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GWP vs. GSP
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/05/03, 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith,

Believe what you want, but the only B.S. here is the manure you’re spreading. What you have shown is how little you know about shorthairs (and maybe wirehairs as well). I have trained and hunted over both breeds, and there really isn’t much difference in ability or versatility. My shorthairs handled ducks as well as my wirehairs, and they were both good at it. By the way, most of my waterfowl hunting has been in MI where the winter temps average 15 degrees colder than what you face in OK. So, unlike you, I’m not talking about what I haven’t seen in 30 years of hunting, but what I have seen.

I’m not sure what your comment about white colored coats in shorthairs was meant to prove with regard to versatility but, if you look at some of the wirehair web sites, you will notice quite a few white wirehairs as well. I have also seen several at dog shows. It seems they are gaining in popularity. So, what does that indicate about wirehairs as breed? Nothing really. And, it doesn’t indicate anything about shorthairs as a breed either.

Part of the problem is that you want to compare all shorthair breeders (regardless of what qualities they are breeding for) to “good” wirehair breeders (and, I assume by “good,” you meant those breeders breeding versatile wirehairs). The only way you can compare the versatility of the two breeds is to compare breeders that are breeding versatile shorthairs to breeders breeding versatile wirehairs. The show lines, field trial lines, and pets have to be excluded from the comparison on both sides. The attached link is to a web site of a local MI breeder that is producing some outstanding versatile shorthairs:

http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/Huntersedge/

If you take the time to look through the 3 photo galleries on his site, you will see several pictures of his dogs during and after duck and goose hunts. Is that real enough for you?

Also, your blanket generalizations about the shorthair’s personality are absurd. There are shorthairs that are hyper and bouncing off the wall, and those that are calm. I have one now that is so laid back, you wouldn’t even know he was in the house if he didn’t insist on curling up next to you when he gets ready to go to sleep. There are also shorthairs that are protective and those that aren’t. It all just depends on the breeding. The same applies to wirehairs.

The difference between us is that I am not “breed blind.” I appreciate and respect all of the versatile breeds and their abilities, whether I own that breed or not, and whether that breed fits my personal tastes or not. There are several good versatile breeds, the wirehair is only one of them. If you take a look at the pictures on the attached versatile gun dog web site, you will find there are plenty of versatile dogs from the various versatile breeds getting the job done around the world:

