White spot on
This is my foundation
She and two of
her half-siblings I had also produced Bolo pads in their litters.
She had 3 litters
and 22 puppies all together.
Only one of them
had a white spot on his chest.
Many puppies had
Bolo pads though,
and we were very
proud of them,
because it linked
them right back to Banchory
Banchory Bolo, Christmas 1922
The Labrador was carefully
bred up over time by the British sporting gentry from dogs brought back
to England in the 19th century. These dogs were found to have unique characteristics
which made them exceptional retrievers both on land and in the water.
Careful breeding also
brought us English dual Champion Banchory Bolo (1915 - 1927).
Bolo marks are named after
English dual Champion Banchory Bolo, who produced this mark in many of
his puppies and future generations. The mark often goes away or is hidden
by black hairs when the puppy grows up. Bolo marks are not considered
a mismark. Many Labrador breeders see them as a sign of quality. Bolo marks
are also linked to an excellent coat structure.
A small white
spot, stripe or patch on the chest or Bolo pads (under the feet)
are very common and do not lessen the quality of a Labrador, nor indicate
it is not pure bred. To the contrary. A small white spot on the chest or
under the feet is NOT considered a mismark and should not be penalised.
(In most yellow Labradors the white spot is hardly visible, or not visible
Nell - A St. John's
Dog circa 1856.
St. John's Dog
with white spot
Labradors and Newfoundlands both trace their
ancestry back to the now extinct breed known as a St. Johns Dog which usually
had white markings on their feet, muzzle, and chests. Dogs with white markings
are basically a genetic "throwback" to these ancestor's coloring. It often
also means that they are closer to these ancestors.
most judges and Labrador Clubs accept Bolo marks, most judges don't even
look for them, and generally there is no problem. What is your problem?
My problem is the lack of general breeding knowledge and specific knowledge
about the Labrador Retriever in some Labrador Clubs. In the Netherlands,
for instance, the board of the NLV, the Dutch Labrador Club, has always
managed to fight the influence of the breeders. If a hundred breeders would
come to the general meeting to conduct a case, the NLV board would see
to it that some 120 "ordinary members" would be assembled to make sure
the board had a majority. This has been going on for many years, and many
breeders just gave up. They try to find their own way, some of them even
moved to other countries, but the Dutch Labrador Club (NLV) has no support
whatsoever from the Dutch Labrador breeders.
Would you believe that right now, as we
speak, the board of the Dutch Labrador Club is preparing a lecture about
coat mismarks, and that Bolo marks are mentioned as such? Of course, the
board member who prepares the lecture is not an experienced Labrador breeder
and she's not a professional or an expert when it comes to Labrador genetics,
just like the rest of the board, and that is a problem. That is worrying
me deeply, because the Dutch Labrador Club (NLV) is able to change the
breeding policies - and probably will as a result of this lecture - which
very well might lead to the fact that Dutch Labrador breeders won't be
able to breed Labradors with Bolo pads in the near future.
I'm also worried that the Dutch Labrador
Club might not be the only Labrador Club in the world with a board that
(unofficially) excludes breeders from the board which otherwise contains
of ignorant amateurs.
So why should Bolo pads not be penalised?
First of all because Bolo pads are not a problem. They are hardly visible.
So many people are seeing plastic surgeons nowadays -- nose jobs, lip jobs,
belly jobs, they're all very normal and if you don't know what to give
your relatives for their birthdays, the plastic surgeon is the answer.
Surely their must be a spot that could be removed. I don't care what people
do, but it's crazy to impose these ideas about "beauty" or "perfection"
on dogs and dog breeders.
More important, we shouldn't throw out the
baby with the bath water. Dual Champion Banchory Bolo was so much more
than a dog with white marks under his feet and an excellent coat. He, for
instance, is also one of the key dogs in tracing the transmission
of the recessive chocolate colour gene to today's Labrador Retrievers.
In her book, Lady Howe wrote "Whilst I am
writing about training and teaching to train I cannot leave out my Dual
CH Banchory Bolo. I think it is only fair to such a great Labrador that
he should be paid tribute to and be made known as a dog who could train
and handle human beings, because through my intimate knowledge and personal
devotion to him I certainly learnt more from him than he did from me."
Dual Champion Banchory Bolo became one of
the most important dogs of his era. Lady Howe was a staunch believer in
the dual purpose dog and her Bolo was the first to achieve this mark.
Genes are interconnected in a way that we're
only beginning to understand. If the Bolo pads can survive for so many
decades, so do the other, more important traits. If we get rid of the Bolo
pads, because some amateurs in all their ignorance think that's a good
idea, we might also get rid of extraordinary characters and skills in the
process. You can isolate the Bolo pads in DNA tests, but you certainly
can not isolate the extraordinary character and skills that come with it.
That is a real danger and it worries me to death that some members of Labrador
Club boards are not able to see this danger. I'm still very proud of Bolo
pads in my dogs and I think that everyone who has a Labrador with Bolo
pads should be proud too.