New London Republican
Wolf River Kennels Give American Brown Water Spaniel Rating As Standard Breed

New London Men Perform Notable Work In Preserving and Popularizing Distinctly American Dog – Large Plant Developed – Many Dogs Sold All Over U.S.

February 19, 1925

 Definite establishment of a new breed registry and the preservation of a distinctly American type of dog is an achievement which is credited to the Wolf River Kennels of New London owned by Dr. F.J. Pfeifer of this city and Leonard and John Trambauer of the town of Mukwa.  The dog in question is the curly-haired brown water spaniel familiar to most Americans but now secured by the New London men in a formal registered status and an official rating with the United Kennel club of Kalamazoo, Mich., formerly of Chicago, which is the great registry and pedigree institution for all canine breeds in America.  The official name is American Brown Water Spaniel.

The brown water spaniels have been familiar to dog lovers as far back as canine history goes in America but the breed had never received special attention on any organized scale and had never attained to the dignity of a name spelled with capital letters.  According to Dr. Pfeifer, it is believed these brown spaniels originated in a cross between the English curly coated retriever and the ordinary field spaniel, the type developing distinctly as an American strain.  However, no one took trouble to standardize the breed or champion its interests in any definite way altho it was one of the oldest breeds of hunting dogs known to sportsmen.  Propagation of the animals was most informal, being a hap hazard process among hunters, owners of individuals who happened to meet and mate their spaniels as occasion offered.  In spite of this uncertain method of development, if it can be called a method, the animals spread widely as population extended over the country, but during recent years the brown spaniels had apparently been on the decline being eclipsed by interest in other breeds which were zealously exploited for various reasons.  It seemed possible that the strain was becoming so neglected and overlooked that it was in danger of extinction.  Certain it was, the members of the breed were far from prominent in general interest, the case being similar to that of the once popular but now seldom seen Newfoundland.

Dr. Pfeifer, always a keen lover of sport and of hunting dogs, had used the brown spaniels all his life and about four years ago decided to take action to give his favorites a sponsoring the breed and had never before known.  Accordingly he opened negotiations with the United Kennel club to secure an official status and formed the arrangement with the Trambauers on whose farm the Wolf River Kennels are located less than a mile north of Poppy’s Rock.  More than $1,000 was expended in the kennels which have developed into a large plant having a capacity of about 200 dogs.  An enclosed yard of two acres area furnishes the main exercising ground.  In addition there are eight small individual pens for puppies as five small runways for larger dogs.  A comfortable building, light, airy, well equipped and provided with a stove for warmth in winter, completes the principal features of the plant.  Caring for the animals requires a large part of the time of both the Trambauers. 

The beginning of the kennels was made with Curly and Queen Trambauer.  From time to time other high type animals of the breed were purchased in various parts of the United States, coming from as far away as Pennsylvania and Washington state, some being used in the breeding and others which proved unsatisfactory being given away or even killed.  A careful process of breeding to type has been followed and a surprising number of dogs have been raised and sold during the last four years.  In 1924 alone 104 dogs were sold from the kennels, the prices being $25 for males and $20 for females.  In 1923 the sales totaled 68 while this year is starting with a demand for spaniels that cannot be filled.  Three pups were shipped during the week ending Feb. 7 and others are about to go.  Dogs have been shipped to all parts of the country and interest in the breed is rapidly increasing, thanks largely to the efforts of the New London men.  Last summer there were 90 dogs at the kennels at one time, 60 of them puppies.  At present there are 48 dogs on hand including 15 pups three to five weeks old and four sires.  Three other sires are in the hands of individuals outside the kennels and a number of females owned by the kennels are likewise farmed out among farmers and among sportsmen who are giving them hunting training.  The spaniels are fed on horsemeat, cornmeal, old bread etc., the breeders stating that, while the vegetable diet is good in part, dogs are nevertheless carnivorous animals and require meat for proper development.  The dogs breed every six months without regard to seasons, so that litters may be on hand at any time of the year.  Litters run from six to eight pups each.  The pups are sold after they are two months old.

 The brown spaniels possess many valuable traits and Dr. Pfeifer stresses particularly the all-round qualities of the animals that render them idea general utility dogs.  Considered purely as a hunting asset they are around to be equally good both for fur and feathers.  They may be trained to be excellent rabbit hunters or will retrieve either upland birds or waterfowl. This versatility renders the animals of special value in these days of diminishing game when Hunters may not wish or cannot afford to keep separate dogs for the different kinds of hunting. 

A superior order of intelligence even for dogs is claimed for the brown spaniels. “The dog with the human brain” is the name the enthusiastic breeders give to them and stories of their feats justify the appellation.  The brown spaniels mature earlier than many other breeds according to Dr. Pfeifer, and in six or seven months will learn the ways of hunting that some other species require one or two years to master.   The spaniels seem to possess an unusual willingness to understand the wishes or intentions of their masters and try to anticipate them while striving to please their human friends.  Little labor in training is necessary to fit them to them to be capable hunters as the inbred instinct for the chase crops out readily and the dogs “catch on” with often surprising quickness.  They are small enough to tuck away conveniently into a boat or automobile while on a trip, yet are hardy and are strong enough to endure cold, icy water and the labor of penetrating tall grass and heavy swamps in the work of retrieving.  Many anecdotes are related to their grit and persistence in this latter pursuit when much larger stronger dogs would quail and slink away shivering and rebellious. 

On the other hand the spaniels are of gentle nature, kind and tractable with children, obedient, good watch dogs yet neither troublesome nor vicious.  They are declared by their owners to be ideal pets around the home as well as unsurpassed companions for the outdoor person.

All these favorable traits are being carefully fostered by the Wolf River Kennels and the gospel of similar treatment spread abroad with every sale of an animal from this city.

The Wolf River Kennels do not make a practice of training dogs for customers.  The spaniels learn so readily, it is declared, little special instruction is necessary.  Buyers can train them with little effort within a brief period and without devoting much time to the work.  The management gives a guarantee with every sale that if a dog does not prove to be a serviceable hunter at one year of age, the buyer’s money will be refunded, a guarantee declared to be unique among kennels o the country.

  A few days ago the Wolf River Kennels receiving notice from the national organization that they have been awarded the blue ribbon status for their breed, that meaning five successive generations of the strain have been registered and found to maintain the required standards.  Two recent litters of puppies have brot this latest recognition to the kennels.  The brown spaniels breed very true to color, size, contour and instincts, indicating a strong blood strain.  There are no throwbacks or embarrassing indications of a low order of ancestry such as mar some other breeds. 

From the Archives of Grant Beauchamp  
Donated by his daughters Lori Jangala, Amanda Judd and Janice Lowe