American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

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American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:17 am

So, what do you think? Is the American Brittany, a breed that some say bears our countries name, our breed? The French Brittany folks say it’s a different breed. If so, then who gets to claim ownership of the American version? I know the same could be said of other breeds who some claim have been altered here, but none of those bear the American label.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:28 am

No strong opinion on the subject from me.

AKC Hunting and FT strain Brittanys are distinctly different than French Brittanys in both appearance and performance.

Whether there is value in renaming the Americanized Brits as such; Perhaps. It could save some folks on both the buying and selling end some time potentially and help to avoid a gross mis-match between dog and handler expectations.

For experienced/informed folks it really does not matter but I think it would be useful in directing the less informed at the outset by at least tipping them off there are large differences between the two.

Once a person becomes involved in any breed their focus commonly shifts to distinct breeders and lines within the breed so even a different name would still leave some observable differences between strains under a common breed name.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby flitecontrol » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:51 am

What's in a name?

AKC recognizes all German shorthairs as one breed, yet some in the U.S., and possibly elsewhere, have been crossed with English pointers. These dogs bear little resemblance in form or function to what the breed originally was. As a guardian of "purebreed" dogs, the AKC has failed this breed miserably, and won't rock the boat to try and put the genie back in the bottle. The American cocker spaniel doesn't look or act like its British counterpart, but I can't say it is due to shady breeding, more like shoddy breeding IMO. I'm not familiar enough with Brittanies to say if something similar has gone on with them, but suppose it's possible.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:23 am

In the case of Brittanys I do not see it as an example of any strain of Brits being ruined. French Brittanys are very capable stay busy close working small dogs. The Americanized Brits are much bigger and leggier, will run really fast and really big in some strains, and moderate in some others, while remaining very capable dogs as well. Something for everyone's varying tastes is how I view it.

The AKC is a Breed Registry not a Breed Club and the functions are different between them. Only the uninformed are surprised in the dog they acquire is the general case in this breed and many others.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby greg jacobs » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:37 am

Probable on new blood added. The trial dogs can really run. Gsp people know for sure what happened with white pointers.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby orhunter » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:15 am

I've seen so few French Brittanies I can't comment on them. The only one I've seen in the field wasn't doing anything, didn't appear to be much of a dog. Funny thing was, the owner had contacted me earlier while doing a dog search and we talked Griffons and he mentioned French Brittanies. I warned him of the difference between AKC FT dogs and the French version. I'd never met the guy face to face so had no idea what he looked like via e-mail. One day while out running my dogs on the state put and take ground I ran into a fellow with a French dog. We bs'd a while and he finally mentioned he was talking to some guy a while back about Griffons. Told him, I'm that guy. He did admit his French Britt wasn't much of a dog. Jump ahead a few years, I saw the guy a couple weeks ago when he bought some .45 brass from me and he now has a nice Labrador.

I pretty much agree with what AG said after owning a couple of AKC FT Britts. Feel strongly the French dogs are a different breed. Maybe not so much genetically but certainly different in how they're bred which creates at least a few genetic differences. Selective breeding either direction does change the outcome.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby chiendog » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:01 pm

Officially, America has never produced a native breed of pointing dog. Sure, in the early days, there were dogs known as 'native setters', produced by mixing English, Irish and Gordon setters. But as a breed, they never took off. So even though English, Irish and Gordon setters over here haven't had a drop of blood from UK lines in over 100 years, they are still considered English or Irish or Scottish. Basically every single breed of pointing dog in the US today started off somewhere else and are all still considered, officially, as English, or French or German etc. even though they may not be anything like the dogs in the country of origin.

Unofficially, every pointing breed ever brought over to the US has been 'americanized', some more than others. The Brittany, it could be argued, is up there with the GSP in terms of Americanization. Some North American strains of the breed are so different from the dogs being bred in France that a case could be (and has been) made for it to be declared a separate breed. And there is actually precedent to support the case: differences in Cocker Spaniels bred in the US and the UK became so obvious that in 1935 they were separated into two different breeds, the American and English Cocker Spaniels. They've remained separate ever since.

