But the Royal Family has not only been interested in horses. It was King George V, however, who seemed to have discovered the pleasures of labrador ownership. He owned and bred labradors under the Wolferton prefix, the Sandringham name being used at that time by his mother Queen Alexandra. After her death in 1925 he took over the Sandringham prefix.
King George VI always kept yellow labradors. There are a number of photographs of His Majesty and the Queen with their special family pets and the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.
After her accession to the throne Queen Elizabeth II began to build up a kennel with the emphasis on working ability. Since 1952 Her Late Majesty The Queen has not only been the patron of the Labrador Retriever Club (LRC), but also an active member of the Club, taking part regularly in its field trials. Sandringham is open to visitors when none of the Royal Family is in the residence.
The Sandringham Kennels were built in 1879. They consist of a range of kennels, a hospital, a kitchen and the storerooms. The head kennelman’s house is less than 20 yards away.He is directly responsible to the Queen for the rearing and maintenance of the game on Sandringham Estate. His duties alsao include the management of the Royal Kennels. He is supported by a staff of kennelmen.
The Sandringham Labradors have been successful in working tests and field trials. The Queen is a good handler of dogs and an experienced field trial judge. On shoot days she handles labradors herself. She has repeatedly given permission for field trials to be held at Sandringham. She knows all her dogs personally and insists on sociability in her gundogs. As a succesful breeder she takes an interest in the labrador world.