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The problem is, we are talking about Portuguese fishermen in the late 1700's to early 1800's, and as you can imagine, few people in those far off days could either read or write. So in fact so much was stories handed down, and when trying to scrape a living in those harsh conditions, how accurate were those stories? From around 1830 when dogs started arriving here the stories gain a little more credence, but even then, the lords and ladies owned the dogs and documented what was happening, but in the main it was their gamekeeper who was doing the work, and again in the main the keepers were pretty well uneducated. The Earl of Buccleuch stud book records are probably the best guide to the early days. From around 1900 on things become much clearer and with Judi Seall's wonderful book, The history of Retrievers, which was compiled from the scrapbooks of H Reginald Cooke, (Riverglide Flatcoated Retrievers) which are almost a word painting of the dogs from that time. When my mother was at school, around 1920, "The big house" in the village was owned by Mr and Mrs Bowden, the owners of The Bowden Wire Company. My mother used to go to the house to read to the lady of the house. They had a Labrador, but it was the maid's job to look after him. Come the glorious 12th the gentleman would drive to Scotland for the start of the Grouse season, while the butler would travel up by rail in the guards van with the dog. That was almost the extent of the gentleman's interaction with the dog. He was trained by some gamekeeper, looked after by the maid, and brought out with the gun for a shoot.
 
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