Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

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Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby gopokes » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:13 am

French Britts (EBs). Besides the cosmetic differences in size, shape, etc, what might I expect? My current gsp is 10 and has been a great dog in the field and home, but the first 3-4 years were really tough. She was from strong NAVHDA lines and was supposed to be bred for biddability and a calm temperament, but she was neither of those things for a good while. We eventually came to an uneasy truce which holds ot this day. Honestly the last several years have been really fun with this dog, so it was worth it in the end. Now, we're looking at these EBs - we spent a little time abroad and saw a ton of them in Spain. Many were hunters, I was told. They were all very compact (like, 30lb dogs) and kind of a fun dog to look at although gsps beat them in the beauty department, in my book, at least. Still, how nice would it be to have a compact critter or two in the back of the station wagon? small crates = more room for me and gear. Am I drifting? How would you describe their in-home characteristics? I don't doubt their field skills, and don't hunt waterfowl, so there it is. Feel free to steer me towards, or away! Thoughts?
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby orhunter » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:09 am

What and where do you hunt?
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby Highlander » Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:33 am

Well, there is a reason why the EB dominates the European (FCI) field test and trails in the Continental division.
They are terrific small dogs what I have heard. France and Italy produce the best ones.
I have not seen them too much a part form one occasion in Eastern Europe. There was a gentlemen from Ukraine and he had one. The dog was a French import. He was parsing its amazing character and natural abilities, especially hunting in woodlands on woodcock.

My very good friend, whose judgment about dogs I trust has seen them across many trails and test. He said if he didn't hate the Continental breeds the EB would have been his breed of choice. He is a Pointer guy and has attended many trails/tests from Spain to Serbia. (Keep in mind that British breeds are in separate division from the Continental breeds per FCI testing rules). So yes, the EB is a very very good and proven breed.

One thing is to keep in mind is that not all Continental breeds are the same versatile as NAVHDA wants them to be.
There is a huge difference between the German breeds, the kings of versatile world, and anything else that comes form the neighboring countries (the exception is the Czech Republic but that's other discussion). Especially the French and Italian breeds.
So, don't expect the same performance on say tracking or water working from a EB you would have expected from a Small Musterlander. (Some rumors even say the EB was used to improve the SM's field abilities)

This article perfectly describes this difference and what to expect from other Continental breeds.
http://dogwilling.ca/pointing-dog-blog/http/wwwdogwillingca/blog-page-url/2018/2/5/drivedesire

I have not looked into breeders in the US, but I am sure you can find some very very good ones. There was a guy with a few EBs on the Pheasant Fest 2020, but I never got to talk to him.

If you are still in love with the looks of the GSP and looking for a "softer" dog, the Braque Francais (aka the French Braqe) is another option for you. It looks like a GSP, but is more similar (somewhat) to the EB with its hunting style. It's probably even better in a hot and dry climate.

When I have more times and means and I and ready for second dog, the BF or Braque D'Auvergne (kinda looks like a black and white GSP) probably will be my next breeds.

Good luck!
Last edited by Highlander on Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby Willie T » Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:44 am

The ones I have hunted with have been firecrackers. If you hunt country with burrs, you may tire of the coat.
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby gopokes » Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:37 am

I hunt a little of everything minus waterfowl and fur. My main game is released pheasants, but I try to make several forrays after wild birds a time allows. In about 5 years, I anticipate having more time on my hands to travel, so this dog will hunt a lot of different game in its lifetime, Lord willing and the creek don't rise...
The short coat is a HUGE perk to owning the gsp. I've considered the BF but somehow it seems like a boutique breed to me, at least here in the States. However, I'm vulnerable to the power of suggestion. :) But in all honesty, I'd likely go with a proven gsp line again before I'd go BF and look for a female that might weigh 45-50lbs. Mine is in the low 50s in peak shape.
I hunt more days north of 40 deg than I do south of 20 deg. I don't mind a dog that ranges a little, but probably not much over 200 yards. My current gsp ranged around 300-400 yards in her youth. She's more of a 100-200 yard dog now at 10. She blew up a lot of birds early on. I'm not the worlds best trainer, but I'm patient, and she finally figured it out, at least on most days.
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby orhunter » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:50 am

There are several short coated breeds including the Griff. You might look at the PP’s and GWP’s. Problem with hunting dogs today, there are so many choices it’s tough to make any kind of meaningful recommendations. Look for a dog type before picking a breed, they are not all the same within the same breed. Don’t get in a hurry.
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby JONOV » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:24 pm

The one's I've seen I like. I'd have one if I didn't duck hunt.
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby Dakotazeb » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:46 pm

Don't worry about the posts regarding coats. Coats vary greatly among the same breed in any dog. I've had American Brittanys for over 25 years and had ones with wooly coats that needed trimming. But the last two have had short flat coats that require little maintenance and don't attract burrs. I think you should be able to find a Frenchie that comes from a breeding of dogs with shorter coats.
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby gopokes » Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:45 am

We saw some incredibly compact EBs in Europe. I think a couple were around 25lbs at most. In Spain they were by far the most common bird dog we encountered. Makes sense with the size combined with living in a flat. Coats were all over the place as were colors. Some were mongrels that had been crossed with a setter or a braque of some kind. The owners were happy with them. I saw a couple of straight tan (orange) dogs. Lot of roans and a few that looked like American Brits but not many. All much smaller than what you see in the USA. They'd have to work pretty tight with those short little legs, I'd imagine. I know the gsp world enough by now to know what I'm getting into...give or take, at least in some of the breedings. GSPs are as close to a foolproof dog as exists for a guy like me. If there is a downside, they are just....well....a lot. :) I'd think about a griff but worry about heat tolerance. Same with most of the versatiles besides gsps, unless they were a slick or something. Thanks for the replies!
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Re: Contemplating the switch from gsps to...

Postby orhunter » Wed Mar 31, 2021 9:21 am

Griffs are lousy in the heat. But, it’s kind of relative to the dog’s hunting style. The proper Griff is a decent runner, 400 + yard search style in open country. A big running anything is going to get hot when the temperature starts to climb.
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