A publication of the North American Pudelpointer Society
April – June 2020 • Volume 3
A Rehoming Succes Story
By: Calvin Harpe
It is a dreary and somber morning in northeast Ohio in early June. There is no sun to be seen at today’s sunrise. Perhaps that is fitting for the emotional roller coaster I’m riding.
Not many talk about the emotional toll and investment there is to being a quality dog breeder. The financial aspect is often talked about, as many non-breeders like to tell me how much money I must be making. They never seem to compute all the money I spend. However, the emotional investment of being a quality dog breeder far exceeds the financial investment. There are emotional highs and lows from many directions. Some deal with the dogs directly. Some deal with the politics within your chosen breed. Some deal with the relationships between the people. As two long term breeders told me when I began Oxbow Kennel in 2005, “you must have thick skin if you want to be a dog breeder”. One of those breeders has always been a very good friend and was genuinely looking out for my sometimes fragile being. The other was a person that portrayed friendship only to drive the daggers into my back at every opportunity that arose.
Today is all about the dogs. Specifically, a single dog named Moshi. I received Moshi as an 8-week-old puppy in lieu of a stud fee. I knew her sire well and own her grandsire. She ran the NAVHDA Natural Ability test twice. The first test had a major blip that was not her fault; as I went to put on my chaps for our run in the field, my back went out. I could only stand with the assistance of a cane. Remember I mentioned relationships, well my good friend Jeff George agreed to run her through the wet field for me.
She had a beautiful point on her first find. She then proceeded to catch the bird and not want to bring it to any of the strangers in the field. Eventually I would hobble into the field with a cane call her name and she would come right to me to deliver the bird. So her search score wasn’t so great. I was able to get her into another test where my back didn’t go out and she received a maximum score.
Moshi went on to have two litters for Oxbow Kennel. Her first litter was an NA Breeders Award litter. Three of those pups will likely test Utility this year. Her second litter went to their homes in May of this year, so they are still very young. As a breeder, I’m always forecasting the future and evaluating the direction I should go. With that, I did not plan to breed Moshi who will be four years of age next year. I know for some breeders; quantity is what directs their kennel operation. For me, I do not have time to prepare forty plus pups at one time for their new homes as some kennels do.
Possessing the knowledge I have learned from world renowned canine reproduction expert, Dr. Robert Hutchison, I knew that every heat cycle, whether pregnant or not, deteriorates the uterus. That meant by not breeding her next year, her reproductive health would be further diminished going into another year. So, there were decisions to be made. As I was contemplating all of these decisions, an opportunity fell into my lap for Moshi. My good friend, Chad Bumb, who co-owns Quail Hunt Florida (QHF) called to talk to me about his number one guide at QHF. He had just lost his old dog and was given the green light to get another dog to hunt with his Deutsch Drathaar. He was wanting a PP.
Through the great relationships I have developed with clients, many of which have become like family, I have been fortunate to place retired females into some pretty fantastic situations. There is always an emotional toll. A piece of me leaves with each of these dogs. That is a part of becoming a dog breeder that many do not discuss.
I have been working with Chad to get his Everglades Kennel up and going. He co-owns with me a young female named Oxbow’s Mythical Callisto. This was a perfect opportunity for all involved, but especially Moshi. She will be living the dream in Florida and hunting 50+ days a year. She will go from sharing attention between the 10 dogs I house, to being only one of two dogs in the home. She will be lavished in attention by a young boy that will share her home. She will have one final litter next year, but for Everglades Kennel instead of Oxbow Kennel, then permanently go into reproductive retirement at the age of five.
While this is all an emotional high for me at the moment and a big win for Moshi, the emotional low is coming. On this overcast drizzly Ohio day, I will say goodbye to a friend for the last four years. She and I have been a major part of one another’s lives. She does not know my intentions of looking out for her best interests. Yet I know I cannot house and care for every breeding dog into their retirement years.
