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Gun Dog Breeder Reviews for Hillcrest Kennel

Testimonials (32) | Back to Hillcrest Kennel
Submitted by: Paul Bowden on Feb 23, 2014
Liberty and I just finished the Minnesota Pheasant season in knee deep snow. She sure has come around this season. I'm very happy with her devlopment. She's is smart as a whip, and incredibly driven, we had a great year.
Submitted by: Mike Schuster on Feb 20, 2014
We picked up our 2nd pup from Jim at Hillcrest Kennels. Jim once again did not disappoint us. He was able to fit us with a new pup that fit our family needs and characteristics with just a few questions! We named this one Lucy and a very intelligent well mannered dog she is. I've been around English setters all my life and once again I'm impressed with the easiness to train. Everyone of my friends that have met her tell me how beautiful and great listening pup she is. She has become an exceptional family dog and can't wait to get her in the field this spring when the weather breaks here in Mn. Thanks Again Jim for another great Dog from Kate and Nitro!


Mike Schuster
St. Francis Mn

Submitted by: Stephen Rafe on Feb 01, 2014
Jim Norman is one of the very few professional trainers whose work I endorse and recommend. His breeding program is thorough and complete in every detail one might want in a bird dog including conformation, temperament, desire, and intelligence. His training approach proves that positive, science-based methods are highly effective in producing biddable dogs that hunt and compete at the highest levels with gusto!

Stephen Rafe
Birddogger for more than 30 years, Author of "Training Your Dog for Birdwork," "About Dogs" Editor for Quail Unlimited magazine for 20 years, frequent contributing writer for "Pointing Dog Journal," "Retriever Journal," "Just Labs" magazine and numerous others. His system for curing gunshy dogs has been called the world's most successful method.

Submitted by: Dave Furrer on Jan 23, 2014
Lexie did awesome in her first year in the field, especially for a 16 month old dog. From the day we brought her home from Hillcrest at 9 months old, she has been pointing. Pre-season, this typically involved song birds, rabbits, fallen leaves, and even grass hoppers. She has a very strong drive, locked up on solid points, retrieves, and responded well to the e-collar and whistle all season long. Her third time out she held a rock solid point for over two minutes while we searched for her in the 5 foot tall grass. She did not break point until I busted the brush up. My hunting partner, a long time GSP owner, was very impressed with her. She is also a joy around the house, playing very well with our lab mix and any visitors we have over. At night, her favorite spot is up on the couch with the family.

We are all really glad to have her in our lives.

Dave and Terri Furrer

Submitted by: Ben Beaman on Jan 16, 2014
This past November I purchased a male, tri-color, half mask pup from Jim and have been thrilled with him ever since. The pup is currently 17 weeks old and is an absolute joy to have around. He's bold, curious, and extremely smart. He is already backing other dogs naturally and retrieves dummies to hand with no retrieving training whatsoever. I've done a small amount of wing and string training with him and he's shown a strong desire to point, even a few times on scent alone! Not bad for 17 weeks. I'm looking forward to spring when the lovely Wyoming weather will no longer keep us from wild bird territory! Also he has quickly become an excellent house dog. House-braking was fast and easy, as was crate training and simple obedience. If you're looking for a hunting buddy with tons of natural drive and instinct, a family companion, or both, you've found the right breeder!
Submitted by: steve jaskowiak on Jan 07, 2014
Jim and Zack do a great job.. Dog I received was as promised and advertised.
Great nose... solid points..  straight tail... head high..  natural honor... picture of beauty in my eyes. (Actually, in everybodys eyes !)
If you are looking for this high caliber of a hunting mate, look no further....
Contact Hillcrest Kennels.
Submitted by: Joe Daniel on Jul 17, 2013
I purchased a pup from Jim and Zack Norman last
September. The pup is out of Master Mohawk Kate
and Tekoa Mountain Jettsun. This combination has
provided me with a very desirable pup. He has a
good disposition and is easily trained. If I
ever need another dog I would not hesitate to buy
from Jim and Zack. They answered all of my questions on different phone calls and in person.
They also provided pictures from birth and weekly
until I picked up my pup.
Submitted by: Laura Schuster on Mar 14, 2012
We picked up a puppy last summer from Jim and Jack Norman of Hillcrest Kennels and have been very pleased with our selection. She has surprised us in many ways. She is incredibly smart, a great nose! She has amazing natural hunting instincts, very mild and loving temperment, and has been a great family dog to our young children. Nitro & Kate produce a great line of dogs.
Submitted by: Ann and Shade Murray on Mar 14, 2012
In the fall of 2011, we had to put three English Setters down, all siblings and 13 years old. We were heart-broken. We were unsure we could start over with a puppy at our age. However, a Christmas present from our son changed everything. We received Kate from Hillcrest Kennels. Kate is now 5 mos. old and we have taken her to our quail club twice to see how she would react in the field. She is a natural! Nose to the ground, fearless through thick Palmettos and so happy to be busting birds. She has unbelievable stamina and I believe would stay in the field all day if we let her. We even got a few hard points and a couple of short holds. She is a joyful dog with a great personality. Whoever said that a hunting dog could not be both a house pet and a hunting dog did not know what they were talking about. She is both. I believe she is the smartest dog we have ever had and am convinced that she will be a winner in the field.
Submitted by: Chris Hurst on Feb 26, 2012
Hi Jim, I am writing to you, to let you know the wonderful English Setter that we received from you..Mandi. I come from a duck and goose background and started grouse hunting up in the Upper Peninsula of Wisconsin. My Brother in Law had me hunting with his Llewellyn Setters in the mountains of North Carolina. I was amazed at his dogs performance and how these pointers worked. He had invited me to Go to the U.P. with him to get into some heavy grouse populations. The first year I went, I was amazed at the dog work and the wild hunting. Only thing missing for me, as a big bird hunter, was a setter. I had spoken to you about a English Setter that you had and after seeing her work, I was really interested in buying her. I wasn’t very familiar with hunting with an English Setter because of my flushing dogs background. Mandi, started with me on some warm up hunts before we took her North. This was some Quail and pheasant club work we put her on. To say the least, she performed absolutely flawless. Not only a great pointer but retrieved every bird that I shot.

