About Kennel Northstream
Northstream is a direct translation of the family name on my mother’s maternal side – Nordstrøm – it also suits well with me bringing blood lines from the northern to the souther hemisphere, and being based in Northland, New Zealand.
I left my native Norway already in 1989, and came to New Zealand in 1998. I have been lucky enough to have lived and hunted in both Sweden and Denmark, and I have travelled extensively with my interest for gundogs. The English setters and pointers of Europe have been my main interests and focus points.
I got my huge passion for working gundogs from my grandfather Fridtjof Hansen. He is the number one person I can thank for this interest. Later there have been several other people who have influenced me, but most significantly this has been Jørgen Andersen in Denmark. Working with him in his pointer kennel Agertoften really put all my focus and direction straight to the point.
I have met a lot of interesting gundog people in different countries, with whom I have enjoyed exchanging views and most of all listening to. This has been professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs, all over Europe, America and Australasia, but the most complete gundog enthusiast I found here in New Zealand. In Dr Leon Mortensen theory and practise really were walking hand in hand beautifully. Sadly Leon passed away on January 7th 2004, but his legacy will live on for a long time. At his funeral several speakers summoned up his life as “a gentleman in pursuit of excellence”, and that was exactly him.
I got my Wingfield Warrior from Leon, and together we imported Lapphaugen’s H. Moulin from Norway. My plan has all along been to try and preserve the unique New Zealand setter lines. Without Leon the task has become a bigger challenge, especially as some of the other breeders are banged up against the wall with severe inbreeding depressions. Displaying an inability to help themselves I have had to look elsewhere to find genuine enthusiasts to keep co-operating with. Luckily that has been the case both in Australia and in other parts of the world, but the task ahead is huge.
My grandfather Fridtjof with a young setter and a young version of me, out fishing and dog training.
My pointer Agertoften Silvia on point. Jørgen ready with the gun.
I especially want to mention Bob Crain breeding from Northstream Alinghi in his Australian kennel Runanset, first with Wingfield Will and then with Upperwood Quailpoint, producing some good running dogs.
In my breeding I am dedicated to produce mentally strong dogs who will satisfy serious hunters. I want the dogs to be trainable and to look like good representatives of their breed. I am striving to get healthy dogs with good movements, who will function well in demanding weather and terrain.
Agertoften Silvia delivers a partridge shot over her in both images to the left a couple of days before the Danish Derby in September 1996.
Some Personal Reflection…
I got my interest in dogs, and in particular pointing gundogs, from my grandfather Fridtjof Hansen. When I was a boy he told me to enjoy the time spent with the dogs and to stay away from the trials. One of the times I have a vivid memory of, was when a trialist, a stubborn and ignorant guy, visited my grand- father and asked advice about what to do with a dog he had problems with. It was obvious that the dog did not like the man and that he had been beating a lot in an attempt to “fix it”. Both the dog and the man were beyond help, and my grandfather put the dog down. He told me most trialists were a bunch of idiots, and that this was no exceptional incident. Well, my passion grew and I got a serious interest in lines and breeding, and though the sport has its negative sides, following the trials is a necessity that can also be very enjoyable.
The basic idea behind showing and trialing dogs is to select breeding material to continue the living heritage we are looking after for future generations. That is a fact which is to some extent neglected.
Another point of view I will state straight away, is that I see no excuse at all, not to attempt breeding DUAL PURPOSED DOGS – with both looks and working ability.
Breeding dogs only for dog show exhibitions is to my mind a complete waste of time. It does not pass anything of value on to the future and is therefore not of any historical value.
Breeding dogs only for their working ability is of course more constructive, but still ignorant, and it should be an obvious goal to have both able and beautiful dogs.
USA and Britain (and former colonies like Australia and New Zealand) have in this respect made a terrible mistake, and in the most extreme cases we find that both the show dogs and the working dogs have lost their type – the first ones having “too much” of everything bodywise and not being very functional, and the latter having “too little” and starting to resemble alleycats and other unloved creatures.
