New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

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New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Andrew51 » Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:42 am

I have been reading the forum for some time, but just recently joined and first time posting.

I have been wanting (and researching) dogs for some time. Some quick background... Family with 2 young boys. Enjoy hunting primarily upland at this point, but would like to get into waterfowl. We live in a home with a reasonable sized back yard and close access to plenty of green space. We live in Kansas, so we have decently cold winters and miserably hot summers. Dog will be a family pet/indoor dog in addition to hunting. So from my research, I have become very interested in WPG's.

My questions are this... 1.) Am I off base in wanting a WPG? I can certainly answer clarifying follow up questions. 2.) What aspects of evaluating a breeder/breeding are most important to you?

Thanks,

Andrew
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby ForTheBirds84 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:57 am

I would say you are on the right track. I spent a good deal of time researching before I got my current dog as well. I had dogs previously but I never really planned it out before this one. I will say it makes all the difference. As far as on the right track with a WPG, I would say sure. I have hunted over a couple and seen plenty while at NAVHDA training days. Just like anything you will want to do some homework on breeders before you commit. Which brings me to your next question. I didn't end up getting a WPG when I got the dog I have now. (a pudelpointer) But WPG's were on my short list. I would advise anyone getting a puppy to find dogs from breeders that are willing to have you over to see their dogs. When you get a chance to see the dogs try to do your best to observe the dogs and take it all in. If you like what you see from the dog and the breeder move forward. I would also add you can look up breeders and dog performance records on the NAVHDA website. This can be helpful, you can also reach out to your local NAVHDA chapter for recommendations. Before I got my current dog I didn't have a clue that NAVHDA even existed. Some people may disagree but for an average first time versatile dog owner NAVHDA can be a huge helpful resource.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby reader4 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 10:58 am

I was in similar shoes last year around this time so I'll give my personal thoughts. Others may disagree -- you'll have to decide what you want.

I'm not a breed purist (yet) and was evaluating DD, PP, WPG and small munsterlander breeders after having owned and trained retrievers for most of my life. I'd say you are not off-base with the WPG. I went with a SM -- had a lot to do with timing and proximity, but for me it's as much about the breeder and the dogs themselves (more than the breed). I also liked their smaller size for our home. Some suggestions:
1. Talk to current owners about how they use their dogs, how they are at home, with kids, etc. I wanted to see that the dogs are testing well, but more important was that owners had used them in the same hunting environments as me and were happy with the results.
1. Visit, hunt if you can, see them run/train if you can. Ask how they raise the puppies. Good breeders will be socializing to people, the house, birds, etc. and probably starting some house training basics. Ask how they evaluate the dogs and what their process for matching / selecting is. For me, it was between a couple of breeders within a few hours drive. The breeder we chose was willing to be involved during selection and help match the pup to our needs, to be "on call" during training, and had great quality progeny. Since then we've hunted with them, ran mock tests with other owners from the litter, etc. That community means something to me.
2. I'd ask about training techniques used for their dogs -- are they softer and need more gentle training, are they aloof, intensely driven? That should match your expectations. Many will say they want the boldest most driven dog in the group but then regret that choice when they are unruly. I am patient and even tempered so I want a dog that's similar. I prefer to train with mostly positive reinforcement so I like a puppy that's food driven. An adult should have stamina and focused drive. I don't need a hot shot or a wild child inefficiently wasting energy all over the field. I also want to know if they are more natural retrievers or rely on a trained retrieve? Are they water shy? What is their prey drive like? I want there to be drive, but I don't need afterburners...
3. A question I like is: What issues have the dogs had to work through getting to the UT test or similar? I think most breeders and owners love their dogs so they just praise them. I want to know the challenges they had to overcome and how they did it. If none of their dogs got that far that says something to me.
4. I also want to know how they are outside of hunting and what challenges they've had in their home environment. I live in a city and need a dog that can tolerate what we have around us. I can't have a dog that is prone to separation anxiety or has impulse control that can't be tamed.
5. I'm also interested in durability. Beyond the usual hip/eyes/etc. I like to see that the parents and relatives have been active for long periods. I hunted ruffed grouse earlier this year with my dog's mom and grandmother (age 11). The older dog was still going strong after 3 hours. Recent x-rays showed no evidence of arthritis or excessive wear in her hips. Conformation is important for durability. This is something I'd be especially interested in with the WPG given that they are a little more common as a pet breed.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Sooty42 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:41 am

If you choose a breeder that breeds for hunting ability and temperament that is true to the breed then I think a WPG is a great choice. My 3 yr old Griff is a lazy chill couch potato in the house, almost all day everyday and then on Saturday he can go on a 4-5 hr grouse or chukar hunt without tiring. He would have even better stamina if I was better at conditioning him. He has always been great with my 7 and 10 yr old kids. He is sometimes aloof at first with strangers (more so men), but then warms up very fast once he realizes they are trustworthy, and if they pet him once they now have a friend for life. He has been a great family dog so far that likes to hunt too.

