ABOUT PRAIRIE WIND KENNELS
BREEDERS OF NGSPA FIELD TRIAL GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTERS
PRAIRIE WIND KENNEL'S BREEDING PHILOSOPHY OF GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTERS
Bobbi Richardson started breeding dogs over 45 years ago. She bred, trained, and handled show quality Lhasa Apsos. Bobbi earned a national reputation for having some of the best Lhasa Apsos in the USA, and in fact her pups were sold around the world. They were threats in the show arena wherever they were shown.
Bobbi studied genetics. She read all of the books she could find on dog breeding and genetics. The great breeders of the past revealed their secrets. It does not matter if these practical studies were of German Shepherds, or English Pointers. They have a common foundation: Line Breeding.
Bobbi applied these time honored, winning principles of breeding and developed a consistent line of winning Lhasa Apsos.
When we bought our first German Shorthaired Pointer in 1996, Bobbi applied her many years of study and experience to this wonderful breed. Keith got up to speed with his reading and studies, and working together, we soon began breeding outstanding German Shorthaired Pointers carrying our Prairie Wind name.
Why Prairie Wind? We live on the high-grass prairie just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming and the prairie wind that sweeps across the plains brings vitality, energy and an expression of freedom and endless possibilities. This is the way we like to think about the dogs we breed.
LINE BREEDING GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTERS
Many of today’s breeders confuse “line breeding” with “in-breeding”, and have many misconceptions and mistaken ideas. Many of the great dogs of the past were line bred. It is a proven approach with proven results over time.
It is true that there are things to watch for when applying the principles of line breeding, but this is true of any breeding program. There is “art” as well as “science” behind the effective application of any breeding philosophy. It is important for breeders to understand the science so they can better apply the “art.”
First Breeding Intended to Achieve Excellent Field Trial Prospects
We spent the first part of our German Shorthaired Pointer “performance career” in NAVHDA. It was not until 2002 that we decided to “jump into horse-back field trials with both feet”. We studied the lines we admired and selected a stud dog, Sport’s See that Spekk (Spekk), whose lineage, qualities and characteristics blended and strengthened those of our bitch, FC AFC Billy Dee’s Blues in A (Blues). Both dogs were sired by Rockin Rollin Billy. This was the first litter we bred to specifically produce dogs that had the genetics to compete at the highest levels in the Field Trial world. We bred to produce outstanding bird dogs possessing extreme range and power, hoping to find one All Age dog in the litter.
The results of this breeding proved the pre-potency of Spekk and his ability to “throw run.” We have used him at stud several times since with outstanding results.
Rare Achievement: a Litter with Three True All Age Dogs.
Our breeding selection in our first litter born May 2, 2003, far surpassed our highest expectations. There were three stand-out pups in this litter. They competed as true All Age dogs in hour long NGSPA field trial stakes.
Prairie Wind’s Comeuppance (Penny)..Won the GSPCA Futurity in 2004. Named NGSPA All Age Dog of the Year in 2007, being the youngest dog (four years old) to have done so, and earning the most points in recent history (14). Retired January, 2013.
FC Prairie Wind’s Zackly Right (Zack)..Placed third in the GSPCA Futurity in 2004. Finished Field Champion in All Age Stakes at four years of age. Many AA placements. Untimely death 2011. Zack is in the pedigree of many of our dogs today. His conformation caught the eye of a number of "show people" and he earned the title of "GSPCA Dual Sire of the Year" in 2013.
Prairie Wind’s Von Hulk (Griz).. Griz a “Super” All Age dog. He earned a number of AA NGSPA placements, National Champion 2009 NGPDA, and was OAA Runner-Up in the 2011 NGSPA Nationals. Retired January, 2013.
As they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” This first litter alone demonstrates we are on the right path. Those that have followed continue this path of excellence.
We kept a fourth pup from this litter: Prairie Wind’s Hell on Wheels UT (Hellie). We did not compete Hellie in Field Trials as she was not as strong as her sister, Penny. Instead we had her trained for the NAVHDA testing program. In August, 2008 she earned a Utility Prize 1, and she attended the 2009 Invitational. Duck searches are arguably the most difficult event in the Utility Test program and it is her strong suit. In fact her NAVHDA trainer, Tom Swezey, said her duck searches were consistently the best he had ever seen. Hellie narrowly missed earning a VC title because of her poor "backing style". Nonetheless she proved that our field trials bred dogs can perform in the strict arena of the Versatile Hunting Dog testing program conducted by NAVHDA. Her daughter, Brooke, earned a VC at four years of age in 2013.
Our stud dogs are selectively bred so that they would have a high probability of being pre-potent. That is they would possess a lot of dominant genes which influence those traits that make an outstanding Field Trial competitor. Furthermore, that this “pre-potency” would be evidenced by pups that possess those same qualities.
By contrast a non pre-potent stud bred to a non pre-potent bitch would likely produce average dogs even if both parents are accomplished Field Trial dogs, or even National Champions. In a breeding like this the best qualities are weakened and the worst qualities are improved. The pups are often mediocre, with no outstanding pups that meet or exceed the qualities of either parent.
Third Generation and Going Strong
We are in our third generation of breeding and our dogs continue to exhibit the outstanding qualities that we desire. They perform in all competitive venues. They excel when hunting wild birds on foot, and they make wonderful pets and partners.
TRAITS WE SELECT FOR WHEN BREEDING GSP PUPPIES AT PRAIRIE WIND KENNELS
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.
MORE ABOUT “RANGE OR RUN” IN OUR PRAIRIE WIND GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER PUPPIES
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.
WE BREED FOR GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTERS THAT WILL FINISH STRONGLY IN HOUR-LONG FIELD TRIALS
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.
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY IN GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER PUPPIES
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.