NAPS Pudelpointer Inherited Health Registry
Based on feedback received from our member survey, NAPS is excited to announce a historic step for the Pudelpointer breed in North America. We are launching the first ever Pudelpointer Inherited Health Registry. We feel that it is vital to the continued health and well-being of the pudelpointer that we begin this program now. This program will be led by John Salassa, MD and Doug Rogers, NP and the information will be kept in the Breedmate database used by NAPS. We are hopeful that this program will help us track inherited health issues in the pudelpointer so that we might keep them to a minimum as the population continues to grow. As detailed below, this program is voluntary, and we hope that our members will agree that keeping this information is vital to the future health of the pudelpointer breed. Please read the below letter written by John and Doug, outlining the details of this program and how it works. If you have any questions or submissions please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PUDELPOINTER INHERITED HEALTH REGISTRY IMPLIMENTATION FOR NAPS
John Salassa MD, HiddenAcres Kennel
Ponte Vedra, FL
Cell (904) 382-7267
Doug Rogers NP, Juniper Creek Kennel
Cell (850) 776-5549
June 1, 2020
Dear Pudelpointer owner:
Most working-dog breed organizations are collecting inherited health information in an effort to keep their gene pool healthy and improve their dogs. As Pudelpointers increase in popularity and numbers, this information is critical. Pudelpointer inherited health issues now appear minor or uncommon compared to other hunting breeds. I think this is due to their small numbers and historically conscientious breeders. As the number of breeders increases, this good health record will deteriorate unless we are diligent in identifying health issues early and take steps to address them. Admittedly, this inherited health registry will not be of much use for the first several years. However, after 5-7 generations (10-15 years) such a resource should provide a tremendous help in selecting your next dog and preserve Pudelpointer’s healthy gene pool.
A negative health issue in the dam or sire of a litter you are interested in may not necessarily eliminate the litter from your consideration. Case in example; my first female, Bailey, was base narrow on one canine. This was fixed in 2 ½ weeks with a dental expander when her permanent teeth came in. Such an inherited trait is definitely not desirable. However, she was an excellent hunting and family dog with no other health or behavioral issues. I went ahead and bred her to a male with no dental issues and a good dental lineage going back 2 generations. Admittedly, the dental history was suspect in that it was “word of mouth” (phone calls). The outcome in 2 breeding’s was 2 out of 12 pups (1 in each litter) being base narrow in their puppy teeth and only one in their adult teeth (which was corrected). All pups were otherwise excellent. If we keep more accurate records of such issues in the future it may be possible with time to breed base narrow out of the gene pool. Another important point is that a negative health issue may or may not affect the dog’s ability to become a good hunter and family pet but will be of importance in selecting a mate for breeding as noted with Bailey.
The Pudelpointer Inherited Health Registry has proposed categories largely based on health issues we have historically seen in the breed. The reason for categories is to make specific data searches easier. I welcome any comments or changes to these categories.
- Dental – butt bite, overshot, cross bite, base narrow, missing/extra teeth
- Coat – alopecia, blown coat, open (thin) coat, major white areas, soft coat
- Nervous system/Behavior – seizures, aggression/biting, compulsive behavior, deafness
- Eye/eyelid – entropion/ectropion, cherry eye, blindness (PRA)
- Endocrine – thyroid, diabetes, reproduction/fertility
- Musculoskeletal – all PENN Hip/OFA data (entered separate in Breedmate), hip/elbow dysplasia, exercise induced collapse (EIC)
- Digestive – stomach, bowel (bloat)
- Immunologic – allergies
- Tumors – benign, malignant (cancer)
- Please submit any genetic testing done as this, along with hip scores, are separate categories.
It is important to only include inherited conditions that occur before the age of 8 years old (with a few exceptions) not acquired conditions (infections, trauma). To help clarify any questions, we have agreed that all inquiries and submissions will come thru me John Salassa (M.D.) or Doug Rogers (N.P.). We welcome additional reviewers with medical/veterinarian/genetic backgrounds. We will then forward appropriate issues for entry into Breedmate. Please contact Doug or me with any questions. When submitting by e-mail to email@example.com make sure you include your phone number. You should expect a phone call from one of us.
Lastly, we encourage you to submit both past and current pedigree health data when available. All submissions should include the registered kennel name of the dog, dam & sire, registration #, condition or diagnosis from your veterinarian, birth date, and age of diagnosis. Also, ask your veterinarian if they would mind if you gave their contact information to Doug or me for a possible phone call.
This process is voluntary. I hope all of you will agree that faithful participation will keep Pudelpointers healthy and continue to set pudelpointers apart from other hunting dogs.
Questions and comments are welcome.
John Salassa M.D.
Doug Rogers P.A.
