Meet the Breeder
The Last Gordon Breeder in Dixie
By Dennis Guldan
Dog show and field people have been at odds ever since...
well ever since there has been dog shows. The worst of these
skirmishes have been in the long hair breeds, mainly the spaniels
and the setters. The war has created sub-breeds or a separate
show and field variety in several breeds most notable in the
springers and the setters.
In the show dogs you will find long flowing manes that any bird
hunter would cringe at. In the field dogs the feathering will
be hardly and inch long. We frequently get asked about Ron's
Springer Scooby, if we shave her? Our response is simply: "No,
she's a field springer" like she is an entirely different
The field setter people solved the same problem by creating separate
breeds under the American Field registration system. The long
flowing red dogs the AKC call Irish Setters, the American Field
call Red Setters. The field bred Red Setters hardly resemble
their cousins of years ago.
The white dogs the AKC call English Setters can be found under
the name Llewellin Setters or English Setters (depending upon
their bloodlines) under American Field registration. There still
exist field Irish and English Setter lines registered with the
AKC but the movement to American Field registration seems to
be a reasonable solution to the issue of what a dog is bred for.
And yes, dogs are frequently dual registered, meaning they are
field designed dogs.
The Gordon Setter on the other hand has not made quite as smooth
of a transition. Gordon Setters, some call the "King of
the Grouse Woods" have not held up so well with the "invasion"
as some would call it by the show breeders.
Breeding for coat, coat, coat and damn the rest has lead in some
breeds to a genetic nightmares. Ask any springer breeder about
"springer rage." The show Gordon are no stranger to
genetic issues. Out of all the sporting breeds I'd stay furthest
away from show Gordons.
But before thy abandon ship fear not there is a small group of
Gordon breeders, a handful, maybe a dozen well known in the country
that are breeding good quality, sturdy genetically strong Gordons
for what the breed was designed for, "the Field".
That's why I call this article "The Last Gordon Breeder
in Dixie." I have known, though never met, Russ and Sharon
Guevel of Bates City, Missouri for years. They are on a short
list of breeders that have supported us at Bird Dog & Retriever
News since almost our genesis in 1992. So last month, Ellen,
Ron and I decided to take a road trip and travel about 60 minutes
east of Kansas City to the edge of Dixie and tell you more about
one of the great Gordon breeders you should know about.
For you Wisconsin residents or Catholics, both of which I am,
you might remember it as the day Marquette lost in the Final
Four. For that poor bastard on highway 70, east of Kansas City,
you'll remember the day forever, least your wife will remind
you forever, as the day you told your wife you didn't need to
tie down that $2000 big screen TV, now strewn for miles on the
freeway and imbedded in the front of that semi following you
at bit too close to your pick-me-up. But I digress...
We met Russ & Sharon Guevel at about 2 in the afternoon on
the type of day we would not see in