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#2986852 - 01/03/13 03:49 PM
Choosing a versatile dog breed...
jk_minn Offline
Hello I'm New

Registered: 11/04/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Minnesota
I am in the market for a new pup. I have been doing a lot of reading on the web. My goal is to get out and hunt and socialize with a couple of breeds before I make a final decision on breed. Then the search for a breeder smile Laying out my reasoning below I am considering the following breeds. Pointing Lab, WPG, GWP, DD (not worried about eating a few cats) or PP. I have hunted with labs, pointing labs, GSPs, and springers, never a wirehair.

Things to consider:
1) My hunting consists of waterfowl/pheasants with an equal 50/50 on how much I spend doing each. I hunt mainly in MN but make it out to SD and NE for both waterfowl and pheasants. Also, I hunt early season and late season, so temps vary to the extremes.

2) I plan on having my pal indoors, my lady wants a lab, she knows she won’t vacuum enough; I dislike hair from shedding everywhere.

3) There will probably be newborns in my life in the next 5 years. Do I have to worry about temperament? Or if any of these breeds are socialized enough at a young age will this not be an issue?

4) I have access to a reputable trainer that is experienced with pointing labs, GSP, GWP, etc…

5) Is it possible to find what I am looking for? An all around stellar hunting dog that is great at home and with kids?

I would really like to go with one of the ugly dogs – however I like to be different (rather than a lab) – I find a strong point attractive – I find steadiness in the duck boat attractive.

Thanks!
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#2986924 - 01/03/13 05:13 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: jk_minn]
gspman Offline

HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 01/03/03
Posts: 2053
Loc: Eagan, MN
WPG, GWP, and Pointing Lab are the best logical candidates. Just do some research into specific breedings to find the right temperament and take the plunge.

They're all broke 'til they break.
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#2986937 - 01/03/13 05:32 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: gspman]
Todd Caswell Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 1074
Loc: Brainerd, MN
I'm a lab guy so you know what my choice would be. If youv'e read any of my other posts you already know I'm not a pointing lab fan. They are bred to be retrievers with strong marking ability first, but also are strong flushers. As far as an all around dog I don't believe you could find a better example than a lab, strong water dog, good upland dog, 99% of the time good with people, kids and other dogs, yes they shed but all dogs do. Even the doddles.

Sounds like your hunting waterfowl/upland ratio is 50/50. If it was more heavy on the upland side I would say go with the pointer versitle breeds. I mostly waterfowl hunt and I find it very convient to have a dog that can handle out past 300 yards on a blind be land or water. Saves alot of time running around the field disturbing the hunt.
Iv'e seen GSP GWP run simple blinds in the decoys and at HRC hunt tests but they don't handle like our retrievers do. ( Sorry) It's not what there bred or meant to do.

There you have my opinion, take it for what it's worth not much eek
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#2986959 - 01/03/13 05:57 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Todd Caswell]
island guy Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/11/03
Posts: 427
Loc: fergus falls mn
I owned retrievers for years and love them. When my lab passed this summer i planned on another one. But a Pudelpointer came my way. (you can google the breed to check them out). Great for upland, does waterfowl really well till it gets too cold. Can run all day, swim all day but is relaxed and mellow in the house. Shedding is next to nothing. Great with kids. I often have a 1 year old and a 3 year old over and they play hard with the dog with no concern or worry. Took me a while to educate myself to a pointer vs a retriever but i have no regrets. Great dog. Good luck in your search.
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#2986966 - 01/03/13 06:04 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Todd Caswell]
Wayne Ek Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 08/25/02
Posts: 1945
Loc: Alexandria, Minn
Which dog is such a personal choice... but you asked so hear it so. I was raised with labs and chessies. Once I was on my own I have never owned either breed again. Two reasons, one I was raised with them and had a desire to look at pointing breeds and two I was raised with them. Most of my hunting is for pheasants with some waterfowl... probably 80% upland hunting. In the last 40-years I've run Brit's, GWP, one Griffon and I'm now on my second Pudelpointer. And I'm sold on the PP. Now I think my Wirehairs were great and strong hunters, but a couple had an attitude towards other dogs and one towards people (no one could come near the truck,boat or hotel room). PP's have the same disposition as lab's, are about the same size,easy to train,great retrievers and shed so little you think they don't shed at all. So there you go. But, Brit's were sure easier to lift over cattle fences

