Ronja June 2014
photo by: (c) Smultronstig 2014
Ronja & Oskar Feb 2014
photo by: (c) Smultronstig 2014
Oden at 21 months
photo by: (c) Smultronstig 2016
Oden & Freya 1 year old
photo by: (c) Smultronstig 2015
Smultronstig is a small KC Assured Breeder accredited kennel. We are non-commercial and will only breed occasionally. Based in the beautiful County Down countryside, our dogs live in our home and they are incredibly special to us. Our aim is to produce happy, healthy, well balanced puppies which give their owners as much enjoyment as our dogs give us, regardless of whether they will become show, working or just companion dogs.
We will always make sure that the dogs we use for breeding have outstanding health scores and sound temperaments. We want to focus on ‘breeding out' issues such as hip dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy and strive to produce litters of healthy pups that meet the breed standard and which will help improve the breed.
It all started in 1999 when I gave in to pressure from my children and bought a yellow Labrador puppy out of two pedigree working type labs. We called him Fudge and he will always hold a special place in all our hearts. He had the gentlest of characters, so affectionate and caring. Fudge loved nothing more than playing fetch with a tennis ball, but sadly he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia while still quite young.
In 2001 I had bought a companion for Fudge, our first black lab, Molly. She tortured him when she was little, but grew up to be a very sweet natured and loyal girl. Molly came without papers. She was a great swimmer and we used to joke that she was a cross between a Labrador and an otter! This stood her in good stead, because sadly Molly had a lot of health problems, but she benefited greatly from hydrotherapy. She too was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. She also had two cruciate ligament repairs and ended up having a TPLO.
Fudge and Molly both lived until they were 10, but they were on pain killers for long periods and their quality of life was never what it should have been.
In late 2008, determined to reduce the risk of having to watch another precious dog suffer from hip dysplasia, I carried out an extensive search for a litter whose parents had very low hip scores. Early the following spring we travelled to Lancashire to bring home Oskar (Nutmeg Cluster), a handsome chocolate lab. As soon as he was old enough we had his eyes, hips and elbows tested. The results were fine but in the end we decided to have him neutered. Oskar is a character and a very special member of our family, but we weren’t happy that his temperament was good enough to pass on to puppies.
After another extensive search in December 2010 we found ourselves once again travelling ‘across the water’, this time all the way to Kent and brought home our second black lab pup, Barleybay Bernadette at Smultronstig, who is our foundation bitch, 'Ronja'. She is a gorgeous Labrador with a wonderfully loving nature, always full of fun and eager to please. Ronja has a superb pedigree featuring many Champions and Show Champions. She has great health scores, hips 2:2 and elbows 0:0. Ronja is prcd-PRA hereditary clear. She has tested clear for DNA tests CNM, EIC, SD2 and has a current ‘Unaffected’ eye certificate.
Oskar and Ronja are great friends. They love playing high-spirited games around our large garden, but their favourite activity is going for long walks and swimming in the river Shimna in Tollymore Forest Park. They have both got their KCGCDS awards from Puppy Foundation to Gold. Ronja got her Gold when she was just over a year old and is my demo dog when I teach KCGCDS classes. We don’t show Ronja, but she enjoys both competitive obedience and agility training, although the agility is so far only for fun.
For Ronja's first mating we used a very athletic dog with numerous Field Trial Champions in his pedigree, as well as a Show Champion. We kept a black bitch, Freya (Smultronstig Freyja Flute) and a yellow dog, Oden (Smultronstig Ben Boloparte) from this litter. They are both gorgeous young Labradors and full of fun.
At Smultronstig we think it’s sad that Labradors have moved away from being a multipurpose dog and are seemingly evolving towards two separate breeds. We have therefore taken the decision to use a mixture of show and working dogs, to produce not only good conformation but also to keep the versatility of the breed. Additionally we strive to achieve inbreeding coefficients significantly below the breed average. While there is never any guarantee with any litter that things won’t go wrong, we believe these great figures significantly improve the odds for excellent health.
In line with our breeding aims we used a very handsome dark yellow (fox red) working dog, Highhouse Rhun, for Ronja's second mating. This produced 5 beautiful yellow puppies, 4 dogs and 1 bitch, which have now all gone to their new homes, as well as one black dog puppy, Loki (Smultronstig Mischief Man) who will be remaining with us.
All our puppies are raised in our home. They stay at Smultronstig until they are at least 8 weeks old and benefit from a structured socialisation and habituation program. When they go their new homes, the puppies have been micro-chipped, wormed, vet checked and have had at least their first vaccination. They bring along a puppy care pack consisting of advice on relevant topics, puppy food, toys, bedding and support from ourselves for the lifetime of the puppy.
Maria (May 2016)
- Labrador Retriever
- Barleybay Bernadette at Smultronstig - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Nutmeg Cluster - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Smultronstig Ben Boloparte - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Smultronstig Freyja Flute - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Smultronstig Baron Banjo - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Smultronstig Juno Juliet - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Smultronstig Oden Oberon - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Smultronstig Sabre Storm - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)
- Smultronstig Sunspeck Sam - Labrador Retriever (Health Tested)