There has never been a time in my life when I have not been surrounded by hunting dogs. My family initially owned blueticks and beagles however, in 1986 our phone rang and the ensuing conversation would change my life forever. On the phone was Herb Hollowell, owner of Hidden Hollow Kennel in New Jersey. During the 1970's and 1980's Hidden Hollow was a small, family run, kennel who tore through the German Shorthaired Pointer world like few before, or since. Herb, and his wife, Elaine, also happened to be my father's mentor during that time, selling him his first bird dogs and helping him in the field trial game. This small kennel produced more dual champions than any kennel in AKC history. The greatest of all the Hidden Hollow dogs was FC/AFC Hidden Hollow's Ronlord Ruler, known as Styx to those who knew him. On the phone that fateful day was Herb, asking my father if he would consider taking Styx in for a few years, so that he could live out his retirement doing what he loved most, hunting. Styx was my first exposure as to what a bird dog was, and later, what one could become. Everybody should have the opportunity to see a dog of that caliber once in their life, but very few ever will. Styx went on to produce not only a National Field Champion, but also the first 204 Utility dog in NAVHDA history, Dan Carter's, Woodland's Lord Hanschen. Styx was inducted into the German Shorthaired Pointer Hall of Fame in 1990. Through a twist of fate, I had the honor of handling a Lord Hanschen' grandson in an AKC trial with Dan Carter, in the gallery, a few years ago.
As this passion continued to grow, I happened to read the Field and Stream article about Cedarwood Kennels and Bob Farris. I would encourage everybody to read this article. It is available on Bob's website. In the article is a quote from Bob stating that if he was going to go duck hunting with somebody who has a champion Labrador, he wasn't going to go unless he can put down real duck dog. At the same time Bob wanted his dogs to be able to hunt right along side a horseback field trial bird dog the next day. Having seen both of these types of dogs up close and personal, I knew that when a space became available in my kennel, I needed to call Cedarwoods Kennels, and speak with Bob Farris. In 2003 my first Cedarwoods puppy arrived and my journey with this wonderful breed began. This journey has led me through not only the NAVHDA world, but also has given me the opportunity to compete in several AKC pointing Amateur / Open Gun Dog and Open Limited Gun Dog trials, in addition to training with my pudelpointers in our local NAHRA retriever club. Through these adventures I have been fortunate enough to form close friendships with serious dog trainers, handlers, and judges, from all ends of our hunting dog spectrum.
Herb and Elaine Hollowell created their masterpiece with Styx. Dan Carter was able to produce his masterpiece with Lord Hanschen, and Bob Farris was able to do so with Cedarwoods First Offense. The truth of the matter is that while, in the breeder's eye, there may only be one masterpiece, the process of creating a masterpiece also creates many dogs which are outstanding in their own right. Herb and Elaine created more dual champions than any other shorthair kennel in history. Each of these dogs was a masterpiece in their own right. Similarly, Bob Farris has produced more truly great pudelpointers than even he can count. We have been fortunate to call several of these great dogs our own. My goal is to create a masterpiece of my own, and in the process move the hunting and testing standard, for our breed, forward into the future.
Styx in 1986
As much as I love playing the dog games, such as field trials and NAVHDA testing, the reason we do this is simple. The hard work of preparing for these events directly leads to a more productive hunting season each fall. At Lunatic Fringe Pudelpointers we live for hunting season. On an average year we can be found afield with our dogs at least fifty times, and some years considerably more. In doing so our dogs have been able to forge the reputation as no-nonsense, honest, bird dogs, regardless if the game is opening day of woodcock or the last day of duck season. Our dogs have been prominently depicted in our local media, in NAVHDA's Versatile Hunting Dog Magazine, on Cedarwood Kennel's website, and have appeared in a Lynch Mob Duck Call advertisement. As the ad says, it is more than a lifestyle with us!