Archive for the ‘dog family tree’ Category

Cooper and Tooey aren’t related at all closely. Back 5 generations, they don’t share any relatives. Except that they are both Irish Water Spaniels, they don’t look alike, they don’t act alike — no family resemblance at all. But now they are related “through marriage,” so to speak. They are an uncle and great-aunt to a litter of brand new Irish Water Spaniel babies.

Cooper’s half-sister Emmy (Nova is mother to both) is today the proud mom of 9 pups, 5 boys and 4 girls. And Tooey’s father, Woody, is the grandfather of Harry, the dad.

Both Emmy and Harry are Senior Hunters, and both are All-Around IWS, having a show championship, an obedience title, and a retriever hunt test title. And they’re both very nice dogs.

I’ve enjoyed knowing Emmy and Harry. Theirs should be wonderful pups. I hope to keep an eye on them as they grow and prosper.

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Cooper is an orphan now, if dogs can be said to be orphans. Both his parents are gone. Balloo died in 2008, and Nova passed away on August 21st.

Ch Realta’s SuperNova CD, RN, MH, WCX, QAA — 9/29/02-8/21/11

Nova, 2010

You can see from her many titles that Nova was a very accomplished Irish Water Spaniel. But they don’t spell out her accomplishments completely. She was:

  • First IWS bitch to achieve Qualified All Age in AKC field trials
  • Second generation Master Hunter
  • First IWS bitch qualified to attend the Master National
  • One of the two first IWS to attend the Master National (along with her half sister, Nike)
  • Dam to the 2009 AND 2011 IWSCA National Specialty WB BOW: Maggie and Emmy
  • A top producer, being dam to three show champions: Maggie, Mowgli, and Cooper
  • Dam to one and almost a second All-Around IWS (Emmy has her CH, JH, and CD; Cooper has to get 2 more legs on his Obedience CD)
  • Beloved companion, and dam to many other lovable and beloved companions

Nova has been an inspiration to me personally. The fact of Nova’s accomplishments has kept me going when I was ready to quit, almost convinced that we couldn’t do it, whatever it was — getting Cooper’s show championship, his hunting titles, and now, his tantalizingly close (but not guaranteed) Obedience title.

But I keep going because my working toward Cooper’s training and titles are inspired and supported by my desire to honor Nova and Rosemary. I am so blessed to have both of them in my heart and my life.

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To celebrate Cooper and his littermates 4th birthday on February 14, I asked the owners of Cooper’s littermates to send me a recent head and shoulders shot of their pup. I am very lucky — I now have pictures of all 10 pups that were in that litter.

Here are the ones I have, in alphabetical order:

Cooper, photo by Patrice Dodd


Darcy, photo by Louise Bailey



Mowgli, photo by Becca Graham


Tiki, photo by Steve Riseman

Tosca, photo © Pepi Barrington

Ziggy Stardust

Here are some things I know (and if anyone has any corrections, please let me know):

  • Two of the pups, Cosmo and Phoebe, are new to me. What a thrill to see them at last.
  • Four of them, Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy Stardust, have American hunting titles. Tiki is the first Irish Water Spaniel to earn a HRCH hunting title from the Hunting Retriever Club. I think Darcy and Tosca may have English and/or European hunting titles. Mowgli has had hunt test training, too.
  • Five of them have working certificates: Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy have AKC WCs and Tosca has won three working tests in England.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Darcy, and Tosca, actually hunt. Tosca regularly works picking up birds on shoots. And Mowgli’s been on a hunting trip, too.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Maggie, and Mowgli, have show championships. And Tiki has been in the show ring also.
  • Two of them, Cooper and Mowgli, have obedience titles: Mowgli in Obedience and Rally, Cooper in Rally. Maggie has shown in Rally also.
  • Two of them, Darcy and Tosca, live in England. Gunner lives in Canada. The rest live in the US.
  • Two of them, Mowgli and Phoebe, have a “leprechaun’s kiss” (i.e. the cowlick on the muzzle).
  • The picture of Ziggy was actually taken on his 3rd birthday, but I loved the hat!
  • All of them are beautiful.
  • All of them are beloved companions.

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Russ and I spent the holiday weekend with Jack and Colleen. One of the highlights of the weekend was being able to give them a gift that can only partially repay the many kindnesses they have extended to us.

