My world with dogs started in 1978 when I got my first dog, a Labrador retriever male Alfamiika “Ami”. I did all kind of things with Ami for example obedience and field trials. Ami achieved Fin CH and obedience championship. His biggest victory was BIS 2 in speciality show for Spaniels, Retrievers and working dogs.
In year 1982 I bought a Labrador retriever female Topdream´s Ocean Pearl “Kati” from the kennel where I was being a kennelboy at the moment. Kati got 2 CC, was competing in novice class in obedience trial and she did pass the working test when she was only 9 months old being also the best dog entered to the test. Kati was a good hunting dog and I think her biggest achievement was 1st price from Open Class from field trials and she also won couple of time her class in our Club Shows. I was being a trainer for obedience classes for over 10 years too and I was also competitor in Champion class in field trials with Kati but then it was time to go to the Army, where I was naturally a trainer for military dogs.
I got my kennelname Starfish´s in a year 1980 and the first Starfish´s litter was born in 1985 to Kati and Int & Nord CH NW-78 Licithas Blizzard. One male Starfish´s Seat Man out of this litter was very successful in dog shows for example he was BOB 3 and got the CC in a big Labrador speciality show (over 100 dogs entered). Starfish´s Small Pot was still alive at least in last summer in age of 16! I had to finish with Labradors because I found out that Kati´s father Kupros Kassidy was carrying PRA. So I had to give up the idea of continuing my breedings with Kati. So I decided finally to get an Irish waterspaniel, the breed I had been always fancied and wanted to have.
In 1987 after lots of consideration and searching I finally found in Great Britain what I was looking for. I got my first IWS Shannonlee Teasel “Teasel” from Shannonlee kennel owned by Joyce Webb. Teasel was a great personality, fun to be with and from the dogs, witch I have owned so far, the greatest dog of my life. She was terrific foundation bitch who I have a lot to thank for of all the accomplishments which I have achieved by my breedings. I tried agility with her and she became Fin CH and EW-91. We made history, when Teasel was the very first Irish waterspaniel who took part in the field trials for spaniels in Finland. Teasel was an excellent, natural hunting dog who never got tired of doing what she was born to do. She has inherited a lot of her great hunting abilities to her offsprings too.
In 9th of April 1990 my first IWS litter was born to Teasel. That was only the second IWS litter which was ever born in Finland. (The first one was in 1975) The father was Int & DK & Fin CH Sieger´s Baron of Bassets "Chivas" which I had borrowed from Denmark. I finished his Int & Fin CH while he was in Finland. 10 puppies were born but unfortunately when the puppies were 6-7 weeks old 4 of them died because of the heartparvo virus. From this litter I kept Starfish´s Taste of Shannon “Shannon”. She started her dog show career exceptionally well. She was only 8 months old when she took CC and was BOB and placed 5th in the group! Shannon also achieved Fin CH and FinW-91. Later on Shannon´s promising show career was unfortunately left to shadow of his brother, Turbo. The magnificent Starfish´s Tropical Storm “Turbo” was and still is the best I have ever bred. He showed the way what such a rare breed as IWS can accomplish in Finland: Many times BIS winner, lots of group placements, The gun dog of the year etc.. He could not be unnoticed by anybody and achieved a lot of positive publicity to our breed. From the same litter comes also the very first and only Finnish Tracking champion Starfish´s Try Again “Rölli”.
In September 1991 Mallyree Lord of the Wind “Nero” flew to Finland from Marion Hopkins, USA. I owned Nero with Elina Mäkinen. Nero achieved Fin CH, JWW- , BW-92.
In 1992 Teasel had her second litter with Int & USA & MEX & P.RICAN & FIN CH Co-R´s Galway Bay O´Blu Max “Golly” which I had borrowed from USA. I added Golly´s impressive title list with Fin CH and Int CH while he was in Finland. Everything with the litter didn´t go how it was planned. An ultrasound was made for Tiisuli to make sure she was expecting, so Golly was able to fly to back home. When the labour began first 3 puppies were born dead and Tiisuli didn´t have contractions any more. We hurried to the vet in the middle of the night. The vet made the caesarean section and found still one dead puppy, but luckily 2 females and one male all alive! (And the male unfortunately had only one testicle…) From this unlucky litter became anyway two super females: Starfish´s A Kind of Magic “Milla” and Starfish´s Always Wet “Cindy”. Both outstanding representatives of the breed.
In 1993 Sankku and Nero got the litter of 8 puppies. Out of this litter has become lots of champions and group winners, who still have maintained their good working abilities. I think that this litter is most even I had bred so far.
1994 was a year of sorrow and sadness but also a year for great success.
I handled Turbo to his biggest victories, his biggest BIS winnings and he was the gun dog of the year. He was also the 3rd most successful show dog of all the breeds in Finland. My breeding classes were very successful too. I showed many BIS 1 breeder classes and I think my biggest achievement was BIS 2 breeder class in World Winner Dog Show in Bern.
But then was the time for sorrow. In fall Nero had to be put to sleep because his severe illness. He was only 3 years old. After that in December Turbo got hit by a car and died in age of 4, when he was only in beginning of his life and outstanding show career.
After that everything was very quiet in Starfish´s kennel.
In 1997 I decided to try again and combine two of my own breedings for the first time: Starfish´s Rain Song & Starfish´s A Kind of Magic and out of that came unbelievable 14 puppies! (12 of them stayed alive). 2 of the puppies Starfish´s Find My Kozi “Kozi” and Starfish´s Fireworks Mystic “Star” was imported to USA and Starfish´s Four Runner “Musti” to Sweden. Starfish's Fallen Angel I kept to myself from this litter. Kozi and Star are both AM CH and has been quite successful in dog shows over there. Star is already a mother of one litter too and one of her puppy was sold to Australia. Kozi is a father to one litter too. Musti has a bunch of CC:s and BIS and group placements and has proved to be an excellent hunting dog and he is also a father of one litter.
1998 World Dog Show was held in Helsinki and Starfish´s dogs had
a great and successful day.
1997 Kati came in to my life and along with her the rottweilers. Kati got her first rottweiler Champhill Black Ballerina "Itu" in 1985. She bought Foxrun de la Roche di Ronnie in America and brought 9 months old Ronnie to Finland in 1991. "Kia" Nurkkaniemen Katjuska was born in 1994 and Ronnie´s stud puppy Rapatassun Inner circle "Jeni" was born in 1997.
Together we acquired the newest members in Starfish´s family: rottweiler girls ZuMa´s Allabahma "Peppi" and ZuMa´s Quembra "Kippy" from our dear friends Susanne and Magnus from Sweden.