POINTER GERMAN WIREHAIRED
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
The Meaning of Sound GWP Temperament BY BERNEE BRAWN
“T emperament: Of sound, reliable temperament, the Ger- man Wirehaired Pointer is at times aloof but not unfriendly toward strangers; a loyal and affectionate companion who is eager to please and enthusiastic to learn.” To understand the temperament that is desired of the German Wire- haired Pointer, it is important to understand the historical background and use of the breed. They were developed to find game for their owners, both feather and fur, large and small, before and after the shot. Most are still used for these purposes today. This may include game birds, ducks, rabbits, feral pigs, deer, fox, and coyotes—all needing very different approaches and levels of nerve or braveness. Historically, the dog needed to have strong nerve, yet be biddable and responsive, able to gently retrieve a shot partridge, bay and hold a wild boar or dispatch vermin. The dog needed to have an “off switch” to be able to quietly and calmly accompany the hunter in a duck blind, yet be able to track and bay loudly when furred game was found. After the hunt, they were expected to be a part of the family and protect hearth and home. That’s a lot of hats for one dog to wear, but a German Wirehaired Pointer with proper temperament can wear them all. The standard tells us the dog may be “aloof ” with strangers, and this is usually true. “Aloof ” can mean cool, detached, standoffish, haughty, and/or reserved, but does not include shy, nasty, frightened or aggressive. No Wire- hair should ever present as shy or frightened, as that temperament would never be useful in its work or as a family companion. Aggression toward people or other dogs is never acceptable, but don’t confuse confidence with aggression. No Wirehair should go looking for a fight, but if challenged, a confident dog will usually not back down. Rather, it will stand its ground. A sound-minded, confident Wirehair will accept being petted. How- ever, don’t expect them to fawn over you until they have accepted you as a friend. They have a strong sense of self and of their personal space, and many don’t appreciate that space being invaded by those whom they don’t know or respect. When approaching an adult Wirehair, it is best to be upfront about it. Don’t “baby talk” to the dog, and don’t stare or be hesitant. As an owner or handler, I always appreciate those who speak to me first before putting their hands on the dog, as my acceptance of you tells my dog that all is well. Puppies can be silly things and they can test the patience of the best handlers with their antics. In the conformation ring, there may be times when the best that a judge can do is provide a good ring experience and not demand a polished performance. Now, to the flip side: Although we do want the breed to be brave with strong nerve, we also know that most German Wirehairs are clowns with their families. They have a wicked sense of humor and will go out of their way to be naughty—to get a rise out of you. They can be downright silly. To own one, you must have a sense of humor, but also a firm set of rules. They are, generally, good with children and are naturally protective of the kids in their families.
The breed is loyal and devoted to their owners and, with the right training and patience, can become very willing and cooperative partners in whatever you choose to do with them. Obedience, Agility, Tracking, Nose Work and, of course, Hunting—all things to do with a Wirehair. The breed excels at almost any sport that involves physical activity, but can rebel if trainers use a heavy hand or insist on regimental training methods. If you think that a German Wirehaired Pointer is the breed for you, we always suggest meeting as many as pos- sible from various breeders. They certainly are not the breed for everyone or every family, especially if you do not enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. To find a breeder near you, we suggest that you check out the Breeders Page on the German Wirehaired Pointer Club America’s website, www.gwpca.com .
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bernee Brawn has been involved with German Wirehaired Pointers since 1980. Her “Justa” GWPs have excelled in performance, companion, and conformation events. She has bred and owned multiple Dual Champions, National Field Champions, National Specialty Winners, and BIS dogs. Bernee has done the majority of training of her field dogs, and is an AKC judge of both field trials and hunting tests. She strongly believes in purpose-bred dogs and has worked to keep the German Wirehaired Pointer a dual purpose dog. A longtime member of the GWPCA, she most recently chaired the Standards Committee. After a lifetime in the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, area, she now resides on Pine Island in Southwest Florida with her two Border Terriers.
