Ratesdownload (1)
Monthly ADS_Simple Slide Show
Magazine Flip
Skyscraper 3

Sandyland Kennels – The Labrador at Its Finest

Click here to read the complete article
164 – July 2019


This sport has always existed in a paradoxical universe. Although it’s never been immune to the frenetic influences of social expectations, that proximity has never dictated its evolution. Nothing illustrates this better than the bizarrely indefinable role of women in the sport. Although they wouldn’t get within miles of upper level management for a century, by the early 1900s they were dug in as power players in every major aspect of the game, including the super-exclusive orbit of British Gundogs.

And nothing epitomizes that long, glossy, exclusive British tradition like the Labrador Retriever, which is somewhat ironic considering the breed’s comparatively brief history in the purebred timeline. Retrievers comprise the most recent branch of British Gundog development, and this one doesn’t come close to the narrative record of, say, Flatcoats or Curlies. Anyway, gaining traction in this arena has always been virtually impossible. Nonetheless, when the post-World War II dust settled, both of Britain’s most celebrated Lab kennels were still flying the flag–Banchory and Sandylands. Both were headed by women. A coincidence? Maybe. The subsequent 1952 announcement of their merger signaled a new era of Labrador domination.

But let’s start at the beginning. And that part of the story is truly fascinating because, despite their shared celebrity status, while these indomitable women met at dead center of the game their journeys to that apex couldn’t have been more different.

First to reach the finish line of superstardom was Lorna, Countess Howe. Heralding from the last gasp of Edwardian decadence, she descended from and married into the top tier of Britain’s hereditary and political aristocracy in 1908. The pedigree of her first husband, Captain Quintin Dick, was far more impressive than the paper trail of most Labradors at that time. As the unimpeachable Hugh Dalziel wrote in 1888, “the Retriever, as recognized by show authorities, has a very short history.”

Retrievers were a brand new flavor of Gundog, and most experts of the era unhesitatingly pronounced them a fad. Then the M.P./Kennel Club Chairman Sewellis Shirley, the celebrated purebred arbiter Stonehenge, and several other high rollers got into Flatcoats and Field Trials. Still, the Labrador was considered a counterfeit Flatcoat. As Lorna recounted in her best selling 1957 book, the formation of Britain’s first Labrador Retriever club was prompted by some nice wins by Horton Max at Crufts 1916, who seemed to showcase his versatility by doing equally well in Flatcoat and Lab classes that weekend.

Click here to read the complete article
164 – July 2019

Short URL:

Posted by on Jul 12 2019. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed


  • October 2019