Up North: Spring Marks Perfect Time to Pick a Hunting Dog

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: May 13, 2020 10:50 PM

For over 40 years Bob Owens of Bob's Romeo Kennels has helped connect hunters with their newest furry companions.

Since 1974 he's bred yellow and black labs. Now, dogs in North Carolina, Texas, California and across the U.S. have bloodline ties to his Duluth kennel.

"The pleasure I get is the joy that I hear from the people who have bought puppies from me for the last 40 years. Many of those people have come back and bought second and third time puppies. Several people have a puppy that is maybe only two years old and they want another so they come back," said Owens.

Owens' operation is small by appearance, but has been a big success. His kennels are covered in ribbons awarded to his dogs for top performances in hunt tests and field trials.

His accreditations and personal hunting passion has helped him identify the best characteristics in retrievers, "I have five goals, intelligence, trainability, demeanor, health and conservation."

Prey drive and memory are also key traits for bird hunting dogs.

"You want a dog that can remember where it's been, where it's going, and whether it's three birds or four birds or one bird," Owens added. "Prey drive is important to have that high energy, the desire to want to please the owner, and to hunt up the bird."

Puppies are released from his care 49 days after they're born. The next 6 to 8 months, he said, are important for bonding with the owner.

While his labs are successful at retrieving turkeys or grouse, Owen said they're also great pets.

"The discipline, the minding, the manners are all essential to having a good pet, and if they want to hunt one week or two weeks, or six weeks, they're able to do that."

Finally, Owens always reminds owners to properly condition a dog before a hunt to avoid injuries. To contact Bob's Romeo Kennels, click here.


Alicia Tipcke

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