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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone more knowledgeable than myself please clarify something for me.
When out walking Ben the other day, I was approached by a lady who asked me if he was a Drakeshead type of labrador as he had the markings of one. I replied I wasn't sure. Now as far as my limited knowledge goes, I always thought that Drakeshead was just an affix for a breeder and not a "type of lab". Looking at his pedigree when I got home, there is Drakeshead there but not much. Are there traits distinguishing breeders dogs from others?
 

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You're correct, Drakeshead is the affix for John and Sandra Halstead.
 

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The crazy thing about it is that so many Drakeshead dogs were not bred by the Halstead's. So many are brought in, as in Copperbirch Sioux of Drakeshead who was bred by Keith Mathews, Craighorn Dipper of Drakeshead who was bred by Tom Smith, Garronpoint Ross of Drakeshead bred by Annette Clarke, Brenjon Dirk of Drakeshead bred by John Drury, Greenbriar Glencoe of Drakeshead bred by Carol Clarke, Levenghyl Silvercloud of Drakeshead bred by Peter Bates, and so on. Trouble is, people see a name and think they see something which does not exist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thankyou for clearing that up for me, so there are no "traits" that distinguish a certain breeder from another?
 

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so there are no "traits" that distinguish a certain breeder from another?
Of course there is. People like what they like. I remember in the early 1980's watching Margi Cairns (Blaircourt) judging Labradors at Crufts and literally in every dog she put up you could see what she was looking at. The following year was the turn of Gwen Broadley (Sandylands) and again the dogs she put up were of the type she liked. That does not mean there is a Drakeshead "Type," just that there is a type the Halstead's like. This is the reason why the show Labrador has changed over the years, people trying to breed the type of dog which is doing well in the show ring under the present crop of judges.
 

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Gus has some Drakeshead from both sides and we've had comments, as have his siblings owners. The consistent thing people have pointed out is head shape, which makes me think exactly what John suggested - people see a name and think they see something which does not exist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, I agree, one comment that was made to me was his demeanour, "he's so calm and placid, must be a drakeshead" 🤷
 

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A working gundog should always be calm and placid. A dog chasing around and going silly would never be invited back to the estate. Sitting quietly until sent for a retrieve, accepting strange dogs and people without stress. Below, Amy working with me, and below that my truck full of dogs, only 2 are mine.

Dog Plant Vertebrate Dog breed Carnivore




Car Land vehicle Sky Vehicle Dog
 

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Gus has some Drakeshead from both sides and we've had comments, as have his siblings owners. The consistent thing people have pointed out is head shape, which makes me think exactly what John suggested - people see a name and think they see something which does not exist.
A lot of people have the misconception that all Drakeshead Labradors have big blocky heads, so I've been told several times by people who really don't have much of an idea, but have been told that, so it must somehow be true. The Drakeshead kennel has been incredibly successful, they see what they like in a working/field trialling Labrador and bring in what they need to be successful. But when you look at their kennels and the dogs they've had through, there has been a huge amount of other successful kennels in the dogs they've used in their breeding plans. The same as with most successful kennels, there's a mixture of successful lines throughout the pedigree, not just the one kennel, there are very few that make their own name with the pedigree almost all their own lines/breeding.
 

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Interestingly, in an article written by John Halstead, he was never really interested in dogs. Fishing was his interest. When he met his future wife Sandra, she was into showing Labradors, and the rest, as they say, is history! Interesting how life throws us into things!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A working gundog should always be calm and placid. A dog chasing around and going silly would never be invited back to the estate. Sitting quietly until sent for a retrieve, accepting strange dogs and people without stress. Below, Amy working with me, and below that my truck full of dogs, only 2 are mine.

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View attachment 27056
Lovely dogs John, yes, we have worked hard on keeping Ben calm around people and other dogs and it's paid off.
 
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