Russ does beautiful work, and I am particularly proud that I can be even slightly associated with this oil portrait he did of one of Colleen’s dogs — Mabel, Cooper’s grandmother.

oil painting and image © 2010 Russ Dodd
Am Ch Hooligan's Fair Hibernia "Mabel" CD, RN, SH, WCX

Russ started this project several months ago by taking more than a hundred photographs of Mabel in Colleen and Jack’s yard. You can see one of the photographs in an earlier blog post.

The finished size of the portrait is 22″ x 30″ before being placed in a handmade mahogany frame.

Russ has created several other paintings of dogs, starting with a watercolor of our first dog, Kayak, the malamute-mix. Now he’s focusing on oil portraits of sporting dogs, including Irish Water Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, and soon, Boykin Spaniels.

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After all these years, we finally got to meet Nova, Cooper’s mom. We knew and loved Balloo, Cooper’s dad, so we were thrilled with the opportunity to meet the other half.


Cooper is a lot like his mom. Even though she has earned a Master Hunter title, she still is a touch over-eager for retrieving. When Rosemary was out throwing bumpers for her, Nova still had a little trouble staying in the heel position while waiting for the command to go. She wanted to go get the bumper NOW!

Made us feel a lot better — Cooper isn’t defying us when he pulls out out to the line — he’s just his mother’s son. Rosemary told us that “line manners” was one of the more difficult things to train with Nova. We’re still in process with Cooper, and it isn’t easy with him, either. They’re built similarly, too, with big chests and broad shoulders, and the intense focus in the face and eyes.

Thanks to Rosemary for bringing Nova out the the National Specialty. It was a privilege.

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Yesterday, when we brought our canine family into Colleen’s house, Colleen did a double-take. Later, she told me that she had just been about to ask what Mabel had been doing outside, but then realized that the dog coming in the door was Cooper, not Mabel.

There’s a reason for that resemblance. Mabel (Ch Hooligan’s Fair Hibernia CD, RN, SH, WCX) is Balloo’s mother and Cooper’s grandmother. And yesterday we had the happy realization that Mabel and Cooper share Valentine’s Day as a birthday. Today, Cooper turns 3 and his grandmother Mabel turns 12.

Mabel and Cooper

grandmother Mabel and grandson Cooper

They do resemble each other. They both have delicate legs and feet, and long ears. The shape of their noses, the color of their eyes, proportion of their bodies, and the texture of their coats all mark them as close relatives. Cooper’s even getting flashes of silver frosting on his ears and elbows.

And the resemblance is more than just physical. They both have some idiosyncrasies in their personalities, like wanting to make up their own rules to the game (whatever the game is, from obedience to house manners to hunt training).

Happy Birthday to all of the Nova X Balloo siblings and their grandmother!

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I’ve been working with Rosemary to get a Realta IWS website going.

If you notice any similarity to my blog — well, that’s not coincidental. I’m not really a web developer, so I am just going with what I know.


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Introducing Tooey (aka Stanegate Second Thoughts):

Tooey -- (c) 2009 Russ Dodd

Tooey -- (c) 2009 Russ Dodd

Tooey was born on December 9, 2008, so she’s still a puppy. You can see her pedigree at IWSdatabase.com.

So far, she seems like a very sweet girl, very motivated by food (so much easier to train when they’re motivated by food), a snuggle puppy, and constant companion. She’s housebroken already, and willing to be up on the grooming table to be combed and trimmed (a good thing for an IWS).

We’re working on car sickness. While we were driving the 200 miles to home last weekend, she soaked my pants leg and two towels. This morning, after just a couple of days of working on it, she voluntarily hopped into the car and we drove several blocks while I was throwing her pieces of kibble. We got back home with a dry mouth — so that’s progress!

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Cooper comes from a long tradition of hunting excellence. His mom, Nova (CH Realta’s Supernova CD RN MH), is titled as an AKC Master Hunter. She competed in last year’s Master Nationals. This is a competition in which all the retrievers are already Master Hunters and are competing for the top title. In that competition, there were mostly Labs and two Irish Water Spaniels: Nova and Nova’s sister, Nike (Ch Realta’s Just Do It, CDX, MH, TD, RA).

Today, Nike flawlessly passed the Sauvie Island Retriever Hunting Test. Because Nike is already a Master Hunter, the test she takes is the most difficult. The test consists of three scenarios over two days. For each scenario, the dog has to find and retrieve three ducks. Sometimes the dog can see where the duck is located, and sometimes the dog has to follow the handler’s directions to find the duck.

