We’ve moved!!

We can now be found in the rolling countryside of Staffordshire not too far from Stone. We are now the new owners of a boarding kennels and cattery business with a fantastic grooming salon complete with Professional Dog Groomer!!

Having said that we loved Scotland and wanted to stay there we have moved closer to our families here and it suits us very well. The business is very good and we are always very well occupied. We invite you to come and see us if you are looking to board your dog or cat at any time soon, but we do get booked up very quickly so please book well in advance! Whether I will have any time for breeding flatcoats remains to be seen. I am thinking that this year is out of the question but maybe next year!

Please do check out our establishment and the wonderful facilities we have for all the dogs and cats. We would be very proud to show you around.

Clever Cooly wins rosettes!

Clever Cooly (or Cuillin) pictured below wins rosettes for her cleverness and being so obedient for her owner Karen.



photoA Montegrino is not just known for their beauty as you may well know – they have brains too!!  Here is the lovely Cuillin who trains at Dogmore Training Group in Kirkliston, Scotland and has just shown everyone in a large field of dogs entered (including clever little collies) that flatcoats can learn!

The results for Cuillin at the Leven and District dog training and ( obedience) club,
Open Obedience Show on the 20th April 2013 were 4th in pre-beginners and 6th in beginners.  Well done to Cuillin and her owner Karen for giving this dog such a fun life!!

Montegrino puppies win at the Championship Show of the Flatcoated Retriever Club of Scotland

SkyeSkye pictured above – Saturday 20th April 2013 – aged 7 months.  Winner of Best Puppy Bitch at the FCRS Show Championship Show


We had a fabulous day at this year’s Champ Show in Lanark with the Montegrino clan.  It’s a show I love to support as it was my first ever show venue and it is the most friendly and welcoming club so for me that’s a winning combination in itself.  I have always encouraged Montegrino puppy owners to do lots of new things with their dogs.  It’s good for socialisation for the dog and the owner!!  If it is an activity that can be enjoyed by both then it’s time well spent in my opinion.  Showing dogs is just one pastime – and for me it’s not too serious…there are so many other great activities to do with your dog which they enjoy far more!!

However this year I am proud to say that there was a very strong entry of Montegrino dogs in the club show and the results can be viewed on the Club website……

It is with great delight that I can tell you that both of the Best Puppies in the Show were Montegrino bred pups.  Thomas (Tom Thumb) won the Best Dog Puppy and Skye (Toasted Teacake) won Best Bitch Puppy.   Not only that but many other Montegrino flatcoats were placed and some qualified for Crufts.  A great day out:) Well done to all!

“Ghillie” – Montegrino Military Man


This lovely boy – is named Military Man after my husband’s career in the Army, and Ghillie really is a true action man.  He wears his camouflage collar with pride and is a credit to his owners June & David McPhillips.

June writes:-

“We were looking for another flatcoat male when I saw an advert for a locally bred litter and contacted the breeder.  We were duly invited along to meet Jacqui and Kesi and have a chat.  Once the pups were born, Jacqui advised us there were only 2 boys in the litter and we were to be the lucky family chosen for the liveliest one as we had experience of the breed and boy has Ghillie lived up to that!!

Ghillie has a fantastic nature and is very typical of the breed.  He seems to have taken both his mother and father’s penchant for retrieving anything and everything and will happily bring you all kinds of articles from his bed to the neighbours designer handbag!!!

He has had some gundog training, competes in Working Trials and this year will also be starting agility training.  He is also lightly shown and had some success as a puppy but has been slow to mature physically.

Ghillie is a pleasure to have as part of the family especially as he nearly died at 18 months after 2 major operations.”

What June fails to explain in her write-up above is that dear Ghillie swallowed a sock which had to be removed from his intestines as it made him very ill!  Unfortunately after the surgery he then developed an infection and had to have further surgery to remove a portion of bowel.  He survived a really tricky operation and it was “touch and go” for a while but he fights on like a true soldier.  Today he is fit and enjoying life to the full as ever!


