RuralLondoner

Well-Known Member
Hi Guys,

Just looking for some thoughts. Beyond the coats, what are the actual (temperament, working aptitude, train-ability etc) differences between German Shothaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers?

The context of this question is that my wife has approved either breed for our family home (including very young children). I'm not an experienced gundog trainer but I shoot driven game 5 - 10 times a year and would like a dog to sit on the peg with me and make the occasional retrieve. I would like to beat or pick-up on a similar number of days with the dog obviously doing more work on those occasions. I stalk muntjac, roe and fallow in the South of England all year round on average once a week and would like a good dog to walk to heel, air scent and blood track where required.

I realise that this is the classic "I need an all round dog" question and that the correct answer is probably a Labrador but ..... the set shortlist is clear; GSP or GWP. I was set on the GSP but a recent article in the Shooting Times has had me question that. I'd love everyone's thoughts.

J

PS: No space for a new dog for at least another 18 months so I have plenty of time to decide!
 
What ever you decide don't let yourself be put off by other people's horror stories. I very nearly never went for a GWP due to horror stories but I can honestly say the dog was a joy and pleasure to train and is excellent in the house with the kids. I work with GSP's and GWP's fairly regularly and it will be wirey's all the way for me.
 
What ever you decide don't let yourself be put off by other people's horror stories. I very nearly never went for a GWP due to horror stories but I can honestly say the dog was a joy and pleasure to train and is excellent in the house with the kids. I work with GSP's and GWP's fairly regularly and it will be wirey's all the way for me.


Thanks! Great advice.
 
They are indeed all-round dogs, but neither might be the best choice for you, both are slow to mature , and not the easiest to train, they are neither ideal peg dogs nor ideal in a beating line, that's not to say they can't do it, they can but expect many tears and tantrums before getting to that stage.

They are pointing dogs and as such it is natural for them to cover large areas of ground going on point when they scent something as you can imagine this will be not ideal in a beating line if the dog goes on and holds a point every few yards
a mature German can deal with a beating line , but it will blow the mind of most youngsters.

The same goes for sitting on a peg they can do it but its not what they were meant for, its in the definition Hunt Point Retrieve the are active dogs and want to be on the move

What you want can be achieved but make no mistake it won't be easy, as your trying to achieve something they were not
meant for, they are fantastic dogs but better suited to rough shooting than driven days.

As for deer yes with training they can make very good deer dogs

If you have set your mind on one don't be put of by what I have said, just don't say you were not warned

Welcome:banghead: to the mad house.
 
What bog trotter says. Had 2 GSPs and both slow to mature. In my experience the bitch was quicker than the dog by about a year. I wouldn't put either into the beating line until a minimum of 2 years old and if I were planning on doing what you want I would focus on getting them quartering close right from the off. This is of course just my opinion on the 2 I have had, so may stand corrected.

Both were fine round the house. The bitch was quite soft, the dog less so but wouldn't harm a fly. I would summarise her as affectionate and him as daft!!

It won't be easy, but it will be rewarding. Go for it.
 
Jack,
take note what bogtrotter has said
he is right
both breeds make good deer dogs and bird dogs but have you got the time to put into the training and if so,after three to four years of training you may end up with a very good all rounder,
you are a young man with lots of hair and I fear after owning and training and pointer you maybe bold or very grey?
give me a ring and I will explain in more detail
Tony
 
I love my 2 gsp''s and can't think of having another breed
You have to go with a breed you want no matter what others may suggest as if you don't really want that breed then it won't be half the dog it could be
All good advice from some knowledgeable people above however one thing I would add is do your homework on lines as unfortunately both the breeds can have some serious health issues which include epilepsy
Good luck
Jimmy
View attachment 79909
I'm biased
 
Thanks mate - was never going to make the decision without you!!

Just out of curiosity though, is there really much difference between the two breeds?

