We are a small serious hobby breeder of fine, field bred English Springer Spaniels, and believe in quality, not quantity. Our dogs are a part of our family as well as hunting companions.
My name is Ken Hanson, and I take great pride in what we are trying to produce as a hunting partner and family friend.
Some history from the family: Ken got his start in raising and training gun dogs way back when he was in grade school. His father was an avid coon hunter, and took great care to involve his son in all his hunting affairs. While tagging along in the middle of the night was a bunch of fun, it was not enough. Ken had to have his own dog. He always wanted to be better with his dog then his dad. It did not take long to see he had a talent for reading, understanding, and making his dogs do amazing things. Often as a kid he would be found sleeping in the dog box curled up next to his pride and joy. He truly had a bond with all his dogs. He quickly got involved with fellow coon hunters that were competing in night hunts. Countless hours and many all night training and hunting adventures, led to many great memories. The first years the fur market plummeted were the years he was really coming on strong with the dogs. Reality set in as sad as it was, it was time to move on. Heart broken and taking a couple years away from dogs all together, He finely got his first bird dog, and that was that. He never has coon hunted again, but has found a new passion for the gun dogs that have lead to todays fine English Springer Spaniels. For some eighteen years now,he has been doing the same thing with them as he did with the hounds. He spent several hrs training his own dogs, and teaching them to hunt. And like before he has found a new niche in AKC Spaniel field trials. He is truly gifted with the dogs.
Yes I am now involved in Spaniel events, and a big thanks goes out to all involved in the various training groups, clubs, and individuals that have helped me along the way. They are a great group of spaniel enthusiasts across the US and else where. I plan on sticking around for the long hall helping where I can, and improving what I can with the ESS breed.
Pictured to the right is a fine example of the style of dog we are working to create. Blue River's California Girl. "Cali" Owned by Jake Wiley in CA.
The Blue River Kennel name originated along the Blue Earth River, in Blue Earth Minnesota. It is know for its blue clay found along it's banks. That is where Loren Lein resided, he is the man who came up with the name many years ago. Loren raised gun dogs for many years. Competing in bird dog challenge style events and doing well. At one such venue, he won three years in a row with both his Pointers and his, Springer Spaniels. I don't believe any one has done so since. He raised true, field bred english springer spaniels.
He had some great dogs over the years and won several of these type of events. These are some old photos of those dogs from those times.
Back in those days he never ran in AKC field trials. He produced some of the best hunting spaniels I have ever seen. I have owned several of them. One such dog he owned was Blue River Tammy. Tammy produced pups that had that out of the box natural hunting ability. It was truly amazing. Tammy went back to a dog named Debs Peppermint Schnapps, who now has an offspring inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 2010. FC AFC Bluff Creek's Shadow, owned, trained, and ran by Tom Meyer.
Shadow was from another mother, and bred by Pro trainer Bill Boeckman. Loren inadvertently created a strong line of his own bird finders. By breeding to Schnapps. Shadow produced many great dogs in the field trial world. Not surprising that the only pup whelped by Loren, that was ever entered in field trials, became an open all age field champion. "FC Gleaner of the fields". Gleaner was handled by Mark Haglin to her title, and also finished a US National with her. I am told she was as good of a hunting dog as she was a competitor. She was as far as I know, qualified to go to two other Nationals as well, but went hunting with her owner instead. As this was the only pup that Loren whelped to end up in AKC field trials, he was very proud. As Loren has slowed down just a bit, he decided to hang up the saddle, so to speak, with his ESS's. Over time he noticed my passion for the dogs and asked me if I would keep the Blue River Kennel Name going. I was honored to do so.
I was blessed to get the only pup born in Loren's last ESS litter. She is a Granddaughter to Tammy, named Blue River Lady. Lady has produced some fine pups just like her grandma did. I never competed in any events with her as she was just a bit to old to start with her when I got going. She is no longer with us, and had many a fallen wild pheasants under her belt. I now have a nice granddaughter and great grand daughters of hers, keeping the Blue River blood line alive. We have high hopes for them in the future. To us are true treasures. English springer spaniels, are our one true passion.