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John Merrell


John MerrellJohn Merrell was born March 17, 1928, and was raised in Licking, Missouri.

He hunted and fished as a young man.  Throughout his life, he remained an avid sportsman who enjoyed deer and elk hunting, the pursuit of upland game birds, and trout fishing. 

John bought his first German Shorthair in 1958 for $15.00 at a gas station in Bakersfield, CA.  He subsequently ran the dog in a puppy stake, took third place, and became hooked on field trialing.

He ran amateur stakes for a period of time, enjoyed a great deal of success, and had friends who were asking him to run their dogs.  His wife, Irene, reports that John then quit a good paying job in 1960 to turn professional handler. 

In John’s time as a professional handler, he trained all the pointing breeds but he specialized in German Shorthaired Pointers.  At his kennels, he established the Greif line of Shorthairs which garnered great success and which continue to win today.

In his career, John finished over 80 AKC Field Champions and won the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America Futurity on three occasions. In National German shorthaired Pointer Association (American Field) competition, he had 35 one-hour championships and was in the winners’ circle in the NGSPA Shooting Dog Championship on two occasions.

John helped establish the San Joaquin German Shorthaired Pointer Club, the NGSPA Quail Championship at Ardmore, Oklahoma, and the NGSPA Chukar Championship which runs in the White Mountains of Arizona.  He served on the board of the NGSPA for a period of time and judged the NGSPA National Championship on two occasions.  Over his career, John left a legacy of assistance to German Shorthair field trials and field trial organizations.

While John was very honest in his opinion, he was very helpful to individuals new to the sport of field trialing.  Not only did he enjoy success in attracting individuals to the sport of field trialing, he also had a very loyal clientele base.  There were those that claimed John was lucky, but he expressed the opinion that luck was where opportunity and preparation met.  His motto was “Think Blue!”

John always rode a good locking black horse and dressed in a white shirt, blue vest, and tie.  He brought a touch of class to the sport of field trialing German Shorthaired Pointers.  His legacy of contribution to the Shorthair breed will not be forgotten.

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