The majority of my wingshooting is for waterfowl, but I enjoy going hunting for grouse and have now branched into the uplands for pheasants. My husband, Matt, isn’t a fan of duck hunting (bless his heart) so we need a versatile dog that can hunt cross seamlessly among these pursuits. Because of the waterfowl hunting, I knew I wanted a larger breed that would be a strong swimmer and could handle retrieving geese. We knew we could handle a larger breed since we’re both super active and we own a home with a fenced-in yard.
In making my list of “wants,” I knew, from previous experience hunting with friends and their dogs, I wanted a pointer. I like that pointers can cover a large amount of ground quickly and that points seem to slow down the hunt a bit. I also prefer a point to a flush in the dense grouse woods. Plus, who doesn’t like the look of a dog on point?
I was introduced to the Deutsch Drahthaar breed from the guys in my Pheasants Forever chapter (I volunteer for the Metro Area Chapter of Pheasants Forever in the Twin Cities). I was quickly drawn to their animals and how they were friendly, smart and versatile hunters. I liked the coat that makes them well-suited for water and
coldconditions (think late season pheasant and duck hunting in Minnesota) and is low-maintenance and low-shedding. In the temperament category, I found my match - outstanding bird hunters in the field but mellow, for the most part, at home.
When first considering breeds, I was on the fence between wirehairs and Deutsch Drahthaars and thus contacted breeders for both. A good hunting buddy of mine introduced me to the German breeds when he got his Deutsch Kurzhaar three years ago. I’ve watched my friend’s pup grow into a dog with a loving temperament and a passion to hunt - hunt ducks in the morning and pheasants all afternoon. That pup is inexhaustible! Until then, I wasn’t aware there was a much of a distinction, but I researched and came to admire the strict breeding standards the German-based Verein Deutsch Drahthaar has for the breed. This tilted me to the “DD.”
What finally won me over was finding my breeder and building a personal connection. Wendy talked about having genetic defects in dogs they’ve gotten in the past, which eventually lead them to the Drahthaars because of the integrity of the breeding and the top priority of quality breeding. When Matt and I visited and met their dogs, we saw how well cared for they were, how super socialized they were and how much they LOVED water--it was a good fit, the right fit.
-Rachel Hoveland is Pheasants Forever’s data analyst. She and her Deutsch Drathaar, “Luke,” are the featured training partners in Bird Dog Boot Camp presented by Purina® Pro Plan® and SportDOG® Brand. The series chronicles the new dog owner and her pup, from the early steps in the training process through opening day of pheasant hunting season.