Puppy Buyers Guide
Welcome! If you are looking for a versatile hunting dog and have chosen the Pudelpointer as a possibility, it pays to become educated on the various breeders available in today's marketplace; there are breeders with passion and a wealth of knowledge pertaining to hunting dogs. Along with that, there are breeders merely focused on the monetary gains of raising litters and have very limited or no experience at all in training, handling and hunting with dogs.
The majority of exceptional versatile gun dogs come from a select group of breeders that have earned their place through dedication and hard work. The key to finding a great versatile gun dog starts with choosing your breeder wisely. Being educated on the various dogs and breeders will ensure that your new versatile hunting dog has the genetics needed to be an exceptional hunting companion, assuming you have the time to properly field train, expose and socialize your new pup.
Choosing the Breeder:
Find a breeder that actively hunts, trains, and tests their own dogs. Without this first-hand experience and knowledge, a breeder is unable to impartially assess their dog’s performance for a potential breeding. In addition, breeders should be willing to give a prospective buyer input as to how the dog performs as it pertains to hunting and also guide and assist future puppy buyers with the training and testing of their purchased puppy.
Always look at a four generation pedigree when searching for a pup and ensure that the sire, dam, grandparents, and great grandparents have been hunt tested. This is quantifiable data that indicates whether the puppy will have the genetic traits desired to be an exceptional hunting dog. Don’t make an impulsive decision and purchase the first pup available because you will have this companion for the next 12–15 years. Ensure that neither the sire nor the dam of a proposed litter has the same grandmother or grandfather on both sides of the pedigree. This is a classic form of inbreeding and recessive genes like negative health issues, temperament disorders and lower life expectancy can easily become dominant genetic traits if one is practicing this type of inbreeding.
Pay close attention that the sire and dam have been tested in NAVHDA hunt tests, as those results remove any breeder bias in evaluating a dog’s performance. Information and Individual dogs test scores are available on the NAVHDA website at the following link: https://www.navhda.org/search-the-registry-database/
Click on "Pedigree" and enter the dogs' registered name into the search box.
North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) The premier testing organization for Versatile Hunting Dogs in North America. Testing is offered in the following levels:
Natural Ability Test- Offers a way to evaluate seven inherent characteristics that are fundamental to a well-rounded and reliable versatile hunting dog. The Natural Ability Test allows insights into a young dog’s ability to demonstrate future value as a versatile gun dog. When evaluating pedigrees, ensure that the female has earned a minimum of 105 points and a Prize in a NAVHDA Natural Ability Test or if they tested their females in Utility they earned 170 points and a Prize in a Utility Test. These are all indicators of a top shelf breeder.
Utility Test- The Utility Test is designed for more experienced dogs in an advanced state of training. It evaluates their ability to perform as reliable versatile gun dogs and demonstrates their physical and mental capability to take training and translates to a well mentally balanced dog that makes them a pleasure to be around. When evaluating pedigrees look for males that have a minimum score of 180 points and a Prize in Utility. Utility scores greater than 180 points represent the above average performing dogs within the breed and are used by top shelf breeders. Top shelf breeders also have most of their females to the same level as their males. This also is an indicator of a top shelf breeder.
Invitational- The Invitational Test is the flagship of NAVHDA tests. Only those exceptional performing dogs that have demonstrated superior skill and obedience in the Utility Test are eligible to participate. The dogs must have earned their Prize 1 in Utility within the previous calendar year.
National Shoot to Retrieve Association (NSTRA): is a competition for all pointing breeds to participate in. Dogs are run in a brace for 30 minutes after 5 bobwhite quail have been planted. There are 16 braces or 32 dogs competing for first, second, and third placements. Dogs are judged on pointing intensity and retrieving, along with ground coverage and possible backing of their brace mate. This is a foot hunter's competition.
Before purchasing a gun dog ensure that all of the dogs on the pedigree have sound genetics and have normal hips. Many breeds have a history of chronic hip dysplasia, eye disorders, or other genetic related problems. When buying a pup ensure that the breeder provides a guarantee in writing that the pup will be free from any major genetic disorders and in good health.
Canine hip dysplasia:
There is no single cause of hip dysplasia; rather it is caused by multiple factors, some of which include genetics and nutrition. Ensure the sire and dam are certified free of hip dysplasia via a PennHip or OFA Registration. Additional information on both tests can be found at the following link:
Ensure that the sire and dam are free of any temperament disorders such as gun/bird shyness or judged as sensitive, shy or aggressive in a NAVHDA hunt test. When shopping for a puppy, it is important to take temperament into account. Aggression in a dog is a major temperament fault and should be avoided at all costs when shopping for your next versatile hunting dog. Any dog that has a major shyness or sensitivity issue that it is noted on its permanent record should also be avoided as these things have a major genetic component to them. Well-bred Versatile Hunting Dogs should present a well-balanced temperament that displays mental stability and a friendly personality.
Request a copy of the litters’ BreedMate, CompuPed, Breeders Assistant, or FSpead pedigree analysis and evaluate the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) and coefficient of relationship (COR). This tells you a lot about the genetic makeup of your new prospective puppy. (POB) Tells you the actual contribution of DNA in each individual dog.
COI...Coefficient of Inbreeding - Is a calculation from a 10-generation proposed breeding, where 2,046 dog’s data are evaluated. A COI of 10 – 25 percent represents a form of linebreeding which is primarily of a family of dogs. A COI greater than 30% represents a very strong linebreeding that is hedging toward inbreeding.
COR...Coefficient of Relationship - Helps explain the value obtained in the proposed breeding’s COI as one can determine which of the dogs on the proposed breeding are line bred and which were from outbreeding’s, especially in the first two generations of the pedigree. Look for the top performing dogs on a pedigree to have a higher COR.
POB...Percent of Blood - Breaks down the genetic contribution based upon the homozygous nature of each individual dog. Look for the top performing dogs to have a higher percent of Blood in the prospective puppy’s pedigree.
Ensure that the sire and dam comply with a breed standard from a reputable breed specific breed club for your chosen breed.
Choosing a Litter:
At this phase of the process you should have analyzed the pedigrees of the breeder’s dogs and determined they produce quality dogs that meet your desires, the birds you hunt and match your specific hunting style. Be patient during this process as this pup will hopefully be your best friend and hunting companion for the next 12–15 years. Don’t rush the process as it may take between 6–18 months to bring home your new pup. Most top shelf breeders have long waiting lists as their dogs are highly sought after. Often times if a breeder has no waitlist, there is a reason.
Choosing a Puppy:
It is of most importance to approach the process of selecting a puppy as a genetic evaluation and selection process rather than trying to select a particular puppy from a litter. The short period you spend with the puppies on pick up day will not provide sufficient insights to adequately inform your decision as a puppy’s personality can change a great deal in the first few months of life. Rely on the breeder’s advice in selecting a puppy based on your hunting needs and their knowledge of the puppies.
"We hope as a prospective puppy buyer, that you do your homework as you search for a reputable breeder for your next hunting companion."
North American Pudelpointer Alliance