|FIRST YELLOW ENG. FTCH (1927)
Oddly enough Mrs. MacPherson was also responsible for one advent of the liver colour (or chocolate as it is now known), her bitch Braeroy Randy (yellow) producing Derry of Chiltonfoliant and another liver puppy in one litter. It seems that F.T. Ch. Haylers Defender was also able to produce livers and Miss Wills (now Mrs. Halstead of Metesford Labradors) had some that were his grandchildren. I don't know about the liver descendants of Haylers Defender, but I was told by Captain MacPherson that he always believed that there was a Chesapeake behind the livers they breed; and in Nancy Martin's splendid book Legends in Labradors, Mrs. MacPherson also hints at this, mentioning Western Reiver's sire 'Clyde' as being a possible source of Chesapeake blood, this being the very dog Captain MacPherson told me almost certainly contained the alien blood.
In many writings of the earliest liver puppies, turned-back coats are mentioned which seems to ratify this. When I myself used the Braeroy line I bred a puppy (black) with a Chesapeake coat and general appearance, and when Mrs. MacPherson saw it she was not the slightest surprised but just said it was a throwback to its Chesapeake ancestor and that she herself had bred one or two like it, only yellow.
It was generally taken for granted though, that the early liver colour in Labradors usually stemmed from the Pointers which at that time were commonly kenneled alongside the Labradors. This was held to account for their 'Ugly mugs', their yellow eyes and their lack of pigment. Indeed they were really ugly and no chance of taking on. But after World War Two, a change suddenly appeared, this coming from a Flatcoat cross which took place 'sub rosa' but deliberately. Now we started to get very attractive livers or chocolates and they turned up in some numbers. Very soon a very good type started to appear as the breeders unknowingly eliminated the feathering and the other Flatcoat traits, that unexpectedly to them, appeared in their litters, particularly the blacks.
I remember Lady Joan Hill-Wood leaning over the balcony with me at the Crufts shortly after this saying sarcastically, 'Since when we have to cut the feathering and the breeching off our Labradors?' and laughing when I answered, 'We all know since when.' Well, neither she nor I were responsible for that bit of out-crossing, but the over-dark eyes and the feathering took a long time to breed out. However a very, very good Flatcoat dog had been used, indeed the best possible and apart from this nuisances and a slight change in temperament, little harm was done in the long run and quite a lot of good.
But to consider the chocolates as pure Labradors is far from the truth, the colour coming from Pointers, the Chesapeakes and latterly the Flatcoats.