Friday, August 21, 2015

My introduction to the breed

I met my first German Wirehaired Pointer back in 1978. His name was Jake, a liver roan male, later to become Ch. Sunshine Jake. After Jake was Boots, a little solid liver bitch with white feet, she was a real clown of a dog.

At that time, I was grooming dogs for a living when the owner of the kennel bought both Jake and Boots. I was pretty heavily involved in competitive obedience work at that time, training other peoples dogs and showing them to obedience titles in AKC. These folks also owned Weimaraners and I put a CDX title on one of their Weim bitches.

I had little to do with Jake, but when Boots came along, I started to work on her obedience. She was a tough little thing, a willing worker, but was much happier to do things her way, not mine. Competitive obedience with her was a challenge to say the least. We did finally get a CD (Companion Dog) title on Boots, and that was enough for me, and for her. This should have been a warning...

In early 1980 they bred Boots to Ch Talbachs High Society CD (Hank) owned by Charles and Barbara Kissinger of Penndel PA. and had a litter of puppies. I ended up purchasing one of those puppies, a solid liver female and she became my constant companion. This poor puppy waited for almost a month to get a name, nothing seemed to fit! One day I took her to my husbands car dealership to meet all of the people. The showroom was floor to ceiling glass walls, and this silly little brown thing kept running into the glass! She just didn't quite understand why she couldn't get "out there". To make a long story short, she ended up being named Bump!

This name would prove interesting over the coming years, and had I known then what I learned later, she would have been called anything but Bump.

Bump's growing up years
Bump was a precosious pup, eager to learn, but like her mother, not always willing to do things my way. ( I have learned over the years that this seems typical of females in this breed, more on that later.) I had never owned a sporting dog before, but I knew if I was going to own one, I wanted her to do the things she was supposed to do. With that in mind, I read all I could about the breed, joined the
German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America and the local GWP club, the Delaware Valley GWP. Bump was about 7 months old when I attended my first pointing breed field trial. I knew nothing, abosolutely nothing about a field trial, or for that matter, what a pointing dog should do. But what the heck, with the backing of her breeder we entered her in the puppy stake.

When we got to the trial grounds, I watched, listened and asked as many questions as I could think of, but to be honest, I don't think I even knew what questions to ask! Luckily, I had many years of the obedience ring under my belt, so I had some idea of the competition end of things. But, what a pointer should do? Clueless!

Our brace was called and Bump and I headed to the breakaway. "Turn em loose" the judges told us, so I unclipped her lead and started walking. To be honest, I don't remember much of that event, except that my little liver dog caught a quail and brought it back to me. I do remember not wanting to touch it, but the judge told me to take it from her and give it to him. So I guess I did.

In the end, believe it or not, Bump won the puppy stake. Boy oh Boy, what a way to hook a newcomer, hand them a blue ribbon! That was the begining of my love of pointing breed field trials and my love affair with German Wirehaired Pointers.

Bump was a challenge from the git go, never doing exactly as asked, always looking to do everything her way. But she was a fun puppy, and she taught me an awful lot about the breed. They are a tenasious breed, never saying die, always on the go, a bit hard headed, but at the same time you can bruise their ego with a harsh word.

One weekend we decided to head upstate PA for a long weekend at a friends cabin in the woods. This cabin was on the Susquehana river, so we were going to do a bit of fishing while there. We loaded everything into the aluminum boat, including Bump who was about 4 mos. old, and off we went. The Susquehana is a shallow river, and many times we would have to get out and push the boat over or around rocky rapids. It was a fun day, but I don't think we caught any fish. On our way back to the cabin we were pulled over by the Game Warden because we forgot to purchase fishing liscenses. Somehow we fenagled our way out of a the warden giving us a ticket and we decided we better get home quick and get out of town before he changed his mind.

So we pushed the boat back into the river and headed downstream. At some point I looked around and realized Bump was not in the boat! She must have gotten out while we were talking with the Warden and wandered away. My puppy was gone!!! And at that point we were quite a way downstream from where we last had her.

We pulled over and I started shouting for her, hoping she would hear me and come to my calls. (Now, remember back at the beginning when I told you how her name would come back to haunt me?) "Bump"! "Bump!" "Bump here!" I shouted over and over and over as loudly as I could. Other boaters floated by and they must have thought I was trying to warn them about the rocks.... they were looking at us like we weren't wrapped to tight.

After a long time we got back in the boat and started back upstream, all the way me shouting "Bump!" I'm sure the locals were ready to call the police on us. My husband warned me that we may not be able to find her and to prepare myself for the possibility. After what seemed to be miles of pushing that boat over and around rocks, I caught a glimpse of something moving on the opposite bank of the river. I yelled again "Bump!" and believe it or not, there she was, following us upstream, just on the other side. Never one to do anything the easy way, she had chosen to swim the river trying to get to us. Life would never be simple with Bump.

Over the next 14 years, Bump and I had success in several areas. She completed her show Championship and her CDX title, so her official name was Ch Malpats Justa Bump CDX. Her field trial career brought home several blue ribbons and she retired from competition with 6 pts toward that title. I wish I knew then, some of the things I know now, because she would have probably finished as a Dual Champion. But it was not to be, more my lack of experience as her lack of talent.

As time goes by, I'm sure I'll have more Bump stories to tell.

The Next Generation
When Bump was 4 yrs old, we decided to breed her and have puppies. We chose Jake to sire the litter, mostly because he was there. Not the best way to choose a sire, but at that time I really didn't know any better. There was another dog that lived in Washington state that I had seen that I really liked, but the distance at that time was prohibitive. (Flying dogs for breeding wasn't an easy thing to do in those days). His name was Fredrich's Figure It Out, Figure to his friends. To this day I wish I had been able to breed Bump to Figure, but it was not to be.

Bump gave birth to my first litter of GWP's on March 16, 1985. There were 16 of the little darlings!!!! 14 of them made it. What in the world had I done? Again, not knowing any better, I had little fear of not being able to sell all of these puppies, after all I had a CH with a CDX title. The world would beat a path to my door. Right? Wrong!

When the puppies were roughly 8 wks old, I had sold a grand total of 8, leaving us with 6 puppies to find homes for. Eventually all but two went to new homes and I had learned a valuable lesson.
  1. Don't breed a litter of puppies without deposits from people looking to purchase puppies.
  2. Don't breed a bitch just because you think she is the best thing in the world.
  3. Get the opinion from others in your breed if your bitch is worthy of being bred.
  4. Find a mentor in your breed, someone you can discuss pedigrees, breeding programs and your goals with.
We ended up keeping two males, Putter and Bogey. Why these two? No one else seemed to want them, so they stayed with us. And, in the long run, thank goodness no one else wanted them.

Sometimes fate works in your favor.

1 comment:

Perrie Jinnie said...

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