The Debate About Requiring Females to be UT Prized in Order to Breed: A Statistical Analysis
By: Alycia Baird
An oldie but goodie recently popped up on Facebook; the debate about changing the performance requirement on females so that “good breeders” would only breed Utility (UT) prized females. I have heard and read a lot of arguments both for and against this suggested change. Below is summary of the most pervasive of those arguments.
Arguments in support:
- It is an objective test that can act as a substitute to prove your dog can really hunt both upland and waterfowl.
- It allows a breeder to better evaluate his dog’s ability to withstand the pressure of training for the UT.
- Passing UT proves an obedience level in one’s dog.
- Having to train and handle a dog in a UT test makes the breeder a better breeder.
- Pups produced by parents with a higher level of testing will be better pups.
- The North American gene pool is plenty big enough to support the proposed requirement.
- The current requirement of Natural Ability (NA) 105 or higher to breed females is a lower barrier of entry for new breeders.
- By focusing on higher test performance, breeders may end up breeding other desirable traits out of the breed.
- If a breeder has to take the time to train and test a female in UT, a good deal of prime reproductive time may be lost depending on how long it takes for the female to pass
- Some science states that females are at their healthiest, reproductively, at the younger ages of 18 months to 2 or 3 years. Therefore, the older a bitch gets, the more her reproductive health declines. So, depending on how long it takes to pass UT, she may not be bred at an optimal, healthy age.
- The cost, both time and money, to get a dog through UT may be prohibitive if required of females.
After reading many comments on a couple of recent Facebook threads, I thought this might be a good experimental test to see what my database could tell us with regard to UT females.
Since I only have complete data going back to 2014, I used the population of females born from 2014 – 2018. This population was also relevant because it would include dogs from the rough age of one and a half to six and a half years old, as of June 2020, which is a good and conservative breedable age bracket. One and a half might be a bit young but those dogs may be future breeding stock, so I included them. In this study, I sought to find answers directly related to some of the above arguments. My goal in presenting this information is to provide you with actual numbers that might help in facilitating a productive conversation for those that wish to have it. Additionally, I think this data will provide a good starting point to track the progress of UT prized females and their progeny which may help us make other relevant decisions in the future. I will present my own questions and thoughts about this data in order to provide some conversation topics. I will also start a thread on our , member’s only, Facebook group so that we can all join in the conversation. So, let’s dive in and see what we can find.
The total population of female dogs used in this test was 1,125 (The sample size we are working with, female dogs born and registered with NAVHDA from 2014-2018, is 1,125). Of that population, 612 dogs tested in NA, 555 prized, and 400 received a 105 or higher (the current NAPS performance requirement to breed a female). Of the 1,125, 16 were tested in Utility Preparatory Test (UPT) with 11 earning a prize. 66 of the 1,125 were tested in UT, with 53 earning a prize.
Let’s start by looking at the UT females. The average age of females passing the Utility test was around 2.5 years old with the oldest being 4.78 and the youngest being 1.27 years old. Of those that prized, all but 6 were able to prize on the first attempt. Thirteen did not prize. Perhaps the average age of the dog that prizes being 2.5 years is not so old that it would significantly cut into the early reproductive years. However, this population of 53 prized females makes me question the available genetic diversity of available breedable dogs if the UT prize were a requirement.
Additionally, I questioned things aside from the performance requirement in these dogs. There are many pudelpointer owners who promote the idea that North America should follow the European standard which has disqualifying traits above and beyond the disqualifiers currently listed by NAPS. I reviewed a copy of the European FCI standard and removed, from the population of 53, all of the females that would be disqualified from breeding under either the NAPS or FCI standard. Under the NAPS standard, 2 of these dogs would be disqualified from breeding. Under the European FCI standard an additional 4 would have been disqualified for things like missing teeth and no furnishings. This brings our breedable population of UT females down to 47.
There were 11 females that prized in UPT, but I removed one because it was duplicated in the UT population, which leaves us with a sample of 10 UPT prized females. Some have argued that the UPT test could be a stepping stone to a UT prize requirement. Where would that take us? It would provide us with 10 additional dogs to the breeding population, but we would exclude 2 for NAPS disqualifications and an additional 2 for FCI disqualifications. So that leaves us with 6 additional dogs for breeding if we allowed a UPT prize to qualify a female for breeding.
Next, I wanted to look at the actual breeding history of our populations. In doing so, I removed all duplicate dogs from the NA and UPT populations if they had also prized in UT. For example, of our 400 dogs that passed NA with a score of 105 or higher, 46 had also prized in UT or UPT so I removed them, leaving us with an NA test only population of 354 dogs, a UPT population of 10 and the UT population of 53.
