About your breeding
I had many wonderful dogs, but I think FT CH Standerwick Rumbustuous of Catcombe, called Rumba at home, will remain my favorite. We were connected by both feelings and joy of cooperation. He anticipated my wishes, words were rarely needed. He raised puppies and was as cautious about them as their mothers. Although he died more than 10 years ago, I mourn him to this day. At the age of 12, he became the father of the litter, from which I left a bitch and three dogs. His sons Clever, Canny and Credit win titles in field trials. We currently have 20 dogs and they all live with us at home. Outdoor pens are used only to separate puppies or bitches in liquid. Every year, three or four litters are born, usually in spring and summer. I try to prevent puppies from being born during the hunting season, because then I could not give them all my attention.
About your first golden
In 1968, together with my husband, we bought a golden retriever bitch, which was supposed to be a family dog. We purchased it in a place that we would call mass-breeding today. We only paid 18 guineas – we were told it was so cheap because it is not of exhibition quality. When six years later we decided to exhibit Honey – that was her name – she won six awards. We were stunned by this success and started exhibiting it regularly – during the year she made her championship. Working on it introduced us to the world of hunting training. We covered Honey and started the breeding in this way. All our dogs are from her. Even when she was 10 years old, she still won, incl. got an application for champion at Crufts.
About mating dogs
In 1960-1980, each of the leading British kennels of this breed – Camrose, Of Yeo or Stolford – had their own distinctive type of dog. Today, many amateur breeders breed dogs on a small scale and cross representatives of different lines – so the type of breeding is not so visible. Especially novice breeders should avoid inbreeding – associating close relatives: father with daughter or mother with son. A very experienced breeder who knows the line well can use it to consolidate a good trait, but he must remember that he also consolidates the undesirable features! It is much better to use linebreeding – to associate dogs with common ancestors in the third or fourth generation. I have kept one type of golden retriever in my kennel for years. Sometimes I do out-cross to introduce the desired features to my line. To preserve the instinct of work in future generations of golden people, you need to look for a stud not only with the right build – angulation of the shoulders or hind legs – but also with natural ability to work.
About today’s Goldenens … their appearance
Much has changed over the past 40 years. Fashion influenced what we could observe in the rings. The positive is that the current golden retrievers are fairly standardized in terms of build and size. Glaring flaws are less common. Unfortunately, since the weight criterion has been removed from the British standard, heavier dogs are increasingly seen and breeders place less emphasis on their performance. Show dogs tend to have too short legs and too long torso, which is associated with a loss of their natural ability to work. Goldens from show lines have been bred for generations only for the exterior, without worrying about keeping such traits as fetching instincts. It worries me a lot. I dream to see again in the ring a full cross-section of the wonderful colors of the garment allowed by the pattern, and not just the lighter shades currently dominating. Perhaps future trends will be more favorable to darker dogs.
… and character
I am pleased to say that the character of this breed is as good as never before. Golden retrievers are nice, gentle, confident and friendly dogs that are happy to see guests, love everyone. They are quadrupeds that you can trust when you have a child at home. Dogs that can handle anything, even if it hurts a little.
The special features of the character of golden retrievers are their obedience, willingness to please, passion to work with and for man. In my opinion, this issue is overlooked in breeding programs of those who put appearance first. Breeders should remember that the same features that help golden retrievers to be unique hunting dogs and retrievers make them perform so well in areas where they are now most often used – as companion dogs, family friends, disabled helpers, search and sports dogs. Golden retriever temperament and ability to work are much more important for his popularity than appearance – without them he would be an ordinary dog.
About exhibition and working goldens
Since the 1940s, golden retrievers have been bred to win – either in field trials or at shows. This led to a situation in which achieving the greatest successes in both areas with the same dog is extremely difficult.
The demands placed on dogs during field trials are constantly increasing. To attract the judge’s eye, they must be fast, move beautifully, and work in style. Therefore, in this discipline Golden is required to have a sporty build, without excess body or heavy bones. A common requirement today is the ability to jump over a high fence with a bird in its mouth. In addition, in some competitions, golden retrievers must compete with leaner labradors from working lines. In turn, today’s show fashion requires that the goldens presented in the ring are heavier and have a lot of body. Such dogs must have a different build than those for field trials. However, I believe that breeding golden retrievers as a breed that works just as well at exhibitions as during hunting is extremely important. That is why we participate with our dogs in the latter.
About training for work
Golden retrievers were created to retrieve wounded and killed birds on the hunt. We have been collecting birds that have been hit together for over 40 years. We do not have weapons – we just like working with our goldens. The Golden Retriever needs to gain experience in the field by working on live animals before doing it himself – it takes two years. During the season, you can teach your dog to walk well, calm in the presence of animals and simple retrieval.
Owners of golden retrievers who are unable or unwilling to participate in hunting with them should encourage their dogs to think, engaging them in some other field in which they prove themselves. Hunting dog simulations in the form of work tests are a great way to use your talent.
About Polish Zloty
Poland is a young country when it comes to working with golden retrievers, so I can’t compare the level of Polish dogs with representatives of this breed from other European countries. Over time, this level will certainly rise in Poland. You have a few very nice golden, bred from known lines, but also many dogs of the best quality.
Together with her husband, she breeds golden retrievers with the nickname Catcombe. He trains them for field trials and work during hunting. Her dog Champion Catcombe Corblimeya (top photo) was recognized this year as the best in breed at the Crufts show. She is the author of the Golden Retriever book The Golden Breed Standard Illustrated. She judged at this year’s national golden retriever exhibition in Poland.