(Translated from the magazine “Retrievernytt”)

Established by Grete Sofie and Eivind Mjærum 1967

When and where did you get your first golden retriever?

We got our first dog in 1967 – a Samoyed, and later an apricot coloured medium poodle, which was trained in obedience, working and tracking. Among other things, our poodle became Ostfold county champion in tracking, and was one of the first non-working dogs to pass a test in this discipline.  


After a while we wanted a larger dog for work with obedience, and we decided on a golden retriever. We contacted the Norwegian Kennel Club’s puppy agency. It turned out that it was not easy to obtain a retriever puppy straightaway. Kari Gulbrandsen, who was an agent at that time, told us that two retriever bitch puppies had been ordered from England from an exciting combination at Camrose Kennel, and since we were on the lookout for a promising male dog, she would talk with the owner of the kennel, Mrs. Joan Tudor. Kari Gulbrandsen was of the opinion that here in Norway we needed to get hold of more good stock from England.


Our Camrose Voravey was born on 15th October 1971, and in January 1972 he was brought to Norway with three sisters. His parents were Camrose Octavius and Camrose Westly Loretia


Our everyday name for him was ¨Dickie¨. After a while we began obedience training with him, as far as Class 2. He took part on some of the first tracking courses organized by the Norwegian Kennel Club. He was also used quite a lot in actual hunting.


He was free as regards HD and eyes. As far as we know, he was one of the first retrievers in Norway to be eyes tested. This was in 1974 by Prof. Strande at the Veterinary College and the last test was at the age of ten. In fact an AD X-ray was also taken and declared free.


We got to know Kari Gulbrandsen very well and she was most helpful. She suggested that we should exhibit him. In fact “Dickie” represented a new type of golden retriever in Norway. He was not a large dog – 57cm – but had a fantastically beautiful head (still our ideal for a golden retriever) with dark eyes. There was good angulations, though rather straight in the knees. He moved with drive, though with rather narrow hindquarters. His colour was light golden and he became Norwegian Show Champion in 1974.


After a while he became popular with ¨the ladies¨. A person, who had several retrievers, was Margit Gitlestad, owner of Gitles Kennel. Five bitches from her kennel were mated with him in 1973 and 1974, and we took a puppy for mating from each litter. Four of these became Norwegian champions, the most well known of these bitches being Norwegian Show Champion Gitles Natascha and Tudina ll. “Dickie” also sired a well-known son, Norwegian Show Champion Camillo, bred by Birgit and Olav Dalaker with their English bitch, Cassata of Camrose.


We also bought a bitch from England and one from Kari Gulbrandsen, NShCh. Kargul Stareffie, which became mother of NShCh. Mjaerumhøgda’s Veronica and NShCh. Mjaerumhhøgda’s Golden Look.


Tell us a little about how you began breeding and how many litters there have been.


Our first golden retriever litter was on 22nd September 1975, with two puppies. The mother was Gitles Josefa, the father IntNordCh  Sansue Sunlover. One of the puppies became NShCh Maerumhøgda’s Enterprise, owned by Siv Ann Romstad.  

After this there have been a series of litters, and we shall mention other combinations later.


What is the aim of the work with breeding? Are you pleased so far with your work with this?


From the beginning we have concentrated on health, temperament and capacity for work.  As a dog for breeding, exterior features should be of CK quality.


As we have mentioned, we started breeding with our ¨Dickie¨ and the two bitches we had bought. They were all free at hips and eyes from the beginning, but there was polar cataract development later.


We agreed from the start that only the best should be kept, and we started to select. Our English bitch did not live up to expectations, so after the first litter we found a good home for her. Gitles Josefa unfortunately had only two puppies. The other four bitches became mothers of a whole series of champions.


We soon discovered that breeding is not so simple. NShCh Gitles Maritza was mated with our new English male dog NShCh Likely Lad of Yeo. The first litter were fine as regards hips and produced two champions. We tried the same combination twice more, with a year interval and both litters were born on 1st May. These litters suffered from hip disorder and so there were no more litters with Maritza.


