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Cooper Goes to Hollywood With Duck Dynasty

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by Susan Winslow

The Poodle has always been known for its keen intelligence and people-friendly nature, but until relatively recently, the breed has not generally been associated with hunting. Indeed, the very name of Rich and Angie Louter’s operation, Louter Creek Hunting Poodles, may at first sound a bit like an oxymoron. But then you meet Cooper, and all that changes pretty quickly.

Standard Poodles have generally been viewed by the public in recent history as the supermodels of the dog world; big pompadour hair, high maintenance, and a haughty, regal air. Standard Poodles romping through swamps? Retrieving waterfowl? Not so much. So when Rich Louter took on a Standard Poodle to train as a hunting dog, more than a few eyebrows were raised in their hometown of Moreland, Georgia.

But Rich Louter has been training dogs of every breed for over twenty years, and he knows a good dog when he sees one. He laughs when he recalls how Cooper actually found him, “It was almost a ‘choose the wife or choose the dog situation! When I met Angie, I knew I wanted to marry her, but her daughter, Lexie, has very bad allergies to dogs. Dogs are a big part of my life, so we compromised by finding a Poodle for Lexie because it’s a non-allergenic breed, and everyone was happy.”

Along came UH UGA HRCH MHR Southern Standards Red Creole, MH, WCX, known affectionately as “Cooper.” He was headed for a life in the show ring with Lexie as she pursued Junior Showmanship, but a top groomer and handler took a look at the young dog and pronounced him not quite show quality. So the energetic pup went to boot camp with Rich and surprised everyone when he found his true calling as a hunting dog. Rich says, “I’ve trained a lot of hunting dogs: Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, etc. You can imagine there was some skepticism when we showed up at those first few Hunt Tests with a Standard Poodle, but Cooper was amazing right from the start. He is so intelligent, people-oriented and willing to please, you could tell right away that he loved having a job. Poodles have really good brains and a strong work ethic, so he took to this very quickly.”

Now, at six years of age, Cooper has conquered the world of hunting dogs, taking every top honor in the country. Angie says with pride, “Cooper is the first and only Standard Poodle in history that holds all three of the top Hunt Test Titles in the AKC, UKC and NAHR. He was also honored by the Poodle Club of America with the top Working Field Title and he is in the Apricot Red Poodle Club Hall Of Fame.”

 Cooper’s reputation, accomplishments and charisma caught the attention of a talent scout, opening a new door for this gifted superstar into the world of show business. Through his agent at Top Dog Talent Agency, Cooper was recently invited to star in the 2013 season opener of the runaway A&E hit “Duck Dynasty,” a reality series featuring Phil Robertson, the multi-millionaire inventor of “Duck Commander” duck calls and his family. Rich says, “It was an incredible opportunity. I’ve been a big fan of Phil Robertson and the rest of the ‘Duckmen’ for many years, way before this show, because they are consummate outdoorsmen. I also like the show, so we were honored to be asked.”

 Rich was nervous about their appearance on the show, but he also had confidence in the training he had done with his and his client’s dogs, and Cooper’s ability to meet the challenge of hunting with someone new on camera. He says, “Many people don’t know this, but the Standard Poodle has a very ancient history as a foundation for many of the modern breeds, and they were prized as hunting dogs in the 1500s and 1600s. So although Poodles are not necessarily thought of as hunting dogs today, it really is in their background.” That played right into the episode of Duck Dynasty, where the story line is that Si’s Retriever wouldn’t behave as a retriever out dove hunting, so he took off to find a replacement and came back with, of all things, a Poodle. There is much hilarity as the rest of the guys check out the new dog with a gimlet eye, but Cooper, or “Killller” as he’s called on the show, steps up like a superstar and leaves the guys speechless with his obedient, alert quickness and agility as a retriever.

 Rich and Angie took three Labradors to play the parts of the guys’ regular hunting dogs, as well as Cooper and a ‘backup’ poodle, Cooper’s daughter, Whiskey. Rich says, “The Labs were fantastic. We took our dogs and our client’s dogs to the set at a private hunting club in Louisiana. It was a full day of shooting and the Labs, Ruby, Luke and JuJu (Juniper), did everything we asked. Even Ruby, whose role in the episode was edited to make her look like she wasn’t following Si’s directions, was really spot on. I was a little nervous because Cooper has only hunted with me in the field, but he was just incredible and the guys loved him. Everyone on the set was as nice as they seem on the show, and it was a great experience for all of us. I was really proud of all the dogs and it was great to see Cooper open the eyes of these experienced hunters to the value of a Standard Poodle as a hunting dog.”

 Cooper is also proving that he has the mettle to produce top quality show dogs. His daughter, Grace, shown by handler Miyuki Ueno, is making her mark in the show ring. Angie reports with pride, “On the weekend of March 1 and 2, 2013, Grace won Winners Bitch both days from the puppy class at Hilton Head, South Carolina. These were big wins, and we are really excited about her future.” As word about Cooper’s many accomplishments spreads, the interest in him is growing. She says, “Last year I had an inquiry from Vinessa Alones wanting to breed her AKC Champion Apricot to our Cooper. When I asked her why she was interested in Cooper, she told me she wanted her pups to have his “brains”! I got my pick pup and that is Grace. As soon as she finishes her Championship title she will return home to the field for some more retriever training and hopefully will do her daddy even more proud.”

 Rich specializes in training Retrievers and personal Gundogs for Upland, Waterfowl and Retriever Trials. He and Angie are responsible about breeding their dogs, planning for each litter only when there is enough interest to do so. Rich explains, “We love these dogs. We are in this because we truly care about them, and it is very important to us that each puppy goes to the right home. We breed for puppies with exceptional, people-friendly temperaments, and we require each interested family to send us a letter of introduction so we can be sure it will be a good fit. Some pups are naturally inclined to be working dogs, while others are more likely to make good family pets. With Cooper’s accomplishments, there is a lot of interest and we’re very pleased to see that his offspring really have his unique combination of disposition, intelligence and athletic ability.”

 With Rich’s patient, consistent and insightful training, Cooper has proven that a Standard Poodle is capable of conquering all the major Hunt Tests and producing quality progeny that excel as both show dogs and gun dogs. Cooper’s brush with Hollywood hasn’t gone to his head and Rich reports with a smile that this exceptional champion is still, “Just a really cool dog.”

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Posted by on Apr 16 2013. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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