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Old February 1, 2005, 01:09 PM   #1
FirstFreedom
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OK, what dog breed meets all these criteria for both hunter and pet?

Thinking of in a few years getting a companion/pet that will also actually do something USEFUL, unlike my current dogs. What breed, if any, can do all this, assuming I research the North American continent for the appropriate bloodline:

1. Short haired (this is a must after having had a few spitz breeds)
2. Protective instinct, but with good discretion as to what is a danger and what is not. A breed that barks at strangers and has an instinct to protect the homestead, such as my akita does, but no incessant barkers, like terriers and such. Some breeds have this instinct to guard/protect; some don't; and in some breeds it just depends on the particular dog. But I want a breed that is known for having a protective instinct and good bite. (So far the Belgian Shepherd meets my criteria, but we're not done yet).
3. Medium to large, so that it has an intimidation value in protecting the homestead.
4. Now, for hunting criteria. First, one that is capable of easily learning to work and point upland birds. i.e. a point instinct.
5. One that is capable of easily learning to Retrieve BOTH upland birds and ducks; i.e. a retrieve instinct coupled with a lack of water aversion.

I know this is like asking what gun to hunt everything on earth; master of none; jack of all trades. And it goes without saying that I want a dog of (a) good temperament, (b) good health, etc., but this is more a product of good breeders and breeding lines than the breed itself, so that will be taken care of by my research.

I know that certain smart breeds such as lab retreivers are capable of both water retrieving and pointing, in certain breed lines, and they have the short hair I'm wanting, but retreivers are ordinarily not-so-much on the protective instinct thing. Sure they can be trained to do Shutzhund well, and ALL dogs have some measure of protective instinct but it's not nearly as strong in most hunting breeds as it is in the likes of the GSD, akita, rottweiler, dobermann, Bouvier de Flandre, etc. So is there a dog that can do it all? What breeds should I consider? For home/pet dogs, I like the short-haired breeds of Dobermann, Belgain shepherds, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. My Belgain Malinois has a strong retrieve drive, but will any of these also point? (assuming the appropriate bloodline). Will any of them point and retrieve? Anyway, it's probaly asking too much to ask one dog to do the job of at least 3. I'm sure I'll probably need at least 2 dogs to do the 3 jobs, but thought I'd ask whether anyone knows of a breed where I can have it all. From a hunting dog perspective, the sticking points are short hair and very strong protective instinct, 2 things that many fine hunters don't have.

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Old February 1, 2005, 03:55 PM   #2
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IMO, you can't beat a good pure bred labrador retriever. FYI, we had a black lab named Remington from the time I was in the 8th grade until about 4 years ago. He was 13 or so when he died. He was big, square headed, and weighed about 110-120 pounds his whole life. He was very protective of the family. Scared off plenty of strangers who came to the door, especially salesmen. I disagree with your evaluation of their protectiveness but thats just my opinion based on growing up with him. When he died, part of me died with him.
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Old February 1, 2005, 04:09 PM   #3
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I have a yellow lab and I love him he's a great hunter and buddy. The trouble with labs is the liability issue as far as being a home owner. My insurance agent warned me that lab owners have the highest liability rates as far as law suits go. He said when someone breaks into a home that has a lab as a guard dog they tend to trip over the sleeping Lab in the hallway. The resulting lawsuit by the prowler for injuries recieved in the fall causes your insurance rates to go up.
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Old February 1, 2005, 04:21 PM   #4
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LAB,, its the only way to go
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Old February 1, 2005, 05:18 PM   #5
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My insurance agent warned me that lab owners have the highest liability rates as far as law suits go. He said when someone breaks into a home that has a lab as a guard dog they tend to trip over the sleeping Lab in the hallway. The resulting lawsuit by the prowler for injuries recieved in the fall causes your insurance rates to go up.
LOL. I was having problems understanding the recommendations for a lab as a protective animal till I got here. I LOLed. That sounds like a Lab to me.

I love labs too. Ours wouldn't point though. Other than that he was great for waterfoul and upland hunting. Crisscrossed back and forth in front of us nearly perfectly the first time we had him out, he just knew. I figured we'd have to train a lab to do this but it wasn't an issue.

Personally, I think you need two dogs. The first dog I'd get would be either a lab or a golden retriever, depending on which type of hunting you do the most, and then get a second dog for the homeland security thing.

