His Point Started It All!
Versatile Pointers-Lifetime Friends
Currently Cedars Point Kennel offers stud services as a cooperative Stud Dog Owner. We have three females we hope to have through breeding evaluation by late 2020/ early 2021.
Meet our stud Gosch's Cir Conn Cedar, Eisha z Romanova chovu, Brush Dale's You Can't Fence Me In, BB's Aster and Riava's Miss Dakota. Visit our kennel or come hunt and/or train with us. There's no better way to become a Munster lover!
OUR STORY AND JOURNEY
Finding the Breed
Jeff and Brenda Mizenko began researching the Small Munsterlander breed after moving to South Dakota in May of 2013. After one poor snow year in South Dakota Jeff knew skiing in the Black Hills wasn't going to sustain him, only his pooch-and he didn't have a dog at the time... So, instead of growing large around the belly Jeff started exploring the winter and historic pastimes of upland pheasant and grouse hunting in South Dakota. With South Dakota holding some of the best upland hunting in the country Jeff decided a furry friend, a pointing breed, was in order and the answer to keeping the pooch off. His initial research didn't lead to the breed however. Jeff's introduction to the Small Munsterlander breed came while ironically attending a teachers night out with Brenda, his wife. During dinner discussion hunting dog breeds came up and a colleague of Brenda's brought up the fact that her family, her husband and son, owned Small Munsterlanders and were avid hunters. Having never heard of the breed and after seeing pictures, a seed for the breed was planted. This led Jeff to research the breed by reaching out to numerous breeders nationally. After talking with all he could find and deciding on three he felt comfortable with he began a year and a half wait until IntCH Gosch's Cir Conn Cedar became his best year round companion.
Fast Forward to 2020 the New Decade
Initially, we were interested in a hunting dog and family companion, nothing more, but the lure of testing Cedar in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) Natural Ability (NA) Test began a journey that we never imagined. It lead to advanced testing of Cedar in 2018 in both the NAVHDA Utility test and the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation (VHDF) Advanced Hunting Aptitude Evaluation (AHAE) test. These test led to a deeper appreciation for versatile hunting companions and additional learning for both his handler and Cedar. Beyond that it led the approval of Cedar as a stud dog in 2018, a Reserve Adult Best in Show Rare Breeds Title and International Champion Confirmation Title with the International All Breeds Canine Association (IABCA). It led to the careful selection of two more females and the selection of one female from Cedars first litter as foundational breed stock for Cedars Point in 2018 and the beginning of 2019. Additionally it led to a litter that qualified for a 2019 Small Munsterlander Club of North America SMCNA and NAVHDA NA Breeders Award, which in turn qualified Cedars Point for a SMCNA Stud Dog Award. Further, Jeff is now Vice-President of a newly formed NAVHDA Chapter closer to home in the Black Hills of Upton, Wyoming. On top of all this, our home is full of wonderful hunting stories, new friendships and most importantly four proven hunting friends and companions. It has also brought Brenda and Jeff closer. In fact, we were married in May of 2019 in the midst of Technical Sales travel and the training of three girls for their NAVHDA NA testing. But we're getting ahead of ourselves....
The Long Journey Towards Cedars Point Kennel
2016 NAVHDA NA Testing of Cedar
Jeff handled and tested Cedar at Hunting Hills, the testing grounds for the Heartland Chapter of NAVHDA in Brainard, Nebraska in 2016. Cedar was 12 months old and the test was in May. It was Jeff's first time handling any dog in a hunt test and it certainly won't be his last. Cedar's heritable traits were a joy to watch and with his sound recall and solid grounding in basic obedience he scored a Prize II, 101 out of 112 with little to no formal preparations other than hunting him hard during his first season. What we didn't prepare Cedar for showed. We failed to prepare him for the water. However with enough encouragement and his temperament, that of a pleaser, and lots of bumpers he reluctantly swam. His track score was a product of handler error as well. Jeff didn't know the importance of a focused and non-distracting track release. Though Cedar had proven himself as a reliable pheasant tracker in his first season-retrieving numerous wounded roosters to hand, some after more than a hundred yards of running in heavy cattail cover, the track release proved to be a failed crux of the test. What Cedar hadn't been given was an opportunity to track un-shot and unmarked pheasant from a feather pile. An excited handler releasing him with "dead bird find it!" before getting a nose full of scent from the feather pile didn't help either. This led an excited as heck Cedar who immediately ran to the left into all the other previous dogs tracks. The judges, seeing the fault as handler error stepped in to helped us fairly evaluate Cedar natural ability to track. Though Jeff couldn't recall Cedar back to the start the judges could and did so. After some coaching by the judge and Cedar's return, together we all took two steps down the track with Cedar following. Cedar immediately zeroed in on the pheasants scent making short order of the short cover and then running into the full height corn. The track took seconds with the retrieval of the pheasant to hand after a bit of showboating. Overall we were extremely satisfied with Cedars test, the support the judges gave, and it proved to be a positive experience for all with most of the learning coming in on the handlers end. This was just the beginning....