"Babes do not tremble when they are shown a golf ball, but I should not like to own the boy whose hair does not lift his hat when he sees his first deer."
-- Aldo Leopold -- A Sand County Alamanac--

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#2986989 - 01/03/13 06:23 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Wayne Ek]
island guy Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/11/03
Posts: 427
Loc: fergus falls mn
Wow, i'm surprised.....two posts on a Pudelpointer! Not a common dog to say the least! Mine is the only one i've seen around here but have seen a couple in North Dakota when i hunt there and got similar reports from their owners.
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#2987009 - 01/03/13 06:40 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: island guy]
Todd Caswell Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 1074
Loc: Brainerd, MN
Originally Posted By: island guy
Wow, i'm surprised.....two posts on a Pudelpointer! Not a common dog to say the least! Mine is the only one i've seen around here but have seen a couple in North Dakota when i hunt there and got similar reports from their owners.


Have to admit they are a neat looking dog and have heard good reports from people that own them, one thing I have noticed is there coat can vary ALOT, from very coarse and thick, to very thin, with alot of variations within a litter. And I would think it would be very hard to tell what type of coat they are going to end up with when full grown, as puppy's. The ones I have seen with a thin GSP coat would not seem to do well on a mid or late season waterfowl hunt. But my last 3 labs have not had the thickest coats either, all 3 have had to have a vest on during the late season.
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#2987076 - 01/03/13 07:21 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Todd Caswell]
LatLong Offline
HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 10/07/10
Posts: 84
Loc: Bemidji
I had to chime in...another Pudelpointer guy here smile . My dog is still young with a lot of puppy in him yet(14 mos). He's getting better in the house and is a very sweet dog. No aggression towards other dogs and he even gets along with our cats. Shedding is minimal(not even comparable to my lab). He loves retrieving and i haven't found the amount of running to tire him out. I didn't get to hunt him much as he tore a big hole in his leg mid-october and was laid up for a while.

As to the coat..they can vary a lot. Talk to a breeder about what you want, if they don't have a pup to fit your needs they will probably point you in the direction of a litter.

I took about a year researching breeds before settling on the Pudelpointer. I found NAVHDA events and called the event coordinator and went as a spectator. I wanted to see different breeds working and not having seen any versatile breeds before I wanted to do some looking.

When you do decide on a breed and bring one home I would highly recommend joining NAVHDA. I've gone to training days and spent many hours on the phone with members talking training. I even ran him in his first test this past fall. Good luck on the new pup!


Edited by LatLong (01/03/13 07:43 PM)
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#2987163 - 01/03/13 08:38 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: LatLong]
Snag Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 607
Loc: Minnesota
I'm on a list for a Pudelpointer this spring. My Golden is 10 and probably had his last season. The big decision makers for me were the lack of shedding and I have heard great things about the breed.
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#2987306 - 01/04/13 05:16 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Snag]
GSP4ME Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 04/05/12
Posts: 557
Loc: MN
As one of the other listers mendtioned go to a NAVHDA event and check out some of the dogs there. Great way to see them in action. A pointing Lab is not a versatile dog. There is no comparison. Labs are great dogs but the whole pointing lab thing blaaa. I hunt late season waterfowl with my GSPs just slap a neoprene vest on them and bang there you go. You are in the right area for some of the best VD dogs around no matter what breed you seek. With in 100 miles of the twin cities there are some of the best breeder/trainers you will find anywhere around. Call up Greg Dixon from Backwoods kennels, Clyde Vetter from Sharp Shooter Kennels, check the MN NAVHDA website and you will find some more options. I have raised newborns around some of the most bird hungry prey driven dogs around and had 0 issuses. Infact my daughter when from the time she was old enough to crawl was in the kennel with the dogs. just raise them right and there is no issue. Good luck and if you are having a hard time finding any of the breeds you metnioned to hunt behind or spend some time around let me know and I can help with that
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#2987383 - 01/04/13 07:30 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: jk_minn]
fishattacker Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 143
Loc: Raymond, MN, United States
I have a Deutsch Drahthaar. Which in writing this I just realized he is five today. He is a great pheasant dog, loves water and does blind retrieves and does a little deer tracking when called on. We have two kids, a five year old boy and 2 year old girl. They have pulled his tail, tried to ride him like a horse and have pulled on his beard. The worst thing he does to them is lick them and steal their snacks.

