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Breeding Philosophy

To breed versatile dogs is an art
to increase their numbers a blessing
to maintain the inheritance is duty
to improve it, our greatest wish

Dr. Horst Rambusch, Editor
40 Years Deutsch-Drahthaar in East Germany

From the very beginning, the goal of the breeders who developed the Deutsch-Drahthaar was to produce an exceptional versatile hunting dog — one that had the ability, coat, conformation, mental stability and drive to handle the many demands of versatile hunting. Contrary to the philosophy of many other breed clubs at the time, appearance was of little interest unless it had a functional value. The DD was a working dog, bred for the characteristics that helped it to perform its job in the field, forest and water.

To ensure the continuation of this performance standard, the early German breeders had the foresight to establish a testing system as well as a breeding system so that breeding decisions could be based on reliable data. The Test Regulations are overseen by the multi-breed German Versatile Hunting Dog Association (Jagdgebrauchshund-Verband e. V., or JGHV), while the Breed Club (Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar e. V., or VDD) oversees the Breeding Regulations. Both organizations are rigorous in their demands that the DD demonstrate exceptional hunting ability and perform in such a manner that supports the ethical values of humane treatment and conservation of game.

At the same time that the breeding regulations are rigorous, breeders were given a great deal of freedom to experiment within that framework. We are still working toward the ideal that our predecessors envisioned. With many years of experience and a lot of good dog sense, breeders continue to refine the characteristics of the breed. They are aided in this process by the thorough documentation that has been made by VDD and JGHV since the beginning of the breed in 1902. It is possible to trace the lineage of a potential sire and dam back fifty generations or more, evaluate the scores and ratings of their ancestors, and predict whether this pair would be a desirable mating.

Every Deutsch-Drahthaar is registered with the Breed Book Office in Germany and has its registration number tattooed in its right ear. [Tattooing must be done wherever it is legally allowed; otherwise the dog has a chip inserted with its registration number.] The registration number is assigned soon after birth and the puppy must be tattooed or chipped prior to leaving the breeding kennel and going to its new owner. Each puppy is issued a pedigree document called an Ahnentafel, which certifies ownership and provides the history of the dog. It includes a four-generation pedigree for the dog and has an area designated for its test scores and other evaluations to be officially recorded. The Ahnentafel stays with the dog for its lifetime and will be signed over to any new owner at the time of sale.

Before any Deutsch-Drahthaar may be bred, it must be evaluated and certified for breeding by the Group Breed Warden. The criteria for certification includes the following:

  • Has been evaluated HD-Free and OCD-Free.

  • Has had its coat and conformation evaluated in a Breed Show.

  • Has passed the predator toughness evaluation (HN).

  • Has passed one of the following breed tests or association tests: VJP, HZP, VGP, VSwP, Hegewald or Armbruster test, with a minimum achievement of a SUFFICIENT score in the subjects Tracking and Independent Search in Water with Dense Cover.

  • Has shown no gun sensitivity or game shyness in the field or water.

  • Has none of the following faults:

    • Hereditary disease (e.g., blood disorders such as vom Willebrand's Disease and Canine Hemophilia B, or Hip Dysplasia)

    • Insufficient conformation or coat

    • Teeth deficiencies (overbite, under bite, cross bite, narrow positioned fang teeth, missing teeth other than P1)

    • Entropian or ectropian eyes

    • Malformed or deficient sexual organs

    • Natural bobbed or crooked tail

    • Mental deficiencies (gun shy/sensitive, game shy, very nervous, fear biter)

    • Color anomalies (black, pure white or pure yellow, or yellow roan; or dogs with light nose leather)

    • Different (variegated) eye color or glass eye (walleye)

  • Mating of a black (schwarzschimmel) DD to another black DD or to a solid brown DD (including those with white markings) is prohibited.

The Breed Tests (VJP and HZP) are primarily designed to evaluate the natural inherited ability of the dog without the influence of very much training. These tests are conducted before the dog reaches maturity and they give an indication of what the dog will pass on to its progeny.

A dog that has met the requirements to be certified for breeding will have its Ahnentafel stamped accordingly by the Breed Warden. Females are not allowed to be bred before 15 months of age or after their eighth birthday. Stud dogs can be bred no more than six times within a calendar year and should not be bred after their ninth birthday.

An Ahnentafel issued to a puppy whose registered parents for some reason did not meet the breeding requirements will be stamped Zuchtverbot (Breeding Prohibited). Puppies from the mating of a DD with a dog that is not registered with VDD (e.g., an AKC- or CKC-registered German Wirehaired Pointer) CANNOT be registered with VDD. While the dogs had the same ancestry, there is no guarantee that the characteristics valued in the DD have been maintained. Once the chain of registration with VDD is broken, it can never be restored.

Even within the VDD breeding system there is no absolute uniformity in the breed. In keeping with genetic probabilities, there will occasionally be dogs that show latent traits from the earlier foundation breeds. Not all dogs will meet the ideal, yet we will continue to strive toward it by breeding only the best to the best.

There will be many good dogs for hunting, but only a few excellent dogs for breeding. When you purchase a DD puppy you are buying a hunting dog, not breeding stock. A DD must prove itself through performance before it can be certified for breeding.

More detailed information about the VDD breeding system and the various requirements can be found in the Members Section of the web site or by contacting the Breed Warden.

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