Lord Lewis Harcourt is known to be one of the advocates of the Golden Retriever. In fact, it could very well be that the very name ‘Golden’ was his invention. He was the one who showed in 1908 for the first time his dogs at Cruft’s. He was the only one in this class, called ‘Retrievers (Golden)’. Here are his dogs at that moment:
- Nuneham Sulphur. Born, 05. Breeder: Lord Tweedmouth. By Conan-Lana.
- Nuneham Sol. Born, 05. Breeder: Lord Tweedmouth. By Conan-Lana.
- Brass. Born March, 04. Breeder: H. K. Pope, Esq. By Dast-Cilous.
- Rossa. Born Feb., 03. Breeder: Mr. Wareham. By Harold-Nellie.
- Crocus. Born June, 06. Breeder: Owner. By Glen-Chrome.
- Bracken. Born Aug., 06. Breeder: Owner. By Brass-N. Sulphur.
- Light. Born March, 06. Breeder: Owner. By Amber-Aura.
- Honey. Born March, 06. Breeder : Owner. By Amber-Aura.
On the basis of this list a few observations can be made. First of all, at this moment he didn’t yet use the prefix ‘Culham’. Instead, two of his dogs are called ‘Nuneham’. Nuneham was the name of the Estate of Lord Harcourt.It had been the property of the Harcourt-family since the 18th century. Lord Lewis Harcourt inherited it in 1904. In 1909 the names of his dog had the prefix ‘Culham’. Why he changed the names, we don’t know. However his estate, near Oxford, had the right of way to Culham. So, there was a connection between Nuneham and Culham.
That brings us to a second observation. The two dogs called ‘Nuneham’ were dogs he acquired from Lord Tweedmouth. Why did he only these two call ‘Nuneham’? We simply don’t know, but it is an intriguing question.
Thirdly, Lord Harcourt obviously didn’t wait too long to start his own kennel on his estate. The oldest Golden mentioned here, was born in 1903 (Rossa). Rossa, and the other dogs born before 1906, were bred by others. In 1906 he had at least three breedings: in March, June and August. So he probably would have started in 1904 or 1905.
In the years to follow, he was very active in breeding and showing Goldens. From 1908 to 1912 he won every year at Cruft’s. The next year, he was absent and never returned. The last breeding, that is recorded at his name, dates from March 1912. So, it seems Lord Harcourt was only active for a short period. Did he sell his kennel? It is possible. In the Cruft’s catalogues in the years to follow, there appears the name of ‘Mr. E. King’, who bred with Culham dogs. However, in 1917 his name has been disappeared.