The 2016 SMCNA Annual Conference and Calcutta Bird Derby
Two weeks following Cedar's NA Test Jeff and Brenda were back in Brainard at the Hunting Hill's Farm attending their first SMCNA Annual Conference. It was at this conference where the idea of breeding Cedar took root. After looking over the conference events we decided to enter Cedar in the Calcutta Bird Derby, a fun fundraiser for the club and its membership. We also decided to make and donate a rattle made out of a rooster skin headdress and the foreleg of a deer for a club raffle, another fundraising tool, which followed the bird derby awards.
Cedar ran late in the Calcutta, second to last, in the Puppy Division. It was windy and hot, not the best conditions for scenting birds but conditions that we believe favored Cedar as that's often the way the hunting season starts in South Dakota. In fact, it was so hot the day before the event, while we were conducting stationed learning activities with other club members all the birds intended to be used for the derby succumbed to heat exhaustion in Kris Hill's garage forcing their replacement for the bird derby at the last minute. Thanks to club member, Pam Robinson and a long drive for replacement birds, we were still able to hold the derby the following day, we just got off to a late start. Dogs in all three divisions proved to be struggling finding and point birds all day. Before the event Jeff asked Tom McDonald to be our gunner, so Jeff could focus just on handling Cedar. We also intended to ask Tom his honest option of Cedar as a breeding prospect due to his history with Small Munsterlanders and his role as Breed Council Chairman at the time. Tom agreed to gun for us early in the day and when it was time we took the field. Tom's one memorable piece of advice prior to the field run still rings true for us today in all our testing. He cautioned of the heat and said pay attention to your dog and watch him closely. Run Cedar no more than 8 or 9 minutes and then make sure to get him in the water! And..., we did just that. By 9 minutes Cedar had the run of the day going! He'd already pointed three birds, retrieving all to hand, with only one shot fired. The bird shot was the only one to get up high enough to fire on. It sailed with the wind and Tom had and impressive passing shot. The bird actually landed out of the derby boundaries and out of site of the group. Just like in Cedar's NA test he never fails on a retrieve and out of nowhere he bounded back into the field holding the bird that Tom had dropped. Following the retrieve and watering him, we headed straight for the pool. At this point we were 12 or 13 minutes in and all we needed was one more point and ideally another retrieve. After a good soak Jeff gave Cedar the release, "hunt em' up," and he was off. Within a few minutes he had his final point and retrieved the un-fired upon bird to hand. The judge looked at Jeff with a face of amazement. To break the silence Jeff asked the judge how we were doing. His response was "time" and what followed we will never forget. He said "time is 18 minutes." He then went on to say, "with one more dog to run you are the unofficial winners so far." He continued by saying Cedar was the only dog all day to point four birds. Later we found out that Cedar was the only dog from all three events to point four birds, further he retrieved all of them to hand in less than the allotted time. While walking out of the field Jeff asked Tom what his impression of Cedar's run was, and his response is what started us down the road of pursing Cedars' approval as a breeding stud. Tom said, "for his nose alone you need to get this dog approved for breeding." "Beyond that he's a very cooperative hunter, though building better trust would help." He went on to say that he had two dogs entered in two different divisions earlier in the day, one Hunter and one Junior Hunter and that neither dog had a run near to the caliber of Cedar. Next stop SMCNA Application for Breeding Evaluation.
2018 SMCNA Stud Dog Breeding Approval
In 2018 we submitted all the necessary paperwork to the SMCNA Breed Council and Registrar for evaluation of Cedar as a stud dog. After submitted several sets of pictures of Cedar and a collective evaluation of Cedar's candidacy the Council approved our application. Overjoyed with the results we decided to seek additional input on Cedar's confirmation. However before the confirmation show we stumbled on to a German testing opportunity with the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation.