J
 
I love my 2 gsp''s and can't think of having another breed
You have to go with a breed you want no matter what others may suggest as if you don't really want that breed then it won't be half the dog it could be
All good advice from some knowledgeable people above however one thing I would add is do your homework on lines as unfortunately both the breeds can have some serious health issues which include epilepsy
Good luck
Jimmy
View attachment 79909
I'm biased

That is one STUNNING dog ...!! Thanks for sharing the pic! J
 
What ever you decide don't let yourself be put off by other people's horror stories. I very nearly never went for a GWP due to horror stories but I can honestly say the dog was a joy and pleasure to train and is excellent in the house with the kids. I work with GSP's and GWP's fairly regularly and it will be wirey's all the way for me.

+1 - likewise I have 2 GWPs - soft as butter unless they are working, great with kids.

I always thought that they wouldn't make good peg dog, then I remembered that my GWP sit for hours under high seats. I don't shoot driven so i don't know how it would work out. You probably want to introduce the dog slowly to it's working life. Guy Wallace used to say you could train a number of spaniels and labs in the time you could train an HPR! so take you time!
 
Having kept and worked all sorts of HPR breeds over the years I would echo Bogtrotters post.
Which of the two breeds to choose from I think is personal choice of coat, because when it comes to temperament and tractability etc. I seen all sorts in both breeds, it all depends on strain.
 
I'd echo a familiar theme, follow bogtrotters advice.
My dog has only two flaws enthusiasm and independent thinking if I could crack the last two he'd be perfect :rofl:
 
I'd also echo wot bogtrotter and others have said and esp so for a novice trainer.

If u have the time, knowledge and effort i'm sure either breed would do the job, but also if u if u get unlucky with ur pup choice ur dog might never do wot u want no matter how u train it, just be to hot for sitting on a peg/beating. (There is a massive difference between lying under a quiet highseat and sitting on a peg with shots going off and birds falling all around, possibly other dogs running around too)

I think hpr's in general are quite hard to generalise about the way u can with lab's or spaniels (possibly to young a breed? or larger differences in temperment from dam/sire) but indivdual dogs from different lines or even litters can be vastly different, and while u will always get that with any breed the difference seems to be far more extreme with some hpr breeds and esp ur GSP or GWP as they are probably the hardest hunting fastest of the hpr breeds

Must admit i've seen some terrible aggressive wires in the past which almost put my off them, but even mine had a great temperment and soft but i never liked my nieces around it (not that u should ever trust any dog with kids fully) u just felt the 'animal instinct' is not as well buried as with other dogs.
he never ever showed aggresion but it was always in ur head a wee bit

I know its not wot u want to hear but a lab would excell at everything u want shooting/stalking wise but also be a pleasure to own the rest of the time as a family pet.
Not all hpr's are that easy to live with on a day to day basis and know a couple of FT/amatuer gun dog trainers that now refuse to take them in to train, some of that is they don't fully understand them but mainly u have to put so much extra effort into training them compared to ur more normal breeds.

There is an old saying that a good dog is never the wrong colour, but that could be equally applied to breeds, i just like the easy life so tend tp pick a breed that suits my shooting
 
Well, seeing that 2 part article in the Shooting Times, why don't you go straight to the horse's mouth, so to speak, and talk to Rory Major of Bryantscroft Gundogs, Lincs. He would welcome your call.
 
Having had a GSP known as "Mad" Yorric (hence my handle) who was nuts until he was 12 years old & worked with a few GWPs a bit. My advice would be to get a working bred golden retriever.(not a "show bred" version as they tend to be lazy).
That's the way I've gone & life is sooooo easy these days. You would get fewer grey hairs & be able to concentrate on the shooting!

Ian
 
I have a GWP. One thing that I was told by two different breeders (GWP and GSP) all those years back was .... These are not the same dog with a different coat. Your original question really did ask that and what the differences were. Not having had a short hair I can't make the comparison myself, but the short answer is they're different. Not much help I know.

