About Us

Hunting dog trainer team awards

30 years of experience

Multi-Terrain Training Ranch

Multi-Terrain Training Ranch

Big Sky Kennels is an award-winning training group for premier hunting dogs / flushing gun dogs with over 30 years of experience.  Whether you are looking for a trainer to mold your pup into a started gun dog hunting companion or you would like to purchase an already trained hunting dog, Big Sky Kennels is here to help.


 Our success can be measured by the number of repeat customers that come back to Big Sky Kennels for more trained hunting dogs over the years.

hunting dog training facility

Multi-Terrain Training Ranch

Multi-Terrain Training Ranch

Multi-Terrain Training Ranch

Located in ten miles outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota, in the Rye township, Big Sky Kennels operates a private gun dog training ranch with various natural upland cover terrains and many water hole locations, ideal for dog training. 


We raise our own chukars, quails, and ducks for the sole purpose of live prey use for dog training.  Equipped with remote activated mechanical throwers, the prairie land ranch is designed for all training sets needed for each training phase.

good hunting dog breed

Quality canine breeds

Multi-Terrain Training Ranch

Quality canine breeds

Because the best started gun dogs begin with excellent breeding, we recommend our customers purchase spaniel pups bred by Oahe Kennels or British Lab pups bred by Diamond J British Labs.


Although we will accept dogs from other reputable breeders, we recommend using these breeders due to our years of past experience in the development of effective gun dogs.  Both breeders are exceptional at breeding canines with excellent health and behavior heritage.

Our Trainers

John Staley Big Sky Kennels master trainer

John Staley

Since 1977, John Staley has been working with dogs to hunt game birds of the great plains, such as waterfowl and upland birds, in North Dakota.  Improving his skills over the years, Staley has refined the art of the finding haunts of the game birds, when to draw them in, where best to stalk and trail them with a flusher, and understanding wind scenting conditions in dog training.   As a long-time member of the spaniel field trial community, Staley has been able to improve his skills by studying the best journeyman type educational processes.

Sarah Hill big sky kennels dog training

Sarah (Staley) Hill

Specializing in the training of pups from the age of 8 to 16 weeks old, trainer Sarah Hill, daughter of John Staley, will enhance the overall results of skilled, yet affectionate, started gun dogs / hunting dogs.  Sarah runs the Minnesota training facility of Big Sky Kennels and can also be found at many hunting tests around the region.

Nick Walters Big Sky Kennels hunting dog training

Nick Walters

Nick is a skilled trainer and handler at the Big Sky Kennels hunting dog training ranch in North Dakota.  He is an award winning handler of started gun dogs / hunting dogs.  When he is not training dogs, you can also find him at various hunting tests around the region.  

Our Breeders & affiliates

Diamond J British Labs

Diamond J British Labs

Diamond J British Labs

Diamond J British Labs

Diamond J British Labs is the home of imported Labrador Retrievers, with proven hunting lines that include Field Trial Champions (FTC), Field Trial Winners (FTW) and International Field Trial Champions (IFTC), titled in the UK.  


 Located in New London, MN, Diamond J studies the bloodlines, genetics, physical features and personalities, prior to breeding, to produce superior puppies. 

Tom Ness Oahe Kennels

Oahe Kennels

Diamond J British Labs

Diamond J British Labs

  Established in 1984, Oahe Kennels, located in Menoken, North Dakota, is owned and operated by Tom Ness.  Oahe Kennels breeds stellar Cocker, Springer and Lab puppies as well as started and trained dogs.  All the dogs in their breeding program are selected for temperament, soundness, natural retrieving ability and drive. In addition to being excellent hunting dogs, Oahe dogs are also great household pets.