Next trip was to The U.P. and the elusive Grouse. She was three when I took her up there. She was dead on, Woodcock!!! The Grouse, first year, were a little confusing for her. Every bird hunter that puts a newer dog in the field understand this. It takes time in the field… and birds, to get them where you want them to be. She is now 6, and steady as a rock on Grouse. Most people offer to buy her every time they see her hunt. She is truly an amazing dog. She not only points them but retrieves all of them as well. Its not always easy to kill a grouse, when you wing one …you definitely want to find them. I can’t tell you how many times she has disappeared for 15 minutes and come back with my bird. Along with her hunting she is a wonderful and loving pet. My wife and daughter absolutely spoil her and So do I. We want to thank you for a wonderful dog. There is so much more I can write about her but, It would keep me here for the next hour. Kudos to you and the Genes you have passed down to me and the pups we rear with Mandi. She will keep up a great hunting tradition for many years to Come.
Chris Hurst
Submitted by: Mark Thompson on Feb 08, 2012
I searched forever to find a well bred english setter pup. The pup that I got from Jim is awesome, She is such a natural on pointing, backing an other dog and retrieving. It is almost like she came pre-trained.
Submitted by: Jim Harrold on Jan 27, 2012
Our pup, Pete, was purchased at Hillcrest Kennel in May of 2011. Jim was great in answering my many questions, and I felt he wanted each of the pups to find a good home. Pete is now 7 mos old, and he hunted with us this past season. Pete showed a strong desire and a tremendous nose. Plus, he is very smart (quick learner). I can't wait to see him work next season. My family just loves him, and he has a good temperament with all ages. I recommend Jim and Hillcrest Kennel if you are looking for a good dog and a respectable breeder.

