Have you ever heard of the dog breed called a “Murray River Retriever”?
This breed is an older breed developed in Australia in the 1800’s. Primarily used for duck hunting and retrieving ducks from the waters of the Murray River, Australia’s largest river that runs through three states from New South Wales through to South Australia.
Its unknown how the breed came about and much of its history still remains in speculation. DNA testing has been undertaken and although results are in the early stages, DNA that has also been located in the American Water Spaniel and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever has been detected. Note though that this does not mean that the Murray River Retriever has been bred from these breeds, but suggests that these breeds have similar DNA lineages from parental generations. What we do however know is that the Murray River Retriever is in fact a gun dog in its own right.
It has been my experience that the Murray River Retriever is a breed that is often misrepresented in Pet Stores and pups are routinely sold as Labradoodles. One issue is that despite the age of the breed, Murray’s have always been working dogs and historically there has never been a breed association for the Murray until recently when the Murray River Retriever Association was formed up to preserve and to promote the breed. Despite their rich history, Murray’s remain unrecognized by the Australian Kennel Body and the MRRA are working to correct this.
The question that I would like to put to Labradoodle owners, is if your Labradoodle came from the local pet store, have you really gotten what you paid for? A Labradoodle in my opinion is a magnificent looking dog and there were some good reasons for breeding it. The breed came into existence by after the Australian Guide Dog Association recognized the need to provide guide dogs for blind people that were allergic to dogs, the cross breed of the Labrador and the Standard Poodle proved a success and as the need for hypo allergenic dogs became more and more recognized, the Labradoodle became a success and has brought dog ownership into many families that perhaps may never have had that privilege before.
If your primary reason for owning a Labradoodle is that you need a dog that is Hypoallergenic, then its important to ensure that you have got what you paid for or the results can be catastrophic and currently it appears that there is no real penalty for a pet shop selling a dog as whatever breed they choose to label it as opposed to what it actually is. If you have any doubt you should undertake a DNA test to be sure. The DNA company “Orivet” is one firm that can recognize DNA consistent with a Murray River Retriever.
One of the reasons that it can be hard to tell the differences apart in puppies is that Labradoodles are not yet bred in any numbers from existing Labradoodles and are cross bred from Standard Poodles and Labradors, the result is that the offspring can vary in stature from the body of the Poodle to the Body of the Labrador. Whilst those that take on the stature of the Poodle can be easily recognized as not being Murrays, those that take after the Labrador are not as easy initially to recognize to anyone outside of people that are familiar with both breeds. The reason for this is suspected to be that both the Labrador and the Murray River Retriever also share some DNA from a now extinct breed formerly known as the St Johns Water Dog. in both cases this often results in the white patch that both breeds can come up with on the front of the chest which can range from a few white hairs to quite a large patch in different animals. Interestingly the Curly Coated Retriever and some of the other dogs in the Retriever family can also have examples of the same white patch and likely for the very same reason.
For whatever excuse you may be given by a puppy seller, it is not acceptable to take any breed of curly coated dog and misrepresent it as a Labradoodle and especially not to add another $500 onto the price for doing so. With the current advances in DNA Technology, don’t be surprised to see both consumer affairs groups taking action in this regard accordingly. If you believe that you have not got what you paid for, then you probably should be making contact with the consumer affairs authority along these lines.
On the other hand however, if you love the look of the Curly Coated dogs and are keen on getting a truly amazing Gun Dog, then could it be that a Murray River Retriever is a breed that you should be taking a closer look at? Many dogs are frightened of Thunder storms and Fireworks, Murray’s on the other hand don’t bat an eyelid and simply fall straight asleep in the middle of the fiercest storm. The Murray River Retriever is highly intelligent, energetic and directed. The capacity to retrieve makes this a great family dog for an active family with an animal that can not only be trained, but one that can and will excel in training at the highest level.
For more information on the Murray River Retriever, you can always look over the Murray River Retriever Association page at – http://www.mrr.org.au or alternatively check out the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Murrayriverretriever/