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BY LAURA REEVES GWPCA MEMBER AKC BREEDER OF MERIT AKC JUDGE GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER COAT
I t’s important to note that the German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) is a breed whose coat IS its definition. Just as, for example, a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier with a harsh or off-color coat would not be acceptable, neither should we, as breeders, exhibitors or judges of German WIREHAIRED Pointers, accept and/or promote coats that are far from ideal. In the meantime, let’s talk about what a GWP coat IS and what a GWP coat IS NOT. To start with, the ideal coat, the correct coat, the coat that we are all trying to produce consistently, is a harsh, dense, flat-lying coat with hair that is from one to two inches long on the body. The individual hairs are strong, straight and hard—“crisp.” The entire body coat is dense. In other words, there are a lot of strong, straight, hard hairs. This coat does not attract burrs, is practically impervious to briars and brambles, is largely waterproof, and keeps the dogs warm in the winter and cool in the sum- mer while always protecting them from damage when working in the field. The furnishings of this ideal coat are made from the same strong, straight, hard hair. The head coat is much shorter, with the appearance that the top of the head and ears are clean and nearly smooth. The beard and eyebrows, the leg hair, and the underline hair should ALL consist of this same quality of hair. The ONLY places that our standard calls for soft hair is the undercoat and between the toes. It is possible that some judges have never seen this type of coat, particu- larly if they don’t judge a significant number of these dogs or if they are new to the breed. When it shows up in their ring, they may fault it simply because it doesn’t look like the other dogs in competition The GWP standard is very explicit: “ A dog must have a correct coat to be of correct type. ” The difficulty seems to be in understanding what is correct coat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Laura is an AKC Breeder of Merit
and a retired member of the Professional Handlers
Association. Laura is a second- generation breeder of German Wirehaired Pointers, under the Scotia Kennel banner. Scotia dogs have earned well over 100 titles; in the show ring, field, and performance events. Her dedication to breeding dual purpose dogs reflects a stated goal of preserving the all-weather, rugged, sound- minded gundog the breed’s founders envisioned. Laura has served the GWPCA as AKC Gazette columnist, Judges Education Committee Member and Chair, Vice President, President, National Events Coordinator, and Wire~News Editor. Her background as a newspaper reporter, marketing rep, and researcher/writer for audio driving tours has served her well in her side projects. Her current adventures as host of PureDogTalk and The Good Dog Pod podcasts lend her particular combination of skills to outstanding breeder education channels.
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UNDERSTANDING THE GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER COAT
With this in mind, let’s look at what is NOT correct. First, a long, soft, open or wooly coat is incorrect. Unfortunately, by the time a judge sees these dogs in the ring, most of them have been body stripped, trimmed, thinned, sculpted, and sprayed into what appears to be an acceptable package. Any GWP breeder or handler worth his or her salt can take a dog and make it “look right.” The first two places to check for a correct coat are the beard and the legs. This hair is very diffi- cult to manufacture. If the beard and legs are long and soft, it’s a good bet that the coat has been over- groomed, according to the standard: “ Extreme and excessive grooming to present a dog artificial in appear- ance should be severely penalized. ” In other words, if the coat doesn’t—naturally—look like what the judge sees, the dog is being presented with an artificial appearance. Another indicator of a coat that is excessively groomed is when you see the crinkly “Terrier Jack- et” type of back coat. The GWP does NOT have a coat like an Airedale, Lakeland, Welsh, Wire Fox, Scottie, Westie or any other Terrier. It should NOT be groomed in a manner that imitates the Terrier breeds. The GWP standard calls for eyebrows to be of strong, straight hair, and the beard and whiskers to be of medium length. An incorrect coat will look and feel like a German Shorthaired Pointer. There will be no eyebrows and, at best, a few hairs at the corner of the mouth. The truly incorrect “slick” coat will almost never be shown in the conformation ring. With all of this said, it’s time to consider judging priorities. Correct coat is a requirement for correct type. An incorrect coat is a FUNCTION FAULT: Soft, rolling toplines; splayed feet; restricted move- ment; shallow, concave chests; mismatched angles— all of these, and many more, are “function faults.” They apply to the breed’s primary function, which is to serve as a utilitarian, multi-purpose hunting dog. Light eye color, head shape (other than the length and depth of muzzle [required] for retrieving game) and other “aesthetic” faults in no way affect the dog’s hunting ability. A judge may have a ring full of dogs, yet none with the ideal coat. (Or the best coats may be on the worst physical specimens.) Please prioritize by func- tion. Good running gear is functional. Correct coat is functional AND necessary for correct type. Wirehairs are tough, rugged dogs created by a no-nonsense people to perform difficult work. This is what they were 150 years ago, and it is what they are and should be today. Trying to remake our breed into “pretty” dogs only caters to the “generic show dog” mentality that has been so roundly and sound- ly repudiated by far greater minds in the dog fancy than mine. There is distinct beauty in a sound Wire- hair with a correct coat that is groomed naturally. There is strength, agility, and nobility of purpose in the dog that defines the breed.