http://www.trader.co.nz/versatiledogs/photos9.htm

Wait a minute! Is that a shorthair sitting over that wild boar? I can’t believe they’re versatile enough to hunt pigs! Wink
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/05/03, 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the issue of sharpness and aloofness in wirehairs has been blown out of proportion. Some of the early wirehairs brought to this country may have fit that description, but not so much with the ones being breed in the US today. Sharpness is usually toward cats, raccoons, skunks, etc., not people. As for children, we had two wirehairs when I was a kid and they loved my sister and me to death (of course, we spoiled them pretty bad). All my friends played with them without incident as well. There are lots of dogs of various breeds that don’t tolerate children well if they weren’t exposed to them as pups. Also, I think if you raise them with a cat they won't have a problem with that cat, but unfamiliar cats may still be fair game. I have two shorthairs now that are death on cats and other small furred animals. However, they have been around my wife’s parrot since they were pups and they pay it no attention (unless it has food they think they can steal). That being said, I still don’t leave the old crow out of it’s cage and unsupervised around them for fear that it might do something that would trigger the predatory instinct in them. Better safe than sorry.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 06/06/03, 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like I said, I have duck hunted for 30 years. In that time I have seen hundreds of dogs used for duck hunting and known a lot of duck hunters. In all that time I haven't seen one shorthair. That doesn't mean that they aren't used but it does tell you something whether you want to believe it or not. Shorthairs are the 22nd most popular breed in this country. There are 12,000 of them registered every year. They have been popular for a long time with hunters. What I am saying is they are not a rare breed by anyones standards. I find it kind of odd that not one of them has shown up yet at the boat ramp while we are launching our boats or at the marsh while we are all leaving the parking lot. I also haven't met one other duck hunter that uses one. On the other hand there are about 1200 wirehairs registered every year. For every wirehair out there hunting there are 10 shorthairs. But I have come across 3 wirehairs on the boat ramps. I also have 2 friends that I have met that are dedicated duck hunters almost exclusively that use wirehairs. Through my love of the breed I have also met other hunters that use their wirehairs duck hunting. And I do read a lot of dog books. I didn't make it up when I said that most of them rate wirehairs a better bet in the water. I have also read shorthair owners on message boards caught in a moment of candor say that their shorthairs have trouble in cold water. I personally will not even take a wirehair duck hunting in cold water if it doesn't have the proper wire coat. It would be cruel. I believe what I see in the duck blinds not what you say. In another 30 years maybe I will be proven wrong and some of those thousands of shorthairs out there will start showing up in the duck blinds but I doubt it. But I really do expect to see more and more wirehairs and DD's in the duck blinds in the coming decades. When I first started hunting with them nobody knew what they were. Now when I come across another hunter they do. I even had a game warden last year tell me that that is the dog of the future. They can hunt anything you want.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 06/06/03, 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And you are wrong about the white in the coat. It does indeed tell you something about how the breeds are used. No dedicated duck hunter wants a white dog. And if more and more wirehairs are being bred with white coats that just tells you that Jon is right and wirehairs are being Americanized like shorthairs. And like the overwhelming majority of shorthairs that will never, ever see a duck they are trying to turn them into just another version of an English pointer. All that white you see showing up in shorthairs is most likely caused by infusion of pointer blood to allow them to compete in field trials that award dogs that hunt like pointers. I think it would be real naive to think that those crosses haven't taken place and again, on some message boards where shorthair owners have been caught in a moment of honesty, they have admitted that they know of these crosses.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 06/06/03, 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have owned several generations of wirehairs from several different breeders. While I have never had one of my wirehairs bite anyone I have seen this protectiveness and suspicion demonstrated. One time I had been across the street in a field running one of my dogs. When I went back home I opened the gate and let her in the yard. Unbeknownst to me my Dad was in my back yard in the storage shed. As soon as I let my dog in the yard she ran full speed at my Dad and jumped up and bit his sweater then turned around and ran right back to my side and just sat there staring at him. She had never met him before and just knew that a stranger was in our yard that in her mind didn't belong there. She didn't break the skin and was really more just warning him but if I had wanted her to the willingness was there to protect me. After she saw that it was fine with me she ignored him. One other time we were out in the yard with an older female that had never shown any protective tendencies. A new neighbor came walking up behind us that we had never met and didn't see. All I heard from her was a deep growl. As soon as we acknowledged them she calmed down and was fine. One time I was out in my front yard letting all the dogs run (about 5 of them) when a man came up and wanted to come into the yard and read the meter. I told him to let me put my dogs up first. They really didn't like him and were letting me and him know that they weren't playing around. I had to put them away first. They had let him come in the yard in the past without me present but with me there they were far more protective. With my current 2 year old the first time I saw it was when I was out training with a friend and someone came up behind us that neither one of us saw. I heard her growling and turned around and saw him. I then calmed her down and told her to go on hunting and she did ignoring him. Once I had a female out that didn't want to quit hunting and I thought I would teach her a lesson. I pretended to be driving off and left her in the parking lot. A woman in the parking lot thought I was abondoning the dog and walked over to her calling her. When she got real close my dog just backed up and started barking at her. The woman jumped back and I called my dog to me. She came running and I loaded her and drove away. One time a couple of teenagers in the area came and stole some bikes out of our yard. My son knew which delinquents in the neighborhood probably stole the bikes so he went to their house. Sure enough the bikes were there. He asked them why they only stole the bikes and they said they were afraid of the dogs which were really carrying on in their pens. One time I came home to an old house that we still owned but no longer lived in. I knew from the gate that someone had burglarized the house. The first thing I did was let 2 of my dogs run in the house first. They had just left but I liked knowing that my dogs would have protected me if need be. I don't say all this to scare people away from the breed. I have 3 children and they have always had their friends over and I have never had any problems. I have owned a couple of dogs that didn't have any protectiveness in them but many do. And these dogs are from several different lines and breeders. I like knowing that my dogs would protect me or my family. If you don't pick your wirehair carefully from real mellow parents.
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/08/03, 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith,

