The Club was originally confined to members living within a ten mile radius of the South Western Counties Of Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Avon. This ruling remained for ten years until 1983 when it was thrown open to all.
The club has held 23 Open Shows and was granted Championship Show status in 1977 since then it has held a championship show each year.
The first Working Test took place in 1974 and these have become so popular that for some years we have been organising a full programme of Working Tests and a Rally every summer since 1977. Mrs Graham-White did much to stimulate interest in this direction and was appointed Field Officer in 1979. She remained in office until 1983 when Miss Southwell took over from her.
In 1979 the Club organised their first Show Gun-dog Qualifying Meeting and have held two since then. Owing to the difficulty in finding suitable ground it is not possible to run a Qualifying Meeting of this type every year.
Each year Golden Retriever Clubs all over the country are invited to take part in an Inter Club Gun-dog Test. There are 12 separate Clubs but owing to the distance apart not all are able to complete. Many members belong to some or all of these Clubs so that those selected for the team may live in quite a different part of the country, The Team consists of 2 Open dogs and 2 Novice dogs.
The chosen acting as host Club is responsible for its organisation. In 1983 the South Western Golden Retriever Club won the Inter Club Test which was held at Stratfield Saye, Berkshire. Eight Clubs took part.The team consisted of Mrs Dickinson-Cheetham, Mrs Hargraves, Mrs Wilson and Mrs Southwell.
The following year the South western Golden Retriever Club were hosts to nine teams at Monkton Combe, Bath.
Mrs Balaam, has been responsible for the Rescue Scheme in the South West and for several years has done an excellent job of re-homing unwanted or difficult Goldens.
Miss Fiona Coward is responsible for the hip and eye compendium which the Club recommended following the hip scoring scheme which was introduced by Mr Willis and which the Club participates.
In 1984 Mrs Sawtell resigned as chairman and Mr David Balaam was elected to her position. Mrs Sawtell was invited to become the first President of the Club.
We are very proud of the high standard of the Golden Retrievers in the South West and have probably produced more Field trial Champions, Champions and Show Champions than any other area..
My own Kennel which has been in existence since 1938 cannot fail to have influenced the breed over the years having produced 10 Champions or Show Champions carrying the "Of Yeo" prefix, two of which are International Champions and two bear the title of Field Trial Champion in Mrs Atkinson's ownership.
On the working side the Holway kennel has been most prominent having produced 13 Field Trial champions, two of which have won the International Gundog League Championship Stake. The latest in 1982 with FT Ch Little Marston Chorus Of Holway, owned and handled by Mrs Atkinson's son Mr Robert Atkinson.
This kennel was founded in 1947 when Mrs Atkinson bought FT Ch Musicmaker of Yeo as an 8 month old puppy. It is from this bitch that all the Holway dogs are descended. At a later date she acquired FT Ch Flush Of Yeo from whom she bred 6 Field Trial Champions 4 in this country.
At a recent count her kennel has won 62 first prizes at Field Trials. This must be a record for any Gun-dog breeder.
Mr Michael Dare who has the Little Marston Prefix founded his kennel in 1965 . He has made up 2 Field Trial Champions namely Ft Ch Holway Spinner and Ft Ch Holway Carla, apart from being the breeder of Ft Ch Little Marston Chorus of Holway and selling her sister to the King of Spain.
Of the Champion Show dogs in the South West which have been most influential in recent years there are several.
Mr & Mrs Coward's Brackengold Kennel, founded in 1947 produced Sh Ch Brackengold Max by Glenavis Garry x Brackengold Ripple. He is the sire of Ch Catcombe Charm, ch Ordart Arabella, Sh Ch Hingstondown Notoriety of Muskan and Hingstondown McDuff who has 2 CC's.
Mrs Crick's Moorquest Kennel was founded in 1968 but it was not until 1972 that she really became involved and bred her first litter.From this litter came Moorquest Ambassador who won a Rcc and many Gundog awards. In 1973 she was offered Caprice of Yeo the 18 months old. This bitch was mated to Deerflite Tradition of Janville and produced Ch Moorquest Mugwump. He has won 5 CC's,each with BOB and 3 Rcc's. He is a popular stud dog and has sired Ch Okus Buccaneer and Sh Ch Muskan Miss Dior, both of whom have won BIS at the GRC Championship Show. He has also sired 6 JW winners.
Mrs Lambshead's kennel has become well known through her 2 Champion bitches, Sh Ch Hingstondown Notoriety of Muskan and her daughter Sh Ch Muskan Miss Dior. Notoriety was born in 1976 by Sh Ch Brackengold Max x Hingstondown Lady Capulet.
She has won 5CC's and 2 Rcc's as well as a JW and BIS at Northern GRC Championship Show. She is the dam of one champion, 5 JW winners, A Pup of the Year finalist and top Golden Retriever puppy in 1984 came from this bitch.
