Sunspur Kennels first started as "Treuhund" German Shorhaired Pointers in Sydney in the early 1970's. I owned, showed and bred GSP's for a number of years, with Ch Jagerhaus Kuno as my foundation dog. Kuno was GSP Showdog of the year in NSW for two years running in 1975 and 1976. At that time, my brother acquired an English Springer Spaniel by the name of Byron, who was the same age as my GSP, Kuno. Kuno and Byron grew up together, and wherever Kuno went, including Shows, Byron had to follow. It made sense then that I also show Byron, particularly as I had been advised that he was a very good Springer. This was proven in the showring, as Byron (Waterloo Kincade) quickly became Aust Ch Waterloo Kincade, at a time when English Springers often numbered over 20 in the breed classes. Kuno and Byron often vied for top honours in the Groups and group classes. This was somewhat difficult, as both dogs felt that I should be showing them for their chance at the group, but one had always to be shown by a friend!
When I moved to Western Australia in 1977, Byron simply HAD to come as well. He just could not be separated from his mate Kuno. Along with these two came another two GSP's and "Tawny", my Brittany Spaniel. Tawny was the first Brittany in Western Australia, and became the first Australian Champion Brittany in WA (Aust Ch Dunfriu Fairfax)as well as only the second ever Australian born Aust. Ch. Brittany, beaten a week earlier by his litter brother in Queensland. 'Treuhund" Kennels prospered in the Swan Valley for many years, but this prefix didn't really suit English Springer Spaniels. One lazy Sunday morning, gazing over the vineyards from my back porch, trying to decide on a good prefix for the first Springer litter, the sun burst over the spur of Red Hill and the name came to me....Sunspur!
Over the years, the springers really grew on me as a breed, and eventually I stopped breeding the GSPs, only after producing a number of Australian Champions. One springer bred via a pup I sold to the Northwest had a particularly powerful influence over me. I fell in love with his owner! And so, along with my wonderful wife Ericka,another springer, Aust Ch Sharatan Lord Brahyms (Brahyms) was added to the grouping of Jenny (Aust Ch Williza Genevieve), King (Sunspur River King) and Flynn (Aust Ch Tancleuth Lil Boyblue) at our new property in Mundaring. Breeding and showing stopped for a number of years as the Baker human family expanded with the birth of Kimberly in 1992 and the consequent diversion of attention. The springers gradually lived out their lives and with the death of Brahyms in 2000, a particularly large hole was left, as well as a sad single springer, Spot (Sunspur Spotnek). Something had to be done, urgently!!
Much searching was undertaken, as no Sunspur stock was left in WA young enough to breed from. The salvation was found in South Australia at Tarnell Kennels. Judy and John West had been breeding Springers for many years along the same breeding principles as Sunspur and had succeeded in the showring under many of the same judges. They had just bred a litter, and we had already fallen in love with the image of one of the pups on the Internet. After a lot of cajoling, we eventually convinced Judy that the very best home for this pup would be with us, here in WA. I think she would now agree that was an understatement!!
Just over five short years ago, Mr Tarnell Best Seller, “Eliot”, arrived in a crate, howling as he taxied across the tarmac whilst ingeniously working the door lock using hand- like paws. Eliot, once freed from his incarceration, immediately filled our broken hearts to the brim with his radiant personality. He cleansed the death-felt tears, still close after the sad loss of “bad boy” Brahyms, thus exalting him to a distant fond, fond memory. He gave Spot reason to live and grin again. Eliot went on to prove himself a proud, well-mannered and immaculate award- winning show specimen. Two short years later, another Tarnell was to arrive in WA, brought across by Ericka's mum, Raelene, who had been breeding Sunspur springer progeny under the Waldheim prefix. (nothing like keeping it all in the family, eh!!) Tarnell Sure to Please (Demelza), a delightful bitch, soon gained her Aust Ch title, at the same time as winning over Eliot's heart. Four years later, Eliot fondly also embraced Merryang Charming Miss, “Cecilia” a new edition as his own, exuding love, patience and kindness. At the risk of overindulging (as those so emotionally entwined with their beloved pets do) I simply cannot help but roll his praise freely from the tongue, for Ch.Tarnell Best Seller “Eliot” (Ellie as he is so fondly known) continues to delight, amaze and charm us. Suffice to say, we eagerly await the future as Eliot and Cecilia's progeny make their way to new homes. Lastly a big thank you to Judy and John for allowing us to live with our friend, Eliot. We will always love him more than you can ever know. Eliot now has another "new" friend, Tarnell Miss Rich Bitch, who we are sure will charm the judges as so many Sunspurs have done before her.
All of us at Sunspur look eagerly to the future as more Sunspur English Springers make their way to the growing list of Australian Champions from the Sunspur Kennels.
Ericka and Stephen Baker
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