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John and the Saighton spaniels

We no longer live on Anglesey, but my travels in work regularly take me to Anglesey. One of my calls is in the village of Dwyran. This was where Selwyn Jones, the owner of the O'Vara dogs, lived. The Saighton line started with a dog registered as Saighton's Snipe and a bitch registered Saighton's Skip in 1938, from O'Vara litters bred by Selwyn Jones. Foel Poncho bred to Foel Hetty produced a dog called Menaifron Jock. Jock was the sire of FTC Spy O'Vara and the beginnings of the O'Vara line sometime around 1927. On my way to Dwyran, I pass a sign post which reads "Foel 2 miles". One day I could not resist heading towards Foel where some of the foundation dogs of the O'Vara line must have come from. As I drove down the narrow country lane that led to Foel, it was like going through a time warp. To call Foel a village would be misleading. It is an area of a few loosely clustered houses on the shores of the Menai Straits. Across the Menai Straits is a spectacular view of the Snowdonia mountain range. Small fields with rough untrimmed hedgerows surrounded Foel. As I looked across these fields that belonged to the past, I could not help but think of the generations of outstanding Springers bred by generations of thoughtful breeders that produced two very special Springers, Saighton's Spitfire and NFTC, NAFTC Saighton's Scout II.

Today I should think it would be nearly impossible to find a trial bred Springer in the U.K., Canada or the United States that does not go back to the O'Vara dogs a number of times in their pedigree. I am pleased to see Spitfire and Scout live on in the pedigrees of many of today's Springers in the USA. Hopefully, their genes will contribute to producing very special Springers of the future.

John with the Saighton dogs.

John DeMott was brought from America, in 1975, to Talbot Radcliff's famed Saighton Kennel of Wales to train English Springer Spaniels for US and Canadian field trials. Previously, John had trained, handled, and titled springers in the US - as well as judged some field trials. Over the years, he bred and trained some of the most influential spaniels to reach American shores. Many of the American field champions and great hunting dogs are descended from the Saighton bloodline.

Although retired from training spaniels, John still resides in Wales.

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