About Us



It all began Once Upon A Time A Long, Long Time Ago ... the year 1951 to be exact, the place.... San Pedro, California (where I was born). When a little 5 year old girl named Nancy Lee Snelgrove was given her first American Cocker Spaniel, a male puppy named Blackie - a sweet wiggly bundle of black fur - as a gift from her Mother and Step Father.

Blackie, unfortunately only lived a short time with the little girl. Blackie was only 5 or 6 weeks old when my Mother bought him for $75.00, which was a lot of money in those days and too young, as she said she wasn't educated in those days, as to when a puppy should leave his dam and his litter mates.

His breeding? Who knows. He was only a pet for an only child at that time. My brothers were born 5 and 6 years later.

Unfortunately the lady told my Mother he had had his shots (either true or lie, who knows) and didn't tell her to continue on with the vaccination program or anything else.

We only had him for a little while when Blackie was taken severely ill from Distemper and a very bad infestation of worms. Within a few days he died leaving behind a little girl with a broken heart who vowed someday to own another Cocker Spaniel.

My Mother said she would never buy a purebred dog again as he had been so expensive and she had been lied to by the breeder and she just couldn't bare to have her little girls heart broken again.

In 1970 while in JC Penny's Portrait Studio I, Nancy, met a very nice lady who just purchased some beautiful photos of her darling little girl & her two gorgeous Cocker Spaniels, a red/white male and a solid dark, dark Irish Setter red colored female.
I said to the clerk, "Oh, I didn't know we could bring our dogs in to be photographed with our children!" "Oh, yes of course you can." she said. "As you can see (pointing to the nice lady) her daughter and the dogs are beautiful and all three were very well behaved!"
I said, "When I was a little girl I had a black Cocker & someday I'd like to have another one."
The nice lady said the two dogs in the photo had had a litter of pups the year before and one of the red females might be being offered to a good home but she wasn't sure. We exchanged phone numbers & I left. She said she would call if the dog was available but after a few days I still hadn't heard from her so I thought "Oh well not this time."
A week or so later the phone rang. It was her and yes the red Cocker Spaniel female was available! She asked, "Did I still want her?" If so I could come to her house and not only see her but also see her parents. "Yes, yes, I still want her!" I said. "I went, I saw and I fell in love with all three dogs." They all had wonderful dispositions besides being beautiful. The red/white male had a natural birdy instinct & the dark red female was so smart & she knew all kinds of tricks and did obedience to a T.
Our red bitch Boots page inherited both her parents Pedro's page & Brandy's page genes for birds and obedience work. I never put an obedience title on Boots but her black daughter  Missy's page and her red grandson Cinnamon's page both achieved their CD (Companion Dog) degrees in Obedience. Boots could have qualified for a CD degree in a heart beat if only I had had the time to work her and show her but I was raising two young daughters then and just didn't have the time. Nearly all of Boots' grandchildren and great grandchildren have inherited her and her parents natural bird instinct and obedience skills. Some have done better at these endeavors than others over the years.:) All it takes is a little practice and they catch on right away.
In November 1973 I inquired about an ad in the local newspaper for a red/white male Cocker Spaniel at Stud. When the lady opened the door I looked past her and saw this strange brown hairy little blur running towards us. As it came closer I saw this plastic cone on it's head. As I started to ask the lady "What is that?" the brown hairy, funny looking canine ran right up to me and practically jumped into my arms. He was the most beautiful dog I had ever seen! "What kind of dog is he?" I asked the lady. "Why he is a chocolate brown Cocker Spaniel." she said. "Why is he wearing that thing on his head?" He injured his eye on the chain link fence and that is what is called an Elizabethan collar. It keeps him from rubbing or pawing at his eye until it is healed. What is his name? He is so beautiful he takes my breath away! "His name is Baron," she said. His registered name is Am. Mex. Fr. (French) Int. (International) CH. WINDRIDGE CHOCOLATE BARON, CD. Well, Baron's page you are so pretty and I think you know it too!
He was hopping up and down pawing the air wanting his mistress to give him his squeaky toy she had. His ears were flying up and down and when he looked from me to her they would swing from side to side. Because he had his Elizabethan collar on one of his ears flipped up on top of his head and stayed there. He looked so funny. His eyes were sparkling as he was looking from her to me waiting for his squeaky to be tossed. I said, "Oh, his eyes are different. What color are they?" "They are a light green or amber color but we are working on breeding a darker eye in the chocolate Cocker." she said.
I started asking her all kinds of questions. "Where did they come from? How do you get that color? Are they rare? Why don't we see more of them? Will I get one if Boots is bred to Baron?"
Well, you remind me of myself when I first saw a chocolate colored cocker. I had a million questions too!