Correct coat is a requirement for correct type.
276 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION
GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTERS: A Study
JOY BREWSTER I live in Newtown, CT and I have and run a commercial kennel. Outside of dogs, I do some civic work and play golf when I can. I was born into a dog breed- ing family—literally. As for showing, I finished my first home bred champion at 7 years old. I retired from more than 35 years as a professional dog handler to judge in 2002. STEVEN HERMAN kayak regularly, run, play tennis, cycle and practice yoga. I love a variety of music and entertainment, so my wife and I attend concerts, plays and see films, whenever we can. We like to travel, too. I’ve been involved in the dog world for thirty-six years. I have showed the entire time and been judg- ing twenty-two of those. LAURA MYLES I live 30 miles northeast of Seattle. I judge pointing dog field trials and hunt tests. I grew up in a dog show family with Ger- man Shorthairs. I’ve been judging in field events since the ear- ly 80s; I’ve been judging conformation for more than 20 years. SHARON PINKERTON I live in Wesley Chapel, Florida. I am retired from the practice of law, but still carry a small case load. I mediate dog-related cases and, also, manage mat- ters for those in court when necessary. I advise corporations in their business and assist individuals with family, crimi- nal and civil matters. On the play side, I
I live on Bethel Island (yes, we have a bridge). I am an avid golfer, and am on the Oakley, California committee for Relay for Life, a 24-hour event supporting Ameri- can Cancer Society. (I am a survivor, so have been blessed with the ability to give back!) How long have I been in the dog world? Well, I just turned 62, so pretty close to 60 years involvement! I handled professionally for close to 30 years, and have been judging for 10 years. 1. Describe the breed in three words. JB: Loyal, intelligent and cunning. SH: Wiry, hunter and versatile. LM: Unique appearance, intelligence and working ability.
SP: Charismatic, independent and stubborn. GS: Multi-functional, rugged and balanced.
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? JB: Soundness, balance, head and expression as well as proper coat. SH: Must have traits include being well muscled; medium sized; balanced; wire-like coat; free and smooth movement with good reach and drive; and, sound temperament. LM: Sound mind, proper coat and drive to work. SP: Temperament, coat and length of body. Temperament includes any issues towards dogs as well as people—it is just not acceptable in my mind. Coat is always a difficult thing to get as with using some of the German lines you tend to get a much closer coat than the ideal. Length of body: the breed shouldn’t be a GSP with a wire coat; we need to keep that length of body. GS: 1) Wirey and/or harsh coat for protection, 2) well muscled and of medium sized and 3) a strong topline. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? JB: Trimming, furnishings and bone. SH: Some exaggerated traits include the hind legs being more than moderately angulated and this can, sometimes, cause the topline to have more than a perceptible slope. LM: Lack of balance, clean movement coming/going and manufactured coats. SP: I think we are losing the length and depth of ribs, which comes with using the shorter bodied dogs/bitches. All too often I’m seeing dogs that have a very steep under- line that clearly show that the rib cage is shorter than
I live in North Lincs in England, close to the River Humber. Showing, training and owning a boarding kennels doesn’t leave much time outside of dogs to do much else, but I enjoy equestrian sports and going to watch live music and theatre. I was very fortunate that my family had show dogs,
but I owned my first show dog in 1967 and been showing dogs ever since. My first judging appointment was in the mid 1980s.
