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An Evening with Joan Tudor
A CD published by The Midland Golden Retriever Club, filmed on 20th October 2005.

Joan Tudor is something of a legend in her own lifetime as far as Golden Retrievers are concerned writes Helen Davenport-Willis. This CD is in the form on an interview between well known all rounder/columnist/broadcaster Andrew Brace and Joan Tudor.

Educated at a Quaker boarding school near South Park in Darlington, Joan attended her first dog show as a spectator school child. She recalls how she began in the 1940s, armed with Mrs Charlesworth book on Golden Retrievers, she purchased a pet bitch for 8 guineas (8 old pounds, 8 shillings!), Golden Camrose Tess (born 1946) (who we learn won a CC and a reserve CC during her show career) but, more importantly, went on to become the foundation bitch of her world famous Camrose kennels.

Andrew takes Joan through her career as a breeder (she explains how she established her lines) and later as a judge, discussing with her famous dogs that she has known. Significantly, Ch Camrose Cabus Christopher who was born in Sept 1967 and who was still siring puppies, most noteably in Australia, with the aid of artificial insemination (AI), thirty years after his death. His influence on the modern Golden Retriever is legendary. As a leading breeder, Joan has much of merit to say about the breed both here and abroad, of yesteryear to present day. Good humoured and certainly well at ease with each other, both speakers are extremely articulate with, refreshingly, no umming and aaghing!

Joan comes over as being extremely wise and knowledgable in her views as well as firmly passionate about her favourite breed. Those who would wish to become breeders and judges of Golden Retrievers and indeed of other breeds would be well advised to study this CD, as there is much good sense within its 80 minutes. She presents a very balanced view of what the breed should look like and is correctly critical of those who aspire to judging and breeding without having first learnt the basics.

oan quite clearly understands conformation and does not fall into the trap of many specialists in some breeds of becoming obsessed with some particular feature such as the head or the hind angulation. She is very forthright and honest in assessing her own dogs, in particular her comments about "Christopher" are both interesting and enlightening. Such ability to assess ones own stock is not always easily found amongst breeders. She has some interesting comments on line breeding, the crossing of lines, as well as on coat colour and conformation. When asked how she would like to be remembered she said "as a discriminating breeder who had the good of the breed at heart, (which she does) and as someone who loves her dogs."

Although this is, in a sense, a visual autobiography of Joan Tudor, there is much within its content that would be invaluable to anyone in dogs in general and in Golden Retrievers in particular. The Midland Golden Retriever Club appear to have pioneered this idea and were fortunate to have had the foresight to capture this interview on camera; they have it for posterity. Other breed clubs would be wise to take a leaf out of their book and capture the knowledge and experience of those persons in their breeds, before it is impossible to do so. Available from Hazel Gripton, of the Midland Golden Retriever Club, tel: 01623 487 283 it is priced at £10.00 plus £1.00 postage and packing.