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What exactly is a "Hard" coat?

 
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axjms
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska

PostPosted: 09/11/03, 12:53 pm    Post subject: What exactly is a "Hard" coat? Reply with quote

Greetings,

I am a new GWP owner and I am continuing to learn more and more about this breed. I have read that only about 50% of the pups in a littler have an acceptable "hard" coat. How do I tell the difference exactly? I have only seen two GWP's live in my whole life and one is mine!

Thanks,
Jason
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Jon P
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PostPosted: 09/11/03, 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think any breeder would be happy if 50% of their litters truly had hard coats. I would however say that there are breeders that are producing more than 50% very acceptable coats.

Truly hard, dense coats are rare. Generally they tend to be shorter (2-4 centimeters) and are really abrasive in texture. These coats should be very dense with a thick undercoat, especially in the colder weather. The legs and chest should also be thickly covered. Excellent coats have hard "guard hairs" right down over the toes that help to prevent abrasions in heavy cover. There is no feathering (a sign of weak, softer hair) and the head and ears should have a short, close fitting coat except for the beard and eyebrows. Such coats are rare in the GWP. I recently saw a german import that had the hardest coat I have seen in 30 years in a 10 week old pup. Will be interesting to see how the coat matures.
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 09/15/03, 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because our breed is relatively rare in most places, it's really difficult to understand "coats" without seeing and touching alot of them.

After 20 plus years, I can tell you that I still get confused when looking at puppy coats. Some I would swear will be good to excellent when they grow up, only to have them grow at amazing rates and become mediocre. Others, I would swear will be too short, or too long at adulthood, only to watch them blow out and become very acceptable, even very good.

We had a litter of puppies when at 4 wks old looked like little wooly buggers, I was heartbroken! All of a sudden they turned 6 wks, lost all the wool and ended up with pretty darn good coats. And I didn't pull a hair on them, it just fell out.

It's darn near impossible to look at photos and really tell good coats from manufactured good coats. You have to get up close and personal and rreally feel them. If by chance, you get the opportunity to go to a gwp specialty show, field trial or hunt test, you should be able to see more than a few dogs. Or even better, attend a National event if you can. That's where you will see LOTS of dogs and begin to get a handle on coats.

Dualgwp
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Jon P
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PostPosted: 09/18/03, 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dualgwp has brought up a very good point - coats in this breed are too often manufactured and "Chalk Helper" is well known to more than a few breed enthusiasts. It is important to see a lot of dogs, but call various breeders and stop over on short notice. Look at the whole kennel not just the dogs they want to show you. DO NOT judge dogs by what you see at dog shows - for the most part these dogs will have been overgroomed you will not be loking at the dog's true coat. Most dogs coats are not as good as they present in the ring.

I would also go to NAVHDA events - not too many owners there that spend a lot of time with the stripping comb and the cholesterol. Visit some VDD tests or shows - dogs are presented without grooming for the most part at these events. You will also see a marked difference in coats in comparison to the AKC wirehair.

Be aware that the coat that is excellent for hunting is more difficult to "finish" in the show ring. The shorter, tighter, harder coated dog with less furnishings will not fare well against the longer coated "show" variety.
You can finish the dog but it will be more difficult. Too many lines that have been too influenced by the show ring have ended up breeding dogs that require a lot of coat maintenance.
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