The following article is reproduced from Our Dogs, April 5th, 1984. While highlighting the 40th Championship Show it is also a history of our club from its birth in 1941 to 1984. I hope all of us who love and respect our club will take something positive from the article and remember that history is important and knowing where our club came from should strengthen members' convictions that the club's interests comes first.

Perhaps there is someone out there willing to take on the task of bringing the historyof the club up to the present day.

The club deserves its place in the history of the development of the LABRADOR RETRIEVER. 

Jim Nolan, Veyatie Labradors

Looking back can become an exercise in mere nostalgia blinding the observer to greater things which may lie ahead.

But to breed good pedigree dogs a knowledge of what went before is essential and the continuity of a sound and successful line pays homage to the past.

So it is with the Labrador Club of Scotland which, on April 7th 1984 celebrates its 40th Championship Show.

The future is of great importance and thanks to good foundations and continuity of office bearers and committee the club looks forward with confidence to many years as one of Scotland's most highly respected breed clubs. Looking back over the years since 1941 when a group of enthusiasts met in Edinburgh and formed the East of Scotland Labrador Retriever Club has proved most enjoyable with clear evidence of well-balanced committees led by knowledgeable office bearers progressing the club onwards and upwards with very few serious quarrels and upsets that prevail in many breed clubs.

First Members' Show

Mrs E. Aldridge was elected President. Mr John Manson Secretary and Treasurer, and the club decided to hold its first Members Show at East End Park, Dunfermline, on "23rd or 30th August, depending on the fixture list of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club" where the hire of the venue was one pound ten shillings, and there was a "Special" for the Labrador with the most typical coat. Later in the year the Right Hon. Lorna, Countess Howe declined to become a Patron of the club because: "she did not approve of war-time shows, she did not approve of new clubs being formed in war time, that there was no need of a further Labrador club, and that there were already sufficient clubs running Field Trials in Scotland."

Countess Howe was a lady of great authority and distinction but despite her disapproval, the club, with Mr Manson in office for 25 years till his death in 1966 made rapid progress proving she was wrong on the last two of her objections. In 1946 the first Championship Show was held in Edinburgh and Mr H. A. Saunders of the famous Liddly Labradors was given the honour of judging 134 labradors making 439 entries, a trend then fashionable of entering the dogs in many classes. At the show dogs outnumbered bitches but within a few shows bitches went ahead. Exhibitors who travelled from all over Britain included some of the most famous names in Labradors: Mrs Gwen Broadley (Sandylands), Mr Outhwaite (Poppleton), Major and Mrs Wormald (Knaith), Donald Reid (Craigluscar), and Tom Dinwoodie (Lochar). Their stamina and fortitude was admirable when one thinks of the travelling conditions in those days: no mad rush up the M6 but dreary train journeys by car on potholed two-way roads, and a Mr H. McKnight (Co. Armagh) who sailed up the Clyde on the Belfast boat and then by train to Edinburgh!

Title Change

In 1947 the title was changed to the Labrador Club of Scotland and at the second Championship Show in Edinburgh that year the club was honoured to have Countess Howe as Judge. The committee obviously respected Countess Howe's opinions in every respect. At the 1955 Show Countess Howe was again the Judge and in her classic book "The Popular Labrador Retriever" she wrote: The best collection I have seen since the war. The senior classes were a joy to see and I would have had no compunction in awarding CCs to at least 10 of the exhibits." The dog CC was awarded to Ch General of Garshangan and the bitch CC and BOB to Judith Aikshaw.

John Manson was not just a good administrator. His Glengour Labradors Ch Golden Gleam of Glengour, Ch Gold Rand of Glengour and many others were also good workers and are behind many of today's Labradors. Mr Manson was indeed a golden asset of the Labrador Club of Scotland.

Blaircourt labradors founded in 1946 by Grant Cairns and his wife, Margie, have had an enormous influence on the breed. From Harry Smith they obtained Tauna of Treesholme and from Donald Reid Craigluscar Dusk of Blaircourt and this formed the backbone of the Blaircourt Labradors. These two bitches although not great show winners produced excellent brood bitches such as Sandra of Blaircourt, dam of Ch Imp of Blaircourt, which in turn produced Sh Ch Tessa of Blaircourt, dam of Ch Sandylands Tweed of Blaircourt, also Olivia of Blaircourt, dam of Ch Ruler of Blaircourt, Int. Ch Sandylands Sam of Blaircourt and Am Ch Urchin of Blaircourt who became extremely famous as a stud dog. Int Ch Sandylands Sam of Blaircourt went to Mrs Grace Lambert in the USA where he was the top winning Labrador there in 1959, 1960, 1961, and 1962.

Great Kennels

Another great Labrador kennel was that of Major and Mrs Arthur Wormald's Knaith yellow Labradors with Dual Ch Knaith Banjo one of the breed's two yellow dual champions bred in Scotland, the other Staindrop Saighdear being bred by Murray Dewar. Major Wormald was secretary of the Yellow Labrador Club for many years and on his death was succeeded by Mrs Wormald and the Knaith labradors were campaigned by the grand old lady until she was over 90.

Lt-Col. And Mrs M. Hill and the Garshangan Labradors have played an important part in the breed and the club. Col. Hill was President for 10 years and Mrs Hill was later a Vice President and now an Hon Life Member. They have tried hard to encouraged the working ability in show dogs and have for a number of years been generous hosts to the club at their home in Renfrewshire when holding the Test for Novice Show dogs. With advancing years they are seldom seen at shows but in their prime the sturdy distinctive Garshangan strain was consistently among the top awards and Ch Gussie of G., Ch General of G., and Sh Ch Garvel of G. will long be remembered. Certainly in my 20 years or so association with the club the authority blended with tolerance of Col. Hill to those of us flushed with the enthusiasm of youth with our "brilliant ideas" was much appreciated.

