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Even NAVHDA!

Craig Koshyk

It looks like the AKC isn't the only organization that plays fast and loose with gun dog histories. It turns out that even NAVHDA indulges in some pretty sloppy pseudo-history as well.

In its Aims, Programs, Test Rules booklet , NAVHDA states that:
There are several breeds of versatile dogs common in continental Europe, and with four exceptions, all were developed during the last decades of the 19th century.

I take issue with parts of the above statement. First of all, the number of versatile dog breeds developed in continental Europe is obviously more than just “several”. The actual number is close to 40. NAVHDA recognizes 22 of them. In addition, NAVHDA recognizes the 4 pointing breeds developed in the UK, breeds that that were not developed “in continental Europe” or traditionally bred and trained for versatile work. As for the 4 "exceptions", well that is just plain horse hockey.

The four exceptions are much older breeds that provided a base for some of the others. These are the Weimaraner, the Vizsla, the Brittany, and its German cousin, the Small Munsterlander.

While it is accurate to state that the versatile breeds were developed at the end of the 19th century, claiming that the Weimaraner, Vizsla, the Brittany and “its German Cousin” the Small Munsterlander are “much older breeds” is simply wrong. They were all developed around the same time as the other versatile breeds and in the case of the Vizsla, almost completely recreated from scratch in the first half of the 20th century.

The text goes on to provide even more astounding inaccuracies.
The tracking hound, pointer and waterpudel were the basic breeding stocks most widely used to develop the short and wirehaired groups.

I have no idea what “The tracking hound” is. While there were types of dogs, hounds if you will, that were used to track game: Lymers, Schweisshunds, Bloodhounds etc. there was no breed known as "The tracking hound".

And what the heck is a "waterpudel"? It think it may be a reference to water dogs. Since one kind of waterdog is called the "Pudel" in German, it looks like the author just cobbled a word together in an effort to sound sort of German-ish.

And then there is this whopper:“The longhaired group evolved from the Small Munsterlander and flat-coated retriever.” Just how the “longhaired group” evolved from breeds that simply did not exist before the middle of the 19th century is quite a mystery.

Finally there is even a specific statement aimed at closing the list to dogs that some feel should be on it. "No distinctive versatile hunting breed has been developed in North America.”

This statement is not really there to add anything to the subject of gundog history. Rather is is a thinly veiled argument against the recognition of the pointing Labrador; a strain within the Labrador breed that can do all of the things the versatile breeds do, but for whatever reason is not considered by NAVHDA to be a versatile breed.

C'mon NAVHDA, you can do better. In the eyes of many, you stand as the North American authority on all the versatile breeds. You are certainly the largest and best known organization that tests them. You could at least check the facts on their histories before you send your booklet to the printers or post it to your website.