Sh Ch Muskan Miss Dior was born in 1978 and is by Ch Moorquest Mugwump. She is the winner of 6 CC's(5 with BOB) 2Rcc's and a JW. She is also a Pup of the Year finalist. BIS at the GRc Ch Sh 1982, the Welsh GRC Ch sh in 1983 and the Midland GRC Ch sh in 1983.
The Westrose Kennel owned by Mrs Peggy Owen started in 1963 with Brambledwon Honeysilk. She gained her JW in under 12months and later produced Westrose Zelah who won one CC and one Rcc. In 1971 Heronsmarch Duchess was introduced to the kennel and mated to Sh Ch Concord of Yeo. This mating produced Ch Westrose La Renah who was also a JW winner. She is the only Golden Retriever in Cornwall having won 3 CC's. The last one at Crufts in 1979 under Mrs Peggy Robertson.
The Pinecrest Kennel owned by Mr & Mrs Balaam so well known in the West Country through their popular stud dog Ch Pinecrest Salvador, startedbreeding in 1963. Their 1st Champion was Ch Pincrest Topper, winner of 6 CC's and 5 Rcc's. Unfortunately he died at just over 4 yrs old but a bitch was retained from one of his last litters called Pinecrest Patricia. Ch Pincrest Salvador was the result of mating Patricia to Ch Davern Figaro. He has sired one champion and several other CC winners including a Gun-dog group winner and BPIS at an all Breeds Championship Show. Also a Pup of the Year finalist and many JW winners. Two of his Cc winning children have been retained . Mrs Melvile's Ch Crouchers Pinecrest Melisa was also bred by Mr & Mrs Balaam some years ago. The Arbutus Kennel owned by Mrs Sue Almey started in 1970 with a pet bitch.
Later she became her foundation bitch when she was mated to Ch Hugenden Cabus Columba from which litter Arbutus Peppercon was kept and Mrs Almey really became seriously involved with breeding. It was by mating Peppercorn to Ch Pinecrest Salvaldor that her Champion Arbutus Kinsella was bred. She 4 CC's and 3 Rcc's to date. She also produced several good foundation bitches for other kennels starting in the breed.
Mr Palethorp is the owner of Ch Ordart Arabella who is by Sh ch Brackengold Max out of Avonpine Ashwater Governess. She won her JW at 11months old and went on to win 3 CC's and a Show Gun-dog Working Certificate to give her the full title.
The Catcombe kennel owned by Mr & Mrs Andrews was founded in 1968 when they bought Ch Pal of Catcombe as a family pet and as she was supposed to be "not of show quality" she was sold at a very reduced price. Honey as she was called at home was sired by Mandingo Beau Geste of Yeo out of another unshown bitch called Pasty Adams. To the Andrews family she was quite perfect and as they had no aspirations to show or breed they were more than happy to have her.
In 1971 she was mated to Pennard Golden Brumas and when Mrs Thompson saw her she suggested that she should be shown. So it was that when she was 6 weeks in whelp, untrimmed and with no ring training for either dog or handler she was shown under Mrs Ferelith Hamiliton with the result that she left the show with a fistful of first prizes. When I saw her I remember trying to encourage Mrs Andrews to trim her bitch and take her to some Championship shows. Her reply was that she had other things she wanted to do with her life and she did not want to get involved with dog showing. Could any two people be more involved than Mr & Mrs Andrews today. Mr andrews is Field Trial Secretary for the GRc and Mrs Andrews breeds, trians and handles her dogs very successfully in the Field Trials and Shows. Honey went on to win her 1st CC at 6 and half years old and continued to win well until 9 and half years old, by which tine she had won 11 CC's 6 with BOB and 3Rcc's as well as a Gun-dog Group and CC at Crufts and the GRC Championship Show. From her 1st litter cameAmber Charm of Catcombe who is the dam of Ch Catcombe Charm.This is the granddaughter of Royal Pal's has 6 CC's and 4 Rcc's.
Ch Royal Pal also produced Catcombe Crystal who has one CC. As the working side became increasingly important and enjoyable Mrs Andrews bought Sheersilk Of Yeo who is by FT CH Holway chanter out of Shotsilk of Yeo. Her long list of wins at FT's and Working Tests speaks for itself. More recently Standerwick Rumbustuous has joined the kennel. He was bred by Miss Joan Gill and Mrs D Philpott. He has not yet reach his peak but has started well by winning a Non-Winner Trial on his first outing last year.
There is one more Champion in the South West, he is Sh Ch Portcullis Napoleon by Ch Camrose Cabus Christopher out of Portcullis Kittiwake bred by Mrs Parker. He is owned by Mr Cooper who lives in Plymouth. It must be a great handicap for exhibitors living so far west which entails such long journeys to the main championship shows.
It is all the more credit to them for persevering.
For a History of the Golden Retriever Breed Click HERE