Versatile Hunting Dogs and Breeding To Working Standards

An Example of Change in form and function: Old Bull Terrier

Old Style Airedale

Vs Todays modern monstrosity.
Who would feed a dog that requires this much grooming, post hunt cleaning, lack of drive and hardness?

“Without clear standards, all breeding and judging of exhibition livestock would come down to a simple matter of opinion.”

Breed: A group of animals whose phenotype (the way individuals look) sets it apart from
others of the same species.

Standardized Breeds: Members of a breed are expected to show great uniformity in
breed type and performance. Animals must be registered. Genetic diversity is reduced.
A standard is about production and performance levels.
Pushing for maximum production/performance has proven detrimental to other animal
populations, such as seen with trial Pointers and their now evident inherant physical issues.

“Posted by Yawallac (R.Calloway- Field Trial Enthusiast) on Feb. 10 2013,11:19 Upland Journal
I’m hoping that if I combine size with animation I will reduce the chance for injury, particularly ACL injuries that seem to be becoming so common. I am trying to get strong supporting bone and tissue that will keep them sound. We’ll see.”

Breeding To Standard is what gave us the Worlds Finest Performance Working & Sporting dogs.

This list includes the Fighting American Pit Bull Terrier-Game testing To Standard, Working German Shepherd-Schutzhund, The Dutch Shepherd-KNPV, Belgian Malinois-KNPV & Mondio French Ring, Rottweiler-Schutzhund, Doberman-SchH, Reisenschnauzer-SchH, Bouvier- FR, Mondio, KNPV, Boxer-SchH, Labrador Retriever- Nahra, UKC HRC, Drahthaar-JGHV, Kurzhaar-JGHV, Pudelpointer-JGHV, Munsterlander-JGHV, Weimaraner, Jagd Terrier, Teckel. Even Australian Cattle Dogs, Dogos.

Czech Working Bred German Shepherd

A Working Standard bred GSD VS. A Sport Trial Conformation GSD
SchH was once a Standard Police & Breeding Test with Real Stick hits, live gunfire, 8′ Jumps, Bite suits. Now its a sleeve chasing contest done after WW2 to recast Germanys image and for Conformation chasing idiots.

US Military & Police Depts all use Standard Bred Dogs

The famous fighting Pitbull & Grand Champion ‘Going Light Barney’

Working German Weimaraner

AKC Breeding and trial testing has removed the ‘hunt’ from Weims such as this German dog above.


Having Performance standards is the essence of any sound breeding practice in livestock, from chicken layers to meat goats, milk cows to beef cows, to hunting and working dogs for over a century!  When any one attempts to discredit any such standard breeding as ‘minimum’ testing, that person has never achieved such honors in any testing environment, is lazy, dishonest and a shyster. It is essentially the only way to test and breed stock.

What is a breed standard and why is it neccessary?
by Stephanie S. Hedgepath

All dogs, with the exception of the toy breeds, were fashioned for a specific kind of work in order to ease man’s burden. When man first domesticated the dog, all that was needed was a dog that would carry out the required task with the most efficiency. What form the dog took was of little consequence.
As time went on and dogs were used for more specialized purposes, distinct breeds began to emerge. The individual characteristics of the breeds were dictated by the purpose for which it would be used, the terrain it would have to work over and the climate in which it would have to perform its duties.
When the first dog shows were held in Britain, beginning around 1843, the entries were limited to sporting breeds. Trials for sheepdogs were first held in Wales in 1873.
Breed Standards lay down the principles on which a breed is bred. It is a blueprint of sorts detailing the characteristics of a particular breed of dog that distinguishes it from all others

A standard cannot contain every detail of the dog, thus giving a complete picture of what the dog should be. Beginners often argue that they are unable to get sufficient guidance from the Standard of a breed and this complaint is a valid one, but one which can be overcome.

