Doing it right with a springer spaniel from Silverthorn Gundogs….

I always enjoy watching a great bird dog do its thing. In this video, you can see Silverthorn’s Emma, a Springer Spaniel out of Silverthorn Gundogs in northwestern, PA, do just that. I love her energy & enthusiasm. She’s the perfect partnership, and you can see how fun she’s having in the field.

Silverthorn Emma from Adam Reese on Vimeo.

Breed of the Week: The Württemberger Pointer…

The Württemberger pointer, from Craig Koshyk's Pointing Dog Blog
The Württemberger pointer

Germany is the ancestral home of some great hunting dogs. Here in the US, we see German Shorthair Pointers all the time (or at least I do). The GSP is one of the most popular pointers around, and I see them all the time in the field. In fact,  nine times out of ten, if a guy tells me he has pointers, he means a GSP.

But Germany did produce other breeds of pointing dogs. One was an the Württemberger, an extinct breed that author Craig Koshyk documents in his great book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals.

Here’s an excerpt on the The Württemberger from Craig’s book:

“The Württemberger, known in Germany as the Dreifarbige Württemberger or Dreifarbige Württembergische Vorstehhund, was a short-haired, tricolored pointing dog that disappeared just after World War I. Exactly where, when and how it came to be is the subject of speculation.
The most common assumption is that the breed was developed in the Württemberg region of southwest Germany in the 1870s. Some sources claim that Gypsies traveling from Russia brought it to the  Kingdom of Württemberg in the early 1800s, but others insist that it was an ancient breed, known in southern Germany for centuries. Whatever their origin, heavy, tricolored pointing dogs were present in large enough numbers in the 1880s and ’90s to catch the attention of Germany’s Delegate Commission which, for a time, recognized them as a breed. But no separate stud book was ever created for Württembergers and they, along with Weimaraners, were registered in the German Shorthaired Pointer stud book.”
You can read more about the Württemberger pointer here. Don’t forget to check out Craig’s Book: Pointing Dogs, Volume one : The Continentals. it’s a must have for any fan of hunting dogs, and it’s on sale now for Mother’s Day ($40 off!).
Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals
Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals

Check him out: It’s another white Weimaraner….

White Weimaraner Puppy
White Weimaraner Puppy

White is not a color you associate with Weimaraners. In fact, white Weimaraners aren’t supposed to exist. But they do. This little guy was born on 1/21/2013. I’m not sure if he’s 100% Weim, but he sure is cute.

White Weims are a contentious issue. To read more about them and read some reasons on why they exist check out this post and this one, too.

White Weimaraner Puppy
White Weimaraner Puppy

From Steady with Style: Walking Pups, a hunting dog training tip.

Steady with Style
Steady with Style

Training a pup can take place in a lot of places, from a training field at your local club to right in your own backyard. ime and places where you can turn a little time with your new hunting buddy into a bit of low key, low pressure training. Check out this piece from Steady with Style to see what I mean.

Walking Pups, by Martha Greenlee

“A while back a new puppy owner asked me what he should do to start his pup. I suggested he take his pup to the field and go for a walk. Walking your pup is one of the best ways to develop the bird dog instincts your pup inherits from his parents. These instincts include the instinct to hunt, to point and to be part of a team. The best time to develop these instincts is between the ages of three and six months. By six months of age, many pups are becoming independent and some may stop going with you.

There is an art to walking pups and to do it well you need to understand the difference between developing a pup and training him. Training involves teaching your pup to do something. Developing him involves creating situations where he can learn on his own.” Continue reading →

Steady to wing AND shot: Why it matters….

In this video, HiFive Kennels’s Bruce Minard takes you through the process of steadying up a young pointer named Buck. Check it out. It cool to see how the dog progresses, and how Bruce gets the job done while building up the dog’s confidence and enthusiasm.

Shooting a grouse over a pointing dog is tough. Think about what it involves: Reading you dog’s body language, watching your footing, minding your shotgun barrels, searching out shooting lanes, checking the position hunters — and you’re doing all this while you’re expecting a football-sized bird to rocket out from anywhere at any time. THAT’s a lot to have on the brain.

When my mind is this occupied, the last thing I want to worry about is my dog. That’s why it’s important for a pointer to be steady to wing and shot. A dog that 100% steady stays put – through the shot and until I release her. Dogs that bust on the flush are furious to get to the game. During the chase it, their eyes and focus on the bird. They risk all sorts of harm: slamming into barbed wired fences, impaling themselves on busted sticks, and even getting shot. It’s darn disruptive to the shooter, too.

