STEPPING FROM FIELD TO SHOW
“A GWP should have a brave and upstanding temperament, and while he may not appreciate a judge going over him, he must prove his stability by allowing it.”
The dog should be in good physical condition. He should be fit and in shape. All GWPs that walk into the ring should be in good working condition. A fat, sloppy dog does not fit our Standard. Remember, this is a breed that should appear ath- letic, ready to go, and be able to go all day long. A dog that looks like it has been half-starved is not in good condition either. Ribs and hip bones should be covered, but not hidden under a layer of fat. Dogs that are being actively campaigned may be heavily muscled in the shoulder and thigh areas, and these areas may appear or feel lumpy. A good judge will use their hands and eyes to decide if this muscling is appropriate and proper, or hiding poor structure underneath. While a dog that self-stacks and moves at the end of the lead is impressive, it really has nothing to with the quality of the dog. Teach your dog to stand still; especially while a judge is examining it. Some dogs may need some exposure to being examined so that they feel comfortable with having a stranger in such close proximity. Wires are jealous of “their space” and many don’t like people (or dogs) in their faces. A GWP should have a brave and upstanding temperament, and while he may not appreciate a judge going over him, he must prove his stabil- ity by allowing it. Any GWP that refuses to be examined or that shows aggression or fear in the ring should be excused. Teach your dog to gait calmly and boldly on a lead. Your dog needs to move both away from and back to a judge in a straight line so that its movement can be evaluated. A GWP should have free, clean, and ground-covering movement. A properly built GWP should have a tight body, free from rolling and shuffling.
A dog that does not (whether by poor training or by improper structure) or cannot reach with its front, and drive with its rear, is not covering the most ground with little effort. Your dog will also be asked to move around the ring so that the judge can evaluate his side movement. A dog that is calm and sure of itself will certainly look and move better than one that is straining and fighting the entire way around the ring. Remember, the judge needs to see how the dog is using itself. If they cannot see the legs and feet, they cannot judge the dog. When the ribbons are handed out, win or lose, remember to be a good sport. You may not agree with the judge’s decisions, but once they are made it’s over. As breeders and exhibitors, we have a choice to enter or not enter our dogs. It’s our responsibility to know which judges truly understand our breed, and which judges simply view them as a “filler” breed. Just as in the field, there are judges who put more emphasis on certain characteristics; there are judges who are more knowledgeable than others. And then there are judges who really should not be judging dogs. It’s up to us to know which is which. Our breed has a pretty darn good record of producing Dual Champions (considering how few are registered each year) and for this we should be very proud. We have not gone the route of the Setters and Spaniels (show vs. field), and every GWP should be a “field dog.” It’s what the breed is! Our goal as breeders, exhibi- tors, and judges should be to make sure that this trend continues; that the German Wirehaired Pointer continues to be one breed, mentally and physically fit to do whatever task is asked of it. 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 Hunt 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.
208 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2022
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