Houston was an extraordinary gun dog owned by Dr. Paul Hauge of Centuria, Wisconsin. He possessed all the trademarks of a Hauge dog: strong bird finder, extreme loftiness on point and a smooth, effortless gait.
Houston was an English setter with a solid white body and a tri-color patch on the right side of his head. He weighed about 48 pounds and was physically strong with a solid build, medium leg, medium coupling and a blocky head. He naturally backed and retrieved.
Leroy Peterson had a nice female called Summer and Smoke. She was a
daughter of CH Northern Zephyr Smoke and a dam that was a mix of
Crockett, Sam L and Wonsover bloodlines. Spring Garden Streak was a
male owned by Jack LeClair of Spring Garden Kennel. Streak’s mother was
a double-granddaughter of Wonsover Smokey Rebel, an Illinois shooting
dog and son of the famous Grouse Ridge Smokey. Streak’s sire was bred
back to National Champion Mississippi Zev. Leroy chose Spring Garden
Streak to sire a litter to Summer And Smoke. Of that litter of five
puppies came Houston.
The first setter we owned, Spring
Garden Tollway, was by Spring Garden Carrie, a litter sister to Houston
and owned by Jack LeClair. I had the pleasure of hunting Texas
bobwhites with Jack and Carrie in the late 1980s. We were also
fortunate enough to hunt wild birds over other Houston littermates,
including Jay Johnson’s BB, Dave Lunn’s Spot and Bob Glaser’s Holly.
They were all hard-hunting, tough, independent bird finders with that
characteristic easy gait and lofty pointing posture. All were setters
with which you could be firm. They could take training and just get
better and better.
Houston was bred sparingly and mostly
to local hunting dogs. Not until many years after his death did his
true producing capabilities become apparent.
Houston’s death, Dr. Hauge had the foresight to freeze Houston’s semen.
Thus far, every litter by his frozen semen has produced field trial
winners. One of his first litters with Forest Ridge Jewel produced 2x
CH/4x RU-CH Houston’s Belle. A 2006 recent repeat breeding with Forest
Ridge Jewel produced derby winners Fireside Blue Zephyr and Fireside
Fleetwood. Another breeding to I’m Jet Setter produced I’m Houston’s
Image, both a winner and producer of field trial winners.
Another frozen semen litter out of Blue Silk, produced Blue Shaquille and Houston Blues, both field trial winners.
is a theory that bird dogs are improving over time and that using
frozen semen from dogs long gone is counterproductive. That today’s
dogs are different, possibly, but to say we can’t gain something from
the past, I disagree. At the 2005 Grand National Grouse Championship in
Pennsylvania, Blue Shaquille, then two years old, delivered a sterling
effort. Judge Harold Ray approached me after the brace to ask about
Shaq’s breeding and added this efficacious comment, “Shaquille runs and
points like dogs I saw in Pennsylvania 40 years ago.”
How perceptive and fitting!