Take a look at these Portugese Pointers…

Portugese Pointer, from Craig Koshyk
Portugese Pointer, from Craig Koshyk

The Portugese Pointer is not a hunting dog you see every day (at least not in the US). Craig Koshyk has written extensively about these dogs in this book Pointing Dogs Volume One: The Continentals. He’s also posted a bit about them here at his Pointing Dog Blog.

Check out this video to see what these dogs look like in action:

The pros and cons of “rare” hunting dogs…

Pont-Audemer Spaniel, copyright Craig Koshyk
Pont-Audemer Spaniel, copyright Craig Koshyk

There aren’t a lot of people who’ve seen a rare Pont-Audemer Spaniel. There are even fewer people who’ve also seen a rare Braque Saint Germain.

Craig Koshyk has seen both  breeds, plus dozens of other hard-to-find hunting dogs. So when he writes something about the rare breed, his thoughts are worth checking out. Here’s a piece he just posted to his Pointing Dog Blog:

Rare doesn’t mean good…or bad.

“One of my pet peeves is seeing breeders of less common gundog breeds use the term ‘rare’ as an advertising hook, as if ‘rare’ was a synonym for ‘good’. On the other hand, it also bugs me when I hear people bad-mouth less common breeds by saying “they must be rare for a reason”.
When it comes to gundogs, rare does not mean good, or bad. Breeds become popular or remain rare for many reasons, usually totally unrelated to how good, or bad they actually are. Case in point: the Weimaraner. It is among the most popular gundog breeds in the world. Yet apart from a some superb individuals and a few good lines, as a hunting breed, it is in pretty rough shape overall. Trying to get a decent hunting dog by reaching in and picking a pup from any random Weim litter is like trying to hit a hole-in-one with a nine iron”

BTW: Don’t miss his step-by-step guide to getting a good pup from one of the rarer breeds.


Breed of the week: the Vizsla…

A Vizsla, from Craig Koshyk's Pointing Dog Blog
A Vizsla, from Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dog Blog

When it comes to their dogs, people love believe the craziest stories. And when it comes to Vizslas, these stories get pretty crazy. Some include bits about how the breed appears in ancient European rock paintings and others say these dogs have been pure bred for  the last 1,000+ years. One tale even has them as the favorite hunting dog of medieval Magyar barons and warlords.

But as romantic as many of these tales are, there’s no real evidence to confirm them as true. Craig Koshyk points this out in his excellent book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals. You can some of the truth about Vizslas here on Craig’s excellent Pointing Dog Blog. While their true story is far from the romance that some people would like to read, it’s still fascinating and worth learning about.

A Vizsla, from Craig Koshyk's Pointing Dog Blog
A Vizsla, from Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dog Blog


Great video of bird dogs on the prairies…

Wide open country, a horse, some great birds dogs, and plenty of wild game — looks like heaven! Skydance Kennels in Dousman, WI, is well known for turning out rhigh quality English Setters. Check out this video to see some of the training that goes into their dogs.

Breed of the Week: The Braque de l’Ariège

The Braque de l'Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk
The Braque de l’Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk

The Braque de l’Ariège has had its ups and downs, and the fact that it exists today is a testament to how much passion of handful of men and women have had for the breed.

Even though the Braque de l’Ariège’s origins are disputed, what is agreed upon is that these bird dogs originated in southern France and that at least one of its ancestors was the Braques Français. Standards for the breed  were established in 1905. Over the next several decades the popularity of these large, easy hunting white and orange pointing dogs spread. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm petered out, and in 1960 the Braque de l’Ariège was considered dead.

Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the story. To find out how the Braque de l’Ariège was saved, check out this post over at Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dogs blog. Koshyk is the author of Pointing Dogs: Volume One, The Continentals. If you’re into birds dogs, it’s a bird you absolutely have to have.

The Braque de l'Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk
The Braque de l’Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk


When it comes to bird dogs, different breeds hunt in different ways. This is especially true with Continental and English Pointers.

Last weekend when I was out with Bob I had a chance to see these differences in action. Check out these videos to see what a mean.

This is my English Pointer, Puck. Check out how high she holds her head. She’s also a bit rangier and more dynamic in the field.

This is Bob’s GSP Nelly. She’s an easy-handling, closer ranging bird dog. Check out how she holds her head lower and looks for scent closer to the ground. Her body tends to “rocking horse” a bit.