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ideal and the back ribs lack length and that will be very difficult to reverse. GS: Not really! This can be an elegant, yet quite durable breed, and when viewed, presents a picture of rugged endurance! I personally prefer them to be groomed and presented well for the show ring, as I do any “show dog”. I do not feel they are being over-groomed, to the contrary, I believe the owners and/or handlers should take the time to hand strip the coats, in keeping with the wirey coat required of this breed! 4. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? JB: New judges must understand the difference between a natural versus a “manufactured” coat, as well as accept- able colors. SH: New judges often misunderstand how important the wire coat is and forgive what should be severely penal- ized. This goes for extreme and excessive grooming, also. The coat does not have to be long to have texture and be protective. The judges should consider controlling the speed at which this breed is moved. It should be evalu- ated at a moderate gait. Care should be taken that a dog is not penalized for being aloof. LM: Aloof doesn’t mean shy. To be correct breed type is a package deal made up of proper coat and conformation. SP: I still think there is a huge issue with front angulation and the actual assessment of it in the ring. Upright shoul- ders and upright short upper arms are wrong, although they do give extra height at the withers giving almost a generic show dog shape—height at the forehand, sloping topline and lots of angles behind. Without the correct length and layback of the upper arm it can also give the impression of having no fore chest or lacking depth of chest whereas if that upper arm was more correct it would place the foreleg in the correct position and more likely fix the fore chest and lack of depth issues. Also, as far as length of body, this is an important feature for the breed so it must be recognized and judges be made aware that the length comes from the ribs and not the loin, which also ties in the general lack of rib length and depth I’ve mentioned above. GS: This is not a German Shorthaired Pointer with wire coat! 5. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? JB: The GWP was developed as a personal hunter, family companion and guardian of the property. They are very intuitive about people and loyal to their family. They are very smart and conniving and can be comical at times. This is not a breed for everyone, as they tend to be strong willed. They enjoy challenges, games and sharing time with their humans. SH: I would like to share that breeders are making an effort to avoid a split between show and field by testing their dogs to maintain versatility. That means judges should keep what they have been taught about the original func- tion of the breed in the forefront of their minds when
judging. Prioritize selections accordingly. Look for an athletic dog. Look for strengths that insure a dog will not break down or tire when working. Assist those exhibitors who strive to maintain versatile dogs. LM: Their intelligence and ability to learn combined with sense of humor really makes the breed. SP: Just be mindful that the breed is fully capable of doing the whole thing, being a hunting gun dog capable of finding game, retrieving tenderly, tracking wounded game and yet that same dog can go into the ring and win at the highest level. Show fashion dictates presentation in the show ring, but as breeders we must keep the dual purpose aspect the breed is well known for and place our puppies into homes that recognize that natural instinct and can actual nurture and cope with the natural working aspect. GS: Again, this is not a GSP! The coat has to be wirey and hand striped—not soft and fuzzy. This breed has no place for neither shyness nor aggression. It should not move choppy or stilted, but rather with good reach and drive, well muscled and never exaggerated. 6. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? JB: While I was a still a handler, I along with many of us attended shows in the MA-RI area after the New England Circuit of yesteryear. It was on a Sunday and we were all pretty tired and it was a hot day. Most people had already left the show to go home and those of us remaining for Group judging were looking for a “pick-me-up”. Well I organized a group of about 7 ladies of the “ole-guard” status and sat them at the end of the ring and gave them pieces of paper with large black numbers on them from 1 to 4. As the men in the group ring were doing their down and backs, these ladies held up numbers rating their posteriors. This was absolutely hysterical and everyone enjoyed a good laugh as some of the men were really put- ting on a show. SH: The late George Heitzman could keep one laughing in and out of the ring. One incident that involved me occurred when he asked that I complete a triangle and I, promptly, went down and back to the corner of the ring. When I returned, he asked, “What drafting school did you attend?” LM: I was doing obedience with a GWP that watched me do the entire heeling pattern by myself, much to the spectators’ enjoyment. SP: My funniest moment? That would be trying to show an experienced Champion dog that has gone on point at a bird that was sitting in the tree right next to our ring. GS: Oh, this could take a while! I think it would be when we helped dye a GSP pink for James Moran to exhibit to Emil Klinkhardt in the group ring! Emil, with his typical grace and good humor, simply took the entire group around together, and pointed to James to leave the ring before he examined the first dog. (Ch. Brittania Von Sibelstein... the real GSP in that group, went on to Group 1, that day!)