2018 VHDF AHAE Test
It takes a community of competent handlers to train a versatile hunting dog to an advanced performance level. Realizing early on that we could not achieve prize level work in advanced performance hunt testing with Cedar without this community close to home we started to look for alternatives. Traveling to Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming seemed our only alternatives as there were no local handlers organized into Chapters near us except one AKC group. The Versatile Hunting Dog Federation Chapter in Sundance, Wyoming ended up being our first hunt testing and training chapter membership. The Federation formed as an offshoot of the German testing systems with the goal of making these testing standards more readily available to those training and testing versatile breeds. The Wyoming Chapter conducted most of their test training in the spring, with testing targets for mid and late summer. Initially we had no intention of testing under the Federation standards but one of the members, Scott Baysinger, said something to Jeff one day after a training that really hit home. He said, "How will you know your dog is ready if you never test him?" Knowing both Cedar and Jeff had TONS of work to do had kept us from considering any testing up to this point. Not only did we have a ton of work to do we didn't know how to achieve the end result either. But Scott's statement was spot on, no doubt. So two weeks before the VHDF test day in June we enrolled Cedar in their AHAE, a test very similar to the NAVHDA Utility Test(UT) with some inherent differences. One main difference between the two tests is a relaxed standard of field steadiness being allowed in the AHAE, where the NAVHDA UT test requires the dog to be steady to wing, shot and fall. Cedar performed very well in his field elements, though he clearly demonstrated a need for more steadiness if we were going to prize in the NAVHDA UT test. The water work is considerably different between the two tests. Dogs are not asked to search for a duck, and if found in under 10 minutes retrieve to hand and then be resent for up to a total of 10 minutes like in the NAVHDA UT Duck Search. In the AHAE, dogs are asked to search behind a duck, track it in the water and retrieve it to hand. No time limit is provided for on this element, though it typically takes less time than the 10 minute UT Duck Search-assuming the dog actually tracks the duck in the water. Cedar performed this event to the standard. Another difference between the two water testing events is that in the AHAE the marked retrieve doesn't start with an obedience evaluation of healing to steadiness at a blind, and the retrieval element in the AHAE adds a gun shot during the retrieve to determine if gun sensitivity is present and distracts the dog to the extent that it could abandon the retrieve. So just prior to the dog reaching the mark a shotgun round is dispatched to evaluate the dogs sensitivity to shotgun fire and its conviction to the initial retrieve. We learned something on this test element. A mark thrown form the side is different than a mark thrown from next to the dog. Cedar had never seen a mark thrown by another from the side without a shot being fired. So when this mark hit the water he balked on the initial cast. Upon being resent he retrieved the mark despite the shotgun being discharged. The balk cost us a few points though, in fact, it taught us something valuable we needed to prepare for on the NAVHDA UT test. The duck drag is the same in both testing systems and Cedar, well prepared for this element, scored again to standard. The VHDF AHAE test was invaluable in giving us a baseline for where we needed to do more work. Cedar in fact had the highest test score of dogs being measured to the AHAE standard that day. So we set our sights next on the NAVHDA UT test. However a confirmation show preceded that test.
2018 IABCA Confirmation Show
Seeking further international feedback and evaluation of Cedar's confirmation, we entered him in the Greeley, Colorado IABCA Show as a Sporting Dog and Rare Breed Adult entry. Cedar was entered in four Sporting Breed Shows over two days. He received two seconds and two thirds in these Sporting Dog show rings and was awarded Best in Show Rare Breed at each of these events. This qualified him to run in the Rare Breeds Adult, Best in Show event late Sunday. All rare breeds from the entire show come together and compete for Best in Show Adult Rare Breed. They also award a runner up in this ring with the title Reserve Rare Breed Adult Best in Show. Cedar took this title, runner up to a Mini Australian Shepherd. Again, Cedar and Jeff obtained great schooling in the show. In fact the Best in Show Rare Breeds Adult dog owner took a liking to Cedar early on and provided us candid feedback that truly impacted our success. We also know what areas to focus on to improve in pairing him with potential breed prospects. Cedars Point intends to show all the girls in a simalar show for the same reason in 2020. Again, nothing but a positive experience.
