You have to be a real crank not to love an English Cocker Spaniel, especially hard working little guy. Check ’em out.
My first bird dog was a Brittany spaniel. He knew a bit more about bird huntign than I did, but together, we still had almost no idea what we were doing.
Years later, I was getting back into bird hunting and dogs and I was interested in a Springer. An ad in Pointing Dogs Journal led me to visit with a breeder near me who had some Pointers. We took a few of them out for a run and I was hooked. They were they most incredible dogs I had ever seen.
Looking back on that day, I realize it was the Pointer’s athleticism that thrilled and excited me. Watching then run and leap is an impressive experience. I took these photos at a local beach. It was a low-tide sunrise–something I try to always take advantage of–and Lexi, Sky, and I had a great morning.
Every time I see one of these videos from Sky Dance Kennels, I think “that’s the life.” Horses, great dogs, wide-open country and lots of birds. If there’s a heaven, I hope it’s like this.
In this video you can see some of Sky Dance’s young setters stretch their legs, crack their tails and show off all the style they have. Not bad for long hairs…
Here’s another great video from the UK’s Nick Ridley. This one is of Ted, a young Cocker Spaniel learning the ins-and-outs of being a gun dog. So much enthusiasm…
For the next installment in our “cocker spaniel, you’ve-got-to-see-this video series”, check out this one from Nick Ridley over in the UK. Over there, they use spaniels to hunt rabbits. The vid is shot with a drone, and if you watch closely you’ll spot bunnies bolting from the cover, unseen by the shooter.
Field bred Cocker Spaniels are great little dogs, and in the U.S. today, they’re more popular than ever.
Over the next few days, I’m going to put up a few videos showing what they’re can do. This one is from Tom Ness @ Oahe Kennels. He’s a top trainer and breeder of these little dynamos.
Sky and I headed up to northern NH on Saturday to say “hello” to Lexi and Craig Doherty. Craig runs Wild Apple Kennel, and this is the second season he has worked with Lexi.
Lexi left for training camp at the end of June, and this was the first time the Sky has seen her since then. After they had a moment to reacquaint, we put took some pigeons out for them and ran a couple other dogs Craig has in his kennel this summer. Overall, a great day.
You hear all sorts of “truths” about Pointers: They’re not personable; they make lousy house dogs; they don’t retrieve (not naturally, anyway). Sky is my third pointer, and just like my first two, she has shown me that all these “truths” are total BS. Watch this video to see her dispel the third.
Time flies, and as it does, our little puppy is getting bigger! Here are some more recent pics of Lexi & Sky.
A couple Saturdays ago, the latest addition to our team arrived. Meet out new pointer pup: Striking Elhew Sky.
Sky’s out of Superior Pointers. She’s half-sister to Lexi by the father. We’re thrilled to have her, and I’m more excited than ever to have another bird dog for this fall.
Lexi and I headed down to Cape Cod on Sat to check out the Setter Club of New England’s spring field trial. I entered Lexi in two stakes: the Amateur Derby and Gundog. She took 3rd in both. Here are some pics from the day.
Lexi and I headed out last Friday afternoon to see if we could find some woodcock. The little guys are migrating north now, and I’ve heard they’re as far up Massachusetts and even into Maine.
We had had warm weather most of last week with a couple days in the 60s, but on Thursday temps dropped and then on Friday a snowstorm rolled in. By the time Lexi and I reached the cover we were going to check out, a couple inches of snow had fallen.
Woodock are ground feeders and worms make up most their diet. So these birds need to find clear areas of frost-free ground to eat. In these pics, you can see how a couple woodcock found this type of cover in a wet seep. They were waddling around in the snow, feeding. The holes and from their beaks, probing into the soft ground for earthworms.
It’s just about field trial season here in New England. I try to make it to a couple of these each spring. I really enjoy walking the course and seeing the dogs run. This year I’m going to run Lexi in one or two of these trials, beginning with the one put on by the Setter Club of New England.
