|Aramis des Marais de Saint Hilaire|
But then, last May, Henri died.
|Henri the Pocket Rocket nearing the sound barrier in pursuit of snipe.|
|One of the shots that shattered my resistance. Photo: Sue Axtell|
And the more I looked at the photos, the more I felt my own resistance fading. At one point I had to step away from the computer and plead with Lisa,: "Talk me down dear, help me step away from the edge". I fully expected her to provide me with some solid, logical reasons why I should not get a pup at this time. But instead of being reasonable and helping me resist, she said: "A new pup!? I'll go get my purse..."
So, despite my best efforts, it looks like the first person to give into temptation was...me!
SAY HELLO TO LEO!! He's headed to Canada!
|Photo: Sue Axtell|
Why that breed? Do you just want to show off by having a breed nobody else has?
How rare or popular a breed is has zero influence on our choice of hunting dog. I have always maintained that you can find hard-hunting, well-bred gundogs in any pointing breed. The only difference is how much time and effort it takes to actually find and get one. With some breeds it is dead easy; just find a litter, reach in and pick a pup. Your chances of getting a decent hunting dog are excellent. With other breeds, it is a total crap shoot, you really have to search high and low to find a good one among all the crap.
Having studied the pointing breeds for nearly 2 decades and having excellent contacts in a ton of breeds means that Lisa and I can find a decent gundog in just about any breed we choose. So it comes down to which breed is best suited to the kind of hunting we do (there are quite a few) and all the little things about it that, for whatever reason, we find appealing. Lisa loves the expressive eyes of the Portuguese Pointer, I love the tri-colour coat of the Picardy. Lisa loves the curly coat and quirky characters of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel and I like the class and style of Pointers and Setters.
|This is Leo's father Justus, a fantastic dog in all respects.|
We met our first Picardy Spaniels in France about 10 years ago and have been a fan of the breed ever since. In fact on one of our trips to Europe, I would have purchased the handsome fellow at the top of this post right there on the spot! I wrote about him in my book and used his photo for the main shot in the breed chapter. So, no, it was not a spur of the moment decision.
I'd always known that one day, I would get a Picardy. As a mediocre trainer and someone who just wants an easy-to-live-with gundog, French breeds tend to fit my style better than German breeds. And since the Picardy region has a lot in common with Manitoba --good to great waterfowl and upland game hunting -- the pointing breed native to that area seemed to make sense. And finally, I've always thought that among all of the French pointing breeds, the Picardy may be the best suited to North American hunters and the types of game and terrain we hunt. By bringing Leo to Canada I am putting my money where my mouth is and making a commitment to the breed. With fellow hunters in Québec and the US I want to establish a breeding population of Picardy Spaniels on this side of the Atlantic.
|Loves water you say?|
|Leo left side. Photo: Sue Axtell|
There are actually more breeds of 'spaniels' that point than breeds of spaniels that flush! Sort of. It's complicated.
Are you abandoning the Weim?
No. I love Weims and will continue to support the efforts of those in the breed that are committed to producing solid hunting Weims. We will continue to hunt with Zeiss and Maisey even if they don't live with us and will probably get another Weim at some point in the future.
|Leo right side. Photo: Sue Axtell|
The Picardy intrigues me. How can I get more info? Where can I get a good one?
Start by buying my book! lol.. If you are on Facebook, check out the group I set up for the breed in North America here. There are breed clubs for the Picardy Spaniel (and Blue Picardy and Pont-Audemer) in France and the Netherlands and a Picardy club in the UK. If you are serious about getting a Picardy, drop me a line via Facebook or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to lend a hand.
|Leo in full cuteness mode. Photo: Sue Axtell|