“oFten descrIbed as the ‘Peter Pan’ oF the sPortIng grouP the Flat-coated retrIever Is always HAPPY AND EXUBERANT.”
Breeders must be careful not to lose the breed silhouette and type. Fronts must be improved. DW: Often described as the ‘Peter Pan’ of the Sporting Group the Flat-Coated Retriever is always happy and exuberant. AY: My introduction to the breed was a client at the vet clinic I worked for. She had given a bitch to the veterinar- ian and after she went WB at the National some years back, they bred her and I was invited to grade the litter. That’s how a FC ended up with the setters at our house. Unfortunately, we lost her in a tragic accident when she was very young. By then I had the good fortune to see lovely examples of the breed in the UK and was directed to Pat Chapman of Shargleam Kennels who had just won BIS at Crufts with Shargleam Blackcap. (I did not know that when I first met her—that’s the kind of dog person she was) She allowed us to bring a niece of his back to the States. Pat was a breeder extraordinaire and I spend many trips to her home in Leister, UK to pour over pedi- grees and look at dogs. I really believe that all breeders must visit the country of origin to learn what it is that makes that breed. 7. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? KA: I remember showing a 6-9 month old puppy boy who nervously “dribbled” when being stacked. The puppy was awarded Winner’s Dog and when being photographed, the ever-patient judge quipped, “Please don’t let him pee on my blue suede shoes.” There’s never a dull moment with a young Flat-Coated Retriever. MD: The funniest thing that ever happened to me at a dog show... hmmm, there are so many! One, of the funniest experiences that comes to mind is being at a dog show and showing several different dogs in my breed that day. When I got into best of breed and it was my turn to present my dog to the judge, I knelt down, and was face to face with the dog for the first time. I realized I had the wrong dog! I quietly said to the judge, “I have the wrong dog”. Very gently he said to me, “Go back out and get the
right one, go to the end of the line, and we will pretend this never happened” he went on to tell me at my second crack “Your dogs really do look quite similar”. I smiled, knowing that was a good thing. KL: Years ago, I showed a beautiful bitch named Isabel. She wasn’t only beautiful but she was a field trial dog and very spontaneous. I showed her and took BOB with her and was excited to be going to the group with her since the judge just loved her. While finishing the down and back, I put her in a free stack and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a butterfly coming right into Isabel’s line of vision. Isabel instantly leaped into the air, caught the butterfly and swallowed it. The gallery loved it and applauded, but that was the end of our group experience that day. ShM: Early in my career, I was handling Sally’s Flat-Coat, Rebel, in Novice obedience. The class was early in the morning. so the grass was still wet and chilly. On his “Down Stay” Rebel felt so good that he rolled onto his back and began wiggling like he was making “snow angels.” During all of this I was standing across the ring and had to try to maintain my demeanor. SiM: When I was a young handler, I was showing an Irish Setter to Mrs. Winifred “Winnie” Heckman. As I began to kneel, my pants split completely from front to back. Win- nie looked at me and with barely a smile she said, “Very nice young man. You are Best of Breed!” DW: Last year while judging Great Danes, an exhibitor dropped a black washcloth on the other side of my ring. While waiting for the time for the next breed, I men- tioned to my ring Steward that a squirrel had just fallen from the rafters and was lying dead in the ring. I told her as ring steward that it was her job to dispose of the corpse. She was mortified and suggested that I remove the offending animal. But I’m the judge said I, and while I am in charge of the ring, I am not qualified to do dead stock removal. After about 5 minutes of a stand off she finally located a young man to go in the ring and collect the “body”. Needless to say she was not impressed with my sense of humor!
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