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by Judy Cheshire WhAT CAN A GerMAN WirehAired POiNTer DO FOR YOU?
T he German Wirehaired Pointer was originally bred to be a “ver- satile” gun dog. Th ey had to be adaptable to a myriad of situa- tions. Not only were they used on many types of game—upland birds, waterfowl, fox, hare, roe deer—but in many types of cover, from the forest to the open fi elds. Th eir purpose not only included hunting to put food on the table or for sport, but to be a family companion and often to be the guardian of a small farm or business in town. Th e standard states “the Ger- man Wirehaired Pointer is an intelligent, energetic and determined hunter.” It also says that the GWP is a “loyal and a ff ec- tionate companion who is eager to please and enthusiastic to learn”. What do these things mean in terms of “What can a Wirehair do for you?”
Most people interested in this breed enjoy hunting or competing in events that utilize the dogs’ abilities in that area. However, fi nding land and opportunities to actually hunt are ever decreasing. Con- sidering the numbers of GWPs registered with AKC, the percentage of “Dual” dogs (Dual Champions or Bench Champions with an Amateur Field Championship or Master Hunter title) is quite high. Th ose involved in this breed have worked hard to keep it that way, breeding for correct con- formation and natural ability in the fi eld. Th e breed was created to hunt both feather and fur, in varied terrain, to retrieve both on land and in water and to have the capa- bility to track wounded game. Th ese capa- bilities go a long way in preparing the dog to compete in multiple venues. Th e AKC provides the GWP with many sports to
test its natural instincts in the fi eld. Ger- man Wirehaired Pointers are currently one of only four Pointing breeds that are required to earn retrieving points and one of just two breeds that must pass a water test to become an AKC Field Champion. Field trials, both horseback and walking, are readily available in all areas of the country for those who enjoy the competi- tion and want to see their dogs win! For those who get pleasure out of working with their dogs but are content to see them succeed rather than compete against oth- ers, AKC o ff ers Hunting Tests, from the Junior level, which evaluates natural abil- ity, to the Master level, for a more polished gun dog. NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) and some other organizations also o ff er tests for Pointing dogs. All these events allow
226 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2014
a dog to be judged according to a written standard of excellence with a pass or fail score. Due to the historical nature of this breed’s versatility and the requirement of its parent club that it must have the ability to retrieve on land and in water, the Ger- man Wirehaired Pointer is now allowed to also enter Retriever Hunting Tests as well as those for Pointing breeds. All these events could certainly keep a GWP and its owner busy for a while! Not everyone hunts, but there are many who admire the breed and think they might like to have one as a pet. Th ey can make excellent pets and housedogs but they have a natural inclination to “do something” besides lying quietly at your feet! Wirehairs are an active and inventive breed! If they’re unable to use their basic talents to hunt, they need an alternative job. If you don’t provide them with a con- structive pathway, they’ll fi nd activities on their own to occupy their time. As a pet owner, you may not appreciate a GWPs idea of entertainment. Left to their own devices, without attention and guidance from their owner, they might delve into redecorating your home or redesigning
“...iT MusT hAve The AbiliTy TO reTrieve ON lANd ANd iN WATer...”
