A Brief History of the Breed and Club


The origin of the Golden Retriever is less obscure than that of most Retriever breeds, as it is well documented that the breed was started by the first Lord Tweedmouth in the 19th century, in Guisachan, Scotland.

Originated in Scotland

In 1868, Lord Tweedmouth mated a yellow Wavy-Coated retriever (“Nous”) he had bought from a cobbler in Brighton (bred by Lord Chichester) to a Tweed Water Spaniel (“Belle”) from Ladykirk on the Tweed. Lord Tweedmouth methodically line bred down from this mating between 1868 and 1890, using another Tweed Water Spaniel and outcrosses of 2 black retrievers, an Irish Setter & a sandy coloured Bloodhound. All our Goldens are descendants of “Nous” & “Belle”.

 The First Irish Goldens

The first Golden Retrievers to arrive in Ireland were “Cubbington Drake” and “Cubbington Beauty” during the early 1920’s, both imported from the UK. The first registration of Goldens in Ireland was in 1925, when these 2 dogs were registered. However, there is no record of any extensive breeding or showing of dogs for the next 25 years and it is not until the 1950’s that Goldens came to prominence here. Probably the most famous Golden Retriever of all times, “David of Westley”, was imported in to Northern Ireland at this time, by Ms. Lucy Ross. His record stands unbroken to this day, gaining Champion Titles in Ireland & UK & also Field Trial Champion status on both sides of the water. It is highly unlikely his achievements will ever be equalled!

 The Birth of the All Ireland Club

In the South of Ireland, Michael & Cynthia Twist called a meeting for the Dolphin Hotel, Dublin, on the 20th May 1953, where Mrs. Twist told those present, Ms. Eileen Atkinson, Ms. J Smeltzer & Mrs. Phyllis Goodbody, that she had been in communication with a number of people interested in Golden Retrievers in Ireland, with a view to starting a Breed Club. In addition to the above mentioned, the following were elected, as a subsequent meeting, to the Club’s first Committee: Mr. S. Brown, Lt. Col. John Bellamy, Mr. R. Ganly, Mrs. J. King, Capt. A. Steward & Mrs. T.G. Till & Lord Donoughmore accepted the position of Patron of the Club.  It was decided that the Application Fee, to join the All Ireland Golden Retriever Club would be 10s/6d and the Annual Subscription 10s/6d, making the first payment 1 guinea.

Now We Are Over 65 Years Old!

The Club has gone from strength to strength over the years, has now a membership of over 300 and it is growing in size each year.  The Club celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2003, Michael and Cynthia Twist honoured the Club by attending the 2003 Club Championship Show and Dinner were they were guests of honour.

Get The Book

(The above is an abbreviated version of the early history of the Club & Breed taken from the book “The Golden Retriever in Ireland”, covering the history of the Club from 1953 to 1993 published in 1994 by Albert Titterington & Michael Gaffney price € 35.00. To purchase a copy of this book from the Club Shop, please contact the Hon. Secretary.)