Hunting tips

Continental pointing dog breeds


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Deerhunter will shortly be presenting a mini-series on the different gun dog breeds. Here is a short presentation on the most common gun dog breeds in Denmark.

It is a general presentation with references to the websites of the individual clubs, allowing you to find more information about the individual breed of dog, contact persons, training opportunities, puppies and activities.

The first article dealt with the English pointer breeds. This article is about the continental pointer breeds.


Continental pointer breeds

The most common breeds of continental pointer are:


The German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer

Shorthaired Danish pointer

Shorthaired Danish pointer

the weimaraner

The Weimaraner


The Small Münsterlænder

The Small Münsterlænder

The Old Danish Chicken Dog

The Old Danish Chicken Dog

The Vizsla

The Vizsla


The Drentsche Patrijshond

The Drentsche Patrijshond

The German Longhaired Pointer

The German Longhaired Pointer

The Large Münsterlænder

The Large Münsterlænder


In principle, all pointers work in the same way. Dogs work in a range where wind conditions are maximised, and the characteristics of pointers is that they stop, stand and point towards the prey.


weimaraner
Small Münsterlænder


The phenomenon of the dog pointing comes from certain sensory impressions triggered by the sense of smell. This special ability to point has been developed over many generations and is stimulated through training. Without getting too technical, the dog is able to point after localising the bird. The dog's behaviour causes the bird to "press” against the ground, believing that it will not be discovered. The dog must maintain its stance until the hunter appears and is able to shoot. On command, the dog must advance and make the bird take off, so that the hunter can shoot, and hopefully fell the bird, which the dog must then retrieve.


short hair with fox
vizsla with duck


Today, when you distinguish between the two groups of pointer, the English and continental breeds, the main difference is their backgrounds. As well as being able to point, the continental breeds are generally more robust and, to some extent, more versatile than the English pointers. This is mainly due to the fact that the continental breeds also have a willingness to track the ground, making them able to handle wild game. That is why you often see continental breeds registered as Schweisshunds in Denmark. These tend to be the wirehaired or shorthaired Old Danish Chicken Dog.

Field trials for gun dogs

Both the continental breed clubs and the testing bodies highly value post-shoot work. The clubs use challenging retrieving trials and Schweisshund trials, and the most challenging among the continental breeds is said to be the 'all-purpose" field trial ('fuldbrugsprøven'). Here the dog is tested in many different disciplines. Read more on the link about this type of working trial, which includes working in fields and forests, retrieving on land and in water, fox retrieving and obedience.
www.fuldbrugsproeve.dk

Continental breeds do not have to work in as broad a range as the English pointer breeds, and in field trials their musculoskeletal system, such as their gallop and how they hold their head, are not weighted as highly as in the English camp.

A continental dog needs to thoroughly negotiate the terrain and to maintain good contact with its handler, and it is important that the dog is effective – both before and after the shoot. How the dogs work and what is most important for them to do first naturally differs between the breeds.

The size of the search range must be adapted to the terrain, and a continental dog must be able to work in fields, forests and bogs. You could say that the larger and stronger continental breeds have an advantage when it comes to retrieving. This is partly because they are very robust, enduring and can work in rough terrain. But they are also excellent at retrieving e.g, foxes, and also have sufficient sharpness when it comes to retrieving any wild game that has been shot.

The continental breeds are popular with Danish hunters, and in 2019, the wire-haired Old Danish Chicken Dog was the 8th most popular breed in Denmark, the Small Münsterlænder was number 21 and the short-haired Old Danish Chicken Dog was number 22 on the list of the most popular breeds in Denmark.


Continental dog breeds

The most common continental breeds in Denmark are briefly presented here. We recommend looking at the very informative websites of each breed-specific club. There is plenty of information about the breeds here, such as lists of activities, who is expecting or has puppies available, as well as contact information, including contact persons.

The German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer has quickly become popular in Denmark, not least because of its great versatility and excellent hunting skills. In fact, the German Wirehaired Pointer is not a very old breed. The breed originates from Germany, where a lot of work was done in the 19th century to create a robust pointer that also had a keen eye for wild game. The German Wirehaired Pointer has been bred using several German pointer breeds.


German Wirehaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer


The breed has only been in Denmark for just over 100 years but has been popular from the start. The breed became more widespread after World War II. The Danish Wirehaired Club - Dansk Ruhår Club was formed in 1928 and now counts more than a 1000 members.

The German Wirehaired Pointer is known for its great versatility and can rightly be described as an all-round hunting dog used for many different types of hunting. The main characteristic of German Wirehaired Pointer is its love of working, its drive and hunting skills, and together with the breed's versatility, it makes for a stable retriever in water and on land, and for hunting both birds and wild game. The German Wirehaired Pointer is used in the field to hunt partridge, in the forest for snipes and pheasants, is a faithful companion for retrieving and has a great deal of strength post-shoot of wild game.