Field Report: Saturday, 10/20…

Success - 3 woodcock on 10/20
Success – 3 woodcock on 10/20

So Puck and I hit the wood on Saturday. The weather was crummy, with fog and mist throughout the day. That being said, we did pretty well. The woodcock are migrating through Maine now and we got into a bunch of them – probably around 20 in all. I shot 3. So even the weather was bad, the day turned out to be real good. Enjoy the videos.

Steadying up a dog…

I prefer hunting over pointers that are steady to wind and shot. This means the dog hold the point when the bird flushes, after the shot is fired, and until the hunter/trainer releases them. Training dogs to this level takes a lot of commitment. In this video you can see some of the training that goes into it, too.

Breed of the Week: the German Longhaired Pointer…

German Longhaired Pointer, from Craig Koshyk's Pointing Dogs blog
German Longhaired Pointer, from Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dogs blog

Mention “German Pointers” to most upland hunters in the US and they’ll thinkof one dog: the German Shorthair Pointer. For a few folks, German Wirehair Pointers may come to mine. The one dog just about no one will think of is the German Longhair Pointer.

This is understandable. Unlike it’s shorthair and wirehair cousins, the German Longhair Pointer is virtually unknown outside of Europe. To find out out why, and to get the fully story on these beautiful dogs, check out this post on Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dog blog.

You can find out more about the German Longhaired Pointer in Craig Koshyk’s book Pointing Dogs: Part One, the Continentals. It’s a great read and well worth the money.

Also, if after reading about the Longhairs you decide you have to have one, check out Deutsch Langhaars vom Coraschatten Kennel in Mosinee, WI. It looks like they turn out some real nice ones.

German Longhaired Pointer, from Craig Koshyk's Pointing Dogs blog
German Longhaired Pointer, from Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dogs blog

All pics courtesy of Craig Koshy’s Pointing Dogs blog.


Doing better…

A Check Cord, much more than a piece rope
A Check Cord, much more than a piece rope

I hate regret. Unfortunately, it seems to be another unavoidable part of life. One thing I regret is not being a smarter dog owner. Living with my English Pointer Puck has been a learning process,  and that process has been full of stumbles, bone-headed mistakes, and just plain stupid moves. I’m fortunate that my little girl doesn’t hold grudges like I do.

Something I messed up from day one was how I used a check cord. The check cord is that long piece of rope trainers always have with them. In the right hands, it’s a powerful tool telegraphs a tremendous amount of information to you about your dog. Martha Greenlee talks about his in the latest post on her excellent Steady with Style blog:

Check-Cord Tension

“Check-cord tension is one of the most important forms of communication between your dog and you. How much tension is too much, or to put it another way, how hard should a dog pull is a question that is often asked but hard to answer. It is like asking a race car driver how fast is too fast. It depends on the car and the track. Same thing with a dog. It depends on the dog and the situation…” Read the whole post here.

Introducing the Whitemaraner…

German bred dog, apparently the result of a Weim x GSP (with Weim blood) cross.
German bred dog, apparently the result of a Weim x GSP (with Weim blood) cross.

Every breed of dog we have today came from other breeds. Mixing and experimenting is the history they all share.

This “Whitemaraner” is a good example of what can happen when you mix breeds. The dog shown here is a mix of a Weimaraner and a German Shorthair Pointer. Craig Koshyk is calling it a Whitemaraner over on his Pointind Dog blog. Check out this post and this one, too, to find out more about this dog.


Breed of the Week: The Cesky Fousek…

Back when I was a kid,  “bohemian” went with two things: Bohemian Rhapsody , the wacky rock-opera by ’70s super group Queen, and lazy people who didn’t stink like hippies, but who still didn’t have full time jobs. I had no idea Bohemia was an actual place, or that this region had its own breed of pointing dogs.

The Cesky Fousek, from Craig Koshyk's blog Pointing Dogs
The Cesky Fousek, from Craig Koshyk's blog Pointing Dogs

Now I know better. Thanks of Wikipedia I know Bohemia is a part of Europe in the modern Czech Republic. And thanks to the book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals I know the Cesky Fousek is a shaggy looking dog that used throughout Europe.

With its long hair, mustache and beard, the breed has a rough dignity to it. In America we would call it versatile breed, and like a GSP, it’s a do-it-all kind of hunting dog. To learn more about it, check out this write up on Craig Koshyk’s blog. For the full story, be sure to buy his book.


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