Interview with Owner Handler, Dr. Kate Bremser – Purebred English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed
I have been involved in English Springer Spaniels from a young age. I grew up in the Midwest with hunting companions, then branched out into dog sports with my first dog as an adult. “Basil” competed heavily in Flyball and still remains the No. 1 Springer in the sport, despite being deceased since 2012. I maintained a small breeding program and began competing in Conformation in 2011. Since then, I have finished four dogs of my own and several more that I co-own.
My current special, “Firefly,” has taken me on a wild ride, including two trips to the ESSFTA Top 20, winning the Owner-Handled portion of the event in 2022, winning Best of Opposite Sex at Westminster 2022, and finishing 2022 as the No. 1 NOHS Bitch and No. 2 Springer overall. I am also a veterinarian, focusing on small animal soft tissue surgery and preventative medicine. I graduated from NC State in 2008 and continue to live in Central North Carolina with my four dogs and two horses.
I maintained a small breeding program and began competing in Conformation in 2011. Since then, I have finished four dogs of my own and several more that I co-own.
When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I started with Springers when I was five. I grew up in the Midwest and my dad always had a pair of hunting companions. I started competing with Springers in Performance Sports in college and joined the Conformation fancy in 2011.
How many years in dogs? How many as an Owner Handler?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I’ve been competing with my dogs in various sports since 2001. I began showing in 2011 and have always shown my own dogs.
Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I attend and help teach a handling class at my local kennel club, Durham Kennel Club. I’ve never attended a seminar, but I did watch the George Alston seminar online recently!
Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I did purchase some of the handling videos put out by the pros in my breed during the pandemic. There’s almost always a new tip or tidbit to take away from all platforms.
Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
Dr. Kate Bremser: Yes, I follow the rankings closely when it is part of my goals for a given dog for that year.
In which class(es) are you most likely to enter your dog(s)? Why?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I prefer to enter Bred-By when at all possible. I will also enter the Puppy Classes if it is best for that particular dog.
Is it a challenge to compete with your breed(s) as an Owner Handler?
Dr. Kate Bremser: Yes, our breed has incredible depth of quality in Owner Handler eligible dogs, many of whom I compete with regularly.
Are you intimidated by the Professional Handlers? By the Judges?
Dr. Kate Bremser: Not really any more. In the beginning I definitely was, but the pros I see regularly have been so kind and giving of their advice for handling and grooming. They are truly a wealth of knowledge and I’ve been lucky to receive their guidance.
Who have been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler?
Dr. Kate Bremser: In my breeding program, Laureen Camisi of Sapphire Springers and Kathie Milne of Suncoast Springers have been invaluable to me. Laureen is the entire reason that I have had the opportunities and dogs that I have now. Without her, I don’t know where I would be.
How important is the Owner Handler to the future of the dog sport?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I think Owner Handlers are very important. We are often also Breeder/Owner Handlers and produce the up-and-coming generations of dogs for the fancy. While we don’t necessarily send dozens of dogs to every show, we are often also club members helping put on the shows and introducing new people to the fancy.
What are your goals as an Owner Handler? Is there a victory that has eluded you?
Dr. Kate Bremser: For my current special, I wanted her to get an invite to the NOHS finals again this year—which we achieved. She also won our breed national’s Owner-Handled competition this year. I’d love to make it to the Group ring with her this December in the NOHS finals. I’d also like to win a Specialty Best of Breed with her. Maybe next year for that one!
Is there a funny story that you can share about your experiences as an Owner Handler?
Dr. Kate Bremser: When I was new to showing, and I had yet to determine which garments worked best for me in the ring, I had an “almost catastrophe” happen in the ring. I learned that pantyhose can and will decide to start slipping down while you are running and they may also take your unmentionables with them! That’s the day I learned that wearing your Spanx over your pantyhose is a safety measure as much as it is functional.
Are you looking for an English Springer Spaniel puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home an English Springer Spaniel dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the versatile English Springer Spaniel dog breed with articles and information in our English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Magazine.
English Springer Spaniel Breed Magazine - Showsight