Well, it does happen, but no, in reality the Drahthaar is a separate breed from their American derivative, the German Wirehaired Pointer. The Drahthaar is bred to a strict set of breed standards, which require testing in both ability and conformation before the dogs are allowed to be bred. The GWP, as registered by the AKC and the FDSB, don't have any controls on their breeding, so the breeds have begun to diverge, even though they are originally from the same stock. The most immediately noticable difference is in the coat- the Drahthaars tend to a more uniform, shorter coat, and are generally darker in color than are the GWPs.
Drahthaars are registered by the Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar. Any dog from a registry such as the AKC or FDSB is a German Wirehaired Pointer, no matter what the guy is trying to sell you. Ask, and if they aren't VDD pups, they aren't really Drahthaars. Every month I see ads in Gun Dog for 'Hunting Drahthaars' and so forth, and they aren't VDD pups. Those are the people who are misusing the name in an effort to impress the uninformed.
On a personal note, I've found that this particular question is not only the most asked question, but also the one that causes the most people to get mad at me. Many people don't believe my answer, and feel that it is an insult to them (or their GWPs) somehow. This is completely ridiculous, and in response, I've written an article that discusses this much more in depth. Click here for the article. Please read it before you write me a nastygram, please- thanks.
What is meant by describing the dog as 'versatile'?
Versatile dogs are a type of hunting dog just as are pointing dogs, retrievers, and flushers. The versatile dog is asked to do more than one thing, though. Drahthaars are excellent trackers, great retrievers, and many are outstanding pointers. They'll never best Labradors in the retriever trials, or English Pointers in horseback quail trials, though- they trade being the best in one thing for being useful in many things.
Do I have to learn German to give the dog commands, or to run it in the field tests?
No, we have a chapter of the German organization right here in the USA, called Group North America. Translations of most of the regulations into English have been done, and all the tests are done in English here in this country. As for commands to the dog- like any dog, Drahthaars will respond to what you teach them, they don't know one language from another. Some people do use German commands, but most of us in the USA find them to be pretentious and confusing. The best bet is to stick with the language you use on a daily basis.
Are there any drawbacks to this breed?
They are a high-energy breed, requiring a good bit of exercise, so they aren't the best breed for the inner-city apartment dweller. They are extremely focused on hunting, so they're constantly on the watch for something to chase or point. They don't make good housemates with cats.
How can I find a puppy?
To breed VDD Drahthaars, a breeder must be a member of VDD, and be approved by them to breed. Because the group isn't that large here in the USA, we have a National Inquiries Director, and he will get you a list of all the litters that are planned for the near future. Most of our breeders are concentrated in the Midwest and Upper Midwest, with a decent number in the Northeast. A number of our breeders advertise in Gun Dog when they've got a litter on the way, but always ask if the person is a member of the VDD. If in doubt, contact the VDD and ask about the kennel.
Presently, the VDD/GNA National Inquiries Directors are Neil and Rhonda Feazel, 1210 Van Fossen Lane, Adel, Iowa, 50003, (515) 993-5982. They are the best, most timely and accurate source of information on pups available or planned.
Also check our breeders page, and the list of litter announcements.
Important Proportions- Length of body to height at withers almost equal. Length of body may exceed height at withers up to 3 centimeters.
Behavior and Character- Solid, controlled, balanced, not timid of game, neither shy nor aggressive.
Head- Matches the sex and substance of the dog. The axes of the skull and the bridges of the nose are slightly divergent. Cranial Region: Flat, moderately wide, only slightly rounded at the sides of the skull; clearly defined zygomatic arches. Stop: Clearly defined. Nose: Strongly pigmented conforming to color of the coat. Well-opened nostrils. Muzzle: Long, broad,strong and deep; slight ram's nose. Lips: Thick, tight fitting and not overhanging; good pigmentation conforming to the color of the coat. Bite: Well developed teeth; strong jaw with a perfect regular and complete scissors bite (42 teeth in accordance with the teeth formula): the outer surfaces of the lower incisor teeth engage vertically and without gap with the inner surfaces of the upper incisors. Eyes: As dark as possible, neither too deep set nor protruding, with lively and alert expression; close fitting, well pigmented eyelids. Ears: Medium large, set high and broad, not folded.