Because you haven’t seen a shorthair duck hunting in your 30 years of experience, you assume they can’t do it. So, I provided you with a link to a web site where a breeder shows his shorthairs waterfowl hunting. But, you ignore that because it contradicts what you have choosen to believe.

You claim:

Quote:
"I also haven't met one other duck hunter that uses one.”

Although you haven’t met me personally, I told you I use them, and the hunters pictured on the web site I directed you to were using them. But, again, you ignore that fact because it also contradicts what you have chosen to believe.

You stated:

Quote:
“For every wirehair out there hunting there are 10 shorthairs. But I have come across 3 wirehairs on the boat ramps.”

Three wirehairs in 30 years! Wow, who opened the floodgates? Laughing

To further support your contentions, you stated:

Quote:
“And I do read a lot of dog books. I didn't make it up when I said that most of them rate wirehairs a better bet in the water.”

My question to you is, how knowledgeable are these writers on the subject? Have they owned and hunted waterfowl with GSPs from versatile lines? For that matter, have they owned and hunted waterfowl with GWPs. On what did they base their supposedly unbiased comparisons? Anyone can write a book. Just because something is in print, doesn’t make it true.

You stated:

Quote:
“I have also read shorthair owners on message boards caught in a moment of candor say that their shorthairs have trouble in cold water.”

It’s funny how eager you are to believe a negative comment about GSPs without knowing anything about these people that made them or the breeding of their dogs. However, when I, and other GSP owners tell you our dogs can handle cold water well, and when you see pictures of GSPs waterfowl hunting in a cold weather state like MI, you dismiss that as “B.S.” And, I love the way you have managed to catch some GSP owner in a “moment of honesty” or a “moment of candor” where they felt compelled to confessed the "truth" about the breed's short comings to you. Laughing

You also said:

Quote:
“I even had a game warden last year tell me that that is the dog of the future. They can hunt anything you want.”

What made this game warden an expert on versatile breeds? Again, if it contradicts what you want to believe, you ignore it, but if it feeds into your bias toward the breed, you except it as the gospel.

Yes, there are a lot of shorthairs registered every year, and a good portion of them are bred for upland hunting only, field trials, the show ring, and as pets. However, there is a contingent of breeders (and, a growing contingent I might add) that are breeding for versatility. These breeders should be applauded for their efforts and encouraged, instead of berated by people like you. If you are going to evaluate the versatile abilities of the breed, you must evaluate those dogs being bred for versatility. Instead, you still insist on lumping all shorthair lines together in an effort to prove your point. Why aren’t you doing the same for wirehairs? You just want to talk about the "good" wirehair breeders. I’ve seen some show GWPs that wouldn’t point and were just barely versatile enough to find their food bowl. I also met a guy that breeds field trial GWPs, and the only exposure to water they have had was when they took a drink. How many of those GWPs will show up in duck blind or anywhere else versatility in a dog is required?

I don’t think anyone that knows anything about shorthairs would deny pointers have, at some point, been introduced into some shorthair lines to get more “run” out of them. Conversely, those shorthair breeders dedicated to breeding versatile dogs are not concerned with such things, and therefore, are not adding pointers their lines. In some cases, some of these breeders have actually brought DKs into they’re breeding programs in an effort to enhance certain versatile traits. By the same token, if you don’t think shorthairs and pointers have been, and are being, introduced into some GWP lines to create a field trial version of the breed, you are deluding yourself. Take a look at the following web site and tell me what you think this Field Champion GWP’s blood lines have been "infused" with:

