Kelowna's connection to the first Golden Retrievers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna's connection to the first Golden Retrievers

The Guisachan dogs were reportedly given only to family and close friends, all of whom were persons of means and title.
Image Credit: PIXABAY
April 17, 2021 - 3:01 PM

When it comes to four-legged companions, the golden retriever is among the most loved.

This year it was ranked fourth on the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular breeds around the world.

But did you know this coveted canine’s origins have a Kelowna connection, with one generation of separation?

Lord Tweedmouth, Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, was the founder of the Golden Retriever, Joy Viola Chairman, Board of Directors of the Friends of Guisachan, which is in Scotland, said in an email.

He lived at the Scottish Guisachan House until his death in 1894, and at that time his son, Edward Coutts Marjoribanks, became the second Lord Tweedmouth.

His other two sons headed west, as was the tradition of the time, and Coutts Marjoribanks landed in Kelowna. His sister built the local Guisachan house for him and they added some colonial colour to the Okanagan’s history. iNFOnews.ca reported last month about the “ghost trees” around his old stomping grounds being knocked down.

READ MORE: Ghosts of Kelowna partiers past heard between rows of ill-fated trees

Although the extensive online history doesn’t say much about Coutts’s four-legged companions, his dad’s history is still being discussed today and the Scottish house that was built in Kelowna is still a draw to the breed’s devout.

“Guisachan is the ancestral home of the Golden Retriever and people make pilgrimages to stand in awe before the Guisachan House ruins,” reads the Friends of Guisachan website.

“It is symbolic of what began here. That first litter of puppies, Primrose, Cowslip, Crocus, sired by Nous, a yellow Wavy-coated Retriever and Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel became the origins of one of today’s most beloved breed of dogs the world over.”

That's the origins of the popular pooches from 1868.

“From that breeding he kept two yellow females, Primrose and Cowslip and gave one male, Crocus, to his son, Edward Marjoribanks. For many decades it was thought that there was a fourth puppy, Ada, but that was subsequently determined to be erroneous,” the Friends of Guisachan said on the site.

“Ada was from a second mating of Nous and Belle and was given to Lord Tweedmouth’s nephew, the 5th Lord Ilchester, beginning the famous Ilchester line of retrievers. Thus it was the offspring of Nous and Belle that became the foundation of the breed subsequently known as, and now universally loved as, the Golden Retriever.”

The Guisachan dogs were reportedly given only to family and close friends, all of whom were persons of means and title.

Lord Tweedmouth kept detailed records in the Guisachan Record Book that covered 1865 to 1890. This book was found in 1952 when Lady Pentland, a granddaughter of Lord Tweedmouth made it available to the noted English Golden Retriever historian Elma Stonex, the site detailed.

The Guisachan dogs were bred to be strong working dogs hunting grouse, partridge and deer. And, to this day, they're considered the best kind of companions.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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