We breed dogs capable of competing at the National level in the world of Field Trial German Shorthair Pointers, yet they make wonderful companions, and family dogs. German Shorthair Pointers were bred to be versatile hunting dogs, and we believe in building and improving upon their wonderful past. It is not enough for our dogs to earn the “Blue” in competition, they must be faithful companions, loved by the entire family, and natural hunters in all conditions and types of cover.
Consequently we select for dogs that are first and foremost: quality bird dogs. They must have an outstanding nose, the intelligence to independently search cover likely to hold birds, once birds are found they must be pointed patiently. We look for dogs with natural retrieve even though we know most dogs can be trained to retrieve.
We breed dogs that have “run” or “range”. They are “high speed”, athletic distance hunters, but can adjust their range to the circumstances at hand. They will find sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chickens in the big country of the west, or pheasant in the thick cover of the east. They will run and handle at extreme distances in a horse back field trial, yet range within shooting distance when hunted on foot.
We breed dogs possessing outstanding conformation and stamina. Excellent muscular and skeletal conformation is required for a dog to possess high endurance, and high performance athleticism at optimum levels of field trial competition, not to mention the rigors of days in the field.
Our German Shorthaired Pointers are calm, even tempered, and friendly towards strangers. They are confident and bold, intelligent, perceptive, and fast learning. These are natural genetic qualities we breed for.
We believe color is the least important trait. We have won with dark dogs and light dogs. Color does not make a better hunter, competitive field trial dog, or family dog. It is merely a preference. That said, our genetics produce mostly liver ticked and patched dogs.
There is an ongoing debate about what constitutes an All Age dog, an AKC ½ hour Gun Dog or a NGSPA “hour” Shooting Dog. We will not attempt to resolve nor to define the issues in that debate.
We have developed very clear ideas about the characteristics of range and attitudes that define the run and range of dogs. We know what we admire, and we breed for those qualities.
We believe that the ultimate athlete is the true All Age dog. The entire hour is spent going from objective to objective hunting for birds, yet at an extreme of speed and distance. They seem capable of deciding which cover is most likely to hold game and once the decision is made they head for it, bypassing spots on the way deemed less likely. No wasted movements or effort. They are fully comfortable in being out of sight of handler, yet will listen for the handler’s voice to eventually guide them back into view. Once game is found they will point staunchly and must hold that point for a long time, sometimes 10 minutes or more until the scout or handler finds the dog standing. The excitement of finding a dog on a “limb” find surpasses most other experiences in Field Trialing.
The All Age dog is such a rarity some knowledgeable Field Trialers say there are less than ten or twelve in the country. We do not believe that but bring it up to point out that what we have at Prairie Wind is not normal. To have one litter with three All Age dogs is indeed a rare event. It is rare to have even one. Yet, we have three generations of All-Age dogs and often have litters with two. This demonstrates a continuity and concentration of genetic qualities both rare and important to the breed.
To fully appreciate the German Shorthair Pointer All Age dog it is really necessary to travel around the country and ride NGSPA Championships, or any of several National Championships where the best dogs in the country are competing. A true understanding cannot be gained by attending local AKC field trials and debating the subject with others who do not have a national perspective.
The same is true of the Shooting Dog. The difference between the dog that wins an hour long NGSPA Shooting Dog Championship, and the close working dog that might win the local ½ hour AKC Gun Dog stake, is incomparable and inexplicable to the person who has not witnessed both competitive venues around the country.
The true German Shorthaired Pointer Shooting Dog is also an elite athlete. A class bird dog that tends to hunt more cover than the All Age dog, but still with great athleticism, speed and endurance.
Most knowledgeable breeders and handlers of “hour-dogs” are in agreement that the best Shooting Dogs come from All Age dogs. We have heard it asserted that without the All Age dog, German Shorthair Pointers over time will tend to range closer and closer, eventually reverting to the range of the original German imports. We doubt the effect will be that extreme, but we do agree that the All Age dog is very important to the future of the breed of German Shorthaired Pointers. We have observed that run and range are in large measure genetically determined characteristics. That is why we intentionally breed for these traits. We breed for All Age dogs, knowing that many will develop into competitive Shooting Dogs.
The ability to run an hour and to finish the hour as strongly as the dog started out is not often appreciated. By far the majority of Field Trial German Shorthaired Pointers are competed in half hour stakes/events. Often times when these dogs are run in an hour-long competition they seem to run out of gas.
This is not just the result of insufficient conditioning. It is a combination of factors that work together to produce a true “hour dog.” Yes conditioning is important, but the innate physiology of the dog, its muscular and skeletal structure can produce a dog that can run the hour with moderate conditioning, or one that has to be roaded constantly to build the required stamina.
The mentality and attitude of the dog plays a big part. To use human terms, some dogs are lazy and others have a tremendous work ethic. A trainer cannot make a lazy dog enjoy running all out for an hour. Sure you can force them. But such a dog will never match the beauty of a dog that loves their work. The dog that applies itself with high-speed and high-energy looking for birds, and all the while with a high and snappy tail will draw the eye of judges and gallery.
It is clear to long-time field trailers and trainers that “hour dogs” have a genetic predisposition to this achievement, and of course there is also a training component. At Prairie Wind Kennels we intentionally breed German Shorthaired Pointers capable of running an hour stake with ease and grace.
We focus on quality litters at Prairie Wind Kennels. We only have one or two litters per year. We do not breed for the sake of having puppies to sell. We are trying to improve our breed, and we keep a close watch on the qualities of our puppies as they grow and mature. Our preference is for our pups to go to serious field trial homes. They are bred to be National Level Competitors. We prefer situations that will optimize their potential. Above all our pups will only go to a loving, caring environment.
We will take advance deposits and usually have most of our puppies sold in advance of the dam’s due date.