There were 14 UT prized females that were not duplicated on the NA 105+ list. Of those, only 4 had not tested in NA, while 10 had tested and failed to achieve a 105 or higher score. Of all of the UPT prized females, four did not pass NA with a 105+ score.
Of these 1,125 females in the total population, 96 of the NA 105+ dogs have produced puppies, 21 of the UT dogs have produced puppies, and 3 of the UPT females have produced puppies. I did not look to see if these pups were produced before or after passing any of the tests. Additionally, I did not count the number of females who did not meet any of the criteria but have been bred anyway. However, I did find that from these 1,125 females, 2,829 pups have been born (those pups individually registered with NAVHDA). Of the 2,829 pups, 805 have been produced from the NA 105+ population, 248 have been produced from the UT population and 52 have been produced from the UPT population. 1,724 pups have been produced by females not meeting the minimum NAPS requirements of NA 105+ discussed here. My guess is that this number grows every year as more breeders enter the pudelpointer market but do not make the effort to maintain a standard. It makes me question if they meet any health standard either. As a side note, this is why NAPS produced the Puppy Buyers Guide, to help first time buyers know what questions to ask in order to increase the probability of getting a healthy, well performing pup.
If we take the population of the progeny from our female dog sample, what do we get for average test scores? Is there evidence that UT females will produce better performing progeny? Of the 805 pups produced by NA 105 or higher females, 231 have tested in NA and 14 have tested in UT. Of the 248 pups produced by UT prized females, 98 have tested in NA and 9 have tested in UT. Of the 52 pups produced by UPT prized females, 18 have tested in NA and 1 has tested in UT. The average and median NA and UT scores for each population are as follows:
Does this mean that the pups produced by UT or UPT prized females may not actually perform better than those produced by NA 105+ females? Is there a point where we reach diminishing returns on performance? We know that when the minimum NA 105 score requirement was introduced years ago, the resulting NA performance scores have indeed increased over time. I think it will be interesting to see what happens as more UT prized females are bred.
My intent with this database is to provide accurate and useful information about the pudelpointer. I’m hoping that it will spark meaningful discussion on how to protect and improve the breed. I sent this to some friends and we have come up with some questions that I think will serve as good discussion points. By focusing solely on the NA score in breeding females, are we simply breeding better NA dogs? By focusing on UT scores, will there be a corresponding improvement in UT performance like there was with NA? Does high performance in NA cross over to UT?
There have been many discussions about the future of breeding requirements for the pudelpointer. There are several groups, all with different thoughts on these requirements. The goal of NAPS is to protect the breed into the future. This performance based review is only one aspect of that conversation, and the period covered by this analysis is only a snapshot in time. However, if we continue to ask questions and track relevant data, I believe it can help guide us into the future as responsible stewards of this breed.
There will be a discussion thread started on our members’ only Facebook page and I look forward to reading everyone’s ideas and thoughts about this data.
Finally, I invite anyone who finds fault with my data or questions my calculations to reach out to me. My contact information is on the members/breeders listing on the NAPS website. It is my goal to provide information that is as accurate as possible and I try to thoroughly vet the numbers I use.
Calm Puppy, An Exercise in Control
Harvesthills Kennels starts at 3 days old with a version of Calm Puppy for their litters. We do Neuro Stimulation for the pups till 16 days old. Then we handle them daily and include doing Calm Puppy. Calm Puppy is easiest when begun when they are still small enough to be easily controlled. We have pups now that just lay there and let us do nails etc. with very little fighting.
Calm Puppy – try it – it works!
For more information on Neuro Stimulation, we thought this was a pretty good article: https://breedingbetterdogs.com/article/early-neurological-stimulation
Q&A With Dr. Hutchison, DVM: Good Breeder Webinar
A couple of months ago Good Dog partnered with world renowned reproductive veterinarian, Dr. Robert Hutchison to do a webinar about dog breeding. We wanted to share a link to this video for those of our members who might be interested in the information discussed. We hope you find this hour long video as interesting and informative as we did. https://www.gooddog.com/good-breeder-center/webinar-with-dr-hutchison
We want your pictures and stories!
Part of any good newsletter is hearing what our members are up to. We would like to feature one or two articles or stories with each newsletter. If you have something to share, please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.