Sovereign Brittanys’ Dual Champion Dogs

Brittany spaniel named Hobey

Keeping up with a high-energy Brittany named “Hobey” hunting quail in the gun dog horseback stake at the 2020 Iowa Brittany Shooting Dog Championship is intense. His forward-running race, skirting the edge of the prairie where coveys roost in tangles of bluestem and goldenrod, is explosive and stylish.

The 10-year-old male, a Dual Champion — No. 678 in the Brittany record book — is stamped with Field Champion and Show Champion titles and is a mere 2 points from becoming an Amateur Field Champion. Handled in the one-hour stake by breeder-owner Dawn Droel of Sovereign Brittanys in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, Hobey is scouted by bird dog trainer Bob Burchett of Conway, Missouri. Partnering with Dawn as a breeder of Brittanys under the Sovereign prefix is her husband, Joe Droel.

A late bloomer who did not train for field trials until age 3, Hobey caught on quickly to the game of finding birds and holding steady to wing and shot. Field trials were an alternative to hunting tests where he ran so big he’d be found hunting a mile away. “He has tremendous drive to find birds,” Dawn says. “You ride up, and there he is beautiful on point. His whole body quivers, yet his tail is straight up steady as a rock.”

Started by Ed Tillson and Jessica Carlson at their 2013 summer camp in Montana, Hobey honed his fieldwork with Burchett. “Hobey’s tenaciousness to find birds is seen when he digs into the cover,” says Burchett, who has put Field Champion titles on some 40 dogs that became Dual Champions. “His feats have never been accomplished.”

A Brittany history maker, Hobey is the only Dual Champion to have won an all-breed Best in Show, which he did in 2013 at the Coulee Kennel Club show in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and to have won Best of Breed at the American Brittany Club (ABC) National Specialty, which he did in 2015 from the field trial dog class.

“Hobey is our dream come true,” Dawn says. “He is the epitome of the total package that we love and try to produce in our breeding program. He is fun to show and a pleasure to hunt behind, but mostly he is a joy to have as a companion to our family.”

A third-generation Dual Champion and fifth-generation Field Champion, Hobey, formally known as BIS/BISS DC GCHS Sovereign’s Chasing Legends, was the keeper male from a frozen semen litter. Hobey was sired by BISS AM/CAN CH Alar’s The Rocketeer AM/CAN CD SH out of DC Sovereign Copley Kiss My Chips, No. 515 in the Brittany Dual Champion record book. The Droels, who bred the dam, “Zelda,” leased her from owner Robin Tomasi of Copley Brittanys for the breeding.

Joe and Dawn Droel have had Brittanys since 1993. Their beginning in the breed was when a retired 8-year-old show champion named “Cody,” officially known as Multi-BIS/BISS CH Cheabrits Code of the West CD, once the No. 1 Brittany in the country, came to live with them.

“Cody was our first Britt, and we got him from Joe’s parents after he retired to live with them,” Dawn says “We got him in shape and entered him in a couple of specialties, which he won from the Veterans class. We entered him in the 1993 ABC National Specialty, and he won Best of Breed from the Veterans class.”

Since those early years, their Sovereign Brittany breeding program has produced more than 50 show champions. Dawn and Joe look for pups with the independence and conformation needed for dog shows and fieldwork. “The most important thing we breed for is dogs that will be perfect family companions,” says Dawn, noting they are on their second- and third-generation puppy buyers.

“Hobey has contributed so much to our breeding program,” she says. “He has sired over 30 show champions, multiple hunt-test titled dogs and field trial winners, and agility- and obedience-titled dogs.”

“Cody and Hobey are once-in-a-lifetime dogs,” Joe says. “They are related, too. Cody is Hobey’s great-great-grandsire. Our goal is to produce another record-setting Brittany.”  In the meantime, more fun days afield await Hobey and Sovereign