Back in February, Phil Bourjaily wrote a Gun Nuts blog post about the return of the revered Eddie Bauer name to hunting and shooting apparel. I was able to take a look at some of Eddie Bauer’s new upland hunting and shooting apparel at SHOT this year, and came away impressed.

As Phil has already noted, Bauer has a full line of shooting apparel, and will also launch its upland collection this fall. It looks very nice, and I’m looking forward to trying out some of it, but in perusing the Eddie Bauer Sport Shop site I discovered that Eddie Bauer (the actual man, not the company) was a pretty serious gundog guy.

From the Eddie Bauer website:

_In 1930 Eddie drove to Canada, paid $65, and brought home the first black Labrador retriever in Washington State. Eddie took a lot of ribbing from his hunting buddies. “What are you doing with that mutt?” they laughed.

The Lab didn’t disappoint. Hunting alongside Eddie and Stine, Blackie impressed everyone. One time he even leapt from a 10-foot cliff into pounding surf, then retrieved straight to his master’s hand. Blackie inspired Eddie to begin breeding Labs, leading to the creation of Wanapum Kennels in 1960. In 1974, Eddie was named Retriever Breeder of the Year.

In honor of this legacy, Eddie Bauer (the company, not the actual man) has gone back to its lab-loving roots…

In 2010, as a return to our roots, we brought home a black Labrador puppy, in honor of Eddie and his first retriever, Blackie. Born at Sunnyview Labradors in Salem, Oregon, on March 24, 2010, Eddie the dog currently field trains at McKenna Kennels, the same Northwest kennels that trained several of Eddie’s dogs in the 1960s and 1970s. A skilled hunter and field competitor, Eddie is our brand ambassador and frequently appears in photo and video shoots. When he’s not hunting or training, you can find Eddie at our corporate headquarters, serving as the official inspiration of the Sport Shop.

How cool is that? Kudos to Eddie Bauer. It’s nice to see companies embrace what made them great in the first place (Note to Abercrombie & Fitch: half-nekkid pubescent anorexics did not make you great). And apparently, Eddie Bauer’s roots and legacy in the retriever world are deep, indeed. Intrigued, I did a little Google Fu and discovered that Eddie Bauer could make dogs every bit as good as he could make outdoor clothing. Here’s a link to The Retriever News about a Bauer-bred dog named Wanapum Dart’s Dandy that won the 1975 US National Field Trial Championship, the 1976 Us Amateur National Championship, and both the 1976 and 1977 Canadian National Field Trial Championship. That’s some serious dog power there.

Any lab guys out there who can trace their dog’s pedigree back to an Eddie Bauer-bred dog?