http://www.flintlockskennel.com/pictures/addition.html

Oops, there’s that pesky old white coat again too! Wink Laughing

The one thing I do agree with you on is that more DDs and GWPs will be showing up in duck blinds in the future as the versatile breeds gain popularity among American hunters. However, more GSPs will be showing up in the blinds as well.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 06/09/03, 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny statement about the floodgates. But taken in proportion to registration numbers those 3 wirehairs would be the equivalent of seeing 30 shorthairs. And I have gone from hunters not knowing what they were to breed recognition in one generation. And interestingly I have seen about as many wirehairs as I have golden retrievers or chesapeake bay retrievers, both waterfowling breeds. You can believe what you want. I will admit when I am wrong and all those waterfowling shorthairs start showing up at the duck ramp but I won't hold my breath. If the breed had all the "potential" that you speak of the transition from uplands to waterfowling would have already taken place in sufficient numbers for me to encounter them. It is not going to happen. But to any ignorant hunter out there go for it. Buy the shorthaired dog. First cold day you will regret it. P.S. stay away from all the white shorthairs, they WILL flare the ducks.
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parshal
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PostPosted: 06/09/03, 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding ability, shorthairs can do anything wirehairs can do as will any of the versatile breeds. Some individual dogs may do it better or worse than others but versatile dogs were bred to do it all. But, it would be absurd to think that a short-coated dog can handle the same cold temperature that a wirehaired dog can handle. That doesn't mean they can't sit in a blind when it's extremely cold, it means that they wouldn't be able to tolerate it as long as longer coated dogs.

Someone should choose their breed based on what they hunt most. Dedicated duck hunters usually don't choose a short-coated dog just the same as dedicated quail hunters don't choose a retriever. Heck, I've seen a guy hunting pheasants with an Irish Wolfhound and dang if the dog didn't produce birds!
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Jon P
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PostPosted: 06/09/03, 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parshal,

You've got it all wrong. You don't need to find the breed that's right for the task. You simply change the breed that pleases you to what you need. SO, if a breed is too large, too dark, too heavily coated, and too slow you simply breed them white, smooth, small, and speed them up!!!
Come on, fella, get with the program!!! Wink
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/09/03, 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kieth,

You shouldn’t base your all your opinions on dogs and waterfowling to just what you have seen in OK. If you hunted waterfowl in the north, where it really gets cold and wind and waves are an issue, you would see many more Chessies in duck blinds than you would see GWPs & GSPs combined. There is no breed that handles those conditions better. However, there are some negative stereotypes, whether justified or not, about Chessies with regard to temperament and trainability that, in my opinion, prevent them from being as popular as labs for waterfowl hunting.

Regardless of how many GSPs you see in duck blinds, and regardless to any other tasks you may see them perform, I doubt you would ever admit GSPs are as versatile as GWPs. Your mind is closed to that possibility, even when provided with proof to the contrary.

The only point I'm trying to get across is, all of the versatile breeds are indeed versatile. They are not usually the best at any one thing, but they’re good at most things. Each breed may have a trait or quality that makes it more suitable to a particular hunting application or to an individual’s personal preference, but that doesn’t make it more versatile than the other breeds.
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/09/03, 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parsal,

I have to disagree with you that the wirehaired breeds coats providing significantly more protection from cold water. When dry, I will concede that it can keep the dog warmer because it will trap more heat. However, once wet, its thermal properties are pretty much negated by water’s ability to wick heat away from the body. Unless the hair possesses special insulating properties, such as excessive oiliness to repel water and keep it away from the skin (like seals), or being hollow to trap air (like polar bears), its use as a thermal insulator would be limited when wet. I have not heard that the coats of the wirehaired breeds posses these properties, but please correct me if they do. If your theory were correct, then logically, the wirehaired breeds, including Griffons and Vizslas, would fair better in extreme cold water situations than Chessies or Labs. However, I do not think that is the case.

