German Wirehaired Pointers in Events

German Wirehaired Pointers in the Field

GWP’s trace their origins back about 120 years. They originated in Germany, where breeders wanted to develop a rugged, versatile hunting dog that would work closely with either one person or a small party of persons hunting on foot in varied terrain; from the mountainous regions of the Alps, to dense forests, to more open areas with farms and small towns. The breed the Germans desired had to have a coat that would protect the dogs when working in heavy cover or in cold water, yet be easy to maintain. The goal was to develop a wire-coated, medium sized dog that could:

  • Search for, locate and point upland game
  • Work both feather and fur with equal skill
  • Retrieve water fowl
  • Be a close-working, easily trained gun dog
  • Be able to track and locate wounded game
  • Be fearless when hunting ‘sharp’ game such as fox
  • Be a devoted companion and pet; and
  • Be a watchdog for its owners family and property.

German Wirehaired Pointers in the Show Ring
by Judy Cheshire

Showing your GWP in conformation classes at AKC dog shows can be both a rewarding and educational experience. Dogs are evaluated against the breed standard and rewarded for their excellence as breeding stock, according to the judge’s opinion. In order for a dog to be eligible for a dog show, it must be at least 6 months of age and cannot be spay or neutered (except in the case of stud dog/brood bitch or Veteran classes at a specialty). Most dogs being shown are trying to earn points towards their championships. A dog must earn 15 points, including two majors, under at least three different judges to become a champion. Dogs can earn from 1 to 5 points at each show. A win of 3, 4 or 5 points is called a major. Points are based on the number of dogs in competition

There are seven regular classes in which dogs seeking points may compete: Puppy (dogs 6 months of age but not over 12 months), 12-18 months (dogs 12-18 months of age), Novice (dogs who have not won 3 first prizes in Novice or a first prize in any of the other classes, except Puppy and who do not have points), Bred-by-Exhibitor (dogs that are breeder/owner/handled), American bred (any dog bred in the USA) and Open (open to all). All the winners of first place in each of the classes compete in a ‘Winners’ class for the best of the winning dogs. The best dog in the Winners class receives the points. Competition at this level in not intersex, so it is repeated for dogs and bitches and points may be awarded in each sex. The Winners Dog and Winners Bitch may then compete with the dogs that are already champions for Best of Breed.

In order to compete in dog shows, you should know the breed standard, know how your dog compares to that standard and become familiar with what the judge will expect from you and your dog in the ring. You can start by reading the standard and asking your breeder to evaluate your dog. Talk to other breeders, owners and handlers, both with Wirehairs and other breeds of dogs. A dog show, particularly a German Wirehaired Pointer specialty show, is a great place to find these resources. Learn about your dog’s virtues and faults. Does he seem to meet the standard? Remember that no dog is perfect. Once you’ve decided that you want to try showing, prepare your dog and yourself for the ring. The judge will need to examine the dog, touch him from head to tail and look into his mouth to check his teeth. The dog must learn to tolerate this and stand still. You will also have to gait your dog so that the judge can evaluate his movement both coming at him, going away and from the side. Be an observer at a dog show and see how this is done. Take your dog to handling classes and matches (practice shows) until you both feel confident that you know what to do.

After you’ve done these basic things, enter a dog show, take a deep breath and show your dog! But remember it’s a sport and it should be fun. It’s about sharing an experience with your dog and learning more about the breed. It’s not only about winning.

German Wirehaired Pointers in Companion Events
by Gayle Bock

The GWP is a very “versatile” breed. Bred to hunt, this breed also has many other hidden talents. I personally do not hunt with my wire but I am involved in obedience and agility and have done quite well. I have been showing in obedience for over 20 years and have been teaching for over 15.
Five years ago I changed breeds to the GWP. I started out in conformation, while also training for obedience and agility. These are 3 very different sports but the intelligence and will of the wire have made it possible to title in 3 different kennel clubs, AKC conformation, AKC, CKC & UKC obedience and  AKC & UKC agility. We have also started NADAC agility.

Along with the intelligence and will the wirehair possesses, the breed also has the capability to become very creative and somewhat independent at times making it hard to be a “team” player. Their need to be inquisitive and explore can sometimes get in the way of training. They generally are a high energy breed and the need for running in the great outdoors is a must! This breed will not be happy to be on the couch all day. But given the challenges of the wirehair, I feel this breed can tackle many a sport if given the proper training. They are a very hard working, strong moving dog.

German Wirehaired Pointers as a Companion

GWP’s are extremely devoted dogs. When raised in a home with one owner, they become very definite one-person dogs. When raised in a home with several people, including children, they become devoted to the whole family, although some dogs may attach more strongly to one member of the household.

Young GWP’s are typically fun loving and playful and with proper supervision for both children and animal, GWP’s and kids do very well together. On the other hand, an adult GWP that has not been raised with children may need strict supervision if sold into a home with young children.

And, as with any dog, very young children should be taught to properly handle a puppy, as well as to understand the difference between playing with a dog and hurting it. GWP’s make superb companion dogs and pets. In fact, they crave human companionship, doing best in a home where they are permitted a very warm, close relationship with ‘their people’. They are one Sporting Breed that does not make a good kennel dog, nor a dog that lives all its life in a backyard with little contact with humans.

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