The German Wirehaired Pointer has a lively temperament and is known to be both alert and energetic. One of the characteristics of the breed is the dog's rough coat and its charming "beard”. They come in different colour variants, such as liver and black dappled with or without large patches, liver or ticked. The Wirehaired male measures between 61–68 cm in height, and the bitches 57–64 cm. Their sturdy frame means the males weigh 28-32 kg and the bitches 27-31 kg.

The Dansk Ruhår Klub's website www.ruhaar.dk contains a lot of useful information about the breed and the club.

Shorthaired Danish pointer

The origin of the German Shorthaired Pointer is not particularly clear, as going far back in time the breed was a cross between Spanish and Italian pointer breeds. The dogs were used by German nobility, where the breed quickly developed. The Shorthaired Pointer was initially used for hunting with nets, but when hunters began to shoot birds in flight, the breed grew in popularity.


Shorthaired Danish pointer
Shorthaired Danish pointer


From the outset, the aim was to create a versatile pointer gundog, and in 1897 the breed's final standard was described. The breed has become enormously popular and is now called the German Shorthaired Pointer or GSP for short, which is probably due to its historical origins. It was the crossing with the pointer that had an important effect on the Shorthaired Pointer's temperament and appearance. The Pointer's more agile traits have given the Shorthaired Pointer an athletic physique, even though it still has a sturdy and robust frame.

It is not certain when the German Shorthaired Pointer arrived in Denmark, but dogs that were imported from Germany are further described by Steen Steensen Blichers. The German Shorthaired Pointer club was founded in 1908, making it the oldest club for pointers in Denmark.

The basic trait of a German Shorthaired Pointer is that it must be a highly versatile gun dog. A German Shorthaired Pointer is also an excellent all-round gun dog that works well both before and after the shoot. It is a skilled retriever and many German Shorthaired Pointers are also used as Schweisshund tracker dogs. Both in the fields and forests, the German Shorthaired Pointer hunts in ahead of its handler, and thanks to its eminent sense of smell, makes an excellent bird dog, whether hunting partridge, or hunting in the forest for pheasants and snipe.

It should be mentioned that a German Shorthaired Pointer also makes an excellent family pet, one that is generally very calm, friendly and sociable. Colour-wise, there are different variations in the breed. These can be found on the club's website, but the most common colours and markings are liver, without markings or liver, with only a small amount of white or "roan" markings on the chest and legs. It is also common to see dark liver roan with a solid-coloured liver head, and larger or smaller liver patches on the body. The breed's ideal size for males is 62-66 cm and 58 -63 cm for bitches.

The club's website www.korthaarklubben.dk contains plenty of information on the breed and activities.

The Vizsla

The beautiful golden-brown Vizsla differs in its origins from the other continental pointer breeds. While several of the other pointers come from the ancient Spanish Bracco, the Hungarian Vizsla originates from ancient Asian breeds. You can read about this "yellow hunting dog” all the way back in the 1300s, when it seems particularly prominent in Hungary. The name Viszla comes from the Hungarian Magyar Viszla, which means Hungarian pointer.


Vizsla
Vizsla


Breeding towards the Viszla type known today has a very special story behind it. The actual breeding work really took off in World War I, and in 1917, the first temporary pedigrees were introduced in Hungary, at the same time as launching a nationwide search work to find the dogs that most resembled the original yellow Vizsla.

In 1920, the federation of the Hungarian Vizsla breeders was formed and the first real pedigrees were drawn up. It was in the mid-50s that the first dogs of this breed are estimated to have arrived in Denmark. They were kept as ordinary family pets, and there was no actual breeding from them. The targeted breeding work in Denmark began around 1970, when Vizla bitches were imported from Hungary and one was imported from America. Since then, the breed has become popular and is now available as both a shorthaired and a wirehaired version.

The Vizsla is a medium-sized gun dog with an athletic build and a friendly expression, although the wirehaired Vizla is sturdier than the shorthaired. The Vizla works well in the field, but also shows its versatility in the forest and, not least, when retrieving. One of the distinctive features of the Vizsla is its ability to keep in touch with its handler during the hunt. Retrieving is deeply rooted in the breed - both on land and in water, and the Vizsla also has a good track performance. Several of them are registered in the Danish Schweisshund Register.

In terms of size, males range from 58-64 cm, while females range from 54-60 cm. The weight for males is up to 30 kg, while for females it is up to 25 kg. The colour is golden reddish with different shades.