“Wooster & Trooper” – Montegrino Noble Nelson & Tartan Trews


Pictured here are the Sawer’s 4 flatcoats at home in their garden – from left to right – Verdie, Trooper, Drummer & Wooster – a fine quartet!

Stewart writes:-

Our first flatcoat, Verdie, was also our first ever dog. My wife, Hilary, wanted a dog now that we had retired and came across Verdie on the Torwood website, a ten month old liver boy looking for a forever home. I was totally unconvinced but agreed to go and meet him at the Torwood kennels near Chesterfield. As we approached the kennels we were greeted by a now familiar, but at the time intimidating, chorus of barking flatties and a huge brown dog came bounding towards us.

Verdie and I clicked instantly but Hilary later confessed that had I shown any sign of wavering she would have been relieved. She couldn’t imagine how we would cope with this energetic creature, but his breeder, Denise, said that if we couldn’t cope with Verdie we wouldn’t be able to cope with any dog. She was of course right. He proved to be a total delight. A fortnight later she was saying how she had never imagined she would love him so much.

It was when watching Verdie playing with a neighbour’s spaniel that we realised it would be nice for him to have a doggy friend as well as his human parents. That’s when we found Montegrino and persuaded Jacqui that we might provide a suitable
home for one of her litter by Kesi and Spencer. Wooster and Verdie hit it off from the start. There was a look of relief on Wooster’s face when he got out the car and saw another dog and Verdie took a paternal interest in the new pup. Toilet training
turned out to be dead easy and it was a pleasure to watch Wooster mature into the beautiful dog he is today. We didn’t appreciate how special he was until he won best pup in show at the Scottish Flatcoat Society last year.

trophy woose

He has also proved to be something of a star at obedience classes at Dogmore not to mention gun dog training on the Pentlands. All he asks in return is a regular supply of treats and the pleasure of licking the inside of a human ear at least once a night.
Anyone reading this will imagine that we would be content with our duo of flatcoats, one liver one black. Not so. A casual visit to the Torwood website by Hilary made us aware of Drummer, a sixteen month old black flatcoat looking for a forever home
(that phrase again) preferably in the company of another dog (some separation issues). How could we refuse? So it was that we became Drummer’s third home where he is much loved by both humans and dogs.
So surely that is the end of the story. We’ll not quite. In July 2012 we moved from the Lake District to Edinburgh. So it was that we were around when Jacqui’s recent litter was born. You can read all about that in Jacqui’s blog. Hilary found herself
helping with the deliveries and subsequent feeding. The bonding process was inevitable and since there were more male pups than spoken for it was inevitable that one would find its way into our hearts. So Trooper came to join us, one dog for each
arm, two Torwoods and two Montegrinos. And what an amazing dog Trooper is turning out to be and how different from Wooster. To begin with it was Uncle Drummer who took on the paternal role but now he is best of friends with all three big dogs.
And what a hoot he is as he apes his elders. We feel he is going to turn out to be a very special flatcoat, but he is very spirited and could easily become a hooligan instead.
Through Jacqui we were introduced to agility classes, obedience and gun dog training. She has helped us on the journey from dog novices to confident dog owners and a most enjoyable and rewarding journey it has proved to be. She has provided
wonderful home boarding facilities for the boys on a number of occasions, which we will miss greatly when she has moved back to England………maybe 4 flatcoats will be spending their holidays in Staffordshire in future?


“Lupin & Daisy” – Montegrino Nimble Ness & Nubile Nell

Lupin and Daisy

These girls both went to live in ” The Kingdom of Fife” with their new owners who already had 2 flatcoats.

Kevin writes:-

What can I say about Daisy and Lupin?  They are both well adjusted, healthy, happy flatcoats and there are not many things in life that keep you more content than that.

I have now owned five Flatcoats and hold Jacqui and her kennels in the highest regard.  Before taking on Daisy and Lupin I did my own research into the breed lines only to find that Jacqui had already been very assiduous in choosing breed pair.  In assessing Jacqui’s litter I compared her breed lines to over a dozen other current litters and, to be frank, the health pedigree of Jacqui’s litter was head and shoulders above the rest.