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Old February 1, 2005, 05:31 PM   #6
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That's a good idea - get 2 dogs; maybe get one Mal and one Lab, and hopefully the Mal will teach the Lab to bark and protect, and when in the field, the Lab can teach the Mal to work hedgerows, retrieve, and maybe even point! That would be cool. As I say, Mals have a strong retrieve drive already, but they'd probably wander too far from you when hunting if left to their own devices.
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Old February 1, 2005, 05:33 PM   #7
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I never said a Lab doesn't bark. If a flea farts in the neighborhood he barks. But if the flea broke in the house it would lick it to death.
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Old February 1, 2005, 06:00 PM   #8
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Bert was half black lab, half german shepherd, and half chow.

Yeah, . . . he was a dog and a half. At 125 lbs, he intimidated everyone but those of us who knew him, . . . but was afraid of the possum that came and stole feed from him whenever he was in the area.

If I could do it all over again, . . . another hunter/friend/companion/guard dog just like him would be a good choice.

Another good choice is a Norweigan Elkhound. They have a bit of a wolf look to them, . . . but are one of the smartest of all breeds. The only thing they will not do is assume an "attack on command" identity. They will protect all that is theirs, . . . but on their schedule. They are absolutely excellent hunters.

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Old February 1, 2005, 10:59 PM   #9
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Look into American Bulldogs they look almost exactly like a pit, I have a buddy with one and its a smart dog. It would make a good protector. Don't know how its hunting instincts are but I'm sure you can train them to though. This dog does have a natural retrieving instinct and will chase a ball all day long. Good nose on them also.

I don't think many people would try to break into a house if there's a lab inside thats trained to bark at noises. My brother has a yellow and when the pizza man knocks on the door he usually decides to wait half way down the sidewalk.
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Old February 1, 2005, 11:32 PM   #10
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my vote goes to

the mid sized mutt, my own is acutally more on the smallish side weighing only 20 pounds but that little dog will chase a bird if it's just winged. she points like she was a real pedigree dog and she's smart as all get out. plus she's cute, load at appropriate times, and more importantly she doesn't take up too much room in the bed or the cab of the truck.
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Old February 1, 2005, 11:33 PM   #11
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I have a black lab. No a 'pointing' lab by pedigree, but she does point quite often. She would SHRED you if you broke in, or even if you were in the house and made someone that lives here scared it would be game over for you. She is VERY protective and very in 'tune' with the family, as have been most of the female labs I have been around.

IMO the protective part is handled by raising them as part of the family and not as a pet. Pack behavior in dogs is not something that comes and goes but something ingrained in their makeup, they just have to be part of your 'pack'.
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Old February 2, 2005, 07:06 PM   #12
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labs

labs are great dogs as pets we have one who is simply a pet and was never trained. nonetheless he loves the water and his people and meets most of the criteria you have set out except for the guard dog part. he wasnt trained, as i said but still has the instinct. he loves to chase any kind of birds and will go fetch things but not bring them back to you. he's even caught some younger ducks that cant fly really well and holds them gently enough that a couple have gotten away again on him.
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Old February 2, 2005, 10:09 PM   #13
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You need a Vizsla....

AKA, the Hungarian Pointer. He fits the bill exactly.

Originating in the Middle Ages, they were bred and used by the nobility for hunting of all types. Today, they point and retrieve; back then, they hunted deer and boar for the gentry. I'll see if I can "trail" game with mine, after we get the pointing and retrieving down. They don't mind water, either, as long as its not TOO cold.

They have a very short coat, and are prized here in Arizona as a good hot-weather hunter. (They look like a reddish-brown, perhaps golden-brown, Weimareiner). They are not a very vocal (barking) breed.

They love "their" people, and while not having any reputation of fierceness, are very protective, and make good watch dogs. They are a medium-large breed, with males reaching to aroung 60 pounds, females 50 or so.

They have incredible energy, so they may not be for everyone who does not have the time for them. Mine gets along just fine with the Border Collie mix and the Persian cat (who still rules this roost, trust me).

Do a little Internet research, you'll find a few sources. You're not likely to find this breed at your local Petsmart, though.
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Old February 2, 2005, 10:09 PM   #14
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YOU asked

I can fill all your requests but one. Springer. They do have long hair BUT only if you don't clip them. Mine hunts blue quail (scaled) and if you know any thing about blues you know that is saying something! Will hunt phesants till they give up! Will fetch ducks and geese and sand hill cranes (takes awhile for her to get it to you). VERY protective when I go to work. (wife says its like she is on "alert" for any sound) and goes bannanas when I get home. It will take some doing to get over her when the time comes but the next one will be a springer, no doubt!
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Old February 2, 2005, 10:27 PM   #15
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I have been around many dogs and owned a few. I realy like Catohulas!
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Old February 2, 2005, 10:32 PM   #16
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I have been around many dogs and owned a few. I realy like Catohulas!
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Old February 3, 2005, 04:02 PM   #17
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K, thanks all, especially Fusilier - I'll check more into good Lab lines, the Springer spaniel, and the other breeds mentioned. (WHY do you like the cathoula impact - what all of my criteria do you believe that it does/has?)

