22nd November 2004: One puppie (bitch) out of AKC registered dilutes Silver Star Tanker and Silver Star Ellie J: Bridgeview Boo. Actually this silver bitch was imported by Ms Lewis from the USA, not Ireland, as the KC states. No restrictions.
Bridgeview Labradors (now Crammondkirk Labradors) in West Lothian, Scotland, U.K. was owned by Louise Lewis. Ms Lewis claims not to own Crammondkirk, but she exhibits under that affix.
19th March 2006: Naiken Ugolo at Crammondkirk is born. Louise Lewis of Bridgeview Labradors (now Crammondkirk Labradors) acquires dilute-free Naiken Ugolo at Crammondkirk, a chocolate dog out of dilute-free Carromer’s Bojangle and Naiken Quizzical. Naiken Ugolo at Crammondkirk produced 385 pups from 11th January 2007 (at the age of ten months) to 20th June 2014, and he’s still offered as stud. 39 of these puppies were carrying the dilute gene (d), due to the fact that the dams were dilutes, either carrying the dilute gene or affected.
8th June 2006: 8 puppies out of dilutes Sir Silver Drake of Just Labs and Bridgeview Boo. One of them is a bitch called Grey Havens. Another one is a bitch called Lucky Silver Dollar. No restrictions.
3rd January 2008: 12 puppies out of dilutes Maartje’s Silver Thunder (IMP USA) and Grey Havens. One of them is a bitch called Smokey Quartz Girl. All pups Non Recognised Colour. Maartje’s Silver Thunder produced 86 pups in the United Kingdom, from 20th February 2007 to 2nd October 2010, most of them Non Recognised Colour.
Seven years after 2007, when the dilute gene tests were first commercially available, the British Kennel Club still looks at a dog and its colour to decide if the colour is recognised or not. Phenotype instead of genotype. We haven’t come far since 1914, when blacks were registered as Labradors and yellows as Goldens, although they were born in the same litter. Obviously The Kennel Club are still oblivious of the dilute gene (d) and all the diseases that come with it.
This timeline shows how one person, a “reputable” breeder, was able to significantly change the landscape of dilutes in the United Kingdom. The Kennel Club never stopped her. Instead, they registered her as Kennel Club Assured Breeder.
Meanwhile offspring of her dilute adventures are spreading the British Labrador population, many of them without any Kennel Club restrictions. (Note: by “no restrictions” I mean that this offspring was registered as black, yellow, or chocolate.) So, in the first place, I blame The Kennel Club. They knew, or should have known, that the AKC bitches imported by Louise Lewis came from a long line of American dilutes. They allowed the dilute gene to enter the British Labrador population. Also, I blame the LRC. They should have questioned The Kennel Club’s statement that “DNA showed these dogs were purebred Labradors”. As a matter of fact these tests are very unreliable now, as there is no certainty of anything behind the grandparents of a tested dog, and they certainly were back then.
The Kennel Club, the Labrador Clubs and the general public should realise that the dilute problem is not just about colour, but about the dilute gene. Many of the offspring of the dogs mentioned above were registered as black, yellow or chocolate because they “only” were carriers of the gene. This means that these dogs could spread the gene into the Labrador population without any restrictions, and without the new owners being aware of it.
– 384 British registered dilutes and their parents in the LabradorNet database. How many more will there be before the LRC and the Kennel Club will stop this?
– Offspring of Naiken Ugolo at Crammondkirk. (Incomplete.)
P.S. Today I received permission from Jeffrey Holgate, Louise Lewis’s partner, to publish an explanation she posted on her Facebook.
This is important, because it shows how things can go terribly wrong. Or to say it in Jeffrey Holgate’s words: “At least others can learn from her mistake.”
It has been brought to my attention that Jack Vanderwyk has publicly named and shamed me on his site “No to Silver Labs” Action Centre . When I was in my early twenties, I came across Silver Star Kennels on the internet. I naively thought “Why is there no silver labs in the UK?”. So I contacted the breeder and imported 2 bitches from her. It cost me a substantial amount of money and time doing so. If I’m being honest, I thought I was being really clever! I now know better and looking back regret my actions. It has always been hanging over my head and I have always dreaded that one day it would come back to haunt me.
However the way Mr Jack Vanderwyk chose to make my error of judgment public knowledge within in Labrador community was extremely callous. He used the content of my website without consideration of the consequences. I am ashamed of my actions, that goes without saying, but it should be noted that I did this before I got into showing Labradors.
I did not realise at the time that Silver Labradors were anything but genuine. I was completely unaware that there was such a widely held aversion to them within the showing community. There was no malice in my actions only naivety and inexperience.
When I started seriously showing Labradors I distanced myself from them as quickly as possible and have since then endeavoured to breed and exhibit Labradors to the best of my ability. It is my sincere hope that people who know me will accept that this is the case and that a mistake made over a decade ago does not define the person I am today.
Finally, in the spirit of complete transparency, I should also say that some of the comments made on the post made by Mr Vanderwyk are not correct. All the puppies that were sold were endorsed with the exception of the two that were sold to a breeder in England. That breeder was already in the process of importing some silvers from the U.S. at the time and the American breeder put them in touch with me as a simpler way of procuring them. However they would have purchased them regardless of my choice as they were already well down the same importation process that I had followed.
I should also perhaps add that the silver puppies were sold at the same price as a normal coloured Labrador. I suppose that my actions will never be forgiven by certain people and that no amount of apologies or contrition will ever be accepted. All I can say is that I am sorry for my actions. I will continue to breed and exhibit Labradors with the knowledge that everyone makes mistakes and all I can do going forward is to continue to do my best.