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Posted: 9/11/2010 12:42:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2010 2:28:00 PM EDT by makabi24]
ETA: found a ton of info on outdoor forums.

Anyone have any personal experience with this breed? Any info would be appreciated. Looking at picking one up from a litter in a few months.

Thanks



Link Posted: 9/11/2010 1:27:27 PM EDT
You know how all the German Shepard guys are always going on about 'European lines'?....this is basically the same thing with German Wirehaired Pointers.

So, out in Germany about 1880-1900 some guys decided to develop a hardy multipurpose hunting dog. It was designed to handle any game (boar, deer, fox, martin, and pretty much all game birds) even though there were other dogs who specialized in certain game, this dog was to be a dog to handle all game. They used different pointers, both Engish style and the rough haired 'Gryphon' style hounds of French origin and local rough coated dogs and developed a breed.

Now, in the UK and to a lesser degree in the USA middle class people got wealthy and thought that owning purebred dogs was a good way to imitiate the aristocrats. They took dogs from all over. This included the wire haired multipurpose hunting and pointing dog described above.

The UK kennel club and USA kennel club looked at a subset of the population and set down a 'breed standard' This is very similar to the standard the germans were using, but it allowed (even encouraged) a slightly different coat color, slightly different size, slightly different coat length, but at it's core it was the same dog.

Okay, here is where USA and UK dog breeding veers off from 'european'

Now, all a pedigree is, is a list of who your parents and grandparents are. A 'purebred' is simply a dog where all ancestors on it's pedigree belong to some group. And that's all the middle class wanted, a piece of paper to show the 'pureness' of their dog, rather than letting the innate quality of the dog stand for itself.

So in the USA and UK your dog can be a crap hunter, ugly, totally not fit the standard, but still be a 'purebred' because his parents were of the same breed, as were there grandparents, etc etc.

This generally means a dog population splits into 3 groups.

Group A is show dog, who cares how it hunts/herds/hounds/ whatever as long as it wins in the ring it gets bred. Group B is a working line, the dogs are judged more on how they do their job. While you don't bring in dogs from other breeds no matter how good they are at the same task you don't worry so much about perfect show appearance and adherence to a written standard. (note, when you have 'trials' that artificially attempt to recreate true working conditions to give 'field titles' pretty quick

Group B turns out just like Group A...people breed to win the game, not be good hunters. Kind of like how people build raceguns to win shooting championships rather than build the best combat gun to save their life in an attack)

Group C 'a purebred is a purebred' and they will breed any two purebred dogs just to attach a piece of paper to the dog to allow them to sell it to ignorant consumers who for some reason think 'purebred' is a stamp of quality.



Now, the German or European method is different. Their dogs are 'registered' with the breed club, and registry often requires the dog pass some kind of test. This means a male champion and female champion give birth to a litter of pups, the dogs aren't immediately registered. They grow up a bit and they are tested somehow. If they pass the test they are registered as part of the breed. If they fail the test they can retake it ONCE, second failure means they are out. Just because you have great parents doesn't give you a pass. This means the european system gives some minimal guarantee of quality. If a dog isn't registered because it fails, then any puppies it has are also unregister-able. This may be 'throwing the baby out with the bath water' but it does mean that the average dog registered after passing a test is of at least a certain mimium quality.

This is what the Drahtaar dogs are. They are basically a reimporation of the German Wire haired Pointer from the same source population but they differ in two aspects. #1 they have an inch or two different height requirement, slight color difference, slight coat length difference. #2 the dogs must prove themselves as adequate hunters before being registered.

This basically means on a scale of 1-100 for hunting ability, a purebred German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) can be anywhere from 1-100 on that scale. Because of the trials, the Drahtaar eliminate those who don't at least rate 50. Your chances of getting a 90 to 100 are still very low from either group, but your chances of getting a real poor hunter are drastically reduced with the Drahtaar.

Of course most 'working' lines of GWPs are going to only breed their top dogs so realistically you will get very similar performance between a top breeder of working GWPs and Drahtaars. What you eliminate is the chance of getting a breeder who talks a good game but breeds lower quality dogs, or a guy who passes dogs off as working lines or show lines based on who is asking (and generally has dogs that fail at both) etc etc.

Now, be aware that whenever you have something that is a 'stamp of quality' people will try and imitate that stamp. A lot of guys who churn out GWPs who can't pass as show dogs try and say 'oh these are working lines, that's why they are the wrong color and wrong size'..but the dogs don't work well either. These same guys are now advertising their GWPs as Drahtaars. If you want to buy a Drahtaar, ask to see registration documentation, NOT breeding pedigrees, or basically ask to see the test results of the mom and dad to make sure they actually passed and aren't GWPs who are simply being called Drahtaars.

