JUDGING CONFORMATION FOR FIELD ABILITY: THE GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER
set too low or too high (Terrier Tail—yuck!). We want our dogs to look good when on point. GWPs should have good feet—after all, when running all day, the feet are shock absorbers, and good, thick pads will serve a dog well when he runs through a cactus patch. Splayed feet will eventu- ally lead to a dog that completely breaks down, and cat feet will not be efficient shock-absorbers. Size is important—too small, and he can’t handle a goose, and too big, and he’ll tend to “break down” quicker. And a dog that is too “course,” with heavy bone, will not be very agile in the field. A dog that is too fine-boned will not be the “brush buster” that hunters need, either. A strong, solid jaw is needed for a GWP, which is expected to retrieve as part of his job description. The rectangular jaw is the perfect shape to carry a large bird, such as a pheasant or a duck. The jaw is balanced by the rectangular-shaped skull. The strong neck and good shoulders are also necessary for a dog that is expect- ed to do multiple retrieves. Correct ear-set and dark-brown eyes give the dog a pleasing expression, but aren’t as critical to a hunter. And coat color is a “personal preference,” with different people believing that certain colors are more visible in the field, depending on the conditions. I think that I can see my solid livers in the field the best, unless they’re in the rimrocks looking for chukar. Others prefer the vis- ibility of white coats, unless they’re hunting in the snow. And, of course, there is the infinite combination of liver and white hairs that creates our liver roan, liver-spotted, and liver-ticked dogs. For a serious hunter (and judge), color should be of minimal concern. So, the next time you’re looking at a class of GWPs in the show ring, picture those dogs working in the field, and consid- er how each virtue and fault will affect the dogs’ performance in the field. Then select the dog that should make the best hunting companion. And, if you’re a hunter looking for your next hunting buddy— whether you’re looking for a puppy or an adult dog—you should consider the dog’s conformation and how it will affect performance in the field.
will render him completely useless when the hunter fires his shot- gun. A dog that shows aggression towards other dogs will mean that the hunter will never be able to hunt with his buddies who also have hunting dogs—after all, nobody wants to hunt with a guy whose dog is continually interfering with the other guys’ dogs. What if the dog doesn’t like other people? Imagine that your dog has disappeared over the ridge, where your buddy is hunt- ing. You ask your buddy to get the dog for you, and the dog runs away from him, and in the opposite direction as you. Now you’ve got to spend your time hunting for your dog, instead of hunting with your dog for birds! Not to mention, who wants a hunting buddy that none of your friends can touch? That’s not a dog to be proud of. Also, remember that hunting season is no more than four months out of the year—the GWP will be a member of the family when not hunting, so he better have a temperament you can live with! For a hunter, those are the “biggies”—temperament, coat, movement, and overall soundness. Another thing a hunter will look at is tailset. GWPs will not be quite as beautiful as a Setter or Pointer when it’s pointing, but we certainly don’t want a tail that is
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jodi Quesnell and her husband, Tom, got their first German Wirehaired Pointer in 1999. That dog became the breed’s first Best in Show Dual Champion, BIS BISS DC AFC Jetset’s Ragtop Day at Scotia CD JH CGC. Breeding under the kennel name Idawire GWPs, Tom competes in AKC Pointing Breed Field Trials and Jodi competes in Conformation. Their current dog is NFC/ DC/AFC Ghostwind Idawire Now I’ve Dunnit. “Dunnit” won the 2022 GWPCA National Field Championship, and two days later was BOBOH and AOM at the GWPCA Regional Specialty. Jodi has edited the GWPCA Wirenews and GWP Yearbooks, and has served on the GWPCA Board of Directors. She currently serves on the GWPCA Judges Education Committee.
214 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2022
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