Alfred O. King Sr. and his wife, Drenda, live in Enola, Arkansas, north of Little Rock. They have owned and operated King Llewellin Setters for over 40 years.
King began breeding the Llewellin in the 60's. He grew up listening to an uncle and his bird-hunting buddies tell stories about the dogs his grandfather had hunted with. So as a very young Arkansas farmer who wanted a dog like the ones I had always heard about, he ordered a pup from a magazine. Kings says "I simply got a fabulous dog who taught ME how to hunt." This caused him to start studying the history of the breed. Some long-established breeders began corresponding with King and took him under their wing. They saw in him someone to pass their lines and memorabilia on to. The blood pool King maintained was (and still is) the largest known to be available in the world. King's guarantee is simple. Every pup is guaranteed to make a birddog or it will be replaced. From the Desk of Alfred O. King Sr. I began breeding the Llewellin in the 60's. Because of the influence of the Field Trial dogs of the 70's, the foot-hunting basics lost priority in what most hunters began looking for. During the 70's many strains of the breed were lost because of the lack of separate breeders abilities to contend with the blitz of the wide running Field Trial stock and to find a suitable out-cross of Llewellins. (One can only maintain a small line for a limited number of years.) The Llewellin was in danger of extinction. The blood pool I maintained was and is the largest known to be available in the world. Only in the last few years of extensive advertising have I been able to locate individuals who managed to maintain a pure line of Llewellins. Many individuals were forced to breed with English because of the availability of no known Llewellins in their areas. Because of this there are very few pure Llewellins in the US without my blood. I believe that only in the 90's have we been able to basically stop the true extinction of the Llewellin.
Fate gave me the lines of the last of the old time breeders. I did not at first set out with a conscious effort and certainly did not know in advance that within less than a decade practically all this stock would otherwise be lost. Dad, who kept a large kennel of deer hounds, thought I had lost my mind when I ordered a pup from a magazine. Looking back it does not seem possible that these gentlemen and I found each other. I was simply a very young Arkansas farmer who wanted a dog like the ones I had always heard about. I grew up listening to an Uncle and his bird hunting buddies who kept the stories alive about the dogs my Grandfather and his contemporaries had. I remembered the dogs but not their abilities. I simply (you might say was lucky enough to, but I think it was because it was a pure Llewellin like in the stories) got a fabulous dog who taught me how to hunt. I began by inquiring of the history behind these dogs. (I have always been a history buff; I believe this is one of the reasons I have always loved Antiques of all types.) I was introduced by correspondence to long established breeders who took me under their bird wing and saw in me someone to pass their lines and memorabilia on to. The introduction of English, European, African and Russian stock in recent years has widened the available blood pool. Billy Paul & King's Bomber III I maintain what is to most people a large number of dogs. The first litter a female or male produces or even the first mating between two older dogs, I keep the pups until they are 9 months old to determine if this dog or particular cross produces the type of birddog that I have strived to breed. I learned the hard way that a pair from each line is not enough. Many factors can effect the loss of a line. Mr. Laverack himself lost his entire kennel by keeping only the oldest pairs. By the time he realized he had bred in the wrong direction he had no dogs young enough to breed back out. Mr. Llewellin had begun his program at least a decade before this. With the basis of Mr. Laverack's stock he developed the Llewellin Setter. He did so by sparing no expense and maintained 500 to 600 dogs. I maintain a well formulated breeding program. I have a number of dogs whose expense I maintain though they are too old for breeding purposes but have served me well both in the field and in my program. To sell or do away with one of these dogs would be no different from an individual doing so who only has the one dog; because they are a part of the family. These grown dogs were brought into our home at 6 weeks old. For at least the first 3 months they spent their time with me in the house at night. We teach them the basics while playing with them. They learn to retrieve through tossing a glove, they point a quail wing on a short string and piece of fishing pole. They learn all the basic voice commands while having fun. Most of my dogs I consider too valuable to sell because of my breeding objectives. To me the Llewellin is the best of the best. I WILL NOT SELL A DOG THAT I WOULD NOT KEEP MYSELF. THIS IS ANOTHER OF THE THINGS THE OLD BREEDERS TAUGHT ME; SAYING THIS IS THE SURE WAY TO NEVER HAVE PROBLEMS ARISE. Some of my best trainers!