Once you couple the above with her exceptionally detailed knowledge of the breed, of how to raise pups, and her naturally caring nature you have someone who produces exceptionally good litters.

Daisy and Lupin are completely different to each other in character and build but they both share all of the best traits of cheeky, lovable, exuberant, mischievous, loyal and fun flatcoats.

I work from home and they are with me 24 hours a day.  I could not wish for nicer companions.

Lupin 006lupin Lupin above trying to drink the waterfall.

Spencer in the City – by Rachael Smith



I acquired Spencer three years ago from a breeder in Scotland, he was owned by a syndicate and had been a successful show dog with a promising career ahead of him before he managed to knock out his front teeth, he was promptly retired at the grand age of two. Spencer is a stunning dog, he weighs 40kg and is at least 5ft6 when he jumps up to lick your face, which he frequently does. He has a strong head with a few white flecks of hair  above his left eye which are battle scars from a previous fight, he has kind dark brown almond shaped eyes and a glossy black coat with dramatic feathering that accents his muscular body. Top judges have struggled to put into words Spencer’s beauty, however very little can be said for his brains. At best Spencer is stupid, at worst borderline retarded. Unfortunately I did not know this when I let him into my life.


Spencer’s first day in our family home didn’t get off to a very good start, he charged into the kitchen, checked to ensure that none of the bitches needed to be mated and mounted all of them anyway just to be sure, he urinated on the curtains, jumped on all the furniture and was so unruly and enthusiastic in his unruliness that we had to tie him to the legs of the oak kitchen table with two leads like a disgraced gladiator. He then spent the rest of the evening panting at me adoringly like some sort of canine pervert. I would decide what to do with him in the morning and assigned him a crate to sleep in overnight. The morning started approximately  4 hours later with Yorkshire Terrier pitched yapping.


Although the daily threats of beatings and euthanasia (and sometimes both) continued, Spencer’s sense of humour and persistence quickly secured him a position within our pack, he loved unconditionally and uncontrollably and so we forgave him for everything, always. As my family regularly work our flatcoats the time soon came for Spencer to join the ranks and attend training with our local club. Our debut was embarrassing beyond belief and can be summarised as follows – no recall, no retrieves and no respect. We were promptly demoted to the puppy class and forced to work on retrieving balled up socks. During our first training season Spencer was used by the trainers Dougald and Calum to demonstrate how to correct your dog when it misbehaved, they used Spencer because, as they both liked to remind me, the one thing you could rely on Spencer to do was get it wrong.



Despite the humiliation we persevered, Spencer desperately wanted to please and you couldn’t fault his enthusiasm (although you could fault practically everything else). We practiced basic commands, steadiness and varied retrieves in the field every evening throughout the summer and gradually we both started to improve, once I felt Spencer had mastered a particular command I would summon my entire family to the kitchen window to watch, however it soon became very evident that Spencer suffered from terrible stage fright. When the shooting season eventually did start I decided to take Spencer beating to introduce him to the format of the day, I got up early to prepare pack lunches, hot drinks and after the meet set off for the first drive full of excited optimism. It didn’t last long, the first gun was fired and 40kg of flatcoat dived under the nearest Rhododendron bush and melted into a quivering, whimpering heap. We were forced to retire early and sent back to help with the lunch.


Refusing to accept defeat the training continued, having never trained a gundog before much of it was trial and error, sometimes all of it seemed a terrible trial and a lot of error. However two years of hard work and dedication later and we are picking up on large shoots with 400+ bag days, Spencer is no longer gun-shy and trembles with excitement rather than fear, he is a fantastic working dog and picks up birds that the labs and spaniels have walked over, he adores water retrieves and being sent into the undergrowth after runners, in addition he always gets complimented by the guns who think he is “rather splendid”. Sadly in November the cottage I was renting in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside was flooded, this acted as a catalyst for some rather life changing career decisions.



