Okusgoldens Okus Huckleberry Finn Sh. Ch. Okus Watersprite

Home of quality Golden Retrievers since 1977

Sprite Tilly OUR DOGS Our Judging at:
Shows we have visited:
Family Holidays:-
Corinth a photograph from our holidays
Other Interests:
From our Honiton Pottery Collection
The Family Trees:

About Us and Our Beatiful Dogs

Pictured above from left to right:

Top row Ch Okus Jallina of Kerrien, Sh Ch Okus Watersprite, Okus Huckleberry Finn JW,
Next Half Row: Sh Ch Okus Dancing Melody, Suntide Texas Star at Okus, Okus First Lady,
Next Row: Ch Okus Destiny of Carasan, Saffron Star of Okus, Okus Autumn Adventure, Kennelridge Choir Boy at Okus, Saffron Dawn of Okus, Okus Masquerade at Vendric
Bottom row: Sh Ch Okus Songbird of Crowood, Ellendune Gay Jessie of Okus, Okus Qui Vive, Okus Impact, Vendric Zeus at Okus, Ch Okus Buccaneer.

Here at Okus and Vendric we are proud to have owned, shown and bred Golden Retrivevers and PBGV for many years with some degree of success. This is the story of our life with dogs.
Our first introduction to Goldens was via a half Golden, half Samoyed, boy we called Nero -why, when Nero means black?- because he was white of course! Nero was the result of an accidental mating between our friends Golden bitch and a fence scaling Samoyed from down the road who was caught in the act, but too late to prevent her having 4 gorgeous balls of fluff. Nero had his mother's head, temperament and personality and his father's ears and tail carriage. This photo of him with Richard was taken in 1966.

He was our introduction to goldens and after we lost him it had to be a true Golden who joined us, but we decided to have a girl because we felt another boy would remind us too much of Nero.
Just after we lost him we had moved from Cornwall to Swindon; it was in February 1977, on a cold and snowy day, I remember the move well. The following week-end, tired of the chaos and unpacking I took our 3 children for a walk on the Marlborough downs and we met a gentleman with 3 beautiful goldens. We started talking and discovered all 3 had been bred by Mrs Ethel Shepherd, of the "Ellendune" kennel, and she lived less than a mile from our new home. The coincidence was too great to ignore - we called on the way home to enquire when she might be having another litter, only to find she had two in the nest already and there were girls unspoken for! The rest as they say is history!

One of those pups became the first 'Okus' Golden Retriever, Ellendune Gay Jessie of Okus. She joined us only a few weeks after this and then Saffron Dawn of Okus, also from the Ellendune Kennel, arrived in 1978. From these two ladies are descend all OKUS Goldens and many of today's leading dogs in other kennels.

We were encouraged to try our hand at showing, at an exemption show….....we won a blue rosette, the 'bug' struck and we were hooked!

After a while Richard wanted to show something of his own, with his own Affix, and not in direct competition with 'my' Goldens, so the first Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen, Twinrivers Clothilde at Vendric, joined us in 1979. It took the two breeds about three months to learn each others language and gave us all much amusement in the process! Champions on both sides of the pond have carried the Vendric affix. Richard went on to became secretary of the BGV Club and was instrumental in obtaining their CC status. He judged the breed on its first appearance at "The Hound Show" and later, in 2004, at Crufts.

Back in 1979 our first litter of Goldens was born. Our first born puppy became our first Junior Warrant winner (under the original rules), and the great character of our kennel. His name? Okus Autumn Adventure or Mex to his friends. For 14 years he was the light of my life, my constant companion and always the children's favourite. His eventual passing left a gap in my heart that has never healed.
Our second litter born in 1980 gave us our first champion, Ch Okus Buccaneer. Starting his career in spectacular fashion by winning Best Puppy in Show at 6 months and one day old; he went on to take a Junior Warrant, his working certificate at 19 months and his third CC at two years and two months. This made him one of the youngest ever full champions in the breed. In 1984 he achieved my wildest ambition when he won Best in Show at the UK Golden Retriever Club in a record entry of over 900.

1984 was also a historic year for our daughter Rebecca, who won the UK Junior Handler of the Year title, and was runner up in the International Final at Crufts nobly assisted by a P.B.G.V. called James (Vendric Vagabond). 1984 was also the year I first awarded CCs, so pretty memorable all round.

A Vendric P.B.G.V. in the shape of Vendric Valeria, then in whelp, was the first to cross the Atlantic from Britain . She was soon joined by Canadian Ch. Vendric Détente and her brother Canadian Ch. Vendric Déja Vu who became the first Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen to win a Trans-Atlantic title.

1989 saw Sh. Ch Okus Watersprite crowned and also becoming top CC winning bitch. This was followed by many more successful years, until in 2001 Kennelridge Choir Boy at Okus J.W. became the 14th, and last, Junior Warrant winner to carry the 'Okus' Affix. Warrants have been won under all three sets of rules current during our showing life.

Over the years we have attempted to breed sound typical puppies who are as much of a pleasure to live with as they are to look at. We have always supported the relevant health schemes in both breeds. More recently we have only kept and shown boys, who have all lived with us in the house. There have been no Vendric litters for some considerable time and the last Okus litter was born some years ago now. Our boys are no longer at stud but although the breeding part of our story is over, we still retain an active interest in the dog scene generally, and our breeds specifically. We both enjoy judging and attending shows enormously, even though we are no longer in the thick of the show world.

In summary over the last 35 years we have achieved; 17 Different KC Studbook Numbers; 14 Junior Warrants: 7 UK Title Holders; 4 Overseas Title Holders; 2 additional UK CC winners; 3 other UK Reserve CC winners; 1 UK Junior Handler of the Year, not a bad tally at all!

Carol and Richard Gilbert

PS. We still share our lives and our home with dog hair, dog slober, mud and soleful eyes!!

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