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You know what I really love? REALLY GOOD bird dogs.
You know em. It's the dog that catches your eye early in the hunt. It's the one that finds the first birds, holds em with style, and retrieves beautifully to hand. It's that dog that you just can't seem to take your eyes off of. It could really be the ugliest dog runnin, yet you watch. You know that dog is going to produce. You can be a complete novice and figure it out.
This really good dog steals the show and it's the one dog that everyone quickly asks what the dogs name is and who the parents are and how old the dog is and so on and so forth.
This really good dog is very, very good. If it's not your dog, you want to buy it, borrow it, or just be in its presence when hunting. This dog makes YOU feel good.
I know this dog and I've met those like it. It's such a pleasure to know these dogs. There never seems to be several together at once, even at field trials. You would expect the field trials to contain lots of these dogs but alas, there just are not that many of them.
I have actually hunted with 2 such awesome dogs together under my gun. It was awesome and writers far more eloquent than I would have a hard time putting it in words.
Let's face it, most dogs are not great. Just like humans, not everyone can be a world class athlete. Even kennel bias towards my own dogs does not disguise the fact that two great dogs paired in mating will not produce more than a couple really good dogs. The rest will be average to excellent but not outstanding. Maybe one will be below average. It's just the law of genetics and don't ever let anybody blow smoke up yer.... Well you know what I mean.
You start with the best and hope that the litter produces at least one really great dog that actually improves the overall breed and surpasses the greatness of its parents. No breeder, in all honesty, can produce a litter full of outstanding dogs from one mating.
I can't stand to hear a breeder talk about how all their dogs are great. Truth is someone like that is kennel blind. I applaud other breeders out there with really great dogs. You need it to be that way. I have no problems sending prospective buyers to another breeder because I know that my dogs are not the end all of Brittanys. A diverse gene pool and intelligent breeders is what it takes to develop the cream of the crop.
So what? Here's so what: When you are choosing a puppy you must make a conscious decision to get a puppy from parents that are proven in the field. They don't have to be field trial champs but they do have to be really good.
So what is really good? Really good is outstanding in my book. I've seen tons of 'good' dogs. They were average. I've seen many dogs that were O.K., they were below average.
Just yesterday I was training an 18 month old dog out of my kennel. He is really good. This dog represents the direction that I want to take my Brittanys. His name is Zeb. Zeb was really good right out of the chute. Zeb is a breeder's dream come true. He is what I'm breeding for. He is worthy of reproducing. That's right, I said it...WORTHY. Most dogs are not worthy of reproduction. What??? Why??? Because of the law of genetics. Two average dogs from unproven bloodlines have a slim chance, if any, to produce good dogs, much less really good dogs.
Zeb naturally honors, retrieves absolutely to hand naturally, points with intensity and high style. Zeb was doing all this at about 4 months and he just gets better every time he's put down to hunt.
An ordinary man bought Zeb with no clue about what a really good bird dog was. This ordinary man has followed my training guidance and is a really good owner. He is unselfish, takes constructive criticism and has an insatiable desire to be a better owner...a really good owner.
What is a really good owner? An owner that is dedicated to love, care and instruct the family gun dog - 365 days a year. This owner believes that the gun dog is family.
Zeb just competed in his very first field trial and won. I'm told there were lots of pointers and setters in his stake (18 total dogs). Zeb is a Brittany and to pointer/setter folks his win just didn't make sense. A Brittany? Yes, a Brittany.
The problem is that most of the pointer/setter folks have lesser expectations for Brittanys, or any other breed for that matter. It's like I said about really good dogs at a field trial, there aren't that many of them so figure the odds of seeing one in your lifetime if you never visited a field competition...slim, very slim. And, you're still not guaranteed to see a really good dog at a field trial. I've seen first place withheld many times before because none of the dogs were really good.
I was once told by an old timer that there are three things a gentleman hunter hopes to ever have: A really good wife, a fine Bourbon, and a REALLY GOOD bird dog...but not necessarily in that order!
Give yer dawg a treat fer me.
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