L is for Labradors



Did you know that Labrador dogs were first bred in England at nearby Hurn Court?


The 2nd Earl of Malmesbury (1778-1841), who lived at Heron Court (Hurn Court), imported two pairs of 'St John's Dogs' from Newfoundland in the 1820s. These dogs worked alongside fishermen and were strong swimmers and agile retrievers. He set up kennels on the estate to breed them as  gun dogs.

In the 1880s, his son met the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, who also bred St John's dogs in Scotland. The puppies that resulted from a match between dogs from their two kennels became the Labrador that is much prized today as a gun dog and pet.