NShCh Tudina ll had her first litter with GBCH NShCh. Glenavis Barman. There were five puppies but only three survived. We kept a male dog and a bitch. The male dog became NShCh Mjaerumhøgda’s Magic Man, which sired several champions, including Mjaerumhøgda’s Veronica and Golden Look, the latter becoming BIS at the Norsk Kennel Club’s show in Stavanger in 1984. She was owned by Anna Nerell in Sweden . Mjaerumhøgda’s Veronica was for a year the bitch with most awards.


The year after we tried the same combination again, producing nine puppies of which four became champions. Our own bitch NShCh Mjaerumhøgda’s Xspelia was mated with NShCh NV-79 Deremar Donald, producing N Sh.Ch. SV-89 Mjaerumhøgda’s Limelight, owned by Torill and Sverre Sand. Tudina became mother of nine champions and a champion in obedience.


N Sh.Ch.Gitles Natascha had her 3rd litter with SFSh Ch. Noravon Cornelius. This combination gave Int. Nord ShCh. Mjaerumhøgda’s Classic Sound and NShCh.Mjaerumhøgda’s Crusader.


Crusader was in England for two years where he took 1 CC, and sired two well- known breeding dogs – GB Ch. Standfast Augustus and Multi Ch. Standfast Angus in Holland .


In 1979 we got a new puppy from England , which became NShCh Nord. V-81 Noravon Lucius. He was a lovely dog and became the golden retriever with most awards several years in a row, and also several BIS. Lucius also became 2nd BIS at the Nordic Winner Show in 1981.


He also proved to be an excellent breeding dog, siring 31 champions in different countries. His best known son here in Norway is NShCh N S L, Ch. NV-88-89 Chribas Crackerjack, owned by Tore and Berit Bondal, and which in turn sired many champions.


After a while epilepsy appeared in several litters from Lucius. This was a completely unknown problem in the race in Norway. After some research, it appeared that this was not entirely a new problem in Sweden . It had appeared in three different lines from England. We made this information known and asked breeders not to mate puppies from Lucius with these lines, but unfortunately this was not followed up. We ourselves decided not to linebreed from him, and in this way we avoided the problem. Of course we thought it was a pity that we couldn’t linebreed with such a good breeding dog with so many fine qualities, for example as regards splendid temperament and hips.


Seven years ago we had a major problem with hips. Those dogs we had kept ourselves were HD free, but there were too many siblings with strong HD. We decided to continue with the line, but found out that it would take many generations to get good hips again. The conclusion was that we cut out seven dogs – a male dog and six bitches – three generations. It was a tough decision, for we had almost no breeding material left, only two adult and two young dogs as regards bitches. Later one of the young bitches was cut out, as she was third generation giving very small litters. Gradually, however, we have managed to move on and today we’re glad that we tackled the problem because now we have had very good hip results.


As far as the eyes are concerned, we consider that the problems have been small, although we have had one case of PRA and some cases of polar cataract. None of these dogs has had polar cataract as early as one year old, but this has developed later. The dogs we have used for breeding have all become Norwegian champions.


No dog we have bred has been perfect, but although perfection will never be achieved, one is always striving towards this aim. This is after all what keeps breeders going!


We are proud that we have bred dogs that have meant a lot for their owners and the development of the race in their home countries. We can mention the following examples:


Can Bur Ch Mjaerumhøgda’s Koyn Flying Surprise in Canada

Int SF N Sh Ch. Mjaerumhøgda’s Your Choice in Finland

Int Nord Sh Ch. Mljaerumhøgda’s Classic Sound in Sweden

N Sh.Ch. SV-89 Mjaerumhøgda’s  Limelight in Norway

N Sh.Ch. Mjaerumhøgda’s Crusader in Norway and England

Are there any particular exterior or mental features that are given priority in your breeding?


We try not to forget that the golden retriever is a hunting dog and must have the right build for doing the best work. Therefore we believe that a dog with good angulations, not heavily built and with sound movement will be a dog that has stamina and consequently the best working dog.


Mental characteristics are also important. We would like our dogs to be spirited, contact-seeking and with a stable temperament. We fear that dogs that are too soft can easily become too submissive. On the other hand , dogs that are  too strong minded can easily become too independent.