Jim Harrold January 2012
Submitted by: Chelsea Martens on Jan 27, 2012
My husband and I spent countless hours searching for a second upland bird dog for our family. After falling in love with the English Setter, we were disappointed to learn that there were no breeders in Colorado or neighboring states, with puppies for sale. This meant that we were going to have to trust an out-of-state breeder, to not only deliver us an exceptional dog, but also deliver him safely. After speaking to a few different breeders, we finally came across Jim and Hillcrest Kennels. From the first time I spoke with Jim, I could hear the pride he had for his dogs in his voice. Not only was he proud of his dogs but his stories also let you know that he knew his dogs well and had personally taken time to work with them. One week later, we safely received our puppy, Skeeter. Skeeter, is from Becky X Nitro. We have only had him a few weeks but at 12 weeks old, he is already potty trained, kennel trained, will come when called and load in his kennel when given a command. I do not have to worry about him chewing on anything that does not belong to him and not once, has he been anything but gentle with my 2 year old son. I cannot wait to see what a dog with this level of intelligence and incredible demeanor will do in the field! Thank you Jim and Hillcrest Kennels.
Submitted by: Jim Rouse on Dec 27, 2011
Hi Jim, I know you haven't heard from me in a long time, but I wanted to let you know that my English Setter Riggs and I are employed part time as guide and dog at the Richmond Hunt Club in Richmond, Il. Riggs will be 10 in 2012 as will his liter mate Maggie and still works a field as though he was 3.Last Saturday he pointed 31 different pheasants. I have to tell you I have had Labs, Brittany's, GSP'S and French Brittany's and none of them compare to Riggs. Greatest bird dog I have ever had. may be looking you up in a year or two, as Riggs will be getting to old to hunt. Thanks again for such a wonderful hunting dog and companion !!
Submitted by: Brian Nichols on Jan 06, 2011
When I was first looking to purchase a English setter pup I contacted different breeders on GunDogBreeders.com . From the first email I received from Jim at Hillcrest kennel I knew right away he is a man of high integrity. I was very impressed with Jim from our email and phone conversations. He asked me questions that no other breeder had asked. He has a genuine concern for his dogs the English Setter breed and placement of pups with the right home. After many emails and phone conversations I purchased a female pup out of Nitro X Kate born February 2010. From the time the litter was born until he shipped her to me in Alaska I received pictures and updates regularly. When she arrived she was happy, very healthy and wanting to play. My vet was very impressed with her health and condition after such a long flight of over 10 hours, including layovers. Roxy was fully house broken at 10 weeks is a natural retriever, and took to swimming with no coxing at all. She began pointing everything she smelled and moved the first time out the door. She is very gentle with my 2 year old grandson even trying to get in the crib to sleep with him. Even though the Grouse hunting was down this year she still found more birds than any of the labs I’ve had in the past, and I’ve had some very good ones. We took her on her first pheasant hunt over Christmas and she was very impressive. After she setteled down She just naturally pointed and handled running birds, would reposition and hold her points untill we got to her and she found 4 birds we would have lost without her. All I can say is a great big thank you to Jim at Hillcrest Kennels for one of the top three bird dogs I have ever had and she is only 11 months old. The bird hunting future is very bright for this family. If you have any other questions please fill free to contact me at akfire66@hotmail.com
Submitted by: steve choquette on Aug 17, 2010
I had been talking to Jim about his dogs for over two years and finally got a female pup out of the Nitro and Lucy breeding (April 2010). Originally wanted a Lucy dog , due to her MH and water retrieving skills but timing didn't work out...Lucy is a littermate to Maggie so took the plunge. Kate is 4 months now and is every bit the dog I had hoped for. She is extremely bold and has been exposed to horses, atv's, quail, chukkar, pigeon, and many other dog and loves them all. First week home she was picking up a bumper and carrying it around (and tv remotes, shoes, etc!). She is very smart, willing to please and loves the water. I have yet to teach her to swim, but she has been chest deep in the local creek and loves it. She is intensely birdy and after 4 sessions with quail and pigeons is now reliably stopping to point a scented bird. She runs big with the other dogs, but checks back frequently. I have no doubt that by the end of this season we'll be shooting birds over her and will have entered our AKC tests. This is the 2nd dog i've trained , so I'm a beginner, and I have to say that Kate makes me look good...esp in front of those guys that run dogs with no tails..Jim is and was always willing to talk on the phone to discuss what I wanted. I couldn't be happier with choosing Hillcrest Kennels or bringing Kate home with me.