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2014 • 227
“THOSE ADORABLE, FUZZY FACES ARE VERY APPEALING...”
your collection of shoes! Th ey also have a very strong sense of self, so they need an environment where there is patience, understanding and an ability to set limits. A Wirehair has a strong desire to be part of a family unit and if you include them, they are loyal and devoted companions. Th ey are perfect for a family with an active life- style. Something as simple as walking or jogging with “their person”, hiking, camp- ing or going to work with you on a daily basis is satisfying for this breed. If you want to own a German Wirehaired Point- er, you must not only meet their physical need for adequate exercise but also engage their minds in a productive way. Th ey just need to be involved. Isolation and bore- dom are their worst enemies! How about general care of a Wire- hair? Th ose adorable, fuzzy faces are very appealing; however, they do enjoy clean- ing their beards on the couch after they eat. Coat care is important and coats in
this breed are inconsistent. Plan on learn- ing about how to keep them looking good from the breeder you purchase your puppy from. Be aware that the best coats are relatively easy, but the ones with more coat require more care. Th eir excellent scenting ability and desire to “ fi nd” make them intuitive track- ing dogs. Th ere are many opportunities to utilize these qualities. Tracking Tests are one venue. Teaching a dog to follow scent and fi nd an object at the end of their quest is a natural pursuit for a GWP. Th ere are also new and evolving sports such as Barn Hunt and Nose Work that are natural activities for these dogs. Besides structured sports, Wirehairs make very good Search and Rescue Dogs and are often utilized by law enforcement as narcotic or explo- sives detection dogs. Th eir natural prey drive also makes them good candidates for the C.A.T., or Coursing Ability Test. Th is is an activity that’s lots of fun for dogs
and owners alike. Th ese are certainly not Coursing dogs, per se, but chasing without getting in trouble seems to be something that they thoroughly enjoy! Th ey are well suited for both Agility and Obedience. But, keep in mind that they have a unique sense of humor and may try and teach you a variation on an exercise! German Wirehaired Pointers are de fi nitely team players but often think of themselves as the “MVP”! Th ey are fun and satisfying to train but they will always tend to keep their individuality. Repetition and drill- ing may sometime need to be put aside for praise, reward and well-earned play time. If there is something you enjoy doing, your GWP will gladly have a go at it! Most importantly, they want to be part of what- ever you do. Versatile, adaptable, fl exible, resourceful and useful—a German Wire- haired Pointer is a wonderful companion, but not without an investment of time, love and resources.
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JUDGING THE GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER
By Judy Cheshire
he German Wirehaired Pointer is first and fore- most a versatile hunting dog. It was developed by a pragmatic people to find game, point it
ity for muscling? As you put your hands on the dog to evaluate him, remember that this dog should be sound, both physically and mentally, and functional. “Function” is the key to all aspects of the standard. For example, if you have a dog with a light eye and one with a soft, open coat, keep in mind that the dog can see with an undesir- able colored eye, but cannot be protected in dense, harsh cover or in cold water with a bad coat. Approach the dog from the
front so that it can see you and confidently put your hands on him. Wirehairs usually have a strong sense of self and their per- sonal space. Not a breed you should stare at or “coo” at! From the side, the head should give a rectangular appearance, the impression of two rectangles with parallel planes and relatively equal length. Facial furnishing (beard and eyebrows) should be present, in order to be protective, but not over-
and retrieve it on both land and in water and to blood track wounded game as well. Its quarry was varied and ranged from upland birds and waterfowl to rabbit, fox and roe deer. Th e terrain that these dogs hunted was diverse and besides versatility, adaptability was a key goal in its develop- ment. In this breed, a good percentage of the dogs that you’ll see are in some way utilized in the field. Th erefore, prioritiz- ing by function is the most positive way that you can judge. Th e essence of the breed is a rough coated, athletically built, versatile hunting dog—practical, low maintenance, e ffi cient. Many judges don’t see significant numbers of German Wirehaired Pointers. Th is, in itself, makes it a di ffi cult breed for some to evaluate. Additionally, it’s often misrepresented as a German Short- haired Pointer with a rough coat and