We are admirers and breeders of field and working line Goldens. These are
not the fluffy pale blond dogs you may have seen in the conformation/ breed ring, but are the old line red dogs
bred to retrieve, with the intelligence to make you proud in any working discipline and the personality to make
you fall in love forever. This is not to say you can't find loveable, smart, birdy and highly trainable dogs in the
show lines, but here at Fern Hill, selection for those traits are at the heart of our breeding program.
Our goal is to breed talented, personable, long-lived, conformationally correct and handsome Goldens that are first and foremost
loveable companions. Our girls are from the best field / working bloodlines available, and the stud dogs
we use are proven, multi-titled, versatile dogs from the top of the breeding lists.
To find out more about us, press one of the links at the top of the page, or go to our Menu Page to easily find information
and pictures about previous litters, our girls, general training information, and more. We are happy you stopped
by and hope you visit our site again!
Goldens at Home -- Penny, Callie, Hilfy
Panda and Callie earn their WCX at the GRCA National Specialty, October 26, 2014
One of Hilfy's 2008 puppies by Ditto
A 2005 Mr. Speaker x Hilfy puppy
About Field Line Goldens
Before 1970, there were no distinctions between working and conformation line
Golden Retrievers. They were essentially the same dog! In the years since, however, the breed has
developed two quite distinct types. A male named Cummings' Gold-Rush Charlie came along in 1970 and
became wildly successful in the conformation ring. He was like no Golden before him, with a new and very
distinct look, and became very influential in the show lines. As a result of his influence, the breed
ring has increasingly belonged to heavy boned dogs with longish bodies that may appear rather low to the ground,
and often with a somewhat downward slope along the topline. Coats on show dogs have become longer, straighter and silkier, and the
most desired color is a pale gold / cream. As show ring success has become more difficult to achieve with the increased number of
Goldens being shown, looks have become THE most important attribute for many show-line breeders. As a result of the
decreased attention to disposition and working talent, the prevalence of truly outstanding working dogs in the
conformation lines has declined and timidity and nervousness has increased to some extent.
There are still wonderful, all-around goldens with great working potential and outstanding dispositions available
within the show lines, but by no means are these characteristics universally present.
At around the same time, the field Goldens, owing to the influence of an English import named
AFC Holway Barty, diverged in another direction. Forsaking looks as a principle target, field breeders worked
hard to improve the hunting and retrieving abilities of their dogs. As a result, intelligence, trainability, the
"bold golden" disposition, high activity levels, and extreme athleticism are much more prevalent in these lines as these are
the features most necessary for field/working sucess. While many of these dogs have wonderful basic conformation (after all, they do have to
be able to hold up physically under demanding athletic competition), some of the features such as pretty broad-muzzled
heads, full dentition and good scissors bite, correctly carried tails, dark brown eye color and dark nose leather are not universally present. There are
other differences in appearance as well most of the field dogs are various shades of red gold, typically darker
than the show goldens. They are frequently smaller, lighter boned, longer in the leg, and have shorter, curlier coats
than the dogs that are currently successful in the conformation ring. White markings, highly discouraged in the show
ring, are also more common in field lines.