Famous Dog Pioneers: Don and Betty Sandberg

Learn about the contributions of dog breeders Don and Betty Sandberg of Kaposia German Shorthaired Pointers.

By | March 1, 2012

Continued from page 2

Don and Betty Sandberg
Kaposia German Shorthaired Pointers

Don Sandberg

Don Sandberg showing German Shorthaired Pointer Ch. Sky Hawk of Kaposia, winner fo the Veterans class at the National Specialty in 1965, ’68, and ’69. Owned by Helen B. Case and bred by the Sandbergs. Photo Fraise.

For more than 40 years Don and Betty Sandberg’s Kaposia German Shorthaired Pointers set records and reinforced the breed’s reputation for versatility. GSP breeder and former AKC president Ken Marden and his wife admired the consistency of the Kaposia dog breeding program.

Marden recalls that "One of Don’s quotes regarding their breeding program was ‘Every dog we sell is sold as a hunting dog, but we like to have our dogs in the show ring as a means of getting them before the public.’”

The Sandbergs lived near Joe and Maggie Deiss in South St. Paul, Minn. They had brought dogs from Germany to found their Oakcrest dog breeding program. It was tightly linebred on the Winterhauch-Schwarenburg strain celebrated for its pointing and retrieving instinct. Oakcrest also carved out a reputation in conformation. In 1956 Ch. Oak-Crest Cora v. Winterhauch became the breed’s first BIS bitch.

Betty selected their first GSP, a solid-liver male pup, from a week-old Oakcrest litter. This turned out to be Field Ch. Kaposia’s Chief of Oak Crest, CD. Don handled him to his field championship and Betty showed him to a CD, although she admits that "he wasn’t a very happy obedience dog.”

A year later Betty selected their foundation bitch at 7 weeks of age, describing Dual Ch. Kaposia’s Firebird as "a natural.” She was campaigned simultaneously in field and conformation, finishing her field title in one weekend, and becoming a dual champion before age 3. At the time, the Sandbergs lived near the Indian village of Kaposia, which means swift or light footed. "We thought that was a good name to put on our dogs, and it became pretty well known over the years.”

Their closely linebred foundation produced quality and consistency from the first litter. Kaposia produced hundreds of champions noted for balance, good toplines, angulation and classic head type. They did a lot of winning, but Betty emphasizes that this was never their primary goal. "German Shorthairs are field dogs. If they are smart and have good temperaments, then you can show them.”

Their first litter included Ch. Kaposia’s Black Hawk, Ch. Kaposia’s Sweet Sioux and Am./Can. Ch. Kaposia’s Wildfire. "Wildfire was our first real show dog and he did so much for the breed,” says Betty, describing him as an excellent show dog and a super stud. Wildfire sired 16 champions before he died at age 6, including Am./Can. Ch. Kaposia’s Apache Maiden UD, the first GSP bench champion to earn a UD.

Possibly the most famous Kaposia winner was Ch. Kaposia’s Wampun II, the only three-time GSPCA national specialty winner in 1969, '70 and ’72. His son Ch. Kaposia’s Tucumcari was BOB at the 1973 national. Specialty and BIS winner Ch. Kaposia’s Oconto was the last Kaposia dog personally campaigned by the Sandbergs. He was BOW at the 1966 National and BOB at the Minnesota specialty in 1967. He also sired 13 champions including Ch. Ashbrooks Papageno, one of the breed’s top sires.

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