Where It Began . . .
I have bred, raised and trained pointing dogs since the early ‘80’s. I always relished the thought of having a wonderful partner to spend fall days with. I didn’t want to have to be constantly getting after him. I wanted him to do the job he was trained for, both willingly, and with style. It seemed I could get some parts of the complete dog, but was always short, somehow.
I wondered if I would ever have a dog that had it all . . . then Duke came along.
I brought him home in September of ’07, and the journey from there was wonderful. At every turn Duke was willing, and able, to do the task, whatever and wherever. On top of that, he is an absolutely beautiful representation of the breed. I chose to challenge him with the toughest scenarios a hunting dog might find in the field. He has hunted pheasant, quail, prairie chicken, chukar and grouse across the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, in all sorts of conditions, and figured out how to find and hold his prey. He put game in the pouch!!
Only after this experience did I decide to build a breeding program around Duke. It was a challenge to find the same qualities in a female. The females I have purchased and bred to Duke came from around the country. I didn’t care how far away they were – just how good they were.
Duke stamped his get with smarts, trainability, great bird finding ability and very correct conformation. These have remained hallmarks of my breeding program. I strive to create dogs that will adapt to their environments easily, will be low maintenance and will be great ambassadors for the setter breed.
I have seen results in the second and third generations that assure me that I have found my program to have a solid foundation from which to outcross from time to time with blood and individuals that I esteem enough to introduce to my program. Those crosses that have improved my program have been retained.
I continue to be a very stern assessor of my dogs. Some close to me say I’m a little too critical. I would rather err on that side than become “kennel blind,” a trait that is eventually fatal to the breeder.