Posts Tagged ‘performance bred golden retriever’

Memarken's Spice

From Kennel Memarken in Sweden.

“Roll that beautiful bean footage!”

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It’s from an episode of a show called Bird Dogs Forever.

Pointing golden retrievers aren’t supposed to exist, but there are breeders who produce pointing Labradors. There is a lot of debate about pointing Labradors, which I will not go into here. Let’s just say it’s controversial.

However, pointing can be trained in a wide variety of breeds. Mark Derr writes about how a foxhound can be trained to point in A Dog’s History of America, as well as mentioning a pointing bloodhound that belonged to Montague Stevens, the celebrated grizzly hunter from New Mexico. Then there’s that story about the pointing coyote from Oklahoma.  It’s likely that many breeds have this capacity, and it just takes some training to bring it out and refine it.

What you will see in the clip is very informal gun dog work.  The British call this kind of hunting “rough shooting,” which means the dogs are put after truly wild birds that have never been raised in pens in an environment that is totally natural. They are not driving the pheasants out with spaniels and shooting them. They are using retrievers as spaniels– well, at least the Labrador is being used as a spaniel!

There is not a single trial or test for pointing ability in golden retrievers, and it is not at trait that is normally bred for or typically reinforced through training in this breed, which is almost universally regarded as a flushing dog when used on land-based game birds.

It is somewhat difficult to see this dog point in the video because she is almost exactly the same color as the grass.

But it is still interesting to watch.

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Source for image.

This particular golden looks like a red flat-coated retriever.

Brown skinned dogs are genetically livers or chocolates that have the e/e genotype that prevents the brown pigment from appearing on the coat.

See earlier post:



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Golden retriever fetching a cock pheasant in the Czech Republic.

Maybe it’s more accurate to say he got him by something else.

But let’s keep it clean for today.

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(Source for image)


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The duck is obviously planted for training or trial purposes, but look at the expression on the dog’s face!


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(Source for image)


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All photos on this post (save the vizsla), come from the Ancient Geekwho writes about many things, including his rescued golden retrievers.


I’ve been looking for a good photo of a golden retriever with the brown-skinned gene, but I’ve had some trouble. These dogs are not common. The standard wants a dark-nosed dog. The nose can be black or “brownish black,” but the brownish black definition is designed to allow for some fading due to age or “snow nose.”

The one that I have found most interesting is Allie Mae. Allie Mae is a brown-skinned golden retriever, which is quite rare. Well over 90 percent of goldens are black-skinned recessive yellow to red dogs.  All goldens, whether they are “setter red” or “white,” are actually recessive red to yellow dogs. The exact genetic mechanism that causes the different shades is unknown, though there is a theoretical chinchilla gene.  Dogs that have the brown-skinned gene are actually liver or chocolate dogs. The genotype that creates the recessive yellow to red, usually defined as e/e,  prevents brown coloration from appearing on the coat.  Black-skinned goldens are actually black dogs with the same genotype. As I showed in an earlier post, some goldens can have somatic mutations that cause parts of their coat to have an E/e genotype, leaving black splotches on the coat.

Here is Allie Mae standing next to Marty, another dark golden.  Marty is a black-skinned dog, but because they are similar in coat color, it is easier to see the differences in skin pigment.

Note that you cannot distinctly see Allie’s eye rims. That is because her skin is brown, and it blends in with the dark gold coat.  By contrast, one can clearly see Marty’s black nose and black eye rims.

Allie’s brown skin is not the result of fading due to age or from the “snow nose” phenomenon, which leads to seasonal fading in nose color for many goldens. Here is Allie beside an elderly golden named JoJo. JoJo’s brown nose has faded due to age, but you can still see black marks on the skin pigmentation and nose (if you look closely).

The brown-skinned yellow to reds have been selectively bred out of golden retrievers.  It is very unusual to find one, but I think that only lines that carry this coloration with any regularity are North American performance lines.  Remember that goldens are almost entirely derived from the same stock that gave us the modern flat-coated retriever, which come in both black and liver (chocolate in Labradors). If the goldens did not have the e/e genotype, the vast majority of them would be solid black or liver dogs. Because e/e tends to mask all coat pigmentation, we also have sable, black and tan, and liver colors that are being masked by this genotype.

Some breeds of come in only brown-skinned yellow to red. Vizlas and the various true red and deadgrass Chesapeake Bay retrievers are this color, and the majority of Nova Scotia duck-tolling retrievers are brown-skinned yellow to red.

Here is a photo of a (faulty) long-haired vizla, which very strongly resembles Allie Mae.

Long-haired vizslas have popped up in wire-haired and smooth vizsla litters, but these have only occurred in European lines. The are apparently more common in wire-haired vizlas, which are not recognized in this country. The feathered long-hair type is recessive to both wire and smooth coats and can pop up if both parents carry the trait– whether they are wire or smooth.

Allie Mae is really attractive dog. It’s a shame that true brown-skinned dogs are so rare in the breed.

Of course, unlike Allie Mae, vizslas have been bred to have very light brown skin and amber eyes, so that the eyes and skin match the coat perfectly. Different brown-skinned dogs can have different shades of brown, but I cannot find the exact genetic literature on dark brown versus light brown.

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You know this has to be a  working golden retriever in Europe.

And this dog is. I got this image off the TjäderAndens Kennel in Sweden. (Link to the kennel’s blog).

Europeans want their dogs to retrieve fur. This takes this desire to a whole new level. I’ve seen photos of German HPR’s retrieving foxes, including gray foxes in the United States, but this is the first image I’ve seen of a golden retriever doing it.

Not that I doubted that they could do it. It’s just that no one from this country ever asks them to.


Hat tip to Dave at the Little Heelers blog. He wanted me to see a kennel that had both performance-bred retrievers and Finnish spitz, but I jumped when I saw this golden carrying a fox.

I should note that the Russian have trained a very close relative of the Finnish spitz to retrieve ducks and even hold events that test the retrieving abilities of these dogs.

But that’s another post.

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