Usually in April the VDD-GNA will start their spring natural ability tests. It would be a good time to check out young dogs.
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#2987616 - 01/04/13 11:20 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: fishattacker]
LABS4ME Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 5390
Loc: Cottage Grove , MN USA
I believe the best all around dog is a well bred lab. I also believe the hardest dog to aquire is a 'well bred' lab. Let me explain.

The reason why labs became so popular was because they were/are a great dog. Their intelligence, structure, coat and personality were what sportsmen needed in a dog. The worst thing that happened to the breed is they became as popular as they are...

The trialer's have bred down generation after generation of 'labs' that are no longer 'labs'. Poor coats (thin, coarse, no under coat, lack of oils); poor skeletal structure (poor angualtion in the rear legs, equals lots of ACL tears... unheard of decades ago) poor tail set, ear set, etc; a more 'hyper' of dogs is the norm in terms of personality. All these attributes are important to be 'correct' in a lab. The coat is for cold water retrieves (agian a neoprene vest was unheard of a couple decades ago) and a must in a true waterfowl dog. It also protects them on upland huts. With the proper coat, they will not appear 'beat up' after a long weekend's hunt. the ear set is important for keeping said water out of ears, tail should be thick and straight as it is their rudder. Personality should be calm, nessacary in a duck boat. Most trialers and hunt test breeders main goal in breeding is to better the marking and intelligence in a pup. Both very important traits, but should not be the main and only criteria used in beeding decisions to 'better' the breed. Physical attributes should never be looked past in order to breed the 'best' marking dog, handling dog etc.

The show people have done their best to breed out the performance and intelligence aspect of what a lab needs. Structurally they will be sound. They will possess the proper coat, skelatal build, size etc. but no need to be able to mark, retrieve, learn to be steady etc is needed... and they will not worry about breeding dogs that can do the work of a lab, breedings will happen only if they are 'better' at being pretty.

Both Camps have done a lot of good in regards to breeding out hips, elbows and eye issues... but that is only part of the breeding puzzle. Both have bred only the parts 'they' are looking for. Not nessacarily what is best for the breed or for you the gun dog owner.

Finding a lab that possesses all the traits of lab is more work and a smaller pool to choose from, but in the end you will be ecstatic with your dog. There is a small resurgence of breeders wanting to breed labs as they should be, but you have to search them out. Most of these breedings will have field titles and show titels combined. It used to be breeding show lines to field lines was the only way to try and achieve this, but now many dogs carry both field and show titles. I'm not sure we will ever see another dual champion, but we are seeing many good high quality champion - MHers.

I have been concentrating my breedings to this end. Many said it will not work. but I have produced pups that are QAA and also successful in hunt tests. I have a friend who is currently running a dog that two trialers want pups out of. She could most likely also be shown. My buddy is a meat hunter and has no intention of doing any of this. I even was appraoched by a trialer/breeder if he would lease the dog to him for a breeding... high praise for a dual purpose lab...

Set out and look for a 'well bred' lab. One that has a great coat, great personality, drive, structure, soundness and you will NEVER be dissapointed with your decision! You will know what I am saying once you talk to these breeders...

Good Luck!

Ken

FishingMinnesota Sponsors

..."The best long range shotgun load to have in one's boat for mallards is a fine retriever."