What are your views about linebreeding contra outcross? 

There is no easy answer to this. We have used both linebreeding and outcross. A good rule is – if you know the dogs well in the line of breeding and there are more positive than negative things to say as regards temperament, health and exterior, then choose linebreeding. If  too little is known about advantages and disadvantages in the line, then it is better to take an outcross. The same thing applies if one wishes to correct a fault in the line. However, it is always important to mate the same type of dogs in order to maintain the type one has.


What do you look for when you yourselves choose a puppy?

Choosing a puppy is not always so easy. We are now in the fortunate situation of being able to keep two puppies from the same litter, so that we don’t need to make a choice when the puppies are eight weeks old. One can see a good deal when the puppy is six weeks old, but not always enough. Puppies grow and change the whole time and they all have their advantages and faults. Once in a while there is a clear winner. In such a case there is no problem, but one doesn’t often have this situation and then it’s simply a matter of gut feeling. We try to keep the puppies that have good angulations and movement.


Can you name a dog that has appealed to you especially, and why?


We have had many fine representatives of the race in Norway . Some of them that we think have distinguished themselves in recent years are:


N ShCh NV-90 Shanlimore Baronet

N ShCh. N S L Ch.NV-89-91 Chribas Crackerjack

N ShCh. Beeangee Jazz Man

N ShCh. Waterloo’s Another Yatzy

N ShCh. Lux Ch.Waterloo’s Rock Around The Clock


These are all dogs with lovely movement and charm in the ring. They have carried their age well and have had great influence as breeding dogs in Norway.


What do you think about the future of the golden retriever? Is there anything that should be given extra attention? What are your views about the status of defects in the race?


We think that our race has a promising future, as we have so many competent breeders in Norway. There may be a feeling that too few breeders place enough importance on the golden retriever as a working dog, but if our dogs are bred up to standard and have good mental health, there should be no problem as regards this. Some breeders could perhaps pay more attention to the dog’s movement. We think that the golden retriever has lost something in this respect during the last few years.


The golden retriever is a healthy race, and the dogs usually become 12 –13 years old. We don’t consider HD to be a big problem with the race. It sometimes occurs but few dogs become disabled in this respect. The eyes have caused few problems here in Norway. As regards elbows, it’s difficult to say anything about this area. We ourselves have X-rayed our breeding dogs for the last eight years without finding significant problems.


Have you had any experience with dogs in partnership? 

We only use partnership to a small degree, as we don’t place eight weeks old puppies in partnership.  We like to follow-up the development of our puppies, as we think we learn a lot from this. In this way, we know what we should concentrate on or not.


How do you make your customers active with their puppies? 

We strongly recommend our customers to go on a puppy course and later a training course. We ask them to make contact with the nearest branch of the Norwegian Kennel Club or a local dog club. We think it is important that our customers are made active with their dogs and hope that through the branch of the Nor. Kennel Club they can get interested in other activities such as tracking and hunting. We ourselves give social training and show training all the year round –once a week. This is also a possibility for our customers.


What is your position as regards the debate about hunting awards for show champions and vice versa?


We fully support the English system. We think this will be of benefit for all sides. In this way it would be possible to take care of everyone’s interests, and there would be peace in the golden retriever world once and for all.


Do you hunt with your dogs?

We have taken part on several hunting courses both in Norway and Sweden, and in the beginning we practised a little hunting. Eivind still do a little duck hunting with some of our goldens. Elg hunting is the big thing today, but we have several good golden retrievers here at home. One day we had five different hedgehogs retrieved and delivered perfectly by three different golden retrievers in the course of an hour! None of the golden retrievers has ever harmed a hedgehog. More seriously, we have bred one N Hunting Champion, and one that only lacked the practical test to be double champion. Some golden of ours has been trained and used for tracking of hurt wild animals, after hunting or traffic damage.  


Tell us about the name of your kennel.


It ‘s quite simple. The name of the kennel is a combination of our surname and the name of the place where we live -  MJAERUMHØGDA. .