Christopher Burton was made a Life Member of the B.C. Club in Sept. 1970. His love of the Golden Retriever and the impact his friendship with Col. Samuel Magoffin had on the development of the breed will be remembered forever.
Chris and his three brothers enjoyed shooting and hunting growing up in Yorkshire, England. He often borrowed his brother-in-law’s yellow retriever, which he found to be a wonderful companion and hunting dog. Chris immigrated to Canada around 1920. After several years in Winnipeg, followed by a period in Creston where he bought a fruit farm, Chris moved to Vancouver with his wife Dorothy, to pursue a career in the investment business. It was here he met Col. Samuel Magoffin. An active sportsman, Col. Magoffin asked Chris to recommend a good gun dog and the fateful telegram was sent by Chris to his brother-in-law, which brought BIS Am. Can. Ch. Speedwell Pluto to North America in 1930. This dog is regarded as the foundation sire for the breed in North America.
Chris owned three Goldens in his lifetime, all of whom were hunted and run in field trials. These were Rockhaven Beau Brummel ***, (son of Ch. Speedwell Pluto), Brummel’s son, Rockhaven Beau Royal *** and Royal’s son Rockhaven Beau York ***. Chris was a strong advocate of compulsory use of retrievers by hunters, having seen too many birds wounded and left to die because the hunter could not access them. He was a strong supporter of the Golden in the field and urged everyone to use the breed for what it was originally bred to do. Through his efforts, licensed field trials began to offer Junior and Senior Puppy Stakes. Chris was also an avid fly fisherman and a cricket enthusiast.
Club member David Pickering worked for the same Yorkshire Group of Companies as Chris and first met him in 1963. David recalls Chris talking about fly fishing near Chase, B.C. with one of the accountants and how Chris was often was missing from work on Mondays. Apparently he would go off with his dog to the Ladner marshes to retrieve the dead and wounded ducks left by weekend hunters who did not use retrievers. A favorite story was how Chris was stopped by the game warden for being over limit, when in fact he had not even fired a shot.
Those who were privileged to know Chris personally remember what a kind, unassuming and honourable gentleman he was. He was a longtime resident of Kerrisdale and a veteran of two world wars. Chris was a member of the British Tank Corp in WWI and given the Military Cross for bravery. In WWII he was with the 1st Canadian Armoured Division and he retired a Lt. Col. He was also a Life Member of the Golden Retriever Club of Canada and the Golden Retriever Club of America. His name will always be remembered in the history of the Golden Retriever.
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