NIke bringing back her duck

Nike bringing back the first of three ducks

Passing this test adds one more leg to Nike’s test roster for this year. She needs to pass 5 out of 7 tests this year to qualify for the 2009 Master Nationals in Texas.

I should add, too, that Cooper’s brother, Tiki, earned his Senior Hunter title earlier this month.

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Yesterday evening, I went to one of my favorite off-leash areas, the one at Mt. Tabor Park in Portland. It’s got lots of trails and trees, a central bark-dusted play area, generally responsible people, nice dogs, and room enough to get away from the inevitable obnoxious dog or person.

But — my main point here is to rant a bit …

I noticed that Cooper and the other males (intact and not) were following this German Shepherd bitch around, noses to butt, pretty closely most of the time. At one point, I got a look at her rear, and saw that it was red and swollen. I asked her people, “Is she in heat?”

And listen to what they said: “A little bit.” A little bit in heat? Is that like a little bit pregnant?

Now, I realize that “being in heat” is a process that goes over many days, and that on only some of those days is the bitch actually able to conceive.

But really, what were these people thinking?

  • Do they actually want to produce puppies with whatever male gets there first?
  • Did they want to create a cause for conflict in a public park?
  • Did they want their poor girl to be harassed and bothered the whole time?
  • Did they want to break the published rules about bringing bitches in heat to the off-leash area?

No, probably not. Probably what they wanted was to get out of the house, to a nice park, on an unseasonably sunny spring day. But still.

I grabbed Cooper and left. Maybe we’ll find another park for the next couple of weeks.

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If you’re interested in Cooper’s pedigree, take a look at this great website:


It shows many generations back of Cooper’s ancestors. You can probably find the pedigree of almost any registered IWS on the site by going here: http://www.iwsdatabase.com/

This is a wonderful service, and very interesting. The site is copyrighted 2009 by Michael Roeterdink. Thank you, Michael!

The only thing I wish the database included are the dogs’ call names. I’ve met many IWS by now, but I know only a few of their registered names. And so few folks put the call name in the registered name, like I did: “Cooper” (call name) and “Realta Rosario Cooper” (registered name). There’s no requirement to use the call name in the registered name — I just thought it would be easier for me.

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CH Whistlestop’s Hula Balloo CDX RAE JH CGC MDD has passed away. Cooper’s sire had advanced lymphoma, and was too sick to go on.

Balloo was a wonderful dog. As you can see from all his titles, he was amazingly talented and versatile. He was a champion in conformation (CH) by the time he was 13 months old, won numerous obedience competitions (CDX), reached the junior hunter level in hunt trials (JH), passed the Canine Good Citizen test (CGC), and was a wonder at dock diving (MDD).

But most of all, Balloo was a very affectionate companion. One evening, while Russ and Patrice were visiting Tammy and Steve, Balloo spent more than an hour at Russ’s side, while Russ petted and played with him.

We will miss Balloo. And we will be blessed if at least some of Balloo’s wonderful qualities begin to show themselves in Cooper.

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balloo-gets-air_1-12We chose the IWS because we liked the IWS people we met at the Rose City Classic Dog Show in 2007.

Among the great folks showing IWS, we met Tammy and her male Irish Water Spaniel, Balloo.

Balloo pre-jumpThey are from the Seattle area, a regional hot bed of devoted IWS breeders and owners.

Balloo is less than 60 lbs., but he’s a coiled spring, as attested by his dock-diving prowess of 21 feet. His genes and temperament sure provide Cooper with a lot of potential.

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Nova "stacked"Rosemary Sexton of Minnesota has a true champion with Nova. In the world of bird dogs, she is a Master Hunter, one of a handful of Irish Water Spaniels to reach to the top tier. She was cover-girl of “Bird Dog and Retriever News” (July, 07), shown along with a couple of deceased ducks. It is good to not to forget that this breed is a sporting dog and has the energy, drive, instincts, and smarts to bring home the goods from a hunting trip.

Nova on the cover of Bird Dog NewsWe were referred to Rosemary by Amy Loewen, who knew there was a Nova litter “on the ground” and that there may be a puppy available. The details that resulted can be followed in the Dog Blog.

Again, we can only hope that Cooper’s genetics and breeding will put him on a level that matches his parents.

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Cooper comes with quite a bit genetic potential as expressed by his parents, Balloo and Nova. The next posts will give a brief overview of his immediate heritage.

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