Felix Sur Le Delavan
Born September 07, 2010
In the Spring of 2010 I started to research a new hunting dog as my yellow lab had seen his last days in the field. I had owned or hunted over most upland breeds over the years and knew I wanted a medium sized, close-ranging pointing dog with a house friendly disposition. This led me to the Epagneul Breton, the smallest of the pointing breeds, bred for the foot-hunter. The French refer to them as "Demons in the field, and Angels in the home."
After some internet research and phone calls, I located Sur Le Delavan Kennels in central Illinois and acquired Felix Sur Le Delavan as a puppy in November 2010. Felix was a little too young to hunt that season, but we spent the off-season training, trialing and testing to prepare for the 2011 hunting season. Since then, we have traveled all over the country with and meeting friends, trialing and hunting all kinds of terrain in all kinds of weather.
In the field, Felix is like the "Energizer Bunny." He goes strong all day and could care less about cold, snow, rain, mud, water obstacles, terrain or cover. Felix tends to range farther out than Gwen, yet he still checks in every few minutes. I have complete confidence in him finding and holding game until I get there. We hunt mainly Ring-necked Pheasants here in the Midwest. Nothing can unscrew a dog quicker than a few cackling and running roosters, and hens that sit so tight you walk right past them. Felix has perfected the technique of ranging out ahead and quartering back to me, pinning the running birds between him and Gwen and me. He took first place in a field trial in Iowa using this tactic. The snow was coming down sideways and the birds were running and flushing wild. Judge Overby and I could barely see him in the blinding snow, but I could tell he was working a bird back at us. When we crested a rise, Felix was on point facing us. As I turned to tell the judge he was on point, a wild Iowan rooster exploded from the fence line in front of us, cackling all the way to heavier cover without Felix twitching a muscle.
When hunting, Felix quarters the ground well and responds to voice and hand signals. When he comes in contact with game scent, he becomes more methodical and quarters much tighter until locked into the scent cone. I can tell by his point how close the bird is. On point, he has a more "regal" style than Gwen. He holds his head high, looking around for me if the bird is a ways off, or stiff as a statue if the bird is very close or he can see it.
Felix was a natural retriever, yet we worked for a summer tweaking his style to what I wanted. He loves to retrieve, and often sneaks a bird out of the bag when we return home, parading around the yard showing off his work to the neighbors!
Felix has sired two litters with Gwen, one in January 2013 and the second in October of 2016. His hips have been tested by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and have been rated as Good. He has also been tested by Animal Genetics and does not carry the Ay or Sable coat coloration gene. Felix's dam and sire are both highly recognized field and show champions, combining Irish and French lines. See Felix's lineage here. Felix has been confirmed by the CEB-US as an Epagneul Breton and rated as Excellent.