The Origins of Oakglen Labradors
Geoff. and Cathy. Hatfield(Over 45 Years of owning Labradors and still willing to learn.)
Having been ‘involved’ with various dogs for most of my childhood, and teenage years, it was a natural thought to buy a dog for Cathy as a Wedding present. As we both wanted a family of our own it was only natural to think of a Labrador as first choice, as they are so trustworthy and excellent with children. So in the dim and murky past (1971 to be precise), I took Cathy on a surprise visit to a local Labrador Breeder, with whom I had been in touch and there we both fell in love again( ahh!), but this time with a beautiful yellow Labrador Puppy Bitch . After the formalities and passing over of twenty guineas (remember those?), Llanrigg Candy became ours, squeezing in joyfully across our laps in the little old MGB roadster, for the trip home.
Although in those days, much to my regret now, we did not become involved in the show world, we were smitten with the breed. We bred our first litter from Candy and kept a lovely bitch who became Honeycombe Tammy.
Being involved in the sport of shooting, it was a natural progression to then start thinking of a dog to take with me, and as by then Candy and Tammy were getting a little too old to train to the gun, my thoughts turned to obtaining another member for our family. (I actually believe that you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it was a good excuse to get another dog!) So along came Ben, a part trained yellow dog from the Garlandwood kennel, who became a great shooting partner for me, with many fine retrieves to his credit, often sitting in the early hours, in deep snow totally without complaint and looking reproachfully at me, if I missed anything.
Time went on, as it does, and gradually (with happy memories but sad loss) our dogs departed through old age finally leaving us ‘dogless’ when Ben left us at fourteen years of age.
Then followed a dull period of just over a year without a dog until, finally, we could stand it no longer and, realising only too well, what was missing, started to look for another Labrador.
Knowing what type we wanted, after looking hard and going to Crufts etc., finally we were lucky enough to meet Marion and David Hopkinson, with their wonderful Rocheby Labradors.
We obtained our new affix from the Kennel Club; Oakglen now replaced our original affix, which was Honeycombes.
Then we purchased ‘Rocheby Nickel Piece of Oakglen’ (Sam), and about two years later, having a little more leisure time available, started to compete with him at local open shows and some Championship shows. We had some good successes and were very happy with him. The only trouble was that we were now well and truly bitten (not by Sam), but by the show world and all the many kind new friends, that we were making.
So back to ‘Rocheby’ and Marion supplied us with ‘Rocheby Starlyte of Oakglen’ (a Sh.Ch. Rocheby Whisky Mac daughter). Followed over the next couple of years with, ‘Rocheby Rainbows End over Oakglen’ (daughter of that fabulous, three times best of breed winner at Crufts, Sh.Ch.Rocheby Polkadot) and then, Follytower Hot Toddy to Rocheby (from another famous kennel (Follytower) and again a Sh.Ch. Rocheby Whisky Mac daughter).
We have had numerous show successes with these bitches and together they have formed the foundation of the Oakglen Kennel as it is today, producing some lovely litters for us. Over the years we have kept some of these puppies , which we are showing with many excellent results and high hopes for the future. Our constant endeavours are to produce Labradors which are true to their breed standard, which are sound, have excellent temperaments, look good and are able to "do a days work if required".
We would like to take this opportunity of giving our heartfelt thanks to Marion and David for letting us have such lovely Rocheby stock and for all their help, advice and encouragement, they have become really good friends.
Thanks also for the friendship extended to us from the many other "Labrador People" with whom we have become acquainted . Together, we all, cherish our breed, work hard for, and think of, their future.
Finally, a big thank you, to all Labradors, past and present, you have given us so much!