Miss Molly Collins of the well-known Coultercraigs kennel followed Col. Hill as President and her enjoyment of both shows and trials ensured that once again a good choice had been made by the members. In the '60s John Ferguson gave Miss Collins Coultercraigs Labradors their best win when his Coultercraigs Smiller was awarded Best in Show by Frank Warner at SKC, in Edinburgh, gaining his second CC on the day. Unfortunately he never got his third CC due to an eye injury which shortened his career.

Present day champions with Scottish connections include: Sh Ch Crawcrook Princess, Sh Ch Sandylands Sonnet of Konoboly, Sh Ch Konoboly Bunny Girl, Sh Ch Savorna Gem of Gems of Kerlstone, Sh Ch Sudeo Kay Sara, Sh Ch Glencaple Evening Flight of Calag, Sh Ch Rossbank Cochine and Sh Ch Rossbank Kansas, and Ch Glendale Penny.

Special praise is due to one of our best-known dogs Sh Ch Sandylands Clarence of Rossbank, who sadly died last year. Bred by Gwen Broadley and owned by John and Helen Steven, he sired the great Balrion litter of four champions which included the post-war record holder, Sh Ch Balrion King Frost and also Sh Ch Rossbank Cochine and Am Ch Rossbank Chaddo.


There are a good number of keen young people doing very well at shows through the United Kingdom and Scottish Labradors are winning quite a number of the CCs on offer and indeed making their dogs up. Full champions are, alas, noticeably thin on the ground. No one in Scotland has qualified their Show Champions since my wife's Ch Glendale Penny was made up in 1969 and there was a very long gap before her in full champion bitches, and Ch Wanderer of Blaircourt, made up in 1965, and a son of Ruler, was the last full dog Champion. As mentioned elsewhere Field Trials feature high on the club's activities well handled by Field Trial Secretary Ronnie Montgomery, but we don't seem to be able to get the field triallers and the show people together as much as we would like but we will keep trying. It is a fact though that a great many people shoot over good-looking workers from show stock.

The Labrador Club of Scotland committee has proved to be a fine nursery for rearing talented administrators for higher offices. From early days to the present members have filled posts of importance in Scotttish Kennel Club. The late Grant Cairns was for some time Chief Steward, Margie Cairns sits on various committees and is President of the Gundog Breeds Association of Scotland. Lt-Col. Hill, highly regarded when our President for 10 years and now our Hon. President, is a former Vic-Convener of SKC. John Steven is a committee member of SKC, Roy Ellison, who until recently worked very hard for SKC is now, together with his wife Eileen, a former Show Secretary of the Labrador Club of Scotland, Secretary and Treasurer respectively of the Gundog Breeds Association of Scotland. And of course the Labrador Club of Scotland in return has benefited from the experience gained by these members at SKC. That is not to say that the committee gets it right all the time. As the membership is spread widely across the country it is of course, difficult to please everyone.

Over the years the pendulum swung from East to West, both in numbers of members and the composition of the committee. The pendulum appears to have swung back nearer the East with very active and successful young breeders making their present felt. This can only strengthen the club's position of the LABRADOR CLUB OF SCOTLAND.

Our President, Jack Kerr is but a youngster but he's been around a bit. Jack was for years Club Secretary when the job meant Show and Field Trial Secretary and the knowledge gained has ensured his success as President while his quiet easy going nature belies his control and ability to bring matters to satisfactory conclusions. He is also Chairman of the Labrador Breed Council having represented the club for years at the London meetings. Jack has not shown a Labrador for many years but attends Field Trials regularly and is very well known in the Field Trial world. Certainly the backbone of the club for more than 20 years he fully deserves a place on the Roll of Honour of the Labrador Club of Scotland.


Some years ago the club decided to charge exhibitors at the Championship Show for one entry and then enter as many classes as they wished free of charge. It has proved to be successful as many exhibitors take the opportunity to show their youngsters in a number of classes enhancing their chances of gaining points for Junior Warrants if the Judge likes their dog. Serious contenders for the top awards usually pursue the modern trend of entering just the one class but nevertheless the system seems to meet with the approval of most exhibitors.

It will have been observed that over the past 40 years of Championship Shows the club has contributed enormously to the welfare of Labradors. Field Trials are held each year, shows, both Open and Championship are held, matches organised, social events such as dance, lectures by vets and leading breeders (a memorable one by Mary Roslin-Williams), and of course, as I mentioned earlier, club members have played a big part in Scottish clubs.


In 1981 the club team of Labradors were beaten finalists in the SKC Centenary Match Competition proving once again the club's ability to compete with the best.

I hope you will agree that our brief look into the history of the club has not been a mere exercise in nostalgia but confirmation of a sturdily built, active club with the stamina, intelligence, and temperament we look for in our Labradors.

The Dam Park, Ayr, is the venue of the 40th Championship Show with red wine and birthday cake for all exhibitors, enhanced price money and specials, thanks to our generous sponsors and of course our usual warm welcome awaits you.

In 1946 at the first Championship Show Mr Saunders' dog CC winner was Orchardton Du 'O Banchory, a black, and his bitch CC winner was Marigold of Spurstow, a yellow. Now in 1984 Margie Cairns will make her choice and the excitement and tension will be there as it was all those years ago at the first Championship Show but there will be laughs too, there always is at the Labrador ring. By the way, for the mathematicians among you, we've got our 40th anniversary date correct. In 1947 the Kennel Club gave permission for two Championship Shows in that year.

Jim Nolan, Veyatie Labradors