Bird Dog & Retriever News

June / July 2003 issue Page 11

 Minnesota for another month. Melrose Kennel's 25 acres is built on a piece of history near where one of the major clashes of the north and south was fought in Missouri.
When digging the basement to their house cannon balls and other Civil War (or war of northern aggression as our southern readers would call it) were found all over the grounds. In fact Russ showed me where the forces dug in for the battle which is now used as part of a training ground.
So we walked his exceptional facility. Melrose Kennel sits on a hill overlooking a valley with peach trees and bramble a woodcock hunter would recognize. Russ has done a lot of work to create brush piles and training stations to work his dogs for the birds they are bred for.
Though his Gordons are black and tan dogs and living in mid-America where summers get hot, Russ has no problems with his dogs dealing with the heat. That is something good to know when opening of grouse season usually means short sleeve shirt weather and 80 degree days.
Grouse or woodcock not being easily acquired for training from ANY breeder/trainer Russ works his dogs on quail most of the year. In his peach-tree orchard he has a covey that winters.
Russ & Sharon breed a small Gordon by Gordon standards. They like a Gordon at about 40-50 pounds like a small to medium sized German Shorthair. 27 years of breeding Gordons had taught them what works best for hunting dog design and this is what all their research as revealed.
They breed for in this order: intelligence, drive, style, enthusiasm, athletic ability, and last not first good coat and build. Russ likes a more blocky head and short field coat. And being an AKC field and NSTRA judge of all breeds Russ knows what works best in the field and breeds for that.
Russ looks for tight hips, feet, eyes and jowls. He wants a dog with strong front and rears with a lot of push in the back legs. And speaking of backends, in thirty years they have only had one dog returned for hip-dysplasia.
Melrose Kennels has 6-7 litters a year with pups starting at $600 and started dogs from $1500. Russ also offers training with his puppy program for $300 and advanced training for $350 plus birds. He offers boarding for $8 a day or $12 a day with training. For those people looking for birds Russ has pigeons, quail and chukars available on site.
So how good are his dogs? Russ does not trial his dogs anymore. Lack of time, taking care of his breeding program and dog training make leaving the facility next to impossible. Over the years he has trained several field champions. Field champions and NSTRA champions can be found in his pedigrees. His main focus is producing excellent gun dogs in the field and excellent companion dogs. So how do you get a hold of one of the last great Gordons from Dixie? Give Russ or Sharon a call at 816-633-7364 or visit their website at: you'll be glad you did.

Dennis Guldan hails from New Brighton, MN by way of Marshfield, WI

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2003
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
Maintained by Dennis Guldan e-mail
Bird Dog & Retriever News, 563 17th Ave NW, New Brighton, MN 55112,
Phone/Fax 651-636-8045 Adv deadline 1st of the month prior to the issue.