January 1887
Publisher
Cassell, Limited
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Scottish Game-Keeper Photo

Scottish Game Keeper photo

Scottish Game Keeper photo

Published
January 1919
Publisher
National Geographic Society

It’s hard to think of the use of the skin and coat for warmth… ultimate sacrifice…

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Timber Wolf / Domestic Dog mix…

The Book of Dogs: An Intimate Study of Mankind’s Best Friend

National Geographic Society (U.S.)›, Ernest Harold Baynes›
Published
January 1919
Publisher
National Geographic Society

Timber Wolf / Domestic Dog mix… Too bad they didn’t give more information.

Timber wolf / Dog...

Timber wolf / Dog…

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Flat/Wavy Coat Retriever Show Ring Standard 1901

The Show Dog: Being a Book Devoted to Describing the Cardinal Virtues and Objectionable Features of All Breeds of Dogs from the Show Ring Standpoint with Mode of Treatment of the Dog Both in Health and Sickness

Harry Woodworth Huntington
Published
January 1901
Publisher
For the author, by the Remington print. Company
Published January 1901 Publisher

Published
January 1901
Publisher

showflatcoat-retrievers3

1901 Show Ring standard Flat/Wavy coated Retrievers

1901 Show Ring standard Flat/Wavy coated Retrievers

 

showflatcoat-retrievers

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Early Retriever (flat and wavy coated) Description/Standard

Published
January 1897
Publisher
Caxton Press

My Dog and I: Being a Concise Treatise of the Various Breeds of Dogs, Their Origin and Uses. Written Expressly for the Novice Containing a Comprehensive Mode of Treatment Both in Health and Sickness, Together with the Names of Some Prominent Breeders, by Harry Woodworth Huntington›

Flat Coat and Wavy Coated Retrievers

Flat Coat and Wavy Coated Retrievers

retrievers
Flat Coat and Wavy Coated Retrievers Description

Flat Coat and Wavy Coated Retrievers Description

Flat Coat and Wavy Coated Retrievers Description

 

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1915 Flat Coated Retriever Description

I think that this dog is so attractive… It’s head is swung far to the right so the front angulation isn’t clear but it’s such a good looking dog.

“Dogs Of All Nations”

by W. E. Mason

Flat Coated Retriever

Color: Rich black, free from rustiness and from white. There is
also a Golden Retriever so named because of the golden or yellow color of his
coat.

Height : 25 in. Weight: 68 lbs.

The symmetry and elegance of this dog are considerable and
essential, and he has a decidedly sporting character. The head should be long
with the skull wide and flat at the top, and slight furrow down the middle.
Eyes of medium size, dark brown or hazel in color with a bright intelligent and
mild expression indicating a good temper. The neck long and muscular, chest
broad and deep with well developed and well-sprung ribs. The tail should be
bushy but not feathered, carried gaily but not curled over the back. His coat
should be fairly long, bright, close and thick, and either straight or slightly
waved.

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