Rev. E. N. Needham-Davies

This time I want to turn your attention to a relatively unknown figure in the history of the Golden Retriever: Rev. E.N. Needham-Davies. He may be largely forgotten in our age, in his days he was a respected authorithy in Retriever-business. He was, for example, a judge at Crufts with the Flatcoated Retriever in 1929, with the Labrador Retriever in 1930, with the Golden Retriever in 1931, and with the Flatcoated and Curly (one category!) in 1932. Besides he wrote the article about the Golden Retriever in A.C. Smith, Gundogs – their training, working, and management (1932). So it´s not exagarated to call him an expert in Retrievers.

Moreover he had his own kennel, the Sundawn kennel. The following dogs belonged to him. Gilder is in this regard the most famous and succesfull name:

  • Sundawn Susie (b.1927) (Hawlstone Rustey x Ch.Heydown Gunner)
  • Ch. Sundawn Dancer (b.1927) (Amber Dimple x Ch. Cubbington Diver)
  • Sundawn Dainty (b.1928) (Sundawn Susie x Ch. Diver of Woolley)
  • Gilder (b.1929) (Sundawn Dainty x Sundawn Dancer)

 As his title shows, he was a clergyman. In the Crockford’s clerical directory, volume 81 (1965) he is mentioned. He got his theological education at Lichfield Theological College from 1908 till 1911. So, we might infer that the date of his birth will have been in the late 1880’s. He became Chaplain of Drighlington (1910-1911) and Hadnall (1911-1920); then Vicar of Saul (1920-1934) and finally Rector of Euston with Barnham, Fakenham Parva and Magna (1934-1962). As far as I can see, that’s a respectable clerical career. It seems however, that he was more famous as an expert on Retrievers. His dog, Gilder (b.1929) , was a very influential sire.


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