Recently, the UKC has recognized the Epangeul Breton (French Brittany) as a separate breed. Other orgs may follow, but there really isn't any formal system to decide when a breed should become separate from the imported version in the US. If there were such a system or method, I think it wound't be long before American Setters, American Pointers and American Wirehairs were declared officially. As it is though, those breeds already exist...but they go by different names :D
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby flitecontrol » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:03 pm

AverageGuy wrote:The AKC is a Breed Registry not a Breed Club and the functions are different between them. Only the uninformed are surprised in the dog they acquire is the general case in this breed and many others.


When Bodo Winterhelt added pointer blood to his PP line to give it a 'boost", AKC continued to register those dogs and NAVDA accepted them for testing.

WPG were one of the breeds used to develop the Czech Fousek. When the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America concluded the breed needed fresh blood, they decided to cross with Fouseks. AKC refused to register those dogs, and NAVDA would not accept them for their tests.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:16 pm

flitecontrol wrote:
AverageGuy wrote:The AKC is a Breed Registry not a Breed Club and the functions are different between them. Only the uninformed are surprised in the dog they acquire is the general case in this breed and many others.


When Bodo Winterhelt added pointer blood to his PP line to give it a 'boost", AKC continued to register those dogs and NAVDA accepted them for testing.

WPG were one of the breeds used to develop the Czech Fousek. When the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America concluded the breed needed fresh blood, they decided to cross with Fouseks. AKC refused to register those dogs, and NAVDA would not accept them for their tests.


You are correct in that Bodo back bred to the pointer (one of two foundation breeds), but incorrect in that AKC continued to register them because the PP has never and hopefully will never be recognized by the AKC.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby orhunter » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:42 pm

I think what the WPGCA did was more of lack of patience which resulted in a knee jerk reaction to do something. There were a few good dogs in N. America and those few dogs that didn't go under the control of the WPGCA laid the groundwork for today's Griff. Over time, those breeders were able to reach out for foreign Griff blood to expand this genetic base. In theory, it did not involve crossbreeding but it reality it probably did because at least a small number of those dogs originated from the French cheating at their own game. The only difference was, one was by accident, the other by design. Today's American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in its finest form, is probably pretty close to a very refined version of the original Korthals dogs. Pretty sure Eduard would smile at the results.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby flitecontrol » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:16 pm

JTracyII wrote:
You are correct in that Bodo back bred to the pointer (one of two foundation breeds), but incorrect in that AKC continued to register them because the PP has never and hopefully will never be recognized by the AKC.


You may be right. While the AKC recognizes the breed, I could find no evidence that they have actually registered any. I was going by what I thought I had been told years ago.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby carramrod » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:57 pm

Funny, the French Brits I've seen are some of the best upland hunters I've been around, and American Brits are pretty much all pets.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:14 pm

flitecontrol wrote:
JTracyII wrote:
You are correct in that Bodo back bred to the pointer (one of two foundation breeds), but incorrect in that AKC continued to register them because the PP has never and hopefully will never be recognized by the AKC.


You may be right. While the AKC recognizes the breed, I could find no evidence that they have actually registered any. I was going by what I thought I had been told years ago.


Hey, no worries.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:28 pm

Not sure I got your point FC.

Mine (which you quoted) was a Breed Club such as the VDD, the GW Breeders Alliance, the PP Breeders Alliance (not the exact name) agrees upon and uses a set of minimum standards/evaluations for the dogs used in Breeding. If their standards are incorrect, too low, or not used objectively their results will suffer and show it. The 3 examples I used here are noted for achieving excellent results consistent with their stated objectives.

A Breed Registry such as the AKC does nothing similar and is just a record keeping organization. Whether a breed goes good or bad while being registered in the AKC is a function of the Breeders' choices as to which dogs to breed and register. The AKC is silent and uninvolved at that level is what I see.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby flitecontrol » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:39 pm

orhunter wrote:I think what the WPGCA did was more of lack of patience which resulted in a knee jerk reaction to do something. There were a few good dogs in N. America and those few dogs that didn't go under the control of the WPGCA laid the groundwork for today's Griff. Over time, those breeders were able to reach out for foreign Griff blood to expand this genetic base. In theory, it did not involve crossbreeding but it reality it probably did because at least a small number of those dogs originated from the French cheating at their own game. The only difference was, one was by accident, the other by design. Today's American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in its finest form, is probably pretty close to a very refined version of the original Korthals dogs. Pretty sure Eduard would smile at the results.