Neck- Medium long, stongly muscled, slightly arched and dry.
Body- Topline: Straight and slightly sloping. Withers: Well defined. Back: Firm and muscular. Loin: Short, broad and muscular; broad pelvis. Croup: Long and broad, slightly sloping and well muscled. Chest: Broad and deep with well defined fore-chest, with the sternum reaching back as far as possible; ribs well sprung. Underline: Dry, elegantly arched; slightly tucked up belly. Tail: Continuing the line of the back, carried horizontally or slightly upward, not vertical; neither too thick or too thin. Appropriately docked for hunting purposes. (In countries where tail-docking is prohibited by law, the tail can remain untouched. It should reach down as far as to the hocks and be carried straight or slightly sabre-fashion).
Forequarters- Viewed from the front, straight, and parallel; viewed from the side, the legs are well placed under the body. The distance from the ground to the elbows equals more or less the distance from the elbows to the withers.Shoulders: Shoulder-blades well laid back and strongly muscled. Shoulder-blade and upper arm well angulated. Upper Arm: As long as possible, well muscled and dry. Elbows: Close to body, neither turned in nor out. Upperarm and forearm are well angulated. Forearm: Lean, straight and vertical; strong bone. Pastern Joint: Stong. Pasterns: Slightly sloping. Front Feet: Oval to round-shaped, with close-knit toes; well-cushioned, tough, resistant and well pigmented pads. Footing parallel, neither turned in nor out when standing or moving.
Hindquarters- Viewed from behind straight and parallel. Good angulation in stifles and hocks; strong bone. Upper Thigh: Long, broad and muscular, with good angulation of pelvis with femur. Stifle: Strong, with good angulation of upper and lower thigh. Hock Joint: Strong. Hocks: Short, vertical to the ground. Hind Feet: Oval-round with close-knit toes; well cushioned, tough, resistant and well-pigmented pads. Footing parallel, neither turned in nor out with standing or moving.
Gait- Good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. Front and hindlegs moving straight and parallel. Proud carriage.
Skin- Close and tight, not wrinkly.
Coat- Wire-haired, hard, close-fitting and tight. Outer coat approximately two to four centimeters long, thick water resistant undercoat. The outlines of the body should not be hidden by too long a coat. Harshness and density are required to give the dog the best possible protection against weather factors and injuries. The coat of the lower parts of the legs as well as of the chest and belly should be shorter but dense. The coat on the head and ears should be shorter and denser at the same time, but by no means softer. Marked eyebrows and a strong beard, not too long, but as harsh as possible, emphasize the energetic expression.
Color- Brown roan (braunschimmel), black roan (schwarzschimmel), with or without patches; brown (braun) with or without white spot on the chest (brustfleck). Other colors are not permitted.
Size- Height at withers: Dogs: 61 to 68 cm. Bitches: 57 to 64 cm.
Faults- Any departure from the foregoing points should be penalized in exact proportion to it's degree.
Serious Faults- Short, pointed and narrow muzzle, weak bite, pincer-bite (butt bite), partial pincer-bite (partial butt bite); very loose eyelids; sway back; roach back; overbuilt; sternum too short; clearly turned in or turned out elbows; cow-hocked; bandy or bow legs close behind in stance as well as in movement; pacing; stilted or mincing gait; thin coat; missing undercoat.
Disqualifying Faults- Lack of assertiveness; not steady to gunshot or game-shy; over and undershot bite, irregular bite, missing teeth except for P1; entropion, extropion; innate bob or stump tail, kinked tail; faulty pigmentation, eyes of different colors.
N.B.- Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Last modified April 16, 1997 - copyright (c) Todd Hedenstrom
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