But, that Vizla sounds like a great breed to fill my wants. Excellent suggestion. What are you teaching it first, pointing or retrieving? Or both at the same time? Is it closely related to the Weimareiner?
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Old February 3, 2005, 04:05 PM   #18
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My big orange cat is my choice. He's always killing and presenting animals of all types to me, and he's always waiting on the fence for me when I come home from work. Sometimes if it's dark, he scares the crap out of me, cause he'll leap from the fence six feet through the air and land on the hood of my still-moving truck as I'm pulling up the drive.
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Old February 3, 2005, 04:26 PM   #19
FirstFreedom
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Ahh, here we go.

Quote:
Also known as the Hungarian Pointer, Hungarian Vizsla or Magyar Vizsla, the Vizsla may trace thier ancestry back to the Magyars who invaded Hungary from the east. Descended from the Turkish Yellow Dog, the Transylvania Hound and Weimaraner. They were once used to hunt the vast plains of Hungary where game birds and hare lived. They were only known in Hungary until after World War II.
http://www.puppydogweb.com/caninebreeds/vizsla.htm
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Old February 3, 2005, 05:04 PM   #20
FirstFreedom
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Also, look at this:

Quote:
Versatile hunting dog is defined as "a generic term applied to a dog that is bred and trained to dependably hunt and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water."1 The Weimaraner is not the only versatile hunting breed developed on the European continent, and in Germany, all are tested by standards established by the German Versatile Hunting Dog Association. The following versatile breeds are recognized by the AKC: Brittany, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Vizsla, Weimaraner, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Breed development followed a different pattern on the British Isles, where breeds were expected to excel in only one specific function: the Pointer as well as the Irish, English, and Gordon Setters pointed feathered game; the Golden, Labrador, Flat Coated, and Curly Coated Retrievers retrieved feathered game; a variety of hounds filled the needs for large and small furred-game hunting and blood tracking.

The AKC, established in 1884, developed field trial rules and performance standards for its recognized breeds -- that is, the British specialists. Bird dogs either pointed or retrieved, never both. When the versatile breeds arrived later, the AKC classified all as pointers instead of designing a new type of trial to evaluate their unique and very different talents.

Competing in pointing-breed trials placed the newcomers at a disadvantage, though there have been a few Weimaraners over the years that competed successfully in all-breed competition. Through selective breeding to enhance speed, range, and pointing style, the performance of some versatile breeds such as the Vizsla and German Shorthaired Pointer has been altered for greater competitive success in AKC pointing-breed trials. In general, however, this has been achieved at the expense of their retrieving, tracking, scenting aptitude, trainability, and interest in furred game.

For the hunter, the most important difference between the Weimaraner and the other versatile hunting breeds is that the Forester's Dog cannot be kept in a backyard kennel between hunting seasons. It requires human companionship because hunting is only one facet of its total partnership with humans. The Pointer hunts because birds are the most important thing in its life; the Weimaraner hunts because hunting is the most wonderful activity that can be shared with the people it loves.

Owners who lack the time and skill to train their Weimaraners, especially if they hope the dog has competitive potential, must send them to the few professional trainers who understand the Weimaraner's temperament. Field trainers who are accustomed to the hard-headed Pointer often lack the soft touch and the partnership bond required for success with a Weimaraner.

Fortunately, the very quality that frustrates so many professional trainers -- the need to treat a Weimaraner gentle and lovingly -- makes the breed uniquely suitable for an amateur. Some trainers admit that the breed's intelligence and instinctive aptitude are so strong that the best way to train a Weimaraner is merely to provide an opportunity for the dog to hunt and to observe other dogs. This is, in fact, the approach used by German trainers -- to provide guided experience that allows instinctive behavior patters to unfold. The dog's instinct provides the motivation, and its intelligence helps it discover the best way to do it. Moreover, when Weimaraners work with an older, well-trained dog, the breed's copycat trait accelerates and reinforces learning.