The Danish Vizla Club's website (Dansk Vizsla Klub) contains numerous images, reports and descriptions of both the shorthaired and the wirehaired Vizsla. See more at www.danskvizslaklub.dk

The Small Münsterlænder

The Small Münsterländer is the smallest of the continental pointer breeds and is known for being a lively and energetic dog that shows great versatility in hunting. The Münsterländer originates from Germany and going back in time, the breed was probably created by crossings between Spaniels and guard dogs. There is some uncertainty as to how far back the Münsterlænd dates. It is likely that the Münsterländer was used for hunting as far back as the 1500s.


Small Münsterlænder
Small Münsterlænder


The first Small Münsterländers arrived in Denmark at the beginning of the 19th century, but an actual special club for the breed was not established until 1967.

The Small Münsterlænder is an effective gun dog that searches well both in fields and forests. It displays both versatility and robustness, which is why it is also an excellent retriever – both on land and in water. It is popular with Danish hunters for its hunting abilities, and also because it makes a friendly and devoted family dog. The breed is 52–56 cm in size for males and 50-54 cm for bitches. It has a beautiful coat and is available in the colour variants white/brown or ticked brown.

Despite the fact that it is a relatively young specialist club, the Dansk Münsterlænder Klub has a wide range of activities across the country. There is much more information available on their website www.dmk-online.dk

The Large Münsterlænder

The Large Münsterländer is not a widespread breed of gun dog in Denmark. This is despite the fact that this German dog is devoted and easy to train. It shares its origins with the Small Münsterländer, but is not directly connected. However it does have links with the German Longhaired Pointer. Before the Large Münsterländer became an independent breed, the German Longhaired breed had both black and brown/white puppies. The brown/white breeds were approved as longhaired breeding dogs, while the black/white breeds became the breeding base of the Large Münsterländer.


Large Münsterlænder
Large Münsterlænder


In 1909, the German Longhaired Pointer Association decided that only liver-coloured puppies could be approved as longhaired breeding dogs. As a result, the black/white puppies were given away to local hunters who did not care as much about the colour. In 1919, a special club was established for these black and white dogs. Initially, they were not known as Large Münsterländers, but as black and white Münsterländer Pointers – hence the club's name “The club for pure breeding of black and white Münsterländer Pointers”.

The work on the breed was intensified and in 1922 the formalised breed began, which later changed its name to Large Münsterländer. Like the other continental gun dogs, the "Large” Münsterländer works in a medium-sized search range – both on land and in forests. It is a sturdy and effective breed that comes into its own immediately after the shoot. Here these dogs make excellent retrievers, always showing great willingness and desire to carry out their tasks.

The Large Münsterländer is - as the name suggests - slightly larger and more robust than the Small Münsterländer. Males are 58-65 cm tall and weigh 23-32 kg, while bitches are 58-63 cm tall.

The coat is smooth, dense and medium length. It is slightly wavy and usually white with black markings. The head must be black. The Large Münsterländer also makes an excellent family dog that is very child friendly. The breed falls under the relevant Danish club - Dansk Münsterländer Klub, which also covers the Small Münsterländer. The website contains plenty of useful information www.dmk-online.dk

The Old Danish Chicken Dog

Old Danish Chicken Dogs are, as the name suggests, dogs that originate from Denmark. Back in the early 1700s, "gypsy dogs” (predominantly dogs descending from Spanish pointers and sniffer breeds) were crossed with local farm dogs. This created a breed of white-and-brown roan dogs, first named Bakhunde - Bak dogs – named after Morten Bak, who started the crosses - until later the well-known name – Old Danish Chicken Dog (also known as the Old Danish Pointer).


Old Danish Chicken Dog
Old Danish Chicken Dog


At that time, there was a need to breed a pointer that did not have the widest search range, but which had a sharp nose. The dog also had to be easy to train and be a good family dog. These traits were used to improve the breed, and today the Old Danish Chicken Dog is a popular breed with around 1100 registered dogs in Denmark. There is a special club for the breed in Denmark, known as Klubben for Gammel Dansk Hønsehund. The club and its members are very active and look out for one another. The club organises a variety of training events, field trials, retrieval training, fun get-togethers and family events.

As a hunting companion, an Old Danish Chicken Dog provides an all-round dog that can be used for hunting in fields, forests and shrubs. It works naturally well with its handler and is excellent for hunting both large and small areas. It is generally not as big as the other pointer breeds and is also an excellent worker post-shoot.

These dogs tend to make lovely family pets with their calm and sociable temperament. The Old Danish Chicken Dog is calm and patient, and its appealing character makes it suitable as a family dog.

The Old Danish Chicken Dog is a medium-sized breed. Males: 54-60 cm. Females: 50-56 cm. They are shorthaired and white with liver markings. Klubben for Gamle Danske Hønsehunde has a great website on www.gdh.dk

The Weimaraner

Weimaraners come from Germany, although it can be difficult to determine exactly where. Weimaraner-type dogs were used at the Court of Weimar in the early 19th century, and the first dogs were recorded in Germany from around 1890. In Denmark, the first dogs of the breed were introduced in the 1950s, and in 1961 a special club was established, Dansk Weimaraner Klub. There is an active club life here, and you can read all about the breed's history, activities and standard by visiting the club's website.


