English Cocker Spaniel Wins National Championship
English Cocker Spaniel ‘Ike’ Wins National Open Championship & Owner-Handler Sets Record As Youngest to Win
A show-off with natural bird sense and spot-on ability, a 4 ½-year-old ticked liver-and-white male English Cocker named “Ike” (NFC FC Green Gable’s Maximum MH) delivered a perfect balance of independence and teamwork to win the 2021 National Open Cocker Championship. Meanwhile, owner-handler Jaelee Schwartz became the youngest winner of the prestigious annual event.
“Ike is the most incredible dog I’ve ever run,” says the 20-year-old pro trainer from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. “He was consistent through all five series and in tune with me as well. He ran hard and had great bird finds.”
Schwartz, who runs Green Gable Gundogs, got a head start with sporting dogs from her father. Pro trainer Jeff Schwartz specializes in training English Springer Spaniels for spaniel hunt tests and field trials, though his daughter prefers field trials. “I am a perfectionist who likes to train to a high level,” she says. “In a field trial, you know you are the best that day.”
After attending college and trying a few jobs, Schwartz returned home to follow her passion training English Cockers. “We have a routine,” she says. “I start the foundation training of puppies up to steady to flush and then my father handles them in puppy stakes up to about 3 years of age when they come back to me.”
Born April 29, 2017, Ike was sired by FC Stonewaller Bridger MH out of AFC Green Gable’s Fearless Wonder. His maternal granddam is Rock River’s Anne of Green Gable MH, Schwartz’s first English Cocker and her foundation bitch. Ike’s litter was bred by Mark Schinderle and John Kriegl, both of Iron Mountain, Michigan. Schwartz, who got Ike at 6 weeks of age, put his Field Champion title on him at 3 years old and Master Hunter at 4 years old.
Besides winning the National Cocker Championship in 2021, Ike won back-to-back open field trials at the Minnesota Hunting Spaniel Association in May. “This doesn’t happen too often,” Schwartz says.
As to Ike’s National win, she says, “I went with the attitude to just have fun. There are always things you can’t control like at the 2020 National when Ike was eliminated after first series when the bird slipped behind me. This year, Ike had a spark and was showing off. I was happy for the opportunity to show what he can do.”