GOLDEN RETRIEVER HISTORY DEEPDIVE
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The story of the Golden Retriever starts in the Scottish Highlands in the 1840s. With a seemingly uneventful transaction. Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, had just purchased an unregister "Yellow Retriever" named Nous. He used this dog to accompany him while he was hunting, and after a few years and being impressed with the dog, he decided to breed him to a Tweed Water Spaniel- a now extinct breed- named Belle. This breeding produced three yellow shaded pups named Crocus, Cowslip, and Primrose. Sir Dudley set out an on a mission to create a superior gun dog, one that could excel on both land and water, and wouldn't be phased by the harsh climate of the Highlands.
The First Lord of Tweedmouth spend fifty years developing his idea gundog and kept detailed records of his breeding efforts. He also added some Irish Setter and bloodhound to the mix to further his efforts. He produced just what he was after his dogs become know as exceptional working dogs through his efforts. As with all good things, it wasn't long before other people started to catch on, and the Golden started to spread through the UK.
It wasn't until 1908 when the Golden made its debut in the English show ring. The UKC also started to accept individuals from the breed, but they were registered as a flat coat retriever. It was later in 1913 when the Golden earned the status to become its own breed, and the Golden Retriever Club of Great Britain was formed.
The breed had also gotten traction outside of the UK. It was already being exported to Canada and making its way to the United States. On the North-Western Continents, the Golden was much admired by hunters and by those interested in the show ring, and the dog's flowing coat seemed to make it a no-brainer to bring into the show ring. Leading to the Golden Retriever being admitted to the AKC in 1925. However, the first breed club was not formed until sometime later in 1938. While the breed was popular among gunmen and those who liked to show in the states, the breed got a surge in popularity in the States when President Gerald Ford was elected and his Golden Liberty moved into the White House with him. This really got the breed into the public eye and since then it has just continued to increase in popularity.
We can't all agree on the same theory of their origins with some breeds- the Golden Retriever is one of these breeds. There is an equally alluring theory out there that originated from Russian circus dogs purchased by the first lord of Tweedmouth. Sir Dudley hunted deer on his estate with there canines, and after a time and deciding that he liked how they performed, he outcrossed them with a pale Bloodhound. Which helped to improve their scenting ability and possibly even reduce their size. This theory was widely accepted among the Golden community until discovering one of Marjorbank's studbooks in the 1950s. The information in the studbook directly challenged the circus dog theory. It was even suggested that in the early days of the breed, the name "Russian Retrievers" was purposed.
In the early 1900s, an early Golden Retriever breeder, Mrs. Charlesworth, who authored The Book of the Golden Retriever, believed that the circus dog theory was the correct one. The UKC and the ACK accepted this theory as the breed's factual history. Until the 1950s, when Sir Dudleys breeding records were published and became available to the public.
One thing is for sure, we know we can thank Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, for this beautiful breed. Without him and his hard work and dedication, we wouldn't have the breed that so many of us know and love today.