The Weimaraner is an excellent breed for sportsmen who want a gundog that does not range too far for hunting on foot, covers the terrain with painstaking thoroughness, retrieves birds on land and in water, is easily trained by a novice, and is a delightful companion when not hunting. It thrives on human companionship and must be part of the family; this bonding with humans is linked with its versatile working traits, and if isolated from household activities, the Weimaraner's hunting aptitude rarely develops properly. Those who desire these traits consider the Weimaraner the finest of all bird dogs.
So I think the Vizsla and Weimaraner lead the list, with GSPs and possibly Ridgebacks in the running.
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Old February 3, 2005, 05:43 PM   #21
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Oooh yeah

Lots of good info..

http://www.navhda.org/
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Old February 3, 2005, 11:30 PM   #22
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It would appear that the Weimaraner and the Vizsla are physical, and tempermental, cousins of sorts. Indeed, I was considering a Weimaraner initially in my quest for a hunting dog, but wasn't sure if anyone was actually hunting them anywhere on theNorth American continent.

As far as teaching, because of the nature of bird hunting here in Arizona (quail, chukar, some pheasant), I'll be teahing him (amd me!) to point first.

I have a fantasy of making him into a "lion" dog someday, but I guess I would need a pack of Vizslas first.

When that day comes, I'll let everybody know. Look for further posts from me soliciting advice about huntings dogs. In the meantime, Hussar is a great, affectionate companion, AKA "The Prince of Poop" and "Puddin'head" when he gets into things he's not supposed to.
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Old February 4, 2005, 11:28 AM   #23
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AF, great! Can you post or PM me some of the best Vizsla breeders in the US and Canada, if you know. I found a bazillion of them, but it's hard to find really good ones. I want a short list of breeders that at a minimum:

1. Do OFA and CERT certifications on all parents of litters (all dogs)
2. Have a 3 year+ health guarantee
3. Require ownership contracts
4. Specifically state their breeding priorities as follows: Hunting/working ability, health, temperament, and lastly conformation/body structure qualities, in that order.

IOW, a *serious* breeder that loves the breed and thier working ability more than money. And I'd be particularly interested in a breeder that thoroughly socializes for you and starts puppies on lead training, as well as offers hunt training services. Preferably in the southern or midwestern US.

Ditto Weimaraners.

PS. "Hussar" sounds like a handful!

Last edited by FirstFreedom; February 4, 2005 at 06:09 PM.
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Old February 6, 2005, 05:31 PM   #24
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FF, I'm afraid I only dealt with one breeder, and she was here in Arizona. I asked someone who had a Vizsla, and they recommended Marge Mehagian. Several hits on the web indicated she had bred numerous champion caliber dogs, so I went with her. Even so, she does not meet your stringent criteria, but I am not so sure how many would.

For everyone else who might be interested in a Vizla, particularly in the SouthWest, I will give a run-down of my experience.

Both parents were AKC registered and certifed. Indeed, they were "titled" champions of various sorts. There was a one-year health guarantee. There was a guarantee with respect to "conformity". There was a contract with the breeder; we cannot "nip" ol' Hussar's 'nads without consultation and permission (just in case she wants to breed him), and if we cannot keep him, he goes back to the Marge. The birthing was attended by a vetinarian, and she has a long-standing relationship with this vetinary office. Shots, deworming, etc. are peformed aggresively, and the puppies were well-taken cared of. We got Hussar at two months.

There was no statement of priorites per se, but I will tell you we told her our priority was a hunting animal first, and a companion second. She does tests on the puppies to see which ones are the "birdiest" (basically, who's interested in the bird wing). Hussar went pretty crazy over it. We basically got the pick of the litter in that respect, as we wanted a male and a hunter; the rest of the waiting list had other gender preferences and priorities. Apparently quite a few people pick this breed for companionship. However, our breeder is president of the local Vizla club, and it does have a great emphasis on hunting. It sponsors training, field trials, and assists owners with raising a good pointing dog.

Piles of puppy poop notwithstanding , we are having a good experience with our bundle of joy.
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Old February 7, 2005, 05:42 PM   #25
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That sounds like a good breeder and a great dog, AF - I'm sure you'll enjoy him for a long time to come. She's certainly a lot better and more thoroughly than most breeders. That kind of hunting/working empasis is what I'm looking for. I have one dog with bad hips though (who was supposedly from a "top" breeder), so I'm careful about requiring OFA (hip/elbow) certifications now. Perhaps CERF cert. is not as important with Vizslas, if they have no history of eye problems, however. The ownership contract just shows a general level of seriousness and good "breeder-ship", even if it has no practical effect on you (however, having a non-neutered male CAN have a practical effect, in that it's gonna be chasin neighborhood bitches in heat, obviously!). Thanks again for your wisdom - I'm looking forward to getting a Versatile Hunting breed; probably Vizsla!
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