The CLO Brittanys Story

Back in 1989 while attending college in Asheville, North Carolina I wanted a puppy and the guy I was dating at the time, an avid hunter and fisherman, talked me into a Brittany.  After several months of searching we finally found one, the last female of a litter and she became “Britain’s Lady Beth”.

CLO's Foundation - Britain's Lady Beth SH

A year and a half later, after graduating, I moved to Michigan bringing Beth with me.  Later that year I wanted to have a litter of pups so started searching for the right sire.  As luck would have it I ran into, who was at that time, the President of the Western Michigan Brittany Club, Tom Blanchett.  He had two males to choose from and since my female was quite small and I wanted to put size into my pups I chose the bigger of his two males, Kidogo Skipalong Cactus Jack. 

The orignal Trio from left to right: Duncan, Kacie & Beth

Approximately nine weeks later we had eight puppies.  During a conversation Tom invited me out to the club’s annual “Fun Trial”.  I had a good time and didn’t really know anyone in Michigan so hoping to meet people I joined the club. 

For two years I pretty much stayed in the parking lot at the trials while others were out riding their horses and running dogs.  No one knew me, so they didn’t know I had a horse sitting at home and that I knew how to ride.  I didn’t own a horse trailer so I had no way of getting him to the trials.  Finally that all changed, I bought a horse trailer, borrowed my father’s blazer (since at that time I drove a Honda CRX believe it or not) and off to the trials we went.  Ahhh, much better!  Now I could ride in the gallery and watch what the others were doing.

During those two years of not being able to bring a horse to trials, I did run Beth in AKC Hunt Tests.  Hunt Tests are different from Field Trials in that you are “tested” and scored in several categories on a scale of 1-10 based on your dog’s performance.  Dogs pass or fail, they don’t win or loose – so you can have a number of dogs that “pass” on any given day.  There are also different levels, Junior, Senior and Master with each level increasing in difficulty and harshness as to how the dog is judged on performance. Any dog at any age can run at any level.  So even if your dog is a bit older, you can still start in Junior and work your way up.  Verses field trials where only 4 dogs from each stake can place and they can only run in “Puppy” till they are 15 months old and “Derby” till they are 24 months old.  Since I didn’t even go to my first trial till Beth was over two, no way I could enter her in an adult stake where she had to be fully broke! 

So again, with the help of some club friends, Beth and I started at the Junior level.  Actually, I think she practically came out of the womb broke – which was GREAT for a newcomer like me!  She passed 4 out of 4 Junior Hunt Tests entered.  And with a bit more training and a bit more help from club members, went on to pass 4 out of 4 at the Senior level too.  We never could quite get through a Master level test though – that was still a bit beyond this greenhorn’s level, even with the help of friends. 

Anyway, during Beth’s last Senior Hunt Test run, some fellow club members were watching her.  She had the best run she ever had – and they convinced me to enter her in the upcoming Field Trial.  I was told that if ever there were a pair of judges that would like her, it would be at that upcoming trial. So enter we did. 

It was March 1992, an Open Gun Dog stake, 25 starters, Beth ran toward the end of the day and she did run a good race and had something like 5 or 6 finds.   I was really happy with her but NEVER expected what happened next.  I was the Field Trial Secretary for that event and thought it was odd that they didn’t give me the placements to announce, but thought maybe she got 4th or something and they didn’t want me to know.  As the placements were announced... 4th, 3rd, 2nd and her name still had not been called I began to wonder – why hadn’t they just given me those darn placements if they didn’t use her.  Then first place was announced… Brittan’s Lady Beth, handler Cheryl Orange!!  Our first field trial EVER and we won!  Ron Gulembo put it perfectly as he walked up, shook my hand and said – Congratulations!  I guess the hook is SET. 

Beth never won another stake, she never got another Field Trial placement, but that didn’t matter.  Ron was right, THE HOOK WAS SET!!!  And, I had a male pup just waiting to be born later that summer out of Beth’s daughter Kidogo Lady Kacie Lea.  That pup would be Duncan, my first true “competition” dog.

The current Trio: Dealer, Daisy & Delta

Here we are some 17 years later and four generations down from Beth.  I have now finished three Dual Champions, two Amateur Field Champions, two Senior Hunters, one Master Hunter and had a few other recognitions for my dogs as well.  I’ve had one dog qualify for the ABC National All Age Championships and four dogs qualify for the ABC National Gun Dog Championships.  I’ve run dogs in the National Gun Dog Championship, but to date, never placed. :)

I’ve produced some Great puppies for folks – a total of ten litters have been whelped here in my home using 3 different females (Beth, Kacie & Delta).  Duncan, who became my first Dual Champion, Amateur Field Champion and Master Hunter, sired a total of 16 litters.  I always have my dogs OFA certified before breeding them (no ifs ands or buts).  I didn’t know about OFA when I got started but thankfully club members taught me about that too.  Beth, Kacie, Duncan & Dealer have all been OFA – Good.  Delta got an OFA-Excellent.

I was the Field Trial Secretary for the Western Michigan Brittany Club events for about 5 years before turning that over to someone else and becoming the Field Trial Secretary for the ABC National Gun Dog Championships.  I’ve done that now for approx. 8 or 9 years.  I also track and post the winner of the East Central Region Gun Dog Award.

You could say this dog stuff has literally taken over my life!  But it’s good life… great friends (all over the country), great dogs, good times, and a life I wouldn’t trade.   That’s me, that’s CLO Brittanys, how we got started and pretty much where we are today in 2006.  Oh, by the way, I now drive a full size, extended cab pickup truck with 4-wheel drive and leave the Honda CRXs to others. :)

You can contact CloBrittanys via email at: clobrittanys1 (at) (replace the at with an @ of course)

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