Archive for October, 2008

Here’s footage of a lovely dog with proper working conformation having an absolute ball with the garden hose. This is a full golden retriever that is also named Napoleon.

When you say golden retriever to me, this is the image that comes to my mind.

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Here’s a video of golden retriever-border collie cross named “Napoleon”:

This dog is available for adoption at PetRescuebyJudy.com. Napoleon is a nearly solid black dog, which is what I would expect from crossing a solid colored golden retriever with black skin pigment with a black and white border collie. According to his foster home, he is a very trainable dog, learning his commands in less than a week.

I put this video on here to begin a discussion of collie types in the ancestry of retrievers

As I have said before, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries a dog could be considered a retriever if it retrieved game from water. Lots of breeds can exhibit this behavior. I’ve even seen it in miniature dachshunds, even though I know fully well that this dog could never be a good water dog.

Sir Francis Grant’s “The Shooting Party” depicts a collie-type retriever in the lower left hand corner. This painting is dated to 1840.

It is possible that collie types were among the dogs that came with the first settlers of Newfoundland and were part of the St. John’s Water Dog Breed. My evidence for this theory is a painting by Sir Edwin Landseer in which he shows a Newfoundland dog. Newfoundlands were popular in his day, and most in Europe were black and white. Many had a distinct collie appearance, as this one did. The black and white Newfs eventually became less popular than their solid colored relatives. The black and white ones are known as Landseers, and in the FCI countries, it is a separate breed from the solid-colored Newfoundland. In the Anglophone countries, it is considered a color variety of Newfoundland.

It is also known that collie-types were used in the development of the wavy-coated retriever. In the Scottish Borders, the strong-eyed collies were probably a boon for the retriever people.  These dogs can greatly increase biddability in any dog stock. It is also possible that these dogs were the breed that actually introduced the yellow to red color in retrievers, although these colors also appear in setters and spaniels.

Most border collies are black and white. Some are blue merle. Some are red merle, which is more common in Australian (sic) shepherds and the German (sic) collie. (Australian shepherds are from the American West, while German collies are actually Australian!) And they come in sable. Sable is not the same color as the red to yellow in retrievers. If you crossed a sable dog with a red dog with black pigment, you would get solid black puppies.

Border collies also come in “red.”  Most that are called red are actually what we gun dog people would call “liver,” also known as “chocolate” in Labradors. These dogs are black dogs with a gene for brown skin pigment that affects the color of their fur as well as their skin. Their eyes are always amber or yellow in color, with amber being far more common. If these dogs were crossed into  yellow retrievers, they would probably produce black puppies.

There is another color of red in border collies, though. It is called “Australian red.” Genetically it is exactly the same color as the golden retriever. It is possible that this yellow to red coloration was entered into the wavy-coated retriever breed, and these dogs may have been used in the golden retriever’s development.

The most famous Australian red border collies is “Murray” from the TV series “Mad About You.”

So it is possible that the yellow genes were introduced into the wavy-coated breed through these dogs as well as red and cream-colored setters.

Here’s a good site on border collie coloration. This link shows the color of Australian red border collies, which does dove-tail with golden retrievers somewhat. It also has a good depiction of the many colors that make up the Border Collie breed.

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