Since Mossy Oak had experienced and knew British Labs and their fine qualities, and Bill Gibson had experience training British Labs, we felt they were a good breed of dogs with which to start our kennels. British Labs are hunting dogs, they have great dispositions, and they're bred and trained to be hunters’ companions. We wanted to raise dogs with calm natures, but also when the time comes to work, they’re ready to go. We feel that the British Lab is an almost perfect combination of a companion and a hunting dog.
I think the best way to explain the difference between a British Lab and a field trial American Lab is to look at two different types of bird dogs. For instance, some English pointers are bred and trained to be big running, highly competitive field trial dogs that cover a lot of ground quickly. Their main objective is to find as many coveys of quail as quickly as possible, regardless of where the hunter is. Other English pointers are bred and trained for what’s known as meat dogs. These dogs don’t range nearly as widely as a field trial dog, they're constantly checking in with their hunters, and they're calmer and often easier to handle than a field trialing English pointer.
All of the training that we put in our British Labrador retrievers centers on hunting and being a hunter’s companion. Although the dogs Mossy Oak breeds come from British Labrador retriever field trial champion stock, the British field trials are much different than American field trials. The British Lab field trials center on a dog’s hunting ability, handling ability and the connection between the dog and the hunter. Another thing that we like and respect about the British Labs is their training and breeding program. They don’t over-breed the females, and they don’t use e-collars in their training programs. We felt this is a better way to breed and train the top Labrador retrievers.
Bill Gibson, our trainer, was the assistant police chief in West Point, Mississippi, back in 1999. Gibson has been to the United Kingdom (UK) and won British field trial championships over there. He still returns to the UK about once every 2 years. There’s a special group of people commonly called “dog people,” who love dogs and love raising and training dogs. Bill is one of those kinds of people. So, he’s the right man at the right time to help Mossy Oak develop its British Lab breeding and training facility.
To learn more about Mossy Oak’s GameKeeper Kennels, the dogs and the trainer, go to www.mossyoakkennels.com.
Tomorrow: The Demand for British Labs for Hunting