My Dogs

6 years ago I began looking for a Brittany to replace Gypsy, my first Brittany. For 14 years, everywhere I went, Gypsy was there with me and developed into a fantastic bird hunter. I was so attached to her that it took years to finally decide to replace her with another Brittany. Gypsy was a “no name” Brittany and all of her talents were just her own natural ability. One of my best memories of her ability came at the end of a day of hunting over her at a South Georgia Plantation. After hunting over her for that one day, a plantation manager who had never been impressed with Brittanys made me an offer he thought I could not refuse. When we got ready to leave, he informed me that I could just leave Gypsy in his dog box. I had just bought a new pickup and he told me to show him the window sticker of the new truck and whatever the sticker price for the truck was, that is what he was going to pay me for Gypsy. I didn’t even have to think about it. No deal, no way!

Gypsy


When I started looking for a new Brittany years later, I knew nothing about bloodlines and really didn’t put a whole lot of stock in them. Initially I was just looking for a dog that was liver color so the new dog would look different than Gypsy, who was orange. My search did not turn up a liver pup but it did take me to a kennel in Texas, Flying O Kennels. They had 2 males left out of a litter. I got the information about the pups and sent the pedigree to a friend of mine who knew more about bloodlines than I did. After looking at the bloodlines, he gave me some of the best advice I could ever have gotten: "Buy that dog and get it now before it's gone!" I replied to him that the pup looked too much like Gypsy and it was not liver colored. They almost looked like twins! His last words on the subject were, "I don’t care if the dog is green, you need to get that dog!"


Pickard’s Texas Iron Bullet, JH; OFA Bullet

VIEW BULLET’S PEDIGREE

VIEW BULLET’S OFA


I got the dog and have never looked back. Bullet has been absolutely fantastic! In two years, his hunting abilities had surpassed where Gypsy was at 6 years of age when I was offered the price of a new truck for her! I learned very quickly the difference in “having the deck stacked” with good bloodlines. Bullet's drive and desire to hunt are his biggest assets. His pointing ability and steady to flush were all natural and never had to be trained.

Bullet has hunted most of his life over early release Bobwhite Quail, and not planted birds, on a South Georgia plantation. The early release birds are the closest thing I have to wild birds and they have taught him to hunt cover for the birds. Even today at six years old, Bullet will bust through the thickest of briar patches and brush piles looking for birds, thus Briarbuster Brittanys was born. One thing that has most impressed me with Bullet is his train-ability. From the start, he has always been very eager to please. Bullet will heel on command in the field. Often I note where singles go down and will put Bullet on heel and take him to the area where the bird went down, releasing him only when I am ready for him to hunt again. Bullet is an extremely reliable retriever, retrieving to hand and sitting for the delivery. On numerous occasions, I've seen Bullet retrieving a bird only to have him lock up on point with a bird in his mouth.

When I want it to, I can let Bullet’s field trial blood come out in him. He will range far and wide if cover permits, but he has also been whoa trained to a single whistle blast. If he gets too far away from me, I can whoa him with the whistle and he will wait steady on whoa until I get to him and release him. In contrast, if I need him to hunt close he will do so gladly just by me commanding him “hunt close, birds in there”. Bullet is steady to wing and shot and I’m finishing him up on remaining steady until after the bird falls. If Bullet has a downfall, it is his backing. He has always been the dominant dog in the field in most of my hunting situations, and he does not like to back a younger dog, especially one of his pups. I’m sure he knows he is supposed to back, but he’s just got to be the one in front. I’m sure I could break him to backing, but I do not want to do anything to break his hard charging drive. For me, I’d rather maintain his drive than have him back. Actually, he’s usually the first one to point anyway!

One of my proudest moments with Bullet was when he passed his final leg of his AKC JH hunt test. His five tests were my first experience with AKC Hunt tests and I obviously had a lot to learn. At his fifth test, I had several judges from the previous day wait around just to see Bullet run. His run that day was unbelievable and after about 7 minutes I had lost track of the number of points he had made. After 7 minutes, the judge called me and said I could take up my dog …. we’ve seen enough! I was shocked as I thought they were disqualifying Bullet. In shock, I questioned the judge telling him I just needed one more pass to get his first title. Happily, the judge said, “I don’t think you understand. Bullet has had 7 points in 7 minutes! He’s passed and we have seen enough!” His final score, with high score being 10, was 10, 9, 9, 10! With all he has going for him, I couldn’t ask for a better dog!

