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
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: www.bdarn.com/melrose you'll be glad you did.
Dennis Guldan hails from New Brighton, MN by way of Marshfield,