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When were German Shorthaired Pointers considered an official breed?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to another great friend (have a mentioned how much I enjoy birthdays? Now more than ever because it makes Daily Doodles so much more fun. Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message with your birthday and what you'd like for a doodle)! Today's special lady loves German Shorthaired Pointers! Two GSPs currently claim her as a pet, and I am their auntie.


So today we are looking into when German Shorthaired Pointers became their own breed. Pointing dogs have existed in Europe as far back as the 13th century. Hunting dogs were found in all shapes, sizes, coat types and used in all types of hunting.  At the end of the 17th century the generic term "gundogs" was coined and separated the braques from the spaniels. Setting dogs were braques that hunted with a high nose and stopped at the scent while spaniels hunted with a low nose, following track and were used with falcons.


Germany as we know it today did not exist, it was part of a large area of central Europe that subsequently became 360 states ruled by various Kings and Princes'.  When they weren't at war with one another formal visits took place with invitations extended to go hunting and often time dogs in addition to other items were exchanged as prized gifts. Writings from that time indicate a braque or pointing dog was being used through out Central Europe, France, Italy and Spain and its conformation was very much like that of the modern German pointer. These dogs were white with brown marking or white speckled or brown spotted and hunted with their noses held high and were highly sought after.


With the improvement of firearms it was popular to shoot birds on the fly and the use of pointers came into its own. By the middle of the 18th century pointers were being used all over Europe as well as the British Isles. After the 1848 revolution the non-aristocracy of Germany had an opportunity to participate in shooting and subsequently own gundogs. Prior to the beginning of the 18th century there were only a small number of pointers in Germany and it is during this century breeding experiments were done to improve the qualities of those German dogs. Since little was recorded, not much was known about the results other than most of the crosses were done with dogs indigenous to Germany. Breeders bred as they pleased but all were in agreement that they wanted a dog that would be an excellent performer in any type of work whether in the field, forest or water.


They knew where they wanted to go and it was pretty much an educated guess on how to get there, evident by some of the earlier breed prototypes.  It is important to note the use of lower case "p" in the spelling of "pointer" as this is an indication of an attribute and not a proper name as in the English Pointer breed. Italian, French and the mediterranean region of Spain pointer stock was used along with the original German pointer and subsequently the Hannover Hound. 


By 1872 breed development continued, Hector I was born this year and was the first German Shorthaired Pointer in the German Kennel Stud book. However, a standard set in 1879 eliminated a large number of breeding stock for not exhibiting the legendary ancient German lineage, i.e. didn't look like the early German pointers. In 1887 at a field trial the body type of Waldin (born 7/26/1884, sired by Hector I) brought renewed vigor and a turn in breeding development occurred.


As Germany unified, it along with the German pointer continued to evolve. Two world wars involving Germany caused vast gaps in the breeding stock. Some kennels that flourished before WW II found rebuilding afterward to be difficult. There was little to no information about the kennels of East Germany as very little of the breeding stock was rescued or survived. Breeder Gustav Machetanz barely managed to escape with a few dogs ahead of the approaching Russian army and resettle in West Germany. This is significant because his dog Axel vom Wasserschling proved to be an important post-war sire. 


During WW II the fascist government controlled hunting and the breeding of all hunting dogs with Hermann Goering the minister responsible for all matters relating to both. It is during this timeframe his verdict that all of the clear white & liver dogs were to be destroyed because they did not blend with the woods like the solid liver and liver roans (not realizing the white coat was a recessive gene which was carried by those without white coats).


Virtually all of the traditional liver and roan coated shorthairs trace back to Mars Altenau whelped in 1914 - who was a traditional tick-patched breed pillar. It really wasn’t until his time that the early dogs would have been recognizable as a German Shorthair by today’s standards. In fact the majority of Kurzaars (What German's call GSPs) that existed previous to WWI didn’t resemble German Shorthairs of today. 


Shortly after WW I Dr. Charles R. Thornton of Missoula, Montana saw an article with pictures in the National Sportsman about German Shorthair Pointers.  After reading it several times he commented to his wife, "If those dogs don't cost a million dollars, I am going to buy a pair." which he did from Austrian breeder Edward Rindt with the female bred prior to shipping. Senta v Hohenbruck arrive after twenty-four days crated.  On July 4, 1925 she whelped seven pups with one lost to pneumonia. The breed not yet recognized by the AKC the litter was registered with "Everyuse" in the Field Dog Stud Book early in 1926. The breed would become recognized by the American Kennel Club in March 1930. The Germans spent generations crossing various breeds until they perfected the GSP, a versatile bird dog that, to this day, GSPs are among the top-winning breeds in competitive hunting events.


Having served on opposite sides in WW I Walter Mangold and Ernest Rojem met in the late 1920s on a pheasant hunt in Nebraska and found in common their love of the breed. They managed to import a breeding pair via Ernest's brother in Germany.  Not easy because the Germans were hesitant to let their good dogs leave the country. By 1932, Joseph Burkhart, a former German gamekeeper living in Wisconsin began to import dogs. His three dogs; Bob v. Schwarenberg, Arta v. Hohreusch and Feldjager's Grisette would impact the American breed as the foundations for many kennels yet to come. 


We know what my friend's favorite dog is, but what about yours?



© 2020 by MADMYSHA.

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