One July day in 2002 a van pulled into Bob Farris's driveway in Boise, Idaho with six passengers coming from Ohio. Bill Athens was the driver along with Mike Rathburn, Calvin Harpe, Bob Segedi also from Ohio; with two other passengers: Bob Croner from Pennsylvania and Jiri Hrbek from the Czech Republic.
They had made the 32 hour trek to Boise for a gathering of other pudelpointer enthusiasts to discuss a proposed Breeders Alliance for their chosen breed of versatile hunting dog....the Pudelpointer. Also to arrive was Rod Rist and Larry Stone from Oregon; Chris Gentner of California; and Chris Clark along with Ross Stevens from Idaho . LaFaye Farris was the designated transportation from the airport picking up Pat Saunders and John Salassa as they had flown in from Florida and then finally Dany Dulac and Steve Brodeur flew in from Quebec, Canada. This group of breeders along with Bob Farris, would head up to the Farris family cabin in McCall, Idaho for a three day retreat to discuss a possible breeder's alliance.
Jiri Hbreck Showing us how to work Hery...
Bob Farris and Bill Athens had been discussing the need for an alliance of breeders, and that conversation had stemmed from a trip they had made overseas to visit Pudelpointer Kennels in Germany, Austria and The Czech Republic. They had stayed with Jiri Hbrek in the Czech Republic and Jiri drove them from kennel to kennel in the three countries they visited. While in a pub in Germany one evening, and after several warm beers, the plan unfolded to create an alliance once they returned home. Before the alliance held that first meeting in McCall, Idaho in 2002, Bob and Bill had purchased a plane ticket to include Jiri in this Alliance meeting. Both Bob and Bill had Pudelpointer imports from Jiri's Ze Strazistskych Lesu kennel (Hery Ze Strazistskych Lesu and Heidi Ze Strazistskych Lesu) and the dogs were from the same litter and four years old when imported. Both dogs had been tested in The Czech Republic earning six different Prize 1 classifications.
The initial idea was to group the top Pudelpointer Breeders in North America into an Alliance where a breeding standard would help guarantee success for the breed for years to come as atop/proven hunting dog. NAVHDA testing would be the driving force to insure the breed continue as a sound hunting dog bred from performance standards.
Once both Bob and Bill returned home they began inviting other breeders to attend a meeting in Idaho to discuss the proposed Alliance. The success in filling the meeting with enthusiastic breeders was instantaneous, and hence, NAPPA was formed. There would be breeding requirements to insure only the best of the breed would be used for breeding. Also, a very favorable relationship amongst the group evolved and many cooperative breedings resulted; meeting one another face-to-face and sharing an adult beverage in the evening or eating breakfast together helped seal these relationships. Bob housed 6 of the breeders at his cabin and a neighbor housed four others at his cabin with several staying at a local motel.
One of the highlights of the inaugural NAPPA meeting was a demonstration by Jiri Hrbek with the dog Hery he had sold to Bob. It had been years since Jiri and Hery had seen each other and an obedience training demonstration using only Czech for commands saw a perfect connection between dog and handler. The other highlight was having meetings at a private board room on Blackhawk Lake with all the Idaho mountains in the background.
Jiri stayed longer in Idaho with Bob for several weeks following these meetings. Showing Jiri the vastness of the terrain Bob hunted chukar on led to a breeding in The Czech Republic where Jiri used a much larger running dog that was from Austria. Four of the pups from this litter were sent to the U.S. and one was Lord Ze Strazistskych Lesu who has sired many of the top Pudelpointers of today. Also, Bill Athens imported Chajra Ze Strazistskych Lesu from Jiri and after Bill bred Chajra to Bob's male Cedarwoods First Offense, one of the breeds most dynamic litter of pups was produced. The breeding connection Bob and Bill made with Jiri was one of the best gifts the Pudelpointer has witnessed. in 2019 Jiri sent four young male pups to the U.S. and only in the hands of NAPPA breeders. There are plans of another one of Jiri's females to be sent to the U.S. pregnant and Bill Athens will be purchasing the pregnant female with her whelped pups going only to NAPPA breeders.
Jiri Hbreck Stealing Bob's Corvette
At NAPPA's beginning in 2002, the NAVHDA annual average for all Pudelpointers tested in Natural Ability was 98 points. A minimum score of 100 was selected as the score needed for any females to be bred and a NAVHDA Utility Prize required for all males. As time went on the average score of Pudelpointers tested in NAVHDA Natural Ability increased to 103 points. So in 2009 the Alliance raised the minimum female required score to 105. This has now seen the Pudelpointers average at 107 points. These statistics are only for the Pudelpointers tested by breeders belonging to NAPPA. NAPPA has demonstrated the usefulness when approaching breeding using a statistical standard with NAVHDA test scores as a very realistic approach for maintaining or improving breeding stock at that top shelf level of performance.
Jiri and Bob Farris looking a bit tired from the days events...
The year 2020 saw a sincere need to address many issues that had began to plague NAPPA. The kennel membership had grown from a 15 member Alliance in 2002 to a 49 kennel membership. Eight members had no plans to continue breeding in the future and with a website very outdated there appeared to be a need for a reorganization effort.
It was brought to the attention of the membership that without any corporation in place there were various liability issues that several members felt needed addressing.
Today, NAPPA is incorporated with the state of Wyoming, has published by-laws, and a Federally Protected Trademark to protect the name: North American Pudelpointer Alliance.(NAPPA). There is also a new website at www.Pudelpointer-Alliance.com, and a NAPPA Face Book page that helps give the organization a facelift on social media demonstrating the commitment NAPPA breeders have for the Pudelpointer. With seven Board of Directors and with each Board Member assigning an Advisor from the original group of the Founding Membership back in 2002; there is sufficient discussions to insure all suggestions and concerns from membership are met with favorable results.
What originally began as a Breeders Alliance in 2002, has transformed into an "Élite" group of breeders looking toward a much higher bar of excellence. There is now a much higher number of Prize 1 Utility male Pudelpointers for breeding purposes and also a much higher number of Versatile Champions owned by this select group of breeders. The goal going forward is to push the limits of performance and to continually raise the bar for ourselves and the dogs within the Alliance.
The best definition of the reorganized NAPPA would simply have to be "Elite".
Jiri Enjoying some Cedarwoods Dogs....