While these life changing decisions were being made I reverse evacuated myself and Spencer to London to live with my boyfriend. Family and friends were horrified, Spencer in London! They couldn’t even begin to imagine the chaos! Determined that we would manage, against all sound advice I moved my large, energetic working dog in peak fitness from the shooting season into a small flat in the middle of the city centre. Only when we were in London did I truly appreciate how much my untrainable dog had come on, the trust we had built up meant that Spencer would follow me anywhere with his tail wagging, without any hesitation he follows me onto the overground, the underground, on buses, on lifts and up and down escalators. Spencer remains steady at my side as we pass men, women and children wearing religious clothing, disabled people in wheelchairs, drug addicts, policemen, street performers, graffiti artists, prostitutes, businessmen, homeless men, yummy mummies, tourists etc etc, he treats them all as a potential friend and giver of food. Because of Spencer I have had conversations with so many interesting people who I would otherwise have passed in the street. Spencer has become the official mascot of the Nike Spitalfields running club, he has been to Canary Wharf, he has commuted through Liverpool Street station at rush hour, been to Richmond Park and not done a “Fenton”, he has been to an aquarium and licked the turtles through the glass, he has been to the London Ice Sculpting Festival, he has taken a dip in the Trafalgar Square fountains, swapped Spaniels for East London Staffies, countryside sticks and stones for city glass and chicken bones, he has taken everything in his stride and we are even planning our debut at Buckingham Palace.



Yesterday I was sitting on a busy tube with Spencer lying at my feet and everyone around me was talking about how perfectly behaved he was and how he must be so used to going on the tube, a true city dog so to speak, thats when I realised that training a gundog is about more than whistles and retrieves. Training a gundog involves creating a strong relationship with your dog so that they trust you to lead them through life and its challenges, whether they be water retrieves or escalators, training a gundog is about creating a dog that is accepting of all people and all situations, a dog who is steady and disciplined. Without even realising it I had somehow reformed Spencer into something resembling a trained gundog!  Of course we still have moments of desperation and despair, for example the morning when Spencer rolled in something a homeless man had produced after what was probably a heavy night of drinking and a dodgy kebab (and it wasn’t vomit…), however on the whole things are on the up. I will freely admit that in the time it has taken me to train Spencer to behave in a socially acceptable manner I could have trained 10 labradors to be Field Trial Champions, however I doubt any of those dogs would have kept me laughing through the last six months which have involved leaving home, starting a new job, living alone, floods and norovirus all followed by being unemployed and homeless. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful friend.


Montegrino Birthday Parties

1st bdayHaving birthday parties to celebrate the first birthdays of our Montegrino pups is something we have done right from the start for every litter born.  Call me mad  –  my husband does!!

This is a photo of the first party/walk on 7th March 2010 which involved a chaotic march up the Pentlands, lots of photos and plenty of chat about our beloved dogs and all their antics.   We ended up back at the house for refreshments for owners and dogs!   We were delighted to see 5 of the 9 from the litter plus some of the dogs that they live with.  It was a sight to see!

Then on 7th May 2011, on a beautiful sunny day we met to celebrate the first birthday of our second litter of 8.  This was very well attended with 6 pups (plus others from the family) making an appearance with their owners, mostly Scottish Montegrino’s but Pamela and Percy came from England too.

2nd party2nd party22ndparty32ndparty.4

The last party was on 18th June 2012 for the litter of 10 pups born one year earlier, but didn’t involve a walk due to very inclement weather. We still managed a get-together at home and enjoyed seeing how all the litter had turned out…I am still amazed at how different they all are.

3rd bdayThis time we saw 7 out of the 10 pups from the litter and we had lots of cake – thanks to Dottie for all the beautifully home-made delights and of course my own liver cake was enjoyed by the dogs….   here is Karen giving it out to all the hungry mouths!

