In 2003 when I purchased my next cocker spaniel Sunshine N Lollipops for $550 it was mostly an impulse buy as I had longed to have another ever since my first one passed away. I bought 2 of them (littermates) from the nearest breeder I could find and didn't really do much research into what was going on with the breed and world of American Cocker Spaniels at the time. The 2 males I selected one resembled my first cocker as he was a red and white (We named him Trouble N Mischief but called him WigglyButt) and the other looked different as he was a buff mismark. It turns out that they were both Merles and carried the gene to produce chocolates. I did a bit of research on them once I had the boys home with me and learned of the controversy involved with them. I had no intentions of breeding them until my then husband quit his job and I had to figure out how to support the household for awhile. Please note that I did not decide to do this for an income alone, I have years of education and experience that is needed to be responsible for raising animals.
Along the way of researching the merles I came across a breeder who had a sable female available. She appeared knowledgeable and to be aware of current issues with the cocker spaniels and I truly thought I had done my research. I drove half way across the United States in winter to pick her up and meet her breeder. Lil Miss Muppet was purchased for $900. I had intended on meeting the breeder and seeing the parents of this puppy that I had paid for well in advance. The day of the 'meeting' was a cold winter day in January of 2004. We had trouble adjusting to the icy roads and harsh winds on our drive up north from Arizona to Iowa. Rather than give us directions to their home the breeder insisted on meeting us an hour away from the city she said she lived in, because of the weather we agreed but stipulated she have the parent's of the puppy with her, when we arrived she did not.
I want to start out by saying I am not comparing myself to anyone else specifically when I am sharing these thoughts. This is about myself and my breeding program not anyone else's. If anyone feels slighted or singled out that is not my intention. I honestly believe that everyone is capable of bettering themselves and striving towards their own goals.
When I got my first cocker spaniel in 1995 MyGame's Sunkissing Ice for $700 he came from an amazing kennel and lineage and I was included in this incredible world of show breeders, top quality dogs and some of the most influential breeders at that time and perhaps even to this day. I was fortunate enough to have access to the best of the best and a prestigious world that few people are allowed to be on the inside of. I happened to get there by fate or luck, not because of my hard work like so many others before me had earned the privilege of achieving. Being on the inside I was taught many many trade secrets to handling dogs and grooming them for the Conformation Show Ring. I also realized how back stabbing and political this world can be. I learned plenty of things both good and bad and at this stage in my life while I support others for their endeavors I think my primary focus is not on handling or showing cockers to a Champion Title but to raising quality companions for the rest of the world. I do have an interest in actually sporting with this sporting breed and may pursue titles of that nature where the performance of the dog is what earns the title.