The first Swedish dual champion Skottebo Sport (above) and the legendary Norwegian stud Storfosens Cry (below) are excellent examples of what fantastic dog material previous generations have passed on. We have our responsibilities.
I have during the years been trying to aquire as much knowledge as possible both about past and present, primarily about English Pointers and English Setters. It’s difficult to be everywhere all the time, and both theory and practice must go hand in hand, but I have seen quite a bit and I have been in contact with a lot of interesting (and not so interesting) people. In this way I have tried to form my own picture of Scandinavia/Nordic countries, Continental Europe, UK & Ireland, USA and Australia & New Zealand.
I haven’t met anybody who holds the universal truth, and I am certainly not suggesting that I have it myself. The only thing I care about is to achieve co-operation with serious people to breed dogs that survive down the lines, giving excellent progeny who in turn will give further excellent progeny. There are a lot of hurdles on the way, in dogs simply not good enough, in good dogs whose qualities do not survive a generation or two down the track, and in people with destructive mind-sets.
As time is precious I have come to the point where I don’t give a damn what people think about me. And vice versa – one can’t afford to discriminate against dogs or lines because one has disagreements with the owners/breeders. If people also had this same understanding and the same goals, they would also realise that we can speak openly about each others dogs and their working (and breeding) abilities, without being personal or destructive and throwing dirt.
Several continental European countries, primarily Italy and France, have some very knowledgeable breeders and handlers, whom for decades have been able to run successful lines of Pointers and Setters. Their trialling systems seem to have worked well for them in selecting their breeding material. Usually the dogs are trained and handled by professionals, which has the advantage they test a large number of dogs and don’t have an emotional bias towards their dogs. Asking a professional handler about a certain dog’s positives and negatives, one is generally given straight answers though they often will not know who is related to whom, or have any real comparison to dogs from similar lines.
One thing I find negative about these countries is that they are rarely interested in what is happening outside their borders and where to find good stock to compliment their own bloodlines.
If one views Scandinavia as a whole, I am in no doubt that the Scandinavian dog material is equal to the best on the Continent.
There exists a great interest and enthusiasm whereby Norwegians and Swedes in particular are willing to try mixing foreign bloodlines with well established national lines. Most people are not professionals, but it is of course also a very positive thing that the breeders themselves train and handle their dogs, and have first hand knowledge of their material. The trial systems and types of hunting are somewhat different to those further south in Europe, but there is both width and height in the breeding, and several dogs of absolute world class (often also with Italian blood in their genes).
Despite several thousand people being involved in the sport and almost just as many ideas about how to manage the breeding, only a small percentage of the breeding stock survives into future generations. In my view, things must be done differently to continue the development/keep up the standard and not ruin the breeds.
One thing is to be open in discussions about the dogs, the judging, the management, the breeding. We have to allow ourselves and each other to be honest, and learn to be tougher and take constructive criticism. But I’m talking about face to face debates, not hiding with destructive dirt-throwing. The other thing is to understand the lines, what and how they breed.
The only important thing is to breed dog material with the qualities to survive down through future generations. There is nothing extraordinary in this idea. It should be quite simple and obvious.
Some people will say and do anything to promote their own dog material. One can lie and cheat and withhold information about dogs and achieve short term results but in the long run the greatness of the breeder and his/her lines will be seen if the quality persists through several generations.
If a dog or bitch gives several young dogs with good results but a high percentage of them disappear as adults and none or very few are suitable as breeding dogs, then these dogs have basically been of no value – regardless of the number of prizes and the titles they have won for the club and breed. Success because a dog develops early or because it is hard-headed and can cope with strict training from an early age can be very misleading for long term breeding work. Of course every breeder and handler would like to win the Derby, but if creating a derby-winner is the main purpose of a kennel, I think the breeding has the wrong focus.