2018 NAVHDA Utility Test
After showing Cedar in the IABCA Show in Greeley, Colorado Jeff had sales work to attend to in Nebraska. Since they were scheduled to run their NAVHDA UT test at Hunting Hills Farm the following weekend there was no point for them running home to turn around and head back before the event. Cedar in tow for the week they ended up at Hunting Hills Farm to test five working days later. The test started with the field element first. Right out of the gate Cedar busted his first bird. Shocked Jeff called him back to a heal in an effort to steady both of their nerves. After the release he knew he was in for a long field run as his second bird contact was a take out. This continued for what seemed like an eternity. Cedar wouldn't even point a bird with a hard whoa planted by the judges just to evaluate whether he had any element of steadiness whatsoever. Heartbroken with an obviously poor field effort right from the start we continued to the Duck Drag. Heartbreak turned to heartburn when upon tracking the duck to the edge of the corn where the judge and the duck awaited his retrieve he came to a quick halt and his tail went between his legs. Obviously shook to the point of fear he would not enter the corn to make the retrieve. No retrieve meant a no pass, no matter what else unfolded. Two more elements awaited, the Duck Search and the Heal to Marked Retrieve. To be honest we weren't sure we could take any more lumps. With the Duck Search next we went in barely breathing. We walked to the waters edge where instructions for the search commenced. After being told where the duck had been last seen Jeff walked Cedar to the edge of the lake steadied him for the shot, fired and then sent him on a cast with, "Dead bird, find it." Cedar didn't enter the water immediately, despite the cast and once again Jeff's heart sank, but after searching the immediate near shore Cedar set out straight across to where Jeff had cast him.. Upon reaching the far shore it was obvious he was tracking the flightless duck. He left the water and then immediately re-entered it hot in pursuit of the duck. We were only 5 minutes into the search. Fortunately the duck took what flight it could and lit off across the lake all the way to the far end running on the water. Cedar pursued until he was half way to the far end of the lake and the judges called time and asked Jeff to call Cedar back. With two short whistles and another five minutes time he was at my heal with a duck search score to standard under his belt. Finally, he had settled in. Healing to blind, steadiness at the blind and the marked retrieve were next. Having shaken off the feeling of pure disappointment to some degree we began the heal stakes. Without a hiccup we were at the blind. All training for this had been done with Jeff asking Cedar to lay down to remain steady at the blind so Jeff stuck with this and gave him the command, down. The follies proceeded and Jeff was back at the blind with Cedar, still on a down. So far, so good. Moving him next out to the waters edge Jeff began the shot folly which he nervously messed up. Cedar stayed steady despite his handler error and then awaited the command to make the marked retrieve. Upon command and cast, rather than entering the water directly, Cedar ran the shore almost to the point of the mark thrower. Using his nose he scented the duck and entered the water for the retrieve. When he reached the mark he made the retrieve swimming directly back to us at the edge of the blind. His failure to make a direct entry for the retrieve cost us a few points but the test was now history with a near to standards score on these combined elements. Unfortunately, a no pass, 153 was the reward received for our best efforts that day. Though it was a huge disappointment after all the travel, training time, and ups and downs along the way, we were overall relieved and happy to have made the effort. Cedar will always be a best friend and hunting companion. A test score is just that, a right of passage that day and at that time in history. We know we can always test again too.
2018 Cedar A Proven Stud
Following Cedar's approval as a stud we were really excited. It wasn't until Curt Kieffer an approved dam owner with the SMCNA, and first time breeder, approached us with his Lakewoods Enchanted (EB) Beauty that we had any acceptable interest. After reviewing EB's pedigree, talking with him and another breeder of Small Munsterlanders, looking at each dogs health history and their coefficient of inbreeding we decided the pairing looked promising. Our primary goal was to produce dogs at the middle of the FCI Standard-Cedar size at the withers was in the severe fault level. EB was on the small side of the standard. Both dogs had proven intelligence and ability to learn, were pleasers and were steady in character with high prey drives and predatory instinct. Both had laut on sight and scent of fir and had proven hunting aptitude in versatility in hunting in forest, upland and water environs. Their pedigrees showed genetics of dogs that historically were trainable, with five Prize NAVHDA UT tests holders and one NAVHDA Invitational earner. Following the whelp and 7 weeks of litter being on the ground we knew we had made a good decision based on Hastings evaluations of the entire litter. Nine dogs were born and the litter was amazingly homogeneous in size, temperament and most importantly they were all healthy. As such we approached Curt and asked him to choose a dog for us out of the littler. BB's Aster is now one of our foundational female breeding prospects.