A more important factor in retaining heat is body mass. It is generally accepted, scientifically (Bergmann’s rule), that the greater the body mass, relative to body size and shape, the greater the ability to retain heat. This is because body heat is lost at the surface. As body mass increases, the relative amount of surface area decreases proportionately. Therefore, greater body mass allows for greater heat retention and reduces heat loss, even in water. If you look at the mass and shape of Chessies and Labs as compared to the versatile breeds you will see the difference and understand why they have higher tolerances to extremely cold water.

Now, if you were to argue that wirehairs can withstand more cold in the duck blind because, on average, they have more body mass than the shorthair, I would be more inclined accept that premise. However, there seems to be too much variance in body mass and structure within both breeds to use that as a rule of thumb. At any rate, with the advent of the neoprene vest for dogs, the whole argument of which versatile breed best withstands the cold of the average duck hunting situation, has been rendered mute.

The real advantage I found to the GWPs coat was when I hunted extremely thick, thorny cover. Although my shorthairs show no aversion to plowing through it, they often suffer nicks and small cuts around the eyes and on the muzzle. There is also the occasional thorn that must be removed from their skin. I seldom had that happen to my wirehairs.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 06/10/03, 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things keep a dog warm. Body mass and COAT. Body mass is out for a dog expected to put in a full day hunting hard in the uplands. That is why labs and chessies look like lethargic roly-polys in the uplands. That leaves coat. And I might add that both labs and chessies, unlike a shorthair, have good coats. Do an experiment next time it gets cold outside. Put on a light coat then put on a heavy coat and see which one keeps you warmer. This isn't rocket science.
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PostPosted: 06/10/03, 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO, you are both right. Keith's logic is hard to refute, on the other hand, I too have seen shorthairs that were semingly impervious to the elements. However, to maintain that heavier coated breeds have no advantage is just not logical. Baron defends his breed because he knows that there numerous dogs with the desire and toughness to go to icy waters. Personally, seeing a dog shiver next to me or lock up after multiple cold water retrieves is just a lot of macho horse%^#$. If its that cold, I put a vest on them, even the Lab. The point is to get the bird - not to prove whose dog can come closest to stroking out.

This is sort of a senseless discussion that common sense should have settled two pages ago.
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PostPosted: 06/10/03, 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree 100% about body mass. I was going to mention chessies and labs in my previous post. In this instance, though, we're talking about gwp's and gsp's both of which have similar body mass (unless we throw in vdd's of which most of the ones I've seen have been as thick as a lab!).

Regarding the wirehair coat, I don't think it insulates much better than a shorthair but it should dry faster. When judging whether a coat is harsh (hence, more wiry) one of the best ways to tell is how fast it dries. A truly harsh, wiry coat should be almost dry when the dog shakes off. Now, I realize that not all wirehairs have this coat but it is the goal for the gwp. It's a crap shoot when you pick your puppy since the coats change as they mature. If the coat dries faster the dog will be warmer. Now, I know there are those that will argue that a short coat will dry faster but the harsh, wiry coat will dry faster than a short, soft coat.

I will say that a wiry coat, regardless of breed, would be a better choice for cold duck hunting. This is, of course, assuming the same ability and I am not arguing that a wirehair is a more versatile breed because of ability. It is not. I've seen more shorthairs in NAVHDA tests than any other breed and they can do fabulous water work.

I also agree with the post about putting on a coat for the dog. If it's cold keep your dog warm regardless of the breed.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 06/10/03, 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not a senseless discussion. The better coat is critical in order to have a versatile dog in America. A dog that can hunt both waterfowl and upland game. There are many hunters that buy a lab for just those two purposes. But labs are very inadequate for quail and other upland birds that require a dog to reach out and run. Shorthairs are the other choice but for many reasons they have been rejected by the dual purpose hunters. They have been very popular in this country for decades but have never caught on with duck hunters. Then there are DD's and wirehairs. They are catching on with duck hunters and many of them are used every year for duck hunting in all conditions. I personally know of several hard core duck hunters that use them. They will grow in popularity with versatile hunters, shorthairs won't. I am sorry if the facts disturb you. Sometimes I am not as PC and sensitive to others feelings as I should be.
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