I think people have given you good advice so far. I would also add that when searching for a breeder find out what size dogs they are breeding. Griffs should be a medium sized breed. I keep seeing stuff on the internet about people with large griffs, 70 lbs on up, that’s way to big in my opinion.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby reader4 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:18 pm

Sooty42 wrote:Griffs should be a medium sized breed. I keep seeing stuff on the internet about people with large griffs, 70 lbs on up, that’s way to big in my opinion.


Yes and yes. This part of what I was getting at with conformation. There always seem to be some people that want dogs larger than the breed standards. I don't get it, and it's frustrating when those dogs develop joint issues and only have 5 well-trained seasons in them...
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Dmog » Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:57 pm

Welcome to the forum fellow Kansan. I would suggest that you attend some NAVHDA trainings and/or tests. I do not know where in KS you are located but MOKAN chapter has trainings near Wolf Creek Power Plant and OKNAVHDA has trainings near Enid and Tulsa. Both are a great group of gals/guys/dogs. You will see and meet your breed of interest, owners, and breeders there. You will see other breeds of VHD and owners and breeders. That is how I ended up settling on a Griff for my first and a PP for my second. Match your family's temperament to the breeder. If your out west then check the CO chapter and up North you can get to the Neb or IA chapters. Good luck and the Griff as well as others are great choices of VHD as long as you and your breeder do a good pairing.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby orhunter » Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:23 pm

Some great info here regarding size. If a person wants a big dog, get a different breed.

First thing I tell folks is to go the the V-Dogs breeder section and check out as many websites as possible just to look at dogs. Like that old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. If the dog(s) look right, go to step two. Know what “right” is. I’m a sucker for Griffs with lots of hair but I’ll never have another one. I want a functional coat above all else.

Be aware a number of top breeders don’t have websites, don’t advertise, all done by word of mouth. Their litters are spoken for long before the breeding takes place so you need to get in line early. Sometimes a person can get lucky when something pops up and you need to jump on it right away. Immersing yourself in the Griff world keeps you connected. My connection some 20 years ago was Jamie Kuhn, Aspen Glo Griffons. He opened the door for me to walk through. What a ride it has been.

Look outside your local area and be willing to have a pup shipped or make a long drive to pick it up. I’ve driven from NW Oregon to Wisconsin for a pup and am doing it again in 8 weeks.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Highlander » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:36 pm

Conformation is important for durability.


Be aware a number of top breeders don’t have websites, don’t advertise, all done by word of mouth. Their litters are spoken for long before the breeding takes place so you need to get in line early.


Look outside your local area and be willing to have a pup shipped or make a long drive to pick it up. I’ve driven from NW Oregon to Wisconsin for a pup and am doing it again in 8 weeks.


These are some excellent points here.

I'll add my own experience. I got my pop 2 month ago.
I was going to import an English Setter from Italy but than the pandemic hit and everything around me went crazy...
So I concentrated my search in the US and ended with a breed that hunts like a GWP but looks like a setter - the long haired :mrgreen: .

The long story short, I could not go and hunt with my pups parents and her breeder due to the messy schedule I had in that month, but I did ask very detailed description of each parents and every aspect of their personalities, style, behavior, health, nose, favorite game, etc. The breeder gladly provided all of that.
I looked at the tastings and confirmation scores too.
After that I did an ancestral research of the parents and their lines through database of the breed. I even ended up on the breeder's websites of my pups grand parents and even great-grand parents. After this work I finalized my decision based on what I had gathered.
I was also looking for breed / dog with high trainability and natural tendency for it. I enjoy daily taring and doing drills with my dog(s) just as much as I enjoy hunting with them. So this aspect was important.

One thing is to keep in mind is since GWP is a widespread breed there are many regional or venue types of it.
Don't get bog down in the topic of AKC vs NAVDHA vs NASTRA vs VDD. All of these guys/venues/clubs breed excellent dogs, though very deferent from each other. It is up to you what ideas and philosophy you find yourself aligned with and go for it.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Andrew51 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:27 pm

Thank you for all of these detailed replies. This forum has already proven very generous.

