2009 AKC Gun Dog Championship

AKC Pointing Breed Gun Dog Championship

The Story of Sioux – DC/AFC Up N’ Adam’s Super Sioux CDX, SH

(DC/AFC Up N’ Adam’s Florens Louis CD, SH X DC/AFC Up N’ Adam’s Piper Cherokee CDX, MH)

A Dual Champion Wins the AKC Gun Dog Championship

It is difficult to become a Dual Champion in the Pointing Dog world. A dog must possess the proper conformation and breed type, retain hunting instincts and drive in order to perform at a competitive level, have the disposition to work cooperatively with its handler while also maintaining its independence, and have the temperament and intelligence to accept intensive training. The owners of these dogs are striving for the ultimate accomplishment – the Dual Dog.

DC/AFC Up N’ Adam’s Super Sioux CDX, SH (Sioux) a German Shorthaired Pointer owned by Katie and Tom Tazza won the AKC Retrieving Gun Dog Championship and placed fourth in the Non-Retrieving Championship in 2009. What brought Sioux to this point? What have Katie and Tom done to achieve this level of success? This is their story.

Katie’s father was an avid bird hunter and her family owned a GSP. Katie obtained her own GSP in the early 70’s. Her first organized dog activities were conformation and obedience. As Katie became more involved, she started studying pedigrees. She purchased a female that was a cross of two top show bloodlines. With a solid foundation, she started developing her own line. For the next ten years, Katie continued to have success in both conformation and obedience.

In the late 80’s, she set her sights on breeding dogs that were truly versatile, successful in conformation and in the field. She first became interested in hunting tests. Over time she changed her emphasis to field trials. After she had placed at several trials, she realized she needed the help of a professional field trainer. Katie learned along with her dogs. She ran her dogs in amateur stakes while the pro ran in open stakes. Gradually she took over all handling duties. With a good line to work with and the fierce dedication of an amateur on a mission, Katie finished her first Dual Champion in 1995. He was a Field Champion, Amateur Field Champion, Show Champion, Utility Dog and Senior Hunter. As impressive as this was, it was only a step along the way.

Katie continued to study pedigrees, mixing good field blood into her line with phenomenal success. She bred three more Dual Champions during the 90’s. It was a 2001 breeding of two of these Duals that produced Super Sioux.

Sioux received much attention from the day she was born. From a very early age, Katie taught Sioux to stand still, first while on the grooming table and then on the floor. At an early age she showed a strong desire to retrieve. When in the field, she naturally honored her bracemates point.

Katie took Sioux to show handling and obedience class. Sioux was extremely trainable and showed unbelievable intelligence. She seemed to understand what was being discussed. This proved invaluable in obedience, where she earned her CDX in a three day weekend.

Sioux’s trainability, intelligence and desire proved valuable in the field also. She earned her puppy and derby field trial points very quickly. Unbelievably she earned her Amateur Field championship and her Field Championship at 20 months. Sioux has been selectively campaigned for the past five years. Her desire has never diminished. She consistently puts down a good performance.

Sioux’s show career took a little longer. Most show judges are looking for a bigger bitch. Also, many show judges are not accustomed to looking at a dog that is heavily muscled from field work. It is not unheard of for a show judge to criticize a dog for being overly muscled. Persistence paid off and Sioux finished her show championship when she was four.

It is Katie’s experience that it is difficult to compete in show and field at the same time. From the owner’s point of view, it is hard to find the time to do both. It is also difficult because most show judges are looking for dogs with more weight than they should have for peak field performance. For some of Katie’s males, the difference in weight between show and field competition can be as much a 10 pounds.

For the most dedicated, training for field events becomes a life style. Katie and Tom own horses which they keep on their 43 acres in Connecticut. Their property provides them the opportunity to work their dogs in the field and condition them off four-wheelers.

In 2007 Katie injured her knee. She turned to Matt Basilone, a professional dog trainer from New Jersey in order to carry on while her knee healed. This turned out to be a blessing as Matt was able to fine tune Sioux and better condition her for hour long stakes. This has opened the door to the next level of competition.

Sioux will be bred early this year. After motherhood, Sioux will continue to compete in the field. At some point, Sioux will head back to obedience, attempting to earn her UD title. She will also enter Hunting Tests trying to earn her Master Hunter title.

Katie’s advice for those wishing to strive toward a Dual dog – patience. Start with a structurally sound dog. Make sure it has a high desire to hunt and possess style on point. You can’t put these in the dog; they must be “in the genes.” Hunting tests are a good place to start. Field trials take a little longer to learn. It takes time to become a good handler. Always look for the positive even when things don’t go as planned. If you study those pedigrees, with patience, hard work and a little luck, you may end up with a dog like Sioux!!

The AKC Performance Events Dept thinks it a very special accomplishment for a DC to place at the Gun Dog Championship. We would like to see more people strive to achieve the Dual Dog. This article was written as a tribute to this outstanding accomplishment and to provide insight for those who are interested in reaching the highest level of achievement.