furnishingss—it is, rather, a breed onto itself and not, nor was it ever, a “variety”. Our standard, just like many other breed standards, doesn’t always present a crystal clear picture of its intent and interpreta- tion can be di ffi cult. Th ere are also no disqualifications in our standard. Th at doesn’t mean that “anything goes” or that no matter how much an individual dog deviates from the standard, it should be awarded championship points. When a class of German Wirehaired Pointers enters the ring, get a first impres- sion of the dog that you’re judging. Th e silhouette of the dog should be immedi- ately identifiable as a GWP. Is the outline pleasing, is the dog balanced, is there sub- stance without coarseness? Do you get the impression of athleticism and good capac-
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done. Eyebrows should appear natural and are never scissored—GWPs should not be trimmed to look like terriers or Giant Schnauzers. Don’t necessarily penalize a dog for sparse facial furnishings as very often excellently coated dogs do not have abundant furnishings. Remember that the coat on the dog’s skull should be naturally short and close fitting. Th e ears are round- ed at the tips, not too broad and hang close to the head and should be set just above the level of the eye. Th e correct bite is scissors and complete dentition is preferred. When examining a dog’s mouth, there’s no need to count teeth, but large gaps should be noted. Th e jaws are strong and should be su ffi ciently deep to carry game. Th e eyes are brown and slightly oval in shape. A dark eye is very pleasing and adds to the correct expression of the dog. Although we have dogs with lighter eyes in the breed, we are rarely seeing the yellow “bird of prey” eyes that were more com- mon years ago. A young dog may have a lighter eye with a darker ring around the iris. Th ey will darken over time, sometimes taking up to three years to achieve their adult color. Eye rims should be close fitting to keep out irritating seeds, grasses and other irritating debris. Th e nose is brown, never black or flesh colored. Th e neck is slightly arched and should have enough length and strength for the dog to retrieve and easily carry a good- sized pheasant or goose. Proportionately, the body from the sternum to ischium is slightly longer than from withers to ground. Th e forechest is defined, with the brisket extending to the elbow, enabling good heart and lung capacity. Although the chest is developed, it shouldn’t be so wide as to interfere in any way with the action of the forelegs. Th e back is short and strong with a perceptible slope from withers to croup. Perceptible means that you should be able to recognize that there is a slope, it doesn’t mean exaggerated. Ribs are well sprung and the underline extends well back to form a gradual tuck- up, which is apparent. Th e croup is gen- tly rounded, showing no tendency to fall away sharply and the tail is a continuation of the spinal column and should be car- ried at or above the horizontal when the
“THE FEET OF A GWP ARE WEBBED and slightly oval in outline, with toes well arched and close.”
dog is moving and alert. Th e entire out- line of the dog should flow smoothly. Although the standard calls for the tail to be docked to approximately two-fifths of its original length, this is often a per- sonal preference and the docked length is obviously man-made. Th e length of a docked tail is not a reason to ever fault an otherwise good dog. Th e feet of a GWP are webbed and slightly oval in outline, with toes well arched and close. A tight foot with good depth of pad protects the dog from stones, sand spurs, burrs, thorns and other sundry hazards on the ground while hunting. Shoulders should be well laid back with hindquarter angulation balancing that of the front. Good angula- tion facilitates a smooth, ground-covering stride and balance of those angles enable correct foot timing and promotes endur- ance in a dog that is working. Th e gait is harmonious, e ff ortless and purposeful and the topline should remain firm when the dog is moving. Th e standard mentions that the “leg bones are flat, rather than round”, in reality, the bone is oval, not flat. Th e natural functional double coat is the hallmark of the breed. Th e standard states that “a dog must have correct coat to be of correct type”. Th e coat is weather
resistant and to some extent, water-repel- lent. Th e outer coat is straight, harsh, wiry and flat lying. It is long enough to protect the dog against the punishment of rough cover, but not so long as to hide the out- line of the dog. Th e coat on the skull and ears is naturally short and close fitting, however the ears may have wisps of longer hair or a “fringe”. Th e undercoat is softer and shorter and may be dense enough in winter to insulate against the cold but may be quite thin in summer—but, undercoat should always be present to some degree.
