The history of the American Cocker Spaniel in Canada is a testimonial to the dedication of many notable individuals who persevered to perpetuate this breed and ensure its recognition in Canada. One of the oldest and longest continuing American Cocker Spaniel kennels in Canada, Shadyhill makes its home among the beautiful farmlands of rural Nova Scotia.
Jean had a love and interest in Cockers beginning in her childhood. She helped her mother care for the Cockers and bought her first Cocker in 1956 with babysitting money. Her mother took her to her first show and she was hooked! She taught all the Cockers to stack and gave then regular trims with "a pair of Sunbeam cattle clippers that sounded like a freight train!" She finished her first Champion in 1960. By the late 60's, Jean was concentrating on her family and career ( Public Health Nursing - 31 years) and showing and handling. In 1973, the kennel name Shadyhill was registered.
Jean began attending the American Spaniel Club shows in 1968 to watch and study bloodlines. In the late 70's and early 80's, several Shadyhill bitches were sent to the US for stud service to: Ch. Fairacresfram's Jet Action, Ch. Kamp's Kaptain Kool, Ch. Pineshadow's Coco Cub and Ch. Lurola's Last Issue. From these breedings, Jean produced: multi BIS winner Ch. Shadyhill's Trouble in Action (black), group winner Ch. Shadyhill's Frost ‘N Fire (r/w), Ch. Shadyhill's The Root Bear, the first brown Cocker to be awarded an all-breed BIS (his sister was the first chocolate to be awarded a Best Puppy in Show and his daughter was the first choc/tan to win a Sporting Group) and as well, BIS Ch. Shadyhill's Classical Issue who was the first of three successive generations of BIS winners - his son Ch. Shadyhill's Powerhouse and grand-son Ch. Shadyhill's Just A Joker, also BIS winners.
While attending the 1989 ASC show, Jean met Dr. Mary Meriwether and brought home one of Mary's puppies. He was to become Ch. Tagalong's Shadyhill Storm (Peter) - his record in total: 32 BIS, 9 BISS and 127 Sporting Groups. He was twice top Cocker in Canada and #3 Sporting Dog in Canada. Undoubtedly, Peter was one of Jean's "heart dogs" and his impact on the Shadyhill bloodline is remarkable. His daughter at Shadyhill, Ch. Shadyhill's Wild Child (Tia) is Peter's legacy - she is a beautiful representation of those rare qualities that made Peter so truly special. But Tia is only one of the remarkable bitches at Shadyhill - they are the driving force behind this incredible producing bloodline...each one a reproduction of the standard.
Jean's philosophy is a simple one and it has held her in good stead for all of these years: aim for total soundness in mind and body and test, test, test! All Shadyhill Cockers are SLT yearly, thyroid tested and OFA certified. As well, Jean stresses the importance of having good breeding stock - a breeding program is only as good as its bitches...the importance of good fronts and rears, correct heads and expression is essential. As Jean says " We have to do our part to ensure that our beloved Cockers as a breed will be enjoyed for many years to come."
Excerpted from Treasures of the American Spaniel Club