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  • Writer's pictureDennis Hammett

A bit of history of the American Llewellin.

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

“I consider Grande Ronde Blizzard (Frosty) the greatest setter I have ever seen. So directed, he would have been knocking at the gates of the Nationals. As a sire he has proven extremely prepotent.”

Harold Shaw

For many decades there was a group of western men breeding Llewellins, who were seeking to maintain the highest standard for the breed. They freely exchange dogs, stud services, advice and opinions, and bred only top individuals. They felt the setters produced were as good and maybe better than the “old timers”.

The group included:

Judge Claude J Miller, Sacramento, Cal.

Dr. John Hotz, Yuba City, Cal

Herbert H Anderson, Portland Oregon

Chester C. Doherty, MD Clay City, Illinois

Alex. A. Boutacoff, Woodside Cal.

William Brown, La Grande, Oregon

Loren Hughes, La Grande, Oregon

Harold Shaw, Spokane, Washington

On Sunday, May 16, 1971 at the Tamarack Lodge, La Grande, the title “Dean of Llewellin Setters” was bestowed upon Harold Shaw by a group of West Coast Llewellin setter enthusiasts, hunter and field trialers. At the special dinner and ceremonies held for this event in Harold’s honor, recognition came to Harold from his great Llewellins.

Of the group, several were well known; one in particular was Dr. John Hotz. Dr. Hotz used the Blizzard name as his kennel prefix and affixed the Blizzard name to all the dogs, which he acquired, regardless of their background. Hal Ersig thought Blizzard’s Cavalcade the best dog that Hotz produced.

“Hal Ersig used to send me clippings from the Missouri newspapers about Hotz' dogs in local field trials. They were just local Grade B or C trials but he entered regularly. Hotz had a dog, I believe it was Blizzard's Cavalcade, which he sent to Canada with Herman Smith and had good reports from Smith about the dog's prospects, but the dog died young, I think as a Derby. I think that was the last prospect which Hotz was high on before he also died.”

Herb Anderson

Alex Boutacoff tried to develop horseback (all age) field trial Llewellins in Mississippi but was never able to produce any although he gathered he thought were some the best Llewellins in the country.

Bill Brown used the name Grande Ronde for his dogs, but possibly others in the area did too. There was a large group of Llewellins there at one time when Harold Shaw lived there. Grande Ronde is the area in which the city of La Grande, Ore. is situated in a large bowl surrounded by mountains and the Grande Ronde River runs through it. The progenitor of the Grande Ronde setters was Grande Ronde Blizzard or Frosty owned by Bill, who was the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Supervisor for the Northeast section of Oregon. Harold Shaw trained him and worked him regularly on the Ladd Marsh public shooting grounds, which was loaded with pheasants.

Frosty was the direct result of the group’s line breeding on the sire side, Tony O and Blizzards. His sire Dr. Ersigs great Dawn’s Far Horizon (Dawn was Ersigs’ kennel name). His dam was Alicelle, Granddaughter of Tony O and conceded to be the best producing bitch in that decade. Alicelle was produced by Judge Miller and given to Harold Shaw as a youngster. She was sent to Dr. Harold Ersig to accentuate her as a brood matron and he sent Shaw two of her puppies. One was “Frosty”. “

“At age two I was satisfied that I had the best Llewellin bitch I had ever seen, from every standpoint.”

Harold Shaw commenting about Alicelle.

Note: Bob’s Mohawk Tony who was Bob Earnest’s dog and Moring’s Lady Mohawk impressed Harold Shaw. So Harold searched all over for offspring. He found one, Tony O, who was locked in a kennel not being taken out; a couple of trainers had given up on him. He was gun shy and neurotic. It took years, but he loosened up with Harold and his son and became a field champion!

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