Nash Buckingham
Field and Stream 1947
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#2987645 - 01/04/13 11:41 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: LABS4ME]
island guy Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/11/03
Posts: 427
Loc: fergus falls mn
I think Ken is spot on in his analysis of labs. I wouldn't of hesitated to get another lab and would of taken my time to get the right dog and breeder. That said, i've really enjoyed the Pudelpointer. It was one of those unexpected deals where the PP became available but i sure don't regret it!
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#2987874 - 01/04/13 04:20 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: GSP4ME]
Arago Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 05/16/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Hamel, MN.
I have to go with a lab. Great duck dog but also a fantastic rooster dog. Does not really pick up burs as a golden might. Good with kids. Able to crash thru cat-tails for a tight sitting phesant.
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#2987879 - 01/04/13 04:40 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Arago]
water rat Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 144
Loc: chisago city,MN
I fell In love with wirehairs about 10 years ago and now have 3.i might chase grouse 3-4 times during waterfowl season but ducks make up 95% of my fall.i generally hunt mn,wi and ia and finish the season during December,very eager to get into the water/ice no matter what time of year! Afterwards its nice to have a pointer for grouse and pheasants!! Plus...they don't shed nearly as much as most hunting breeds.
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#2989900 - 01/07/13 07:46 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: water rat]
TylerS Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 11/28/07
Posts: 1610
Loc: Fargo, ND
I'm a 50-50 upland/waterfowl hunter. My 2.5 GWP has been hunting everything he could carry since he was four months old. I've trained him through the NAVHDA system, and I'm confident in saying he's one of the best dogs I've ever hunted around. Great from mid-August on early-season honkers, all the way through to the very last ditch parrot in January. Hunts doves, ducks, geese, sharpies, roughed grouse and pheasants with ease. He's steady at the blind -- both water and land -- and is steady to flush, shot and fall. It's nothing to hunt waterfowl in the morning, go in for lunch, then run him all afternoon on upland. His nose, drive and intensity in the field are why I bought him, but his calm demeanor and all around lovability at home is what made my wife fall in love with him, too.

I don't think you'd find a better all-around and truly VERSATILE hunting dog than a wirehair from good lines. I know I'll never get another breed.

God, it's good to be in the frozen tundra!

2009 King of the Cats Champion
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#2990956 - 01/08/13 06:36 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: TylerS]
BLACKJACK Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 5318
Loc: Willmar, MN
Love my labs!!! Lots of drive in the field, good for upland and water, good around kids, very sociable, anybody that comes up to the place gets met with a wagging tail, I'll never own another breed. My year old pup is a joy to be around, always happy, always willing to try something new - and loves birds!!

Do pudlepointers really not shed that much?? Don't all dogs have to shed their hair eventually??
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#2991347 - 01/08/13 12:27 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: BLACKJACK]
island guy Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/11/03
Posts: 427
Loc: fergus falls mn
Pudelpointers really don't shed much at all.I've owned labs and my pudelpointer sheds 90% less than any lab i've owned.
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#2991686 - 01/08/13 07:00 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: island guy]
ReelTimes Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 481
Loc: Duluth
As you can see many opinions. It is a very personal choice. I have owned goldens, labs, GSP, english cockers, and springer spaniels, and hunted behind most other breeds. Good specimens of most breeds are versatile...... just some have greater strengths than others. I used to do about 50% waterfowl, 25% grouse and 25% pheasant. I had labs and agree for that 50/50 mix, it is probably your best choice.....in particular with lots of late season waterfowl. Now I do about 20% waterfowl, 40% pheasant and 40% grouse and am running springers and English cockers. I like how they quarter and handle cover better And both do a decent job on general water fowling but they're not labs. Nevertheless, I have trained with lab guys and they're always amazed when they see them do a nice water double or blind. The springers I think are an amazing breed for pheasant if you want a flusher...and the cockers are good too..particularly on grouse. Also cockers do not shed. So I think with the 50/50 mix you will be most satisfied with a lab but if your heart is set on a pointer, than you should look at some of the versatile breeds.
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#2992693 - 01/09/13 06:53 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: ReelTimes]
jparrucci Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 1093
Loc: Lakeville, Lake Vermilion
I think a GWP is the most versatile hunting breed. The are great on upland as a pointer, and great in the cold late season duck hunts. Labs to a great job on the ducks, but even the pointing labs don't compare to a true pointer on pheasants and grouse. Their bodies are just not built the same. They still hunt great, but I've seen even the best labs get lapped by numerous pointing breeds. If you don't plan on spending multiple days from dusk to dawn in the cattails, a lab would probably be just fine. A Springer is another versatile breed, but like my brittanys, isn't the best for the real late season duck hunts. My oldest brit had busted ice on multiple occasions, but I bring a towel or shamwow to dry him, a fleece or wool blanket to toss over him, and he wears a neoprene vest in the late season hunts. Can be a pain sometimes for me, but he doesn't mind. I think GWPs do worse in the cold than my brittanys, and I've never met a GWP that wasn't overly hyper. Fun dogs, great personalities, but I don't have the patients. I like the size of the brits and springers, but I love watching a pointer work so that's how I made my choice.