Few breeds remains completely static.
They all change to some small degree over the years. It is the responsibility of the true breeder to see to it that the breed does not change so drastically that it loses its original character due to incorrect interpretation of the Standard. A working and conformation standard is the virtue of any breeder/fancier. It contains the essence of the breed. It should be committed to memory and should be the beginning of a lifelong quest for knowledge of a chosen breed, not the end of the journey!

These official written standards are maintained by each breed’s national club and published.
A change in any breed standard should not be taken lightly and should only be attempted by those with a deep and thorough knowledge of a breed.’

All purebred breeds have a breed standard {which is a blueprint of the breed in terms of appearance, temperament, characteristics} and is fundamentally important that breeders breed to it and have their dogs judged against it to ensure predictability, which in turn maintains the integrity and true spirit of a purebred breed.

An example of why the breed standard is fundamentally important to maintaining the integrity of a purebred, would be the way Dobermann and other US working dogs, are being flushed down the toilet as working dogs, because of indiscriminate breeding against the breed standard…(enter Minimum breeding tests like Schutzhund, or Lack thereof!!

The Dobermann, GSD, Boxer, Rottweiler et al were created to be a be highly intelligent, high energy, bold, alert, work-driven warrior dogs and prerequisites were that they be sound in the head {so never arbitrarily aggressive}, strong nerves {so would not react fearfully to environmental stimulus} and have the genetic drives/characteristics/structure, to be trained to work as personal protection dog.

Popularity has been a curse for the US Dobermann and others as working dogs, and resulted in the back yard breeders/puppy mills breeding substandard dogs to cater to the pet market, soft unsound weak temperaments are now prevalent in the breed. Poorly breed dogs are being bred against the working standard and yet are supported by purchasers with their cash, which ensures that the practice continues.

Unless their is a seismic change in the attitude of US breeders and they go back to basic breed to the standard testing regulations, the future of many working / Sporting breeds is grim to say the least.

Put simply, the breed standard defines the breed. Breed Club Testing to minimums- (as if a KNPV title, which old Schutzhund mirrored, is not highly respected and an accomplishment!) helps maintain the breed, and knowledge through testing can help breeders improve faults in the breed.



The FCI and German Breed Clubs like the VDD, VPP, VDK et al all maintain high integrity in breeding fine animals. Breeding to average via performance standards maintains quality control, and has eliminated health defects like HD, in DDs down to about 1%.

HD, Coat, conformation and dentition are all tested as well as 2 field tests, a Natural ability test and intermediate HZP test. Wild game is used at one of the tests, sometimes both if hares can be tracked.  Additionally, EVERY bred DD has killed a fanged vermin like a raccoon, fox or badger in the field to ensure courage and hardness or HN.  There are very few dogs that can do this collectively, and why the DD stands out as a top hunting breed, by word of mouth in large part. Groups are judged By their average and DDs have set themselves apart, though DKs and PPs when bred correctly, are also fine hunting animals.

Natural Ability Test (VJP) when the dog is approximately one year old and essentially untrained (i.e. the dog has not been trained to retrieve to hand, although it should have been exposed to furred and feathered game and demonstrated to the handler its ability to track furred game and search for and point feathered game).

The HZP is a test that evaluates the advanced natural abilities of a versatile hunting dog.  Most of the dogs who run a HZP are between 10 and 24 months of age.  A full HZP (with 5 dogs) will usually last for an entire day.  A HZP basically consists of 5 different retrieves accomplished through three phases of judging: searching/pointing, drags, and water work.

The drag phase of the test consists of two land retrieves.  The judges will drag a dead gamebird (provided by the handler) 200 meters across a field.  The dog must complete the track and should retrieve the gamebird to hand.  The judges will also drag a dead rabbit/hare (provided by the handler) 300 meters across a field.  The dog must complete the track and should retrieve the rabbit/hare to hand.

The water work phase of the HZP consists of 3 duck retrieves in the water.  The first retrieve is a marked retrieve where the dog will get to see the duck being tossed into the water.  After the dog is sent for the retrieve, a shot will be fired over the dog to ensure that he/she is not gun sensitive in the water.  The dog must complete the retrieve.

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