Additional 2018 and 2019 Breed Stock Selections
When Curt approached us with the idea of breeding with Cedar his mother-in-law was not doing very well on a health level. As the whelp date approached it became apparent that he was going to need help from a mutual friend to handle the whelp. As a result, Michelle Wilbers with Brush Dales Hunting Preserve, another Small Munsterlander breeder whelped the litter. While she was whelping Curt's litter she had another litter between a dog she owned and a stud she helped to import into the country. Two weeks later, both litters were on the ground. The second litter was between her own Brush Dale's Escape Artist (Bella) and Fuglejaeger Dixon (Jax) owned by Nathan Freshour. Michelle's Bella is the huntress of her preserve, with sleek appearance, a cooperative temperament and a loving nature. Jax on the other hand is one of the most proven performance tested studs of all North American Small Munsterlanders. Jax earned a NAVHDA NA Prize I title and AKC Junior Hunter title within days of each other at 7 months of age. That same fall he earned an excellent score of 65 in his VHDF HAE. The following spring he was tested in the JGHV VJP test receiving a superior score of 75 and in the Fall he passed the HZP Test. In September of 2018 at age 23 months, Jax earned a score of 201 and a Prize 1 in the NAVHDA Utility Test. His next venue was the NAVHDA Invitational. Unfortunately just prior to the test he shut down and on test day he did not demonstrate the needed requirements to pass the test. Nathan expects to re-qualify Jax for the Invitational again this coming summer as well as enter two capstone tests in the German testing system the VHDF, Performance Evaluation (PE) and the JGHV HZP. Once both litters of pups reached 8 and 9 weeks repspectively a mutual hunting friend who was coming out for a Fall pheasant hunt brought both Brush Dale's You Can't Fence Me In-Yetta and BB's Aster from Iowa out to their new home with Cedars Point. One month after Yetta and Aster arrived, Jeff brought home yet a third breeding prospect from Riava's Small Munsterlander Hunting Dogs in Alberta, Canada. Janet Hartigh bred her Diava vom Heideschloss to Pixer Jixer van de Chessannehof by artificial insemination. This was Diava's fifth litter, her first four had all received breeders awards. Further, Pixer Jixer is considered one of the most accomplished studs worldwide. So in the midst of atrocious winter weather Jeff made the trip up to Alberta to pick up our final female breeding prospect, Riava's Miss Dakota-Soda. Soda was the only member of her litter to make it into the United States.
NAVHDA NA Testing of Yetta, Aster and Soda
Cedars Point had some real work beginning in February of 2019, shaping up to be one of the worst winters of record in South Dakota history. By August of 2019 the Point had done all they could with regard to preparing the three females, Yetta, Aster and Soda for their NAVHDA NA test. With their record breaking winter and the frigid conditions beginning just after Soda's arrival and ending in April the puppies sure got used to the cold hunting environs of South Dakota in short order. All three dogs were to young to run hard and under the gun during their first hunting season so a carefully balanced experience needed to be orchestrated to aid their early bird and water exposures. We ran the dogs in short spurts on wild birds up until April when the state regulations would no longer allow hunters afield on public lands. Thereafter we pursued training days in both Fort Collins, Colorado and Sundance, Wyoming with two different NAVHDA Chapters to round out their obedience and socialization. We initially registered to run the girls in Colorado at the Rocky Mountain Chapter but decided in mid July to pull their registrations and move them to a testing weekend two weeks earlier at the newly formed Black Hills NAVHDA Chapter in Upon, Wyoming. This proved a good call. The testing grounds were in prime condition allowing 12 of 18 dogs to Prize in their NA testing runs. All three Cedars Point females did us proud scoring Prize 1's across the board. Aster and Yetta ran on Saturday scoring 110 and 112 respectively. Soda ran on Sunday scoring a max score of 112 like her house sister Yetta. If it wasn't for Aster's prey drive during the track, flitting off after a meadow lark that flew out of the track just in front of her, all three girls would have achieved max scores on their test results. We couldn't be happier with of all their efforts that day. And, with a sigh of relief we shifted our focus to the 2019/20 hunting season.