Orion’s Britannia (aka “Annie”) is a littermate to Quattro. Annie’s mother was my great Orion’s Blazin’ Star. Star lived a long and storied life and has a very special place in my heart (see Orion’s Hall of Fame for more information on Star). Annie’s sire was Westlands Charlie, aka “Moss”. Moss was a British field bred Lab that was imported to the United States by the late William Kechkalo of Berrien Springs, Michigan. Moss was the high point British field trial dog in 1999 and he placed fourth in the International Gundog League championship that year (the IGL championship is Great Britain’s National field trial championship). Moss’s sire Tasco's Dancing Brave of Willowyck won the IGL championship in 1990. Moss was an exceptional dog and I am grateful that Mr. Kechkaylo allowed me to bred Moss to Star.
Annie is a very good looking Lab. She has a great head and a super dense double coat. She is compactly built and very physically sound. She has a great nose and is good at trailing game. Annie’s temperament is more like her British side of the family. She has plenty of drive, but she works more for her master’s approval than for herself. Since I tend to favor pups who are bold and self assured Annie’s sister Quattro became my favorite of the two when they were puppies. As time has passed, I now understand and appreciate the differences between these two sisters. While Q is bold and very self assured, sometimes she can be strong-willed and test my patience. On the other hand, Annie is usually much more eager to do it my way the first time. There is room for both personality types in the breed as different people may have different expectations from their Labs. I think that the softer, more biddable British temperament may be better for newcomers to retriever training or for those who would rather not have to work so hard to master the control of a high drive dog. I know I may be guilty of stereotyping the temperament of dogs from American field lines and British field lines as there may be bold self-assured British Labs and softer more biddable American Labs. However, in the case of Annie and Q, I think the stereotypes are valid for comparison.