I was a member of the WPGCA for almost 30 years. When I was looking to replace my shorthair, and considering several wirehaired breeds, I was struck by how honest the WPGCA was. When I contacted the GWP club, the secretary was effusive with her praise of the breed. She said there were lots of breeders, they produced great hunters, and I would be very happy if I got a GWP. She may have been right, but I figured if that was true, everyone would have a GWP. In contrast, the WPGCA secretary told me there were a few good griffons, and quite a few that weren't so great. She said the club's goal was to improve the breed, and outlined the steps they were taking to reach that goal. She suggested I come to a nearby test and see for myself, which I did. I was impressed with the quality of the judging, and the fact that the test results, good and bad, were announced over supper that night and later published in the club newsletter. Some of those dogs did very well and a very few (IMO) were a waste of dog food. Some of the owners grumbled that their dog was better than the test scores revealed, and they were going to breed it even though it didn't perform well in either Natural Ability or Intermediate level tests. That's when I realized how important it was to have third party judging and eliminate kennel blindness. You and I may think our dogs are fantastic, but what does a qualified judge have to say?

I concluded these folks knew what they were doing, and joined. I've been to numerous WPGCA tests and seen and evaluated a lot of Griffs; most of which were probably from litters not approved by the breeding committee as there were usually more litters from breedings not recommended by the club's breeding committee. While anyone who had a griffon could breed it without permission from the club's breeding committee, there were four to seven approved breedings each year. Whe researching what pup to get, I reviewed all the test results of parents and offspring. It was clear from my research that one breeding stood out from all the rest, and I was fortunate to get a pup from that litter, which had been approved by the committee. According to the club secretary, Joan Bailey, he was the best WPG in North America. While there were some very good dogs, too many had soft coats, temperament issues, poor (may I say terrible?) conformation, or other problems. The Europeans enjoyed a broader genetic base, but were having similar problems and weren't able to help much since they wanted to keep their best dogs. Who could blame them? Several European, mostly German, some French, and I believe one Dutch WPG were brought to the U.S. and used for breeding. The WPGCA was able to have all the females from one German litter shipped to the U.S. One of them was matched to my dog. She was oversize, had a soft, wooly coat, and while in my care, was hyper. Getting dogs from Europe is no guarantee that you are going to get a superior dog. The WPGCA recognized the problems facing the breed and, through their approved breeding program, over a number of decades were sucessful in greatly improving the breed. However, there just weren't enough good dogs to sustain the progress that had been made. It definitely wasn't a lack of patience, a failure to capitalize on good breeding oportunities, or a snap judgement that led them to outcross. It was reality.

Those who felt the WPGCA shouldn't outcross, left and formed their own club. Within a few generations, the crossbred griffons were performing better overall than their ancestors had on hunting tests. Unfortunately, Joan Bailey retired and people who lacked her vision failed IMO to keep improving the breed the main focus of the club.

Not knowing what standard Korthals had in mind, it's difficult to say what he might think about today's WPG. I'm sure there are lots of them that make good hunters. But how well do they conform to the standard? Can they pass on their positive characteristics to their offspring without the negative ones interferring with their performance? I've seen an 80 pound griff that was so hyper it was all his handler could do to hold onto him. I've seen a female whose chest was so narrow it would be difficult to slide two fingers between her front legs. I've seen several that wouldn't enter the water. I've seen one who repeatedly walked right over a bob white quail without ever recognizing it was there. And I've seen many whose coat was so soft it would be a burr magnent if their owners didn't shave them before hunting season. In Kansas a few years ago, I met a hunter who thought his griffon was great, and it might have been a really good hunter. But it was waaay oversize, had a narrow chest and soft coat, and was much taller than it was long (not square). IMO, getting a WPG today is more of a crap shoot than with some other versative wirehaired breeds
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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