Texas Iron Bullet (JH AKC titled), aka Bullet's great grandfather on his mother's side, was Nolan's Last Bullet and was the most famous Brittany in NSTRA history, with the most wins of any dog of any breed in the history of NSTRA. His grandfather on his father's side was another great champion, Tejas Iron Mike 4X American FC and FC/AFC RU-National All-Age Champion, and winner of the U.S. Open Brittany Championship for 2003 and 2005. In researching bloodlines, I found out that Tejas Iron Mike, for several years, was very close in number of wins to a dog named Shambo's Dark Shadow. Shambo’s Dark Shadow turned out to one of the best Brittany in field trial circuit history, winning more one hour trials than any other Brittany. One year, Shambo’s Dark Shadow would win and Tejas Iron Mike would be second, then the next year Tejas Iron Mike would win and Shambo’s Dark Shadow would be second. Unfortunately, Tejas Iron Mike died at age 5. Who knows what would have happened if he had lived?!

After seeing Bullet when he was about 6 months old, his breeder and owner of Flying O Kennels insisted that I breed Bullet when he came of age, who was out of his best pointing stock, to a female he was giving to his daughter out of his best retrieving stock. Currently I am only breeding Bullet to my female, Shadow. They have already produced 3 litters for a total of 22 puppies. These puppies have proven to be fantastic hunters and companions! On July 20, 2015, Shadow delivered 9 pups…. (References available.)

Jarrod’s Georgia Ammo, JH

I have kept one puppy out of the three litters. Actually, the pup was supposed to be my son’s dog, but his other interests overshadowed having a pup so I took on the pup to train. He shows all the characteristics of his father and is Bullet’s regular hunting partner. His name is Jarrod’s Georgia Ammo, aka Ammo (JH AKC titled). He is on his way to being an excellent dog. At his first hunt test, he scored higher than any other dog in the field that day, all 9’s!


Shadow on point 2IMG 0153.jpg

Coke’s Midnight Shadow, JH. OFA aka Shadow

VIEW SHADOWS PEDIGREE

VIEW SHADOW’S OFA

I still had a strong desire to have a liver-colored dog and due to the fact that the other female Bullet was breeding was orange, I knew there weren’t going to be any liver puppies. Now that I knew what good bloodlines meant, I decided to find a female liver Brittany out of the “best of the best”. That search lead me to finding my female Brittany, Coke’s Midnight Shadow, aka Shadow (JH AKC titled). Shadow's mother is a dual champion with 17 Field Champions in her four-generation pedigree, including one National Field Champion. She has six Hall of Fame dogs in her bloodline, as well!

Her father is Shadow Attack, 5x American Field Champion / 1x American Field Runner-Up / 13 One Hour Wins and;

2014 ABC Pheasant Classic Championship - Winner

2012 US Open Brittany Championship - Winner

2012 Texas Open Brittany Championship - Winner

2012 Arizona Amateur All Age Championship - Winner

2009 Kansas Championship - Winner

2008 ABC National Field Championship - Runner-Up

2008 ABC National Dual Award Winner and, most importantly, Son Shambo's Dark Shadow. Shambo's Dark Shadow has set the benchmark for other Brittanys to be measured by in the Field Trial Circuit. He has the most 1 hour wins of any Brittany in history. Shadow was retired from field trialing after the 2006 Nationals. He accumulated 44 one hour placements and 14 one hour firsts. He defeated 1,528 other dogs while making this record. The 2nd all time one hour dog has only accumulated 32 placements, which is still an amazing feat. Shambo's Dark Shadow is a National Field Champion, 11 time American Field Champion, 3 time US Open Champion, and 2002 Iam's Brittany of the Year. Shambo's Dark Shadow's accomplishments are incredible! In researching for a new puppy, I talked directly to the owner of Shambo and he said, of all of Shambo's pups, Shadow Attack would be the best choice to carry on the bloodline.

After getting a list of people planning to breed to Shadow Attack and talking to them, I arranged to get a puppy from a breeder in Texas who had a female with a pedigree almost as impressive as Shadow Attack.

I have tried to train Shadow in the same methods I used for Bullet and Ammo and her abilities are fantastic as well! She has passed her AKC JH title, is steady to shot, heels and whoas on command, and backs. Her field trial bloodline shows up in her willingness to cover ground, but just like with Bullet and Ammo, she will hunt close when asked to. She has been very receptive to training and is a very quick learner.

Bullet and Shadow presented me with three beautiful litter. Bullet is the sire of 48 puppies. The pups from the first 2 litters have exceeded all my expectations!


Steve Pickard




Steve Pickard 2015, web design by Michael Pinkosky