3rd bda1


Thanks to all of my wonderful Montegrino owners for coming along to join in – it was great to see you…and I hope the dogs liked their party bags!! x

“Riba” – Montegrino Night Nurse


Here is dear little Riba as a puppy.  She was with us until about 12 weeks or so and was originally promised to the Guide Dogs for the Blind.  However I decided that I would rather she went to a forever home where she could have more fun.  She went to Dottie in Glasgow and I am very lucky to see her often…


Dottie writes;


“I first met Jacqui Smith when I went with my daughter Karen to choose a pup from Kesi’s 2nd litter.  I had recently lost my own darling dog very suddenly and couldn’t contemplate ever having another dog myself but gradually I came to love Cuillin , my daughter’s dog, so when Kesi had her final litter a year later I decided, after much debate with myself, that it was now or never. Everyone laughs when Karen tells them that when we went to see the pups I took a measuring tape to measure the length of the pups’ ears (I’ve got a bit of a “thing”about too short ears) and little RIBA passed the test so I am now the proud owner of a Montegrino pup now almost 18 months old and the most darling wee girl- so pretty and sweet natured she loves fun and is ball obsessed.  She was also super easy to train and I can take her anywhere with me.  It’s amazing how many people comment on what beautiful dogs she and her sister are.

Jacqui has been great all along with help and advice and she has organised or told us about”flattie” related events or activities which have been such fun.We have come to know her and her family over the past 2 1/2 years and have visited many times.

We love Jacqui Smith – she is great .We love the way she runs her business, we love the beautiful pups she produces and the care she takes in rearing them.We would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for a flattie

I  am so happy she let me have one so Thank you Jacqui – if only all dog breeders would take a leaf out of your book”


Thanks Dot, almost embarrassed to post this but I am very grateful for your kind words and for giving Riba a wonderful life.  Thanks too for the very wonderful leaving card!



For the love of dogs!


Days out in the countryside with my dogs whatever the weather are my favourite kind of days. Whether that is a walk in the woods, a stroll along a beach, hill climbing, trudging through the snow or working on a shoot, all of these activities mean that I can interact with my dogs and gives me endless enjoyment.

The photograph above shows me with Spencer, Millie & Kesi doing a spot of training on top of Castelaw hill in the Pentlands of Scotland.  My daughter Rachael was with me that day and we had great fun taking photographs of all the dogs in action.  Rachael is very good with the camera and caught the mood of the day.

In the past 6 years whilst living in Scotland I have started training my gundogs to learn the skills required to be useful whilst out on a shoot.  I realised how much they enjoy doing what they were originally bred for. Fortunately I was able to join a local military shoot where my husband Andy had worked during his time in the Army.  After a couple of seasons I was also asked to join a few other shoots in Scotland with my dogs. To watch the dogs at work is so rewarding for me and to return home after a day out on a shoot with a tired but happy dog is just the best feeling.  Below is a picture of me with Kesi on a grouse shoot in the Pentlands with all the MOD shoot.  Flatcoats are always in the minority and on most shoots labradors and spaniels are commonly seen.  Here we have a Rhodesian Ridgeback with her owner who is from South Africa.shoot

It is well known that there are a huge number of dogs who are bred for working, especially spaniels who go to their new owners and are not given regular exercise and stimulation, which leads to huge problems for their owners and for them. Many a 2 year old Springer Spaniel is up for re-homing because the owners cannot cope.  This is sadly one of the reasons that organisations like Springer Rescue Scotland have plenty of work to do. Dogs who have this drive to work really need lots of outlets for their energy.  Even if they are never put to work, they need daily exercise for their physical and mental wellbeing.  Agility classes are a good alternative activity.

Below is a photo of our flatcoat agility class that I organised for fellow flatcoat  owners and took place at Dogmore Training Facility in Kirkliston.


The photo below is me and Millie taking part in an agility course at the Flatcoat Funday organised by our Flatcoated Retriever Club of Scotland.  The dogs love it almost as much as their owners!!!


Here we are heading up the hill on a beautiful sunny day – what could be better?


The same hills are even more fun when they are snow covered!