In animal breeding the term "Blue Hen" means a female who consistently produces quality offspring, regardless of the sire to whom she is bred. A male who consistently stamps his offspring with his own good traits is said to be prepotent. To get either of these in a breeding program is when a breeder truly begins to put their mark on their breed: They begin to produce dogs that can be identified as being from their program either by performance traits, appearance, or both. There are many breeders who produce nice dogs who perform well and look as they should. But there are fewer breeders who produce generation after generation of dogs with consistent quality and traits that can be identified as coming from that line.
I'm not sure how this much time could possibly have passed me by already, but last year I put the 7th generation of Firelight ryman setters on the ground. My little breeding program is very small, limited to only as many dogs as I can actively hunt. Reading about Blue Hens and Prepotent sires in other breeds where breeders own dozens of dogs and produce many litters a year got me to reminiscing about the wonderful females who have led me to own my current crew of 5. If you care to take a moment, take a walk back through time with me.
Cheers, and thank you, to all of these dogs and more that I have loved.