What do you stand for?
It’s a pretty simple question. One that you should ask yourself on a regular basis to ensure that your priorities remain focused. It is in this spirit that we developed the criteria that are important to us in starting our own kennel.
1. Breed great companions. Dogs should be fun. Owning them should be an enjoyable experience. While we believe a large part of a dog’s disposition is developed during its upbringing, we also believe that there is a genetic component that ties in as well. It is for this reason that we seek lines of dogs that are friendly, well mannered, and live in, or are rotated into a home environment. Just like with everything in life, there is a balance. We don't want a dog that has little drive or desire; that will lie around on the couch all day, rather a pup that is bold and adventurous, but friendly and behaved. Our dogs live in the house. We feel it is important to develop a bond with them, so they will want to work with us. Also, who doesn’t enjoy a warm pup cuddling against them and licking their face!
Another component of having a great companion is having a dog that takes well to training or is biddable. There is no greater feeling when working with a dog then when you see the light bulb go off and they understand what you are asking them to do. It is in those moments that you know you are developing a lasting relationship. When owning a great companion, it is paramount to have a pup that will be healthy if properly cared for and will give you a lifetime of joy and memories. All of our breeding stock is tested and certified to produce pups that are going to be healthy and happy. We understand that things change and happen, so if for any reason, health or otherwise you are not happy with our dogs, we will take them back and work with you to get another.
2. Breed dogs that are going to excel in the field and in testing. We want dogs that are going to work with us and do what we ask of them. We also want dogs that have a strong desire and will to hunt. Boldness, intensity and durability are extremely important characteristics to have. Again, we believe that these qualities are reinforced with a dog’s upbringing, but there is a genetic component at play. It is for this reason that we seek out dogs for our lines that come from champion stock. If we have a solid foundation to build on, we can construct one hell of a house, as long as the craftsmen are willing to put in the work. We test our dogs in various organizations and events, ultimately training to have a well-rounded pup. Whether it be hunt tests, trials, or conformation, each activity guarantees that we are constantly working to improve our lines.
3. Breed dogs that will conform to the breed standard. This can be a tricky one. Our goal is to have dogs that look and act the way that they are supposed to. Often, the breed standard as written by the AKC and the “hunting standard” are misaligned. This is especially the case for the working English Cocker Spaniel. It is near impossible to have a working Cocker Spaniel that will do well in the show ring. This is due to the fact that some genetic traits may be desirable in the show ring that are not desirable in the field. This has created two distinct lines of English Cocker Spaniels within the breed category; the working cocker and the show cocker. We breed the working cocker and as such our cocker spaniels will not do well in conformation testing. With German Shorthairs however, there hasn’t been enough time to create the kind of separation in the breed that will affect hunting ability. There are certainly shorthairs out there that will not do well in conformation, and even some that will not do well in the field (although much less common). Our goal with our shorthairs is to have dogs that are going to do well in conformation, as well as in the field.
4. Create a great customer experience. We believe this to be the most important aspect of our kennel outside of our dogs. We want you to feel as though when you get a pup from us, you are entering into our family. That means we will be here for you to answer any questions, help with any issues, or provide any guidance you may need. It also means that we want to be approachable. We want you to feel like you can call us at any time for any reason. While we are a small kennel and just starting out, we have a great network of mentors and friends to draw on that can help with anything that may arise. Another part of ensuring a great customer experience is to assure that our dogs will be a good fit for you. We conduct a preliminary interview to make sure that you will be prepared to receive a pup from us. We will send you home with a lot of information and material to get you started. We will discuss more of what we look for in a potential owner in another blog post.
These are the basic guidelines that we wish to follow for our kennel. As mentioned before, we are constantly evaluating ourselves and our pups and will evolve as necessary to ensure that we deliver a pet that you can be proud of. Thanks for reading!