steve choquette
Submitted by: Jeff Strilich on Aug 02, 2010
Our tri-colored setter, Luna purchased from Hillcrest Kennels is an amazing dog. She is the smartest dog I have ever trained. Super nose and a natural pointer, she picks up on commands quickly and repeats behavior almost robotically. Our dogs are also members of our family and Luna is fun and loving with our family and our older setter. Jim was awesome to work with and obviously breeds great dogs. We could not be happier with our girl.
Submitted by: rob kilbourne on Jul 21, 2010
Ii have a tri colored male from Nitro and Maggie whelped 7-27-09. I dont think Jim and Zach could have made a better pick. My pup Max has a perfect temperment for house life and is great with my 2 year old son. As far as hunting he has not seen a lot of birds. But great natural instincts and eagerness to please has made him a dream to train. At 10 months old Jim and Zach got to see him run his first trial, which was a NASTRA trial in michigan. He ran back to back in the amateurs and took a 1st with 5 birds and 2nd with 3 birds. He is retrieving excellent, including water, is steady to wing and shot and i am looking forward to getting his senior hunt test this fall. I would like to thank Jim and Zach again for a great pup, and recommend anyone purchase a pup from them as I would buy another no questions asked.
Submitted by: Tom and Janice Murray on Apr 22, 2010
I have one bad thing to say about this testamonial, and that is that I can't rate Jim Norman higher than a 5!! Not only is our Setter, Wrigley, an amazing dog, but working with Hillcrest was well above expectations. Jim sent us regular pictures of Wrigley, and updated us quite frequently. Beyond that, there was never (and I highly stress the never part) a time that he didnt maintain perfect contact with us or fail to address any concerns. You are not buying an amazing dog from Jim, you are gaining an amazing bird dog and a companion like no other! Thank you very much Jim! You guys are truly one of a kind!

-Thomas and Janice Murray
Submitted by: Pam Catalani on Dec 08, 2009
I received my puppy,Sawyer,out of Maggie and Nitro litter born 07/27/09. I couldn't ask for a better dog. He started obedience at 8 weeks and can sit, down, heel, stand, fetch, do a finish and is working on tricks and doing some jumps as I'm hoping to work with him in agility. He has a great personality, loves everybody and is just jolly all the time. I've owned a lot of dogs of different breeds and I'd have to say that he has the best attention span and eye contact of any dog I've had. He's just great!
Submitted by: Tom Zoller on Dec 04, 2009
Jim, I could not be more pleased with our puppy, Jenny (whelped 7/27/09). Besides having classic markings, she has a wonderful temperament, is very smart and has adapted well to our 2 1/2 year old lab. They are inseparable. Quite the personality! I thought Labs were the end all in terms of temperament and lovability, but I have been educated. She has a great nose and is working well with pheasant and quail. Her stature is quite "majestic" on her early "points". She weathered the flight from you to Long Island, NY very well. Thank you again.
Tom
Submitted by: Ralph Niemeyer on Mar 25, 2009
Jim,just a little note to let you know how pleased I am with the pup I purschased from Rick Wallace that was sired by your male setter "Nitro". I've been working with bird dogs for lots of years an this female sired by Nitro is one of the nicest I've ever had, with perfect body conformation & markings, looking like her sire. She is now 20 months of age, has lots of point and very stlish, high on both ends. She was sight pointing and holding pigeons @4 months of age and it only improved from there. At 4/5 mo she was bird crazy and loved anything else that flyied. She was very easy to train showing a good nose early on and the desire to please. I wild bird hunted her this past season and she continued to show her abilities in the field always holding her own with the more experienced dogs. Thanks to you & Rick for providing me with a great pup.
Submitted by: Mal Parsons on Jan 21, 2009
Mal Parsons (Maine) 1-14-09 May of 2008 I received a tri color male puppy Star out of Maggie an Nitros litter bond in March of 2008.To ask more of a puppy would not be fair.House broken at nine wks. and land and water retrieving at 11 wks.Pointing planted birds at 3 month with his tail at 12 o clock.Received his first 2 legs of A.K.C. Jr. Hunt Test at the age of 6 month and 3 days and earn his Jr. title at 7 months.During the month of Oct. he handled New England game birds (woodcock-pheasant-and grouse ) as if he was a seasoned dog.He is beautifully marked and has drawn rave from the judges and people that have seen him perform.Jim has gone out of his way to answer any question and to help in anyway he can.If anyone is looking for a great family or hunting dog then call Jim at Hillcrest Kennels.
Submitted by: Gabriella Lamorte on Sep 15, 2008
I bought a female puppy (Lilly) out of Maggie and Nitro’s litter from hillcrest kennels this spring. I can’t ask for anything more from a dog. She is absolutely wonderful. She is just a joy to be around and is extremely well behaved. She is an incredible dog. She is an excellent listener and learns quickly. She learned to sit, stay and give you paw within the first few weeks. She house trained easily too. We never had a problem with her in the house. Not only is she a great house dog , but she also shows great potential in the field. She is constantly pointing at anything that moves. She is also a marvelous retriever!! She has been playing fetch since the first few days we brought her home. Just the other day she captured and retrieved a loose pigeon from our barn and brought it right back to us. The one thing that is absolutely extraordinary about her is her appeal. She is beautifully marked and has a great presence. I am constantly getting complements on her. Lilly is just a all around great dog. I highly recommend hillcrest kennels to anyone interested in a great hunting and family dog. Jim was also a pleasure to deal with. He was full of useful information and was easy to get a hold of. He even was kind enough to drive and meet us half way on mother’s day in order for us to pick up our puppy!
Submitted by: Scott Hamby on Jun 11, 2008
I can't say enough positive things about the Setter I got from Jim at Hillcrest Kennels. She's an Orange/White with absolutely fabulous ticking. But there's more to a gun dog than looks, a lot more... and this dog has it.