It is certainly a little intimidating trying to select the 'right' breeder. I will certainly compile many of the factors and questions as I work through the many options.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Highlander » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:10 am

You might find this podcast quite useful too.

Picking the Right Breed w/ Craig Koshyk

https://www.stitcher.com/show/gun-dog-it-yourself/episode/77-picking-the-right-breed-w-craig-koshyk-80928167
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby orhunter » Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:05 pm

This website made it possible for me to get a great Griff and not jump breeds and get a DD. Back when I began this journey there was only a half dozen or so litters per year worth considering and none of them were west of the Rocky Mountains, maybe west of the Mississippi. The Griff is in much better shape now breeder wise. Good dogs can be found in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and possibly Washington. Depends on who’s breeding what. It’s a learning process for sure and with the best teachers it still takes time. I’d been at it five years and realized I didn’t know diddly. At seven years, I was starting to catch on but nowhere near where I wanted to be. At 20 years, I’m maybe three quarters of the way there. Learning never stops.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Dmog » Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:40 pm

orhunter wrote:Some great info here regarding size. If a person wants a big dog, get a different breed.

I’m a sucker for Griffs with lots of hair but I’ll never have another one. I want a functional coat above all else.


Speaking from the experience of owning one of these larger male dogs with lots of hair, it is a catch 22 and one I wouldn't do again with the hunting I prefer. He is the coolest looking dog and his eyes and intelligence are child like. Gentle and loving unless you are fur or feathers. However, out in the field I spend a lot of time pulling stickers out of head and leg areas. I have had repeated cheat grass infections between the toes when I missed them on the tailgate inspection. Routinely need to pull hair out of the ear canal or he is more prone to yeast infections, joints are starting to weaken at 8 years old, has thyroid issues, and stamina is now only 1/2 day of hard hunting then needs a day of rest. Temperature above 55 deg F I need to take precautions for overheating. All of these field issues are fixed and/or minimized with a medium sized dog, proper coat, and not neutering your dog too young if at all. Wouldn't trade him for the world but you can get all the good qualities of this breed along with functional field conformation if you do your research.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Andrew51 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:37 pm

Highlander wrote:You might find this podcast quite useful too.

Picking the Right Breed w/ Craig Koshyk

https://www.stitcher.com/show/gun-dog-it-yourself/episode/77-picking-the-right-breed-w-craig-koshyk-80928167


Took a listen to that today based on your recommendation. Thank you, lots of helpful info.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Andrew51 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:40 pm

orhunter wrote:This website made it possible for me to get a great Griff and not jump breeds and get a DD. Back when I began this journey there was only a half dozen or so litters per year worth considering and none of them were west of the Rocky Mountains, maybe west of the Mississippi. The Griff is in much better shape now breeder wise. Good dogs can be found in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and possibly Washington. Depends on who’s breeding what. It’s a learning process for sure and with the best teachers it still takes time. I’d been at it five years and realized I didn’t know diddly. At seven years, I was starting to catch on but nowhere near where I wanted to be. At 20 years, I’m maybe three quarters of the way there. Learning never stops.


Thank you. Certainly a little bit of a task to work through breeder options! I'm hoping to put in some decent leg work so to speak to make the most informed decision I can.
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Re: New Guy - Interested in WPG's... I think

Postby Andrew51 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:43 pm

Dmog wrote:
orhunter wrote:Some great info here regarding size. If a person wants a big dog, get a different breed.

I’m a sucker for Griffs with lots of hair but I’ll never have another one. I want a functional coat above all else.


Speaking from the experience of owning one of these larger male dogs with lots of hair, it is a catch 22 and one I wouldn't do again with the hunting I prefer. He is the coolest looking dog and his eyes and intelligence are child like. Gentle and loving unless you are fur or feathers. However, out in the field I spend a lot of time pulling stickers out of head and leg areas. I have had repeated cheat grass infections between the toes when I missed them on the tailgate inspection. Routinely need to pull hair out of the ear canal or he is more prone to yeast infections, joints are starting to weaken at 8 years old, has thyroid issues, and stamina is now only 1/2 day of hard hunting then needs a day of rest. Temperature above 55 deg F I need to take precautions for overheating. All of these field issues are fixed and/or minimized with a medium sized dog, proper coat, and not neutering your dog too young if at all. Wouldn't trade him for the world but you can get all the good qualities of this breed along with functional field conformation if you do your research.


Thank you. Plenty to keep in mind!!
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