Would Boots and Baron have chocolate puppies I asked her again? She said, "No I'm sorry not unless she carries the gene for chocolate. You said her sire is red/white & her dam is dark Irish Setter red like her. She has a black nose too so she probably isn't carrying the chocolate factor. "How can I find out?" I asked. You need to send for a 5 or 7 generation color coded pedigree to see if she has any chocolate colored ancestors within at least 5 generations in her pedigree. If she does not she will only produce black, when bred to a chocolate dog like Baron. The chocolate brown coat color is a recessive gene so it must appear within the first 2-5 generations on both sides of a pedigree for you to have any chocolate colored offspring. For more about the chocolate color in American Cockers go to Cal-Ore's Tribute To Windridge page.
"You can take the best black bitch puppy from Boots & Baron and breed her to a chocolate male to get your chocolate puppies," she said. Should I breed the puppy back to Baron? I asked. Well, you should really breed her to another chocolate dog that is related through her sire. I should really take you up to the Windridge Kennels in Salinas so you can see Arline's chocolate dogs and talk to her about pedigrees and color breeding.
"Who is Arline and what's Windridge Kennels?" I asked. Arline Swalwell is the lady responsible for saving the chocolate Cocker Spaniel from extinction. Her Windridge Kennel is well known for her top winning buffs, reds and now chocolate brown Cocker Spaniels.
"Are you still interested in seeing my red/white male to breed to Boots?" she asked. "We can look at him I said but I think I want to breed her to Baron! By the way my name is Nancy, what did you say your name was?" I asked. "It's Elaine Poole and my kennel name is Merribark Cockers."
From that day on she was my friend and mentor. I know I must have driven her nuts asking questions. Some really stupid ones as you can see from above, but hey what the heck aren't we all a little naive and uneducated in the beginning? Yes, I never knew there was so much to know about breeding, raising and showing dogs. This year (2006) is my 36th year of breeding and showing American Cocker Spaniels and I am still learning something new almost everyday.
Our dogs, (in the 1970s -1980s) my daughters Lisa & Monique & I are pictured in The Book Of The Cocker Spaniel, By: Joan McDonald Brearley.
My daughter Lisa and I either together or occasionally separately have attended the following seminars within the last 6 years.
George Alston Handling Seminars (Beginning to Advanced), (with/without a dog) in Hillsboro, OR & Fife, WA
Patricia Craige Trotter's Born To Win Seminar in Vancouver, WA
Pat Hastings Puppy Puzzle Seminar with our own choc/parti pups in Eugene, OR 2004
Tricks of The Trade, Pat Hastings seminar on the K-9 College Cruise March 2005
Carmen Battaglia Breeding Better Dogs Seminar K-9 College Cruise March 2005
Ed & Pat Gilbert's K-9 Structure & Movement Seminar K-9 College Cruise March 2005
Healthcare Options/Alternative Healthcare Catherine O'Driscoll K-9 College Cruise March 05
We have both shown in AKC conformation & Obedience rings. We also have been showing at the International (IABCA) Kennel Club shows. We have finished a number of International & National champions, AKC conformation champions, and obedience titled dogs over the years. We currently have a red bitch Punkin's page we are training in the field, tracking & obedience who has outstanding natural bird instincts and is an amazing tracking dog. We hope to get her Hunting, Obedience & Tracking titles in the near future.
Lisa was also very active in 4-H when she was in Middle School and High School. She showed both the dogs and her horse at Halter & in English/Western Equitation classes. She also raised a German Shepherd puppy for Guide Dogs For The Blind as a teenager.
Monique at this time is busy working & raising her two young daughters my lovely granddaughters Michelle & Karissa pictured on the Cal-Ore Candid Photos page. We hope someday Monique will be able to come back & help us show the Cockers again. Michelle has shown an interest in showing too but for now she has dreams of becoming a singer & hopes to be on the TV show "American Idol" in the near future!
When we first decided that we would have a website to showcase our dogs we wanted it to be a place that not only showcased our past, present and future breeding program but would be educational to old and new owners alike. So we included our own dogs health info, photos of both head and body conformation on our past, present and future dogs. We also added a detailed history of not only our own dogs but The Founding Sires and Dams of the American Cocker Spaniel. It is our hope that all American Cocker Spaniel dog lovers from beginners to long time dog breeders will find our website an invaluable resource for educational information about dog health, breeding, showing and just having fun with the family pet.
Please feel free to take a look in and to sign our guest book. Thank you for visiting our site. We hope you come back often. If you have any questions please E-mail us.


Nancy & Lisa Ray
Brooks, OR. USA




Copyright © 1999-2004 CAL-ORE COCKERS
Nancy L. Ray and Lisa L. Ray
All Rights Reserved
We have spent thousands of hours searching the Web for information & Links. Researching Old Books, Magazines and talking to Long time Breeder/Exhibitors in our search on the Cocker Spaniel's History. We hope you find them helpful, but PLEASE note these pages are COPYRIGHTED.
DO NOT COPY, Transfer, or Download the content or Photo's of these pages onto another Web page or Web site without our written permission.