At less than six months she was naturally pointing anything that she discovered would fly. By nine months her tail is at a beautiful 12 o'clock position and front paw comes up picture perfect. Without any formal training, I've watched her hold a point for 15 minutes in the back yard... ON A 9 MONTH OLD WITH NO TRAINING.

She naturally retrieves to hand and this past weekend, with her first real introduction to water, was water retrieving the dummy from as far as I could throw it.

She has a loving gentle nature but with an aggressive, energetic hunting sense when out in the woods or open field. All the basic commands were literally learned within an hour. I've never had a dog learn this quick and I've had my fair share of dogs.

I drove over 500 miles to pick this pup up from Jim and Hillcrest. After having her for almost a year now, I would have easily driven twice that (even at today's gas prices!)

Thanks Jim!! A fantastic animal.
Submitted by: William Van Bonn, DVM on May 08, 2008
We have a female pup from an August 2007 litter out of Maggie by Nitro. She is awesome. Excellent temperament, a pleasure in the house as well as in the field. Obvious desire and talent on grouse. We will be testing her this fall. Thanks Jim.
Submitted by: Lawrence Bradford on Apr 26, 2008
Received from Hill Crest Kennel a male tri-color setter - Boone at 6 weeks old back in 09/10/06. From the very beginning he retrieved and has a great nose.
Submitted by: Rick Hayden on Feb 19, 2008
Neutron recently turned 6 months and has been on live birds for almost 2 months now. I was very pleased with his progression thru basic commands and yard work at such a young age. I wish I could attribute his progress to my training skills but its obvious he has a great deal of inherent ability. He has a gentle disposition when not in training and is certainly a welcome addition to the family. I would recommend Jim and Hillcrest Kennels to anyone looking for their next or first setter.
Submitted by: Tony & Cindy Byerly on Nov 06, 2007
We purchased Sadie from Hillcrest Kennel at the end of Aug '07, at 6 wks of age. We wanted a dog that would be great in the field, as well as a lovable pet in the house. What we got was all that we hoped for and more. She truly is a joy. She shows great hunting skills even at her young age of 4 months. We highly recommend Hillcrest Kennel and look forward to purchasing another pup in the coming year. Working with Jim has been a pleasant experience, his communication over the year since we had sent in our deposit was exceptional. Thanks again Hillcrest.
Submitted by: Monty Nohren on Oct 11, 2007
I recently purchased a seven week old male English Setter " Ike " from Jim Norman at Hillcrest Kennels.I previously purchased two other pups from Jim that are excellent gundogs as I am confident young " Ike " will be also. Hillcrest English Setters have the right temperment, are easily trained, and look good in the field.Jim's integrity and dedication have made getting an English Setter from Hillcrest Kennels the right choice.
Submitted by: rick wallace on Sep 23, 2007
In meeting Jim I didn't only find a gentleman knowledgable and professional, I found a friend. He helped so much in getting my female bred, he as been in touch quite often to check on the progess and health of the pups. These pups out of Nirto look to be the real deal. I thank you Jim for all your help and dedication to the English Setter breed.
Submitted by: Chad Lowry on Nov 12, 2006
An experience with Hillcrest Kennels has been nothing short of a joy! My setter Cody was showing tons of potential from the day I picked him up. Hillcrest Kennel is genuinely dedicated to the preservation of the quality gundog, that is the English Setter. The kennel and I are still in contact even after a year, checking on the progress my puppy has made. Whether or not you want a field trial ranging dog, or a close working dog for the foot hunter, Hillcrest Kennels can match you and your next hunting partner.

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