Epagneul Bretons of the Southwest

club had a liberated bird field trial down in Paulden AZ that we traveled down for. The weather was much hotter than I expected for this time of year and there was more cactus than I prefer but what a weekend!

What an amazing club and what an amazing bunch of members they have.

I met some fabulous people and some great French Brittanys. I always judge a dog by whether or not I want to own it, and so many of the dogs there I wish had loaded up in my trailer and come home with me.

I was also lucky to make some new friends that I am sure will last a lifetime.

For judges we had the Hon. Josh Ruiter of Redemption bird dog training who is already a friend and mentor (His father Jeff Ruiter is Trinity Bretons also a wonderful guy, and wonderful program) I have to say first that you could tell from the start he wanted all the dogs and handlers to succeed he really is judging for the right reasons. He was also a fair judge and when things didn’t go as well as someone had hoped he handled the situation with grace and encouragement. Many people don’t know he is finishing his doctorate in Theology and he lives a life that reflects his beliefs. I am grateful to get to hunt with him, trial under him and to call him a friend. Under him I was able to run Tori and Tink for their TAN test and both passed. It was an amazing TAN in this trial as Josh said. In the TAN a retrieve is not required because no birds are shot. A starter pistol is used to ensure dogs are not gun shy but of the 5 dogs that ran the TAN, 4 of them retrieved birds to hand! I know I was sure proud of my two and their great retrieves. Tori even crashed through some junipers falling down into a wash to catch his bird and still came running back to me with it.

We also had the Hon. Tasha Pleskac of HHF gundogs who I took an instant liking to. We talked extensively about the breed, about breeding practices and on and on. This is a person I can honestly tell people if you don’t get a French Brittany puppy from me, you absolutely need to consider her program. A wonderful person all around. She too is judging dogs for the right reason. To help dogs and handlers better themselves and move forward. Under her I was able to run Lena and Vel for the fist leg of their GUN titles and both passed. With Vel our gunner didn’t have a safe shot and the bird flew off quite far into a thick Juniper. I asked Tasha if we would get the credit for our retrieve anyway if I didn’t move and if she brought the bird back. She confirmed that we would so I held still. We heard a lot of crashing around and saw Vel come out and circle the tree a time or two and sure enough after a while here she came bird in her mouth all the way to me. I was quite proud of her. Lena had a very similar experience in her run also retrieving a bird our gunner was not able to shoot.

We were then fortunate enough to have Tasha Pleskac do some confirmations as part of the Club de l’Epagneul Breton of the United States This is to measure and evaluate dogs against the breeding standard for the French Brittany and either confirm them or not. We entered Tink, Tori and Vel and all three confirmed which of course was exciting for us as well. I didn’t enter Lena, she is an amazing field dog after all the time we have put into her, and she produces puppies that hunt like crazy but she is not square like the standard calls for, she is a bitt longer in her back than she is tall so we are careful the types of males we have bred her to in order to ensure good working puppies.

Lastly and certainly not leastly Club de l’Epagneul Breton of the United States President Tracey Pfisterer Jacobson also attended the trial to assist in so many ways. I was amazed how she was not above any task, and though well qualified did not tell anyone what to do or how to do it she was just there to help everywhere. This is another person I took an immediate liking to and look forward to many more memories to come. We too talked about breeding and the national club and past dogs and so many things. I may have even shared my pheasant chili and recipe with her 😉 and even offered to come make some of my famous elk chili at her lodge up in south Dakota so you know I must love her dog philosophy, her as a person and the great dogs her program produces. This is another person that you simply have to consider if you are looking for a French brittany puppy and don’t get one of mine. We talked about the national club and she helped me make the decision that every French Brittany puppy buyer we have in our program we are going to enroll as members of the national club for the betterment of the breed as a whole. Of course not everyone is going to trial and show and become a breeder, but there is no downside to more education and a bigger community of support specific to this breed we love.

We enjoyed meeting all the other handlers and their wonderful dogs as well and I only wish it could have gone longer.

We are crushed we are not able to go to the national this year as Vel will be due during the national but still hoping we can find a workaround to be there with these and many more wonderful people and dogs again.