Labrador Retriever Kennel Club
(Affiliated to KUSA)
Visit the LRKC Web page here
In the UK, the Labrador, whose origins had been in far-off Newfoundland became dependent on his newly adopted country, the UK, for his continued existence. It was his wonderful ability to find game and retrieve it so willingly that assured him his future with the British estate owners and their keepers forever.
As the Labrador gained his deservedly wonderful reputation as a game finder, his popularity increased to the point where the estate owners and their keepers took on the responsibility of perpetuating the breed, both for its type, characteristics, and working ability. The accuracy of the first breed standard, drawn up in 1916 by the newly formed Labrador Retriever Club, is such that most of it is still very much in force today.
History in South Africa
The first Labrador Retriever to be registered with KUSA was Sir Julius Jeppe's Roseneath Bingo on 13 April, 1926. In 1958 a group of breeders on the Reef, concerned for the welfare and the future of the breed, came together and founded the Labrador Retriever Kennel Club (LRKC) with Mr George Jenkin (Beadles) in the chair.
Some important dogs were brought to South Africa: Major T C Wilde (Brigade) brought the Tweed son, Ch Sandylands Trade Wind and Ch Zelstone Raven, the latter the progenitor of nearly all the successful field trial Labradors in South Africa. In the Cape Mrs Rose-Marie Cabion imported Sleepy Hollow's Follytower Old Oak, probably the first Labrador to win a Best In Show (BIS) all breeds; [his son, Young Oak, made a brave showing at field trials]. The Horleys imported several Ballyduff dogs, but their great dog, Ch Winston of the Hussars, a son of Trade Wind, was bred at Kyalami by Lionel Wilson.
Winston's dam, Ch Charmaine of Cannobie Lee, by Ch Heatheredge Knight of Beadles, won the open stake in the first field trials run by the LRKC. This was in 1970; since then, except for one or two years, the Club has run field trials annually for any variety of registered retrievers, organized for many years by its patron, Bill Tait.
Bill Tait and G Mackenzie bred FT Ch Ballyhue's Black Pipit of Donside, a Raven grandson through FT Ch Ballyhue's Grenade, and imported the only slightly less successful FT Ch Bramlands Alexander, of Stratfieldsaye lineage. At that time South African breeders both showed and trialled their dogs. The Gies, by dedicated training, enhanced the natural ability of Brigade Highwayman and made him up as a bench, field trial and obedience Champion. Whereas, whilst the Copestakes' Ch Sandylands Master Piece of Breckondale was qualified in the field, the activities of their Ch Balrion Lord of the Manor and his progeny were confined to the ring. Ch Balrion King of the Hill sired FT Ch Breckondale King's Shilling, GMHR, Derek Brown's highly successful yellow dog.
The split between field and show type is more evident today, but the breed's natural working ability continues to impress. This is well demonstrated by Warren Banfield's FT Ch Vonniejo Black Magic GMHR, twice winner of the KUSA National Retriever Championship Stake in 1998 and 2000 respectively and winner of many Open Retriever Field Trial Champion Stakes.
Since 1990, the LRKC has enjoyed a happy association with the farmers of Val in Mpumalanga. The trials have been run over their lands and competitors have had the use of the facilities of the Val Sports Club. Officials, competitors, and spectators can look forward to the benefits of this congenial venue when the LRKC hosts the KUSA National Retriever Championship Stake in 2004.
The Labrador Retriever Kennel Club Today
The LRKC currently boasts a membership of over 200. It affords members the opportunity to take part in Field Trials run not only by the Club but also by other Clubs through inter-club networking and e-mail. Apart from the annual Field Trial, the LRKC runs two Open Shows each year, one of which incorporates the Supreme Labrador Retriever Champion, as well as a Breed Championship Show where overseas Labrador Specialists are invited to judge. Regular news Bulletins and two Newsletters, in July and December respectively, are sent out to members. The Club assists members of the public who, for a variety of reasons are unable to keep their Labrador/s, and require a re-homing facility. Similarly, an excellent puppy homing facility is available via the LRKC website. Requirements such as proof of Hip Dysplasia scoring of parents, KUSA registration, innoculations, and de-worming are essential in order for breeders to list their litters. The service receives excellent exposure to the wider puppy searching public and has received many accolades and commendations. The website also provides information regarding the Breed Standard, breeders, stud dogs, dates of events and a wonderful photo gallery.
To contact Club Officials or for more information visit the
This year's Field Trial Calendar