Gather 100 dogs in a conga line and you have a Dog Parade. So it was Friday morning at the Minneapolis Convention Center, as that many pooches and more, including 39 sporting breeds, pranced and preened in lockstep with their similarly prancing and preening attendants. The pageantry christened Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic, which concludes Sunday.
Among participants were the upland-bird-crazed canines pictured below — and their equally upland-bird-crazed companions. Read the biographical sketches that accompany each photo and see if you can match each human with his or her best friend.
VIDEO: Go behind the scenes of the photo shoot (spoiler alert!)
Tucker 8-year-old Brittany spaniel
When I was a pup, say seven or eight weeks old, the human I picked out came to see me and my littermates. She watched us a long time, while we put on our usual show. Some of us held back; others — this was me — ran toward her. The trick worked: The human I chose figured I was smarter than my littermates and took me home. I’ve got a good life. I hunt a lot, and both of my human roommates shoot well. Don’t get me wrong, they miss occasionally. But generally, they’re on target. When I’m not hunting, I play the role of “family’’ dog. Meaning I sleep a lot. I’ve got a brother, too. Looks like me, but older. We’re chill.
Tonka 4-year-old standard poodle
My goodness! You’d think the old coots my human hunts with were struck by conniptions when I enter a pheasant field. Don’t they know I was bred to hunt in my native Germany? Look at my legs! You think I can’t cover ground, scouring the hinterlands for ringnecks? Absolutely I can! Also, I retrieve like a bandit, more so even than some Labradors I compete against in AKC licensed hunt tests. Also, I swim like a duck! And I’m pretty. And well behaved — though sometimes while my human watches TV, I constantly beg for retrieving action. Not a hunting breed? Yeah, right.
Ozzie 2-year-old Large Munsterlander
The first thing I’ll say is that, no matter what you think of my breed — a Large Munsterlander — an even more far-out canine strain lives with me and my human companions, a Bracco Italiano. We’re both great dogs, but for my money, I’m better. Anything that moves, fur or feather, I hunt. My human companion, being of a similar mind-set, likes it that way. We’re both equally at home chasing pheasants or grouse, or ducks and geese. Wound a deer and I can find it, too. Vices? Sometimes for kicks I’ll steal stuff and hide it. But no biggie!
Otter 12-year-old English cocker spaniel
I live with my human in the country and have for a long time, just the two of us. Then, nine months ago, a new dog showed up, same breed as me. I didn’t like this at first. Now we’re friends, and we sleep with our human at night. At the Bird Dog Parade at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday, a lot of dogs were so-called pointers. Not me! I’m a flusher — and a quick one at that. With me, pheasants don’t have a chance! I put them to wing and my human pulls the trigger. I can sniff out other critters, too, and have. My nose is full-choke, baby, and I’ve got the ribbons to prove it!
Artemis 9-month-old Small Munsterlander
First of all, about my name, Artemis. My “master’’ (like, really?) hung that handle on me because Artemis was the name of the Greek goddess of the hunt. Or whatever. I actually go by Arti, which is less fancy and therefore more my style. I was a good puppy. I didn’t chew any furniture, and I’m smart. So smart I’ve actually done a lot of my own training. My job isn’t so hard. Point birds. Retrieve birds. I’ve got no complaints. Maybe the guy I live with could take me on long runs more often. But that’s about it. Greek goddess? Yes, OK, on second thought, I’m cool with that. That’s me!
Lance Olson Columbus, Minn.
My dog is what is called a versatile breed, meaning he can do it all. He points, he retrieves and he’s a strong swimmer. Also, he’s bred to track blood trails. I do a lot of guiding at game farms and hunting clubs, and already, though he’s young, he’s probably had 400 or 500 birds shot over him. I hunt a lot of Canada geese, too, so when I picked him out of his litter, I chose the one that was biggest, and the one I believed was most dominant. In ways, I guess, he’s still kind of a wild man, and I confine him at night, because he has a habit of waking up and destroying stuff. Still, he’s an inside dog, and a good one!
Gayle Newberry St. Louis Park
I grew up hunting ruffed grouse with my brothers near Walker, in northern Minnesota. So for me, when the time came, it was natural to look for a husband who hunted. We have two dogs, both by the same sire, but 5 years apart. Their breed points but usually doesn’t bark. But the one I took to the Dog Parade Friday at the Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic apparently didn’t get the memo. He’s an excellent hunter, a natural pointer, and has the best nose I’ve ever seen. But he’s not afraid to bark now and then. Still, we love him. His favorite treat is peanut butter on a spoon, and we don’t hold back.
Larry Moore Minnetrista
I always had golden retrievers. Then I got married, and my wife was allergic to dogs. Or, more precisely, dog hair. It was suggested that, to keep peace in the family, I get a, well, different breed of hunting dog. I said, “I’ll get laughed out of the field!’’ The next thing I knew, we were in Atlanta — yes, we drove there — picking out a puppy. I have to say, it’s been great. He’s a flusher, not a pointer. He hunts in range and retrieves well. At night he sleeps in our bedroom closet. We have an outside kennel, but him spending a night outdoors was a fantasy only briefly held by him — or us.
Rosemary LoGiudice Yorkville, Ill.
I’m a veterinarian specializing in small animal and equine sports medicine. I learned to hunt as an adult, with friends, and when one of them had a litter of pups, I took a look, not intending to buy. That was 12 years ago. Now my best friend and I hunt pheasants and other upland birds and compete in “Barn Hunt,’’ which tests dogs’ ability to sniff out farm rats. Mostly we compete in the Midwest, but we’ve been to the nationals in Texas. In the entire country, he’s the top dog of his breed now competing! Sometimes in the woods he rolls in dead snakeskins. Otherwise he never causes trouble.
Jacob Huset Kimball, Minn.
I grew up in Montana, hunting pheasants and also ducks. Now I’m an X-ray technician in St. Cloud. When I picked out my puppy, I knew I wanted a female. The breeder asked me whether I planned to hunt geese with her, in addition to ducks and grouse and pheasants, and I said, “Yes.” “OK,’’ he said, “you better take the biggest female.’’ I’d say we had a good first hunting season together. She had five points on wild birds. And she’s a good retriever. Except when I’m at work, I’m with her all the time. She rides in the truck with me and, at night, sleeps in my bed.