Local dog inducted into national Hall of Fame
March 23, 2009 · Updated 11:34 PM
Marilynne and Clem Little were in Grand Junction, Tenn., recently to receive an induction into the Bird Dog Field and Trial Hall of Fame – not for them, but posthumously for their Brittany Shady’s Chik-N-Little.
The hall of fame honors persons or dogs that have contributed significantly to the sport.
“It’s the highest honor a bird dog can attain,” Marilynne Little said. “It’s very much an honor. She was a great dog. She really was.”
“Chikie” was raised in Enumclaw by the Littles and competed on the field trial circuit from Washington to Florida. Not only a competitive sport, field trials are a proving ground for blood lines, stamina and performance of hunting dogs.
The Brittany is a compact, closely knit dog of medium size, between 30 to 40 pounds, and from 17-1/2 to 20-1/2 inches at the shoulder. It is strong, vigorous, energetic and quick with a keen nose and a biddable disposition.
During competition, a Brittany like Shady’s Chik-N-Little runs long distances in search of a chukar or grouse, holding point until the hunter arrives on horseback to flush out the game.
Outstanding dogs are recognized by their field trial performance record and production or breeding record. To be considered for the Hall of Fame, a dog must also be deceased for at least one year. “Chikie” died in January 2007.
According to information from the Bird Dog Foundation and the Littles, through the nomination and voting process, “Chikie” was a a hands-down inductee.
She was bred in Arizona, but the Littles found her at an Idaho field trial when she was a pup.
She was one of the top all-age contenders in the country. A powerful running dog, she would be lost only to be found on point when the handler finally reached her, Little said. With 47 total placements to her credit, 18 were firsts.
“Her performances running the rims of the high Idaho mountains and the Nevada Red Rock mountains were awesome to witness,” stated a news release.
She competed in the American Brittany Club (ABC) National Open All Age Championships from the time she was 18 months old until she was eight. Her career was cut short when she was retired due to losing part of her lung to a weed seed that created an infection.
Little said during her lifetime, “Chikie” produced six litters by four different sires, passing on a wonderful disposition, smiling eys and forward run to her puppies. Due to the success of her progeny, she has become known as a “blue hen” producer. Her record of production increases daily as the accomplishments of her progeny continue.
“She had a good career on her own, but it was who she produced,” said Little, who has been working with dogs for 30 years. She said she took her husband, Clem, “to the dogs.” He’s been sharing her passion for 25 years.
Shady’s Chik-N-Little has produced a National Field Champion, National Amateur Runner-up Champion, seven American Field Champions, four Runner-up American Field Champions, three Amateur Field Champions and one dual champion with 29 field winners with a total of 538 placements.
The Field Trial Hall of Fame is the repository for all pointers/setters, Brittanys, springers, and retrievers that have been inducted. To date, prior to Shady’s Chik-N-Little’s induction, approximately 60 Brittanys and 25 Brittany aficionados have been inducted.
A photograph of Shady’s Chik-N-Little will hang in the Hall of Fame, but for the Littles her legacy lives on in offspring like Shady’s Tia Maria, which the Littles own. Among Shady’s Tia Maria honors are the ABC’s 2002, 2003 and 2007 Chukar Classic Champion and the 2006 National Open All-Age Champion.
The next local competition will be the American Brittany Club Chukar Classic in Ritzville, Wash., April 18-23.
The Littles also have an English setter that is among the American Kennel Club’s top field trial setters.
Reach Brenda Sexton at email@example.com or 360-802-8206.