Weimaraner
Weimaraner


Unlike Germany, Denmark wanted a dog that was ALSO effective before the shoot. The Germans first and foremost wanted the Weimaraner to be a dog with a limited range and with a high focus post-shoot. In Denmark, it is now a breed with a medium-sized and effective range, which is also a good worker post-shoot.

The Weimaraner works in fields and forests in a systematic range, and is efficient, robust and energetic. The Weimaraner makes a fantastic life companion who is very close to his family and enjoys closeness and interaction with people.

The Weimaraner is a medium-sized type. The males have an ideal size of 59–70 cm and weigh 30–40 kg, while the bitches are 57–65 cm and weigh between 25 and 35 kg. The Weimaraner exists in both a shorthaired and a longhaired variant and in different shades of grey.

The Dansk Weimeraner Klub's website has many pictures of both the shorthaired and longhaired Weimeraners. There are also plenty of descriptions of the breed as both a gun dog and family dog. See more at www.weimaraner.dk

The German Longhaired Pointer

As the name suggests, the German Longhaired Pointer originates from Germany, where it must be considered one of the oldest gun dog breeds, especially if you look at hunting pictures and Gobelins from the Middle Ages, where the dogs depicted are similar to the breed currently known as German long-haired Pointers.


German Longhaired Pointer
German Longhaired Pointer


In Germany, the German Longhaired Pointer was known for being a versatile hunting dog, hence the name "Mädchen für Alles” (all-round dog). It was also known as ”Der Alte Försterhund” (The Old Forest Dog). This is not least due to its strong ability as a Schweisshund, its loud throaty sound when working and the safe retrieval of all kinds of wild game.

In 1879, a breeding standard was established and still forms the basis for breeding today. The breed's appearance has barely changed since then.

The breed that is currently known as the German Longhaired Pointer dates back to that time, where the pointers were intensively bred. Ancestors of the German Longhaired Pointer include bird dogs, water dogs and driving gun dogs, such as the French Spaniel, and Wachtel dogs – a very loyal, retriever and all-encompassing gun dog originating from southern Germany. Equally, both Irish Setters and Gordon Setters have been bred into the German Longhaired Pointer, as have German Shorthaired Pointers.

The first Longhaired Pointer was imported to Denmark in the 1960s, and at the end of the 1990s the breed was so widely known that starting a breed-specific club seemed the obvious next step. Langhårsklubben was consequently established in 1979. The German Longhaired Pointer is a pronounced gun dog and, like the other continental pointer breeds, is a good all-round dog. The German Longhaired Pointer is a good bird dog and retriever and can also be used for Schweisshund work.

Size-wise, in the case of males, the German Longhaired Pointer measures 60-70 cm for males, with the ideal size being 63-66 cm. The bitches are naturally slightly smaller and, according to the standard, measure 58-66 cm, with an ideal size of 60-63 cm. Weight is 25-33 kg. The colour variants are slightly different and these are described in detail on the club's website. Most are solid brown but are also available as brown with white or ticked markings (especially on the chest and paws), or with dark dapples with larger or smaller dark brown patches. The motto for the German Longhaired Pointer is: Bred for hunting, by hunters for hunters!

Read more about the breed on the club's website, www.langhaarsklubben.dk

The Drentsche Patrijshond

The Drentsche Patrijshond is one of the absolute youngest breeds in Denmark, and ”the Dutch partridge dog" was first registered in Denmark in 1991. The breed was developed in southern Europe, but quickly took off in the Netherlands, particularly in the eastern part of the country in an area called Drenthe. Initially these dogs were called "Partridge dogs”, but were later renamed the Drentsche Patrijsehond. The breed was recognised in the Netherlands in 1943, and in 1948 a breed-specific club was founded.


Drentsche Patrijshond
Drentsche Patrijshond


In Denmark, this breed is commonly known as a "Drenten”. This dog is hard-working and works in a fairly limited range. It is a good worker both pre and post-shoot and makes an equally excellent family dog that easily adapts to different situations. It is the ideal dog for hunting on varied terrain, where it shows excellent contact ability.

In terms of size, the males are 58-63 cm, while the bitches are 55-60 cm. The colours are white with brown markings, with or without small spots. The ears are brown as is the fur around the eyes. The club has an excellent website at www.drenteklub.dk

Alongside the continental pointer breeds presented in this article, there are other breeds that are not as widespread in Denmark. For information about these, please refer to the following websites:
Spinone & Bracco Italiano – www.kjs.dk

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