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy
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#2992934 - 01/10/13 04:55 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: jparrucci]
Pherris Offline

Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 04/13/01
Posts: 1302
Loc: Bloomington
Originally Posted By: jparrucci
Labs to a great job on the ducks, but even the pointing labs don't compare to a true pointer on pheasants and grouse. Their bodies are just not built the same. They still hunt great, but I've seen even the best labs get lapped by numerous pointing breeds


Classic

On a hunt to SD this year we met up some buddies to hunt some ground they had access too. There were 6 pointers in their group and my buddy and I have 3 labs. We are good friends with these guys so lots of ribbing each other. They call our labs "flabradors". My buddy and I discussed running our dogs with the pointers and decided it would be best if we kept the labs in tight as we did not want them to upset the guys who were letting us hunt with them. After a couple fields the ribbing started. They were busting on us because the pointers had 6 birds and the labs only had one. I brought up the fact that we were running our dogs tight and they laughed and told us to go ahead and let our dogs hunt. Well that was the end for the pointers. We hunted the rest of the day and about 6 hours the next day before heading home. Final score was labs 17 pointers 9. We hunted various types of cover. Now in defense of the pointers the labs are all Dokkens dogs that have been professionally trained and the pointers were house pets that hunted for the most part.

I have never had a pointer but I am sure they are great dogs. I am just a lab guy!

Whenever a bird pooh's on my car I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my front porch just to let them know what I'm capable of.
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#2992945 - 01/10/13 05:25 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Pherris]
jparrucci Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 1093
Loc: Lakeville, Lake Vermilion
I'm not knocking labs, I think they are great dogs, if they were smaller and didn't shed as much, I would own one. Love their temperament. For people who hunt upland often and hard day after day, I think most pointing breeds are better built. FWIW, my best friend has a Dokken lab, a couple months younger than my 8 year old brittany. So I have some experience with a top notch lab.

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy
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#2992961 - 01/10/13 05:54 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: jparrucci]
Pherris Offline

Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 04/13/01
Posts: 1302
Loc: Bloomington
I did not mean to imply you were bashing labs. Just thought it was a good story. My lab is a female and weighs 52lbs and the vet says she has never seen a lab built like mine. Her build is very similar to a GSP. I think all dogs are good it often times comes down to the owner.

Good Hunting!

Whenever a bird pooh's on my car I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my front porch just to let them know what I'm capable of.
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#2993690 - 01/10/13 06:17 PM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: Pherris]
ReelTimes Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 481
Loc: Duluth
I think much of this comes down to how you like to hunt and your individual expectations. Ultimately that determines breed choice. As noted earlier, I have had GSPs and have friends with pointing breeds as well. The pointing dogs I have had and my friends tend to be wide ranging dogs, cover grown nicely and quickly, but frequently point birds at great distances in front of me. As I have gotten older, I am not so excited about hurrying to get up to the dog on point, and then find the rooster is no longer there and is running. Theyre all great dogs and my friends would have nothing different. But for me, my preference has been towards flushers. Again personal choice. I like a dog that covers a lot of ground stylishly and close, and I want the bird to go up. but mostly I want the dog within 25-35 yards and not out 50-80 yards. For me thats the springer. Someone else may prefer widerranging dogs. Also, I have never understood the interest in pointing labs. I have had labs but only as flushers. If I had a pointing dog, I would certainly opt for one of the pointing breeds over a lab. I like labs but not as pointers.
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#3005732 - 01/23/13 11:28 AM
Re: Choosing a versatile dog breed... [Re: ReelTimes]
jk_minn Offline
Hello I'm New

Registered: 11/04/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Minnesota
Thanks for all of the input! After hearing the comments and doing more research I have bumped the pudelpointer to the top of my list with the rest of wirehairs behind.

It is my goal this spring to go to a NAVHDA test day and visit some breeders as well. I would like to get the pup Winter/spring of 2014. Any one know if there are waiting lists for a PP? If so, how long?
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