Verdoro Golden Retrievers
Meet the Breed: Golden Retriever
ABOUT THE BREEDER
Q: Please share with our readers about your background in dogs. When and how did you start breeding Golden Retrievers? How old were you, how did it all come about, and did you have mentors in the breed?
A: I have been active in breeding and showing dogs most of my life. My parents were active in breeding Golden Retrievers and Field Spaniels under the Jeran prefix, and it was a natural transition. My involvement in the breed started in 1969.
My mentors within the sport have been many. Peggy Grayson, although not a Golden Retriever breeder, was the individual who had the greatest impact on my understanding of the sport including breeding and judging. I owe a great deal of gratitude to Golden Retriever breeders Ron Bradbury (Nortonwood) and Joan Gill & Daphne Philpott (Wesley) who graciously offered wisdom, insight, pedigrees and dogs to a young American lad who craved knowledge. Also, a special acknowledgement to Peggy Owen (Westrose) for years of friendship and for allowing me to own several of her beautifully bred dogs.
Q: What is the meaning behind your kennel and your kennel name? How many litters have you had so far? When did you breed your first litter?
A: Over the past 51 years I have been associated with several kennel names. Jeran (a combination of my parents’ names – Jerry & Joan), Woodspoint (the name of a street in Lexington, Kentucky and the kennel name established with my first partner, the late David E. White). David and I bred Golden Retrievers, Field Spaniels, and Springer Spaniels under this prefix. Also, during this time span I co-bred Golden Retrievers with a dear friend, the late Patricia “Pat” Vogel – Devoe. After both David and Pat died, I combined forces with Dr. Ann Greenbank (Verdoro Golden Retrievers). Ann and I had known each other for decades, and having co-owned dogs and shared a mutual understanding of what a Golden Retriever should look like, we joined our breeding programs, retaining the Verdoro prefix which is a hybrid French/Spanish meaning “towards gold”.
Q: What is your breeding policy? Do you work with other kennels, and does this consist of having dogs in joint ownership? Do you use stud dogs from other kennels or do you prefer to use your own dogs?
A: Ann and I most definitely work with other kennels. We are constantly looking for young dogs that meet our criteria both in genotype and phenotype. There are a few well established kennels that we have a long established history of breeding back and forth with. Ann is a successful canine reproduction specialist, so we have the ability to store semen and successful produce a family of healthy Golden Retrievers from several sources, including semen from several of our top sires over almost 40 years.
Q: Which dog do you consider the foundation of your own breeding?
A: There are too many to mention – a few include: Can. Ch. Golden Jenny OTCH, Am. Can. Ch. Verdoro’s Georgia On My Mind, Am. Can. Ch. Verdoro’s Tellise Arrow Smith, Ch. Westrose Happy Fellah, Ch. Devoe Woodspoint Feline Fine, Ch. Woodspoint’s Lillihammer, Ch. Pekay’s Jesse James, Ch. Roshar Chimere.
Q: What kind of selection do you prefer in your breeding program line breeding, inbreeding or out cross, and why?
A: For me/us linebreeding on a strong bitch line is essential.
Q: What would you say was your greatest achievement as a breeder so far?
A: Personally, my/our greatest achievement is to consistently breed dogs that are typical, sound and a joy to live with. We have bred numerous champions, best in show winners, national specialty winners, and at the end of the day the greatest achievement is do they make you smile when you look at them.
Q: What is your favorite show to attend and why.
A: From a breed perspective my favorite show to attend in the USA is the Golden Retriever Club of America National Specialty. This week-long show allows both Ann and myself an opportunity to look potential young males for breeding and to have meaningful conversations with respected breeders. All-breed shows would include Westminster and Crufts, for the obvious reasons.
ABOUT THE BREED
Q: How do you interpret the standard? Do you accept that other breeders have different point of views as to what the Golden should look like, or is there just one correct type?
A: That’s a loaded question that has and will continue to get me in trouble. There is only one type-period! Provided it falls within in the framework of the standard and individual interpretation various styles can be acceptable.
Q: What three qualities do you think are the most important when you look at a Golden?
A: 1. Balance / proportions – both on the move and standing. 2. Head properties 3. Coat and temperament. (I can’t just choose three).
Q: Which faults would you not tolerate in your breed?
A: Faults that drive me crazy are: Bad temperament, improper heads, open / soft coats, long and low in proportion and incorrect tails.
Q: On the health front there is good work going on to address health problems. Many breeders test their dogs, but is there more work to be done? What medical test do you consider necessary to have before mating your Golden? How would you rate health in the breed overall?
A: As you already know my partner in breeding is a veterinarian. We are vigilant in testing for everything that we can, in hopes of reducing the chance of perpetuating many of genetic problems plaguing the breed. We currently test for the following before breeding: hips, eyes, hearts, elbows, DNA for ichthyosis (skin), PRA 1, PRA 2, PRCD-PRA, NCL (neurological). We utilize the Embark DNA Golden Retriever panel test.
Q: How has the breed changed over the years since you first began in the breed? Would you say that the breed has evolved for the better or for the worse?
A: The breed, at least in the US, has evolved from a gentleman’s gundog to a flashy, glamourized show machine. Long, low specimens with open / fluff coats have become the norm at all-breed shows with the correct dogs only being exhibited to breeder judges and specialty shows. Mediocrity has become the norm.
Q: Can you, in your own words describe an ideal Golden?
A: A medium sized, well-built gundog with a gold-colored coat and proportions of length to height of 12:11 – length in the rib and a short broad loin. Primarily a gundog, proper coat texture, level back, tail carried level and a head that has the strength to perform while exuding a kind, gentle nature. Exaggerations should never be part of the equation in defining the ideal Golden. Easy going, coordinated movement with four legs underneath the body, level topline and a tail that is carried off the back. Moderate with good reach and drive. I always say to new judges “You are going to see a lot of sheep in the ring, go for the cow!”
Q: In order of importance how would you place movement, head, coat, substance, and type?
A: Type is defined by movement, head, coat, substance. All are important.
Q: Please name 3 of your all-time favorite winners that have been bred or owned by you and three not owned nor bred by you.
A: Three of my all-time favorites are: Ch. Roshar Chimere, Ch. Westrose Happy Fellah and Ch. Verdoro’s Boom or Bust. Three or more that were not owned or bred by me: Ch. Davern Figaro, Ch. Lorinford Harlequin, Ch. Lorinford Lancelot, Ch. Nortonwood Checkmate, and Ch. Cal-Vo’s Happy Ambassador.
Q: What advice would you give to a new person in the breed?
A: Listen, watch and absorb as much information as possible – the magic is in the pedigree.