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36 Year Old Springer Sires Litter

( published in Spaniels In The Field – Spring 1996)

The dream is alive! The sire is 36 years old born November 21, 1959. An, English Springer Spaniel was bred to a six generation    grand daughter. It is believed that he is the oldest dog on record to sire an AKC litter and that this is the oldest semen on record to produce an AKC litter.

When freezing semen was in its infancy, Dr. S.W.J. Seager DVM of the Seager Canine Semen Bank did the collection and freeze in Oregon while performing research on the freezing of dog semen supported in part with financing by the AKC. That was in 1972 when Chief was 13 years old. The semen was frozen in pellets and used for the first time 24 years later in 1995.

Am. and36oldsire Can. Ch. Geiger’s Chief Geronimo CD, WD (Chief) was one of the great sires of the Pacific Northwest, bred and owned by Tillie Geiger of the Geiger’s Hunting Show Springers. Realizing that Tillie would not live to see the fruits of this endeavor, the ownership of the semen was transferred to the author. The transfer of the semen was duly recorded to the AKC by Carol Schubert of the Seager Canine Semen Bank. At Carol’s suggestion both Ch. Alynn’s Alaska Maid TD and the semen were shipped to Dr. David Friddle in Birmingham Alabama for the surgical insemination as Dr. Friddle has had a very good success rate.

Dr. Doug Iverson in Kirkland WA followed the pregnancy via blood work, ultra sound and x-ray. Because of an indistinguishable image found on the ultra sounds, a “C” section was done producing a healthy 17-1/2 ounce black and white female.

Several have asked why I wanted to do this breeding: to bring to the present an old fashioned fellow, tall, lots of freckles – definitely not the look of today’s dog. Chief was a dog well worth bringing into the present. At 9 months he was Reserve Winners Dog at the 1960 National, OFA’d at 9 years, became a Canadian Champion at 10 years, and won group placements. He hunted all his life, hunting one day and showing the next. He was the backbone of many of the Pacific Northwest great springers and sire of many champions including National Specialty winners. Many of us are fanciers of the breed because way back a special springer had stolen our hearts. To me that was Chief with his dark brown eyes, a smile on his freckled face and tail in perpetual motion. But the most endearing quality was his heart as he loved everybody and passed that quality thru the generations. Although not raised with children, to see this old gentlemen wrapped in a blanket and my son, then 2, sound asleep on his back, to me is the true spirit of the springer.

Was it worth it for just one puppy? OH, YES!! This breed has come so far from its foundation mainstays. I doubt if there is one breeder who would not love to bring back their special dog, to have the opportunity to use him in their breeding program today. How fortunate I am to have this puppy. Whether Alynn’s Time Traveller is a show stopper remains to be seen, but through her Chief’s legacy, as well as the dream, continues to live on.