Of course, the truth is Drahtaars in Germany are diverting from Drahtaars in the USA simply because of different hunting restrictions. In germany a dog that is an excellent bird dog but can't hunt fox, deer, boar, martin, or whatever worth a damn is out of the program. In the USA if the dog is a good bird hunter that's pretty much all anyone knows, few guys are taking their Drahtaars out hunting mountain lion or feral hog or bear.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 2:07:19 PM EDT
Had a Drathaar out of VDD/GNA breeding club in the late 80s. Finest hunting dog I've ever seen. She'd point birds, retrieve ducks, trail rabbits, tree squirrels, and more. Check out the VDD/GNA website. Each dog is tattooed in the ear and tracked. Basically all the dogs had to pass 2 different hunting tests. They were graded against a standard in tracking, pointing, water retrieving, bidability and tested for gun shyness. Coat and conformation were checked along with some other things I've forgotten now. They were given a numerical score in each area and an overall score, if memory serves, so dogs could be fairly compared. I saw dogs fail and be disqualified from breeding, so the tests were legit. If you wished to breed your dog your had to go to an addition "breed show." The dog was weighted, measured, teeth counted, coat examined, and checked for a number of other physical and genetic problems, several of which were instant breeding disqualifications. A hip X-Ray was required too, I seem to remember. The were several other tests you could try so as to have additional qualifications/certifications which were good if you wanted to breed, but not required. VDD/GNA rules produce a high likelyhood of getting a dog the will be a good hunter.

My dog and the others I saw were very loyal family pets. Their personality is similar to Rotts, Shepards, and Pinsers. You will no longer be troubled by cats, coons, armardillio, and the like if the dog is allowed to run free in a fenced yard, trust me on that. They will be fine with frequent visitors, but strangers will have to be introduced. They have a bit of guard dog mentality. Not the best dog for an inexperienced handler. They are outstanding hunters.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 2:27:27 PM EDT
Thanks for the great information guys. Good to know about the tests etc. I'm going to see the breeder in the next two weeks so those questions you told me to ask are more than valuable. I'll keep you posted.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 5:32:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Fbuckshot:
Not the best dog for an inexperienced handler. They are outstanding hunters.


Yes. Let me say if you do not go hunting 10 times a year do yourself AND the dog a favor and get something else.

Link Posted: 9/11/2010 7:21:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By akodo:
Originally Posted By Fbuckshot:
Not the best dog for an inexperienced handler. They are outstanding hunters.


Yes. Let me say if you do not go hunting 10 times a year do yourself AND the dog a favor and get something else.



I called the breeder today and asked him if my planned regiment would be enough to satisfy the dog because a friend of mine warned me about the energy of the breed. I'd probably make it out 1/month. I was also concerned because I live in a townhouse with not a lot of land for it to roam free during the day. The dog shouldn't be ready for 9months (2months to litter and a few after that) so it will give me time to think.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 8:21:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By makabi24:
Originally Posted By akodo:
Originally Posted By Fbuckshot:
Not the best dog for an inexperienced handler. They are outstanding hunters.


Yes. Let me say if you do not go hunting 10 times a year do yourself AND the dog a favor and get something else.



I called the breeder today and asked him if my planned regiment would be enough to satisfy the dog because a friend of mine warned me about the energy of the breed. I'd probably make it out 1/month. I was also concerned because I live in a townhouse with not a lot of land for it to roam free during the day. The dog shouldn't be ready for 9months (2months to litter and a few after that) so it will give me time to think.
Spend money on bigger gun so query will not go as far.... after all it is not about the meat, but the kill and a feather cloud is still really cool.

Link Posted: 9/12/2010 10:36:02 AM EDT
Originally Posted By makabi24:
Originally Posted By akodo:
Originally Posted By Fbuckshot:
Not the best dog for an inexperienced handler. They are outstanding hunters.


Yes. Let me say if you do not go hunting 10 times a year do yourself AND the dog a favor and get something else.



I called the breeder today and asked him if my planned regiment would be enough to satisfy the dog because a friend of mine warned me about the energy of the breed. I'd probably make it out 1/month. I was also concerned because I live in a townhouse with not a lot of land for it to roam free during the day. The dog shouldn't be ready for 9months (2months to litter and a few after that) so it will give me time to think.


okay, any Drahth breeder worth his salt would balk at sending one of his dog to live in an environment where he will be hunted only once a month, a town house no less.

Remember, pointers are HUGE high energy dogs. realize that competitive alaskan sled-dog teams have taken to crossing huskey with pointer to have a higher energy faster running harder pulling dog (just not as cold hardy, they have to run the dogs with booties and jackets)

Of all the 10000 breeds in the world, of all the 1000 gun dog breeds in the world, why are you going Drath?

It seems to me you would be better off with a smaller less extreme hunting dog. Are you mostly a bird hunter? Seems to me a Boykin Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Small Munsterlander, Brittany (sometimes called spaniel but it is not),

For general hunting the Boykin does it all. If you are more off a waterfowl man who also does some upland bird hunting, the American Water Spaniel would be the dog I'd pick first.
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