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English Setters, Jerry Kolter


Thoughts on Breeding and 2x National Champion Shadow Oak Bo

Shadow Oak Bo_2013 NC

At the Ames Plantation in February 2013, Shadow Oak Bo was named winner of the National Championship.  What makes that remarkable is that Bo is an English setter, the first setter to win in 43 years. Even more astonishing, he was a repeat champion at this year’s National, an accomplishment not equaled by a setter since 1901/1902.

Bo is the buzz of the setter world — and really the entire field trial world — and therefore much discussed. His pedigree has been analyzed; his ancestors scrutinized. Theories abound as to the source of his talents. Due to his heterogeneous pedigree (constant out-crossing) Bo was described in a Pointing Dog Journal article as “catching lightning in a bottle.” Others have probably calculated his COI (Coefficient Of Inbreeding) and are madly searching pedigrees to see which females will match Bo’s.

I think the production of a dog such as Bo, like most bird dogs that outperform their peers, is simpler to describe yet far more work to actually accomplish. Certainly Bo’s success boils down to giving the right dog the right opportunities; but long before that, before Bo was born, there were years of effort and lots of miles behind bird dogs.

People were involved who really knew bird dogs, i.e., people who actually worked them, studied them and determined their true worth in the field and on wild birds. In my opinion, not much time was spent counting championships, looking at pedigrees, calculating COIs or thinking about line-breeding vs. out-crossing. Instead, they worked their dogs and bred one worthy, proven dog to another for generation after generation until “lightning in a bottle” appeared.

No matter the breeding methodology followed, success or failure depends exclusively on the selection of individual dogs. Period.

Shadow Oak Bo_2010 Broomhill
2 x National Champion Shadow Oak Bo, Broomhill, Manitoba 2010

More thoughts on breeding by Jerry Kolter: The Importance of Females in a Breeding Program

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Strideaway is an online publication founded in 2008. We are dedicated to promoting the great sport of American pointing dog field trials, in particular American Field sanctioned trials for pointers and setters. Our objective is to present the voices and ideas of experienced trainers, handlers, breeders and other knowledgeable participants and enthusiasts from the past to the present — amateurs and professionals alike. Whether All-Age or Shooting Dog, Horseback or Walking Trials, we place particular emphasis on wild bird field trials and the dogs that compete in them. We present richly illustrated articles and stories, podcast interviews and other types of media on a regular basis with the hope of providing an ever expanding, searchable archive of information relevant to pointing dog field trials.Read article

This website is dedicated to our ever faithful friend and Strideaway contributor, Bill Allen, whose book The Unforgettables and Other True Fables we published in 2010.

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