BTW: These field trials are for pointing dogs, and they’re run on planted quail (which are not shot or harmed). Any breed of pointing dog can be entered. That being said, pointers and setters win most of these events.
You can find out more about these upcoming spring trials by going to this Region 1 Association of New England Field Trial Clubs website. You’ll also find dates there for the fall, 2016, trials. And if you want to find out more about the Setter Club of New England’s trial in March, you can check them out on Facebook.
Paul Fuller of Bird Dogs Afield just posted this great interview with legendary pointer breeder and field trialer Ferrell Miller. If you’re into bird dogs, you should make time to watch the whole thing.
And if you don’t know much about Pointers, this short video is a nice introduction to the breed. It also features Ferrell Miller, and is worth watching just to see Mr Miller in the field working his dogs.
If you spent much time with hunting dogs, you’ve probably wondered about their noses. A recent piece called BIRD DOGS, SCENT AND FINDING BIRDS from the Pheasants Forever blog gave some insights into scent and into how dogs process it. It’s short, but talks about:
- The Scent Cloud
- Temperature & Moisture
- Hot Spots
- Dog’s Health
- Bird Identity
- Hunting Dead Birds
- Up Wind, Down Wind, Cross Wind
I’m a big fan of Pointers — surprise, right? But I do like some of breeds, especially English Setters who point handle their birds like this.
Here’s something I’ve always wanted to try. From what I’v read, this is how folks hunt quail on a lot of the plantations down south.
This video just shows a great looking Pointer doing what these dogs do so well.
Last Labor Day Weekend, Lexi placed first in the Open Derby at the New England Bird Dog Club’s Fall Trial in Dummer, NH. Here’s the official announcementent from the American Field.
This was Lexi’s second trial, and she place ahead of seven other dogs.
I never set out to be a Pointer guy. Back before I got Puck (my first pointer), I had never even seen one, except for in books and magazines. Then one day I was flipping through an issue of the Pointing Dog Journal, and I noticed an add from a Pointer breeder near me.
This was Autumn Memory Kennels in Bolton, MA. Ten months after my first visit there, Puck was mine. Today, I can’t imagine owning any other breed of pointing dog.
In The pointers of Northwoods Bird Dogs, you can read a bit more about what makes pointers such great dogs.
“Perhaps no other breed of bird dog has had more selective breeding based solely on their performance in the field than pointers. Even so, pointers are also excellent hunting companions and house pets.
In addition to our English setters, Jerry and I always have owned pointers. We’ve bred, trained, competed and lived with them for more than 20 years and are now producing our fifth generation.”
Read all of The pointers of Northwoods Bird Dogs now.
Running birds can really frazzle some bird dogs. But not this one. Caladen’s DaVinci handles this can’t-stay-still covey of quail like a real pro — not bad for a long hair.
It’s nice to see a handler that lets the dog work, too. There’s no screaming of commands, just confidence and total faith in his four-legged partner.
I’m not a big fan of the summer. Heat and humidity are my Kryptonites, so by the middle of June I’ve had enough of it. Lexi was up at Wild Apple Kennel in Dummer, NH, from end of May to last week. Her absence made the summer feel even longer. I work from home, and it was a lonely home without her. But enough of my bitchin’.
Here’s the good part:
At the New England Bird Dog Club’s Labor Day Weekend Trial, Lexi won Sunday’s Open Restricted Derby Competition. I’m super proud of her – – and very thankful for the great job that trainer Craig Doherty did with her.
This was Lexi’s third time in a field trial. Her first time was on August 29, and her second was on the Saturday before her win. So she’s 1 for 3. Not bad.
So am I psyched for October? You bet. It’s going to be an awesome fall. More to come on that.
BTW: Derby stakes are for dogs 6-24months of age and no more than 2 years of age. A “restricted” derby is for dogs that have not already placed in a derby stake.