In general though, they are hugely intelligent dogs and also very wilful. You really have to be top dog and your family has to play their part too. For example in a morning, I had to greet my wife first, kids second and make the dog wait and greet him last. If you give them a command and they don't follow it, you have to repeat until they do. You cannot let them get away with anything or they'll own you. In this respect, I believe the wire hair is more so than the short. But in fairness these are rules that apply to all dogs, I know. GWPs get bored easily and need occupying. They love tests and puzzles. We hide things in the garden and set him challenges to get treats out of things. In short, they're lovely dogs but you'll need to put the hours in or you'll just end up with a pet. One thing, you probably won't need to do is train them to follow a scent. Mine's like a blood-fuelled guided missile.
 
I would be looking for litters from both breeds if I was in your position. I'd be looking to meet both parents and checking their temperament thoroughly as a priority. After that I'd want to know that both parents work and that their conformation is correct. Health tests after that I suppose and then I'd be choosing between the breeds.

I've heard that Jackie Hay (Moorrunner GWPs) has a litter due soon. Both sire and dam are ftchs (only the third ever such mating apparently) and are all tested etc. I'm sure she will have a fair waiting list for her pups but she might be worth trying.

My GWP came from Jackie, my dog is actually the mum of the Dam of the current litter and sister to Jackie's other ftch gwp Moorrunner Marksman, so I know the line fairly well and can attest to the quality of her dogs. The temperament is superb. My dog is one of the most level dogs I've ever seen, confident, gentle when she needs to be and aggressive only when she needs to be. Work wise, she's incredible. She's a mad keen hunter but is more patient than I can ever be when sitting out or in a high seat. Her only limitation in her abilities has been me as her trainer and the level of work that I've had for her. I'm certain that if I had taken the dog that Jackie kept and she had kept my dog, then my dog would have also been a ftch.

if you stalk once per week and shoot/beat 20 or so days per year, then you should be doing enough to keep a dog interested. I will say though, as said before, these dogs aren't Spaniels or Labradors. They're hard hunting dogs that don't particularly do well when you try to work them contrary to their breeding. They'll work adequately but not to the same standar as a purpose bred dog. They're slow to mature and hard headed but you won't ever get a more rewarding dog to train.

I'm a dog person who shoots so that I can work my dog. If that's you, I'd recommend an HPR, if you want a dog because you're a shooting person, then you should probably get a Lab.
 
I personally like gwp before gsp for hunting as they have more prey drive. Having said that my dachs have are better for blood tracking than any gwp I've put them up against .
 
Has Jackie made Decoy up now Shabz?
Last time i spoke she had just had that cracking result at the hpr championships (can't mind if it was 2nd or 3rd now but i thnk there was no 1st place? but i may be wrong on that) and decoy was just '1 leg up'

I take it it must be lined was chris's kennel trudvang ftch? (can't remember if it was 'patch' he made up now)
His kennel tends to be lovely temperement dogs and quite small frame compared to some but usually hard hunting

Not wanting to go against the above advice but i'd say any FT bred hpr's would be a complete waste, both for the OP as could be very hot and u'll have a constant battle to rein it in and for the dog being reined in when it just wants to go.
A FT bred hpr will be bred for range, speed and style amoungst other things, but there the last things u ant in a peg or beating line dog. chances are quite a few of the litter will be too hot for a novice handler or any handler if ur wanting ur dog to sit on a peg. Not wot they were bred for
Must admit jackie's bitch is a cracking dog but a lot slower than it's ftch uncle? quill its an absolute beast of a dog a covers ground very quickly, 2 very different dogs that u wouldn't think were related when u watch them work. But both lovely temperments

Modern FT breeding now offers very little for ur average shooting dog/handler (wether spaniel or lab) the hpr FT scene is still more like a shooting day over pointers but has no similarity to driven shooting sitting at a peg or beating

U'd be better for a less well bred pup of slower more steady parents (wether gsp or gwp) as gsp's tend to be even faster and rangier when they working open ground. Possibly some dogs of here woud be a better bet.

I'm sure if u spoke to a few breeders they would help u
 
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