Marion and David Hopkinson (English Labrador Nursery Rocheby) in Russia
When we found out that David and Marion Hopkinson were invited as experts to the National Labrador Show in Nizhny Novgorod, and that a seminar for breeders held by Mr. Hopkinson was held as part of the exhibition, we started to get ready for the trip. Everyone in the world of labradors knows these names of the owners of the legendary English nursery Rocheby, but not every day has the opportunity to attend a seminar and chat with famous expert breeders!
The exhibition was held in a park located near the city center. Refereeing went in two rings. First began the examination of black Labradors, conducted by David Hopkinson. By the way, Mr. Hopkinson is also a pony breeder. A little later, in a ring located nearby, the refereeing of chocolate dogs began, which was conducted by Marion Hopkinson. Mr. Hopkinson carefully examined each dog, conducted a thorough manual inspection, each dog carefully watched in motion.
When in the ring of Mr. Hopkinson an examination of black female juniors was carried out, the refereeing of yellow-haired Labradors in the ring of Mr. Hopkinson began. The expert examined all the dogs very carefully. When the whole class entered the ring and the dogs stood in the rack for examination, Mrs. Hopkinson came up to each dog, stopped in front and examined her head carefully. Then she watched the whole class in motion. Then there was an examination of each dog separately. All things were felt, ears, the temperament of the dog was checked. Very often, the expert corrected the rings, arranging them in a more correct way. In general, Mrs. Hopkinson could come up, fix the ring, straighten her limbs, and then move away and examine the dog. All this happened pretty quickly. It was also interesting to observe how Mrs. Hopkinson could, with one movement of her hand in front of the dog’s face, make her adopt a more correct and advantageous position for examination. Mrs. Hopkinson was very welcoming. Love for labradors was visible in every movement and word
Of the Ukrainian dogs, the black female Timantti Solid Vital Augusta was present at the show, she took 3rd place in the arrangement in her class under the judge of Mr. Hopkinson and received the SS.
Labradors at the exhibition were of a high level, with a beautiful skeleton and bodies.
A little later> Mrs. Hopkinson will notice in the general shortcomings not quite correct tails (and will say that this is a general trend for modern Labradors) and not enough free movements. We would like to separately note the handling. Each dog was well prepared, and the owners (not only professional handlers) showed their dogs very well. It was interesting to watch how serious young people in the ring began to almost dance, so that interest and enthusiasm appeared in the eyes of their dogs. Unfortunately, we do not have such professionalism. We really hope that only for now …. In the evening, at a seminar, Mrs. Hopkinson, for her part, noted the excellent handling and good breeding of Russian dogs. She said that these qualities are among the best in Europe. Mrs. Hopkinson said that “in Europe you often have to fight dogs, and the owner stands and watches it, and the expert does not always win, but everything was fine here.”
I would like to note that we expected a lot more dogs to be presented at the exhibition, as well as breeders at the seminar.
After the exhibition, there was a short break, and then a seminar began, which was held in the same park, in a cafe. Mrs. Hopkinson talked a lot about Labradors, showed slides illustrating her story.
The expert began the seminar, noting that the design of the Labrador is designed to bring game, and temperament to always strive to please the owner. First of all, this is a retriever (and this was the basis for the development of the standard)
Mrs. Hopkinson said that in many countries, the hunting and exhibition dogs are two different species, almost two different breeds. For reasons of efficiency, working dogs are very far from the standard. Many of them move much faster, the weight of the dog is less, the skeleton is lighter. But the Labrador is a retriever, i.e. it is the dog that brings the game (to retrieve – to find and bring the game to the hunter), and not the hound. Very interesting is the idea expressed by Mrs. Hopkinson that most of the show dogs, if desired, can be trained to work, but there are very few working dogs that can be set up. First of all, we must follow the standard. This does not mean that all dogs should be the same. And within the breed there can be a variety of types. Both breeders and judges should be able to evaluate all inbreed types, which, nevertheless, all comply with the standard.
It was also said that it is very difficult to achieve the correct shape of the head and that if the muzzle of the Labrador is short and not deep – he will not be able to fulfill his direct duty – to carry the game. For the correct proportions of the head, the shape and position of the ears are important.