Meet the Breeder

And then there was one

The Frisbie Goldens

By Dennis J Guldan


In the world of retriever field trials the Labrador Retriever reigns supreme. Yet still holding on are a few Golden Retriever trialing kennels. The Darrell and Vee Frisbie Kennels of xxx, xx is one of the few kennels still running Goldens.

I have talked with a number of Golden Retriever folks and when talking about field dogs the Frisbie name always seems to be mentioned. So on a brisk October afternoon: Ellen, Ron and myself drove an hour west of xx to visit Darrell and Vee and their dogs to see what all the excitement was about. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw.

I did not know, until then, anyone that lived on a field trial grounds. I have included a photo taken from Darrel and Vee's deck to show you what a field trial grounds should look like. If we use the old adage about boy's with big toys I think Darrell would probably fit the bill. He has his own Cat with drags, to build an entire 200 acre grounds by himself, and he did a fine job. In fact the Hennepin County Retriever Club has run their Marathon Trial on his grounds. He actually could put Field Trial grounds builder on his resume' for he has also built trial grounds for two other dog clubs.

In addition to the grounds, his state of the art kennels show the same concern for excellence. And now a look at his dogs. I am many times asked "What is a good family dog?" A Golden Retriever is usually a good suggestion, for a purely family dog. But these days few Goldens are field ready. That is not the case with the Frisbie Goldens. They have a field coat, they have a body stature for hunting and they look and act like field dogs, how refreshing.

The Frisbie's have been breeding field Golden's for almost 25 years, since 1971. They moved here in 1963 after breeding Irish Setters in Missouri. In 1971, the Frisbie's had a six year old son who wanted a dog. They purchased a Golden Ben from a friend. At that time, Vee put down the law, "No More Dogs In The House!!" In recent memory, she has had 23 dogs including pups in their impressive house. In 1972, Ben won the Minnesota Derby. Mary Howley, from our September Meet the Breeder Column, a year later gave Darrell his first trial win in Fargo.

In the 1980 the Frisbie's bred Ben to a fantastic bitch out of Michigan. Out of the breeding came a dog by the name of Enchanted Budweiser (Buddy). Buddy was a fantastic dog with great potential. In the 1981, at just over a year old Buddy became the National Derby Champion. Buddy and his grandfather Quar were the only Goldens' ever to win this title. Buddy still holds all the records for a Golden under two years old.

Last week I took Jazz to the vet for a thorn in the paw, the vet suggested we put her out and operate. I responded, Jazz doesn't get knocked out for anything but a life threatening reason, I am fanatic about anesthesia. Well, Buddy had some medical problems. The Frisbie's took Buddy to the number one Veterinarian Clinic in the area, the University of Minnesota. Needless to say, Buddy did not return home alive. Another great dog loss to the knife. The loss of Buddy took a lot out of the Frisbies.

In 1984-85 Top Brass Cotton became the only Golden Retriever to win the National Amateur. Cotton has thrown many good pups. The Frisbies own one of them. AFC Top Brass Super Trooper is one of the Frisbie's prides. Darrell worked Trooper to his Amateur Field Trial Championship.

Included in their six dog kennel is Josh, another state Derby champion, Trooper, Benson, Max. Cutter and Jazz are two dogs he is presently running in trials. Darrell takes Jazz and Cutter to 15 to 20 trials a year. Vee and Darrell winter in Florida with their eight dogs to help them train all year long.

Just as Darrell's specializes in trialing, Vee is in charge of managing the litters. She in addition to the dogs in residence Vee has ten bitches placed with other families. Vee usually has eight litters per year. Additionally they sire another 30 plus litters a year. She places her bitches with families to have the pups. She then takes the litters back at 4 weeks of age.

At 4 1/2 weeks Vee starts to work her pups with birds. Interestingly she clips the hair on each pups shoulder to better identify them. She keeps a diary on each litter and the identification helps her to document each pups activities. She can tell you sleeping habits of each pup, their feeding habits, playing habits, human interaction, bird work and much more.

Vee has no pick of the litter. In fact she picks which pup you will get based on interviews with you and the pups habits and traits. She rarely gets a complaint from her system. Her pups leave at seven weeks of age all ready paper trained. They charges $450 to $500 for a pup.

Golden's are very social dogs so they need a lot of tender loving care. They are strong companion dogs. One of the problem with breeding Golden's is though they are the fifth most registered breed, there is a very small field gene pool, and it is shrinking. Darrell notes that Golden's are a bit harder to train than Labs, because they know where the pressure comes from. They know that the collar is giving the pressure not the handler. Labs don't put two and two together like Goldens do.

So what are the Frisbies looking for in a breeding? The first thing they look for is desire, second intelligence and third tractability or ability to follow commands.

I asked Darrell and Vee "What should someone look for when buying a Golden?" First they suggest look for both OFA certified (hip dysplastic free) parents. Second look for CERF certified (good eyes) parents. Third look for "Hot Spots" on the coat of the parents. "Hot Spots" are areas of loss patches of hair not uncommon in Goldens. If you plan on using your Goldens in the field, additionally look for Field Trial and Hunt Test titles on their papers.

So if you are looking for a vanishing breed, the field Golden Retriever give Darrell and Vee a call, and perhaps go out and see their place, you'll probably be impressed too. Their phone number is xxx. Vee and Darrell Winter with their dogs in Florida their number there is xx.

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News March 1998
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form
Maintained by Dennis Guldan publisher@Bird-Dog-News.Com
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