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Leg furnishings should not be excessive and should have some wiry texture. Th e hair in the liver body patches may be shorter than the rest of the outer coat. Th e correct puppy coat may be shorter than that of an adult coat but will show some signs of the coarse texture. Th e coat on this breed was originally intended to be “wash and wear”, designed by a pragmatic people who would not be bothered with a high maintenance coat. However, there are many inconsistencies in coat type and tex- ture. It is not uncommon to see a smooth coat. Obviously this is incorrect. A shorter, harsh coat with wiry texture and evidence of guard hairs is perfectly acceptable. Soft, wooly or cottony coats are not protective and should be penalized. Th ey merely tend to attract dirt, burrs and seeds and are det- rimental in the water. Coats should not be clippered or scissored—there should be no need for it. Bad coats can be trimmed and made to appear quite acceptable, but a judge can only evaluate what is presented to him. Excessive grooming to present a dog artificial in appearance is truly not desirable in this breed. Th e color of the dog is liver and white and may have roaning, ticking or patches; or it may also be solid liver, sometimes with a white blaze on its chest or with some amount of white on its feet. In relation to our standard, “liver” can vary in shade from chocolate to dark seal brown, and can
appear to be almost black in certain light- ing. A liver and white or solid liver dog will always have a brown nose, as is required in the standard. Although the standard says that “any black in the coat is to be severely penalized”, I have never seen a liver or liver and white dog with any black in its coat and I don’t believe that it is genetically pos- sible. If the dog has a brown nose, you can be assured that it is liver and white without any black in its coat. A black and white dog will have a black nose and is not accom- modated in our standard, although it is acceptable in some other countries. Th e head and ears are also required to be liver, but a blaze on the head is perfectly accept- able, providing that the color around both eyes is liver. Th e beard of a dog may be dis- colored due to sun or saliva and should not be faulted. Judges should always be aware of the color of a dog and keep in mind that the standard calls for a liver and white dog. Temperament is sound and reliable. A GWP may be aloof to strangers and ini- tially cautious. Th is caution should not be misinterpreted as shyness. Temperament should always be sound and aggression toward people should never be tolerated. Breeders of German Wirehaired Point- ers have made every e ff ort to keep bench and field dogs “one breed”. Considering the total number of GWPs registered, we have a very large number of Dual Champi- ons and dual titled dogs. Th ere have been
several Dual Champion Best in Show dogs and it is not unusual for a Dual Cham- pion to win the GWPCA National Field Championship. Wirehairs have become contenders in the show ring and at field trials. Judges can help us in our endeavor by keeping the working qualities of the breed in mind when evaluating our dogs. Above all, please don’t fault judge. Stan- dards often point out faults and areas to be penalized without bothering to emphasize the importance of positive characteristics. Consider the dog as a total package and remember that our goal is to continue to produce dogs that can do what they were originally intended to do—hunt long, hard and intelligently. BIO Judy has had German Wirehaired Pointers since 1976, breeding and/or own- ing multiple BIS dogs and group winners under the “Heywire” prefix, as well as obedience dogs to the UD level and field dogs with both the Master Hunter and Field Champion titles. She is approved by AKC to judge several breeds, including GWPs, and also has judged AKC Hunting Tests and Field Trials. Judy is currently Chair of the GWPCA Judges Education Committee and the Show Events Advisory Committee and has served the parent club in the past as President, Secretary and “AKC Gazette” columnist.
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