Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us. We should get back to you within 24 hours. If not, it means we are out chasing birds with dogs, shotguns and Canons. In that case we will get back to you as soon as we've finished the roasted Teal and Bordeaux . 

 

464 Hargrave Street
Winnipeg, MB, R3A 0X5

204-956-4708

Through words and images, we are on a mission to share our passion for pointing dogs, upland hunting and sporting dog photography. 

Blog

NAVHDA ROCKS!!

Craig Koshyk

Who goes to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a weekend in January? Crazy dog people like me, that's who!


The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association held its annual meeting in Sioux Falls this past weekend and it was a blast!! Not only did I get to meet a ton of great people and talk dogs over fine food and adult beverages, I was given the tremendous honour of delivering the keynote address!

Yes, you read that right. Me, a guy who might hold the record for the lowest passing score ever in a NAVHDA test was given a microphone and a soapbox in a room filled with the who's who of the NAVHDA world.



I did my best to keep the speech short and to the point (pun intended). I managed to cover about 500 years of pointing dog evolution and explained how NAVHDA is now absolutely crucial to their further evolution in North America. I concluded with the following thoughts:

The golden age of gundog creation ended about a hundred years ago. The modern age of gundog development came to an end in the early 2000s. And that means we are now in a new age, a post-modern age of gundogs and all the traditional structures that led to the creation and development of our dogs are in flux.*

We now produce puppies via artificial insemination and analyze their DNA. We vaccinate them and inject microchips under their skin. We transport them across the ocean in airliners and through the marsh on all terrain vehicles. We keep track of them with the help of satellites floating in the sky above and can now access more information about them in a few minutes on our smartphones than William Arkwright or Jean Castaing could have accessed in a year in the biggest library in the world.

So dog breeds, breeders, breed clubs and registries all face a choice now. They can evolve, or wither on the vine. Currently some of the most influential structures in the canine world are paying the price for their reluctance or inability to evolve. Memberships are in free-fall, boards are floundering, wracked with internal conflict. 

And then there's NAVHDA, an organization well-positioned to actually thrive in this new knowledge-based society.  You see, in our high-tech global world, information and communication are king. They are the dominant driving forces behind just about every aspect of life. So for an association like NAVHDA, designed from the get-go to collect, store and share information, this new age might just turn out to be a new golden age.

After all, when we are in the fields with our dogs, we are following in the footsteps of Gaston Phebus. And every time we test a dog we pay homage to Hegewald and Oberlander, Solms and Korthals. But even as we honour the past, NAVHDA's main focus is, and always has been, firmly on the future. NAVHDA has but one real purpose: to help shape the future for hunters, breeders and their canine companions.


Prior to the main event, I gave a seminar about the Continental pointing breeds, using a number of photos and videos from this very blog. Here are links to some of the things I mentioned in the talk for those in attendance that would like to see them again:















And finally, thank you to everyone who purchased a copy of my book and my apologies to those that wished to purchase a copy but were unable to do so after all copies were sold. If you would like to order one, you can get it at the same price it was selling for at the meeting. 

Just go to this link and look for the coupon code box above and to the right of the BUY NOW button. Type in NAVHDA and instead of paying the usual $99.00, you will get the book for only $79 with free shipping!!






www.dogwilling.ca


* UPDATE: I've been asked to expand a bit on the idea of the various gundog eras I spoke about. I will do so in much more detail in my next book, Pointing Dogs,Volume Two: The British and Irish Breeds, but for now, here is a quick overview:

The National Bird Dog Championship, one of the greatest and oldest events in canine sport starts next Monday, Feb 8, 2016. First held in1896, the National Bird Dog Championship was a key player in what I think of as the golden age of gundogs. During that time, breeders, handlers, trainers and trialers all made great leaps of progress. Breed clubs and registries were formed, established breeds became more uniform and reached new heights of performance and most of the Continental breeds were created around that time. 

But all that ended just before the first World War as the British breeds began their long decline into near obscurity in their native lands and the creation of new breeds of pointing dogs ceased completely.

And that is when I feel we entered into the modern age, characterized by continued growth and development of the British breeds outside of the UK and the rapid expansion of various continental breeds throughout North America. It is the age of the GSP, the Brittany, the GWP, Pudelpointer etc. and the continued rise of the Pointer and Setter. It was an age when a growing middle class of Americans and Canadians swelled the field trial ranks, when new trials and trial formats were developed and new clubs, new registries, organizations flourished. And it was a time when news and marketing of the gundog scene relied on newspapers, magazines, books and to a lesser extent radio and TV.

But that age came to an end just after the advent of the Internet, around the early 2000s. Almost overnight, everything changed. Yes, we still have trials and tests and yes, our dogs continue to improve. But the average age of participants across the gundog world is creeping upward and many club membership numbers are in decline. Few, if any new clubs are being formed, few if any new trial venues or formats are being created and we no longer rely on the traditional media to spread the word, we rely on the Internet, just as you and I are doing right now. And as I said in my speech:

"We now produce puppies via artificial insemination and analyze their DNA. We vaccinate them and inject microchips under their skin. We transport them across the ocean in airliners and through the marsh on all terrain vehicles. We keep track of them with the help of satellites floating in the sky above and can now access more information about them in a few minutes on our smartphones than William Arkwright or Jean Castaing could have accessed in a year in the biggest library in the world." And to me, that is what defines what I think of as the post-modern world of gundogs. It is smaller, faster, more knowledge-based and information dependant. It is an era in which we will probably see breakthroughs in canine genetics that will astonish us. I recently read a paper by a fellow I know in Germany. He and his team think they've found the area of dogs' genetic code that determines pointing behaviour (link below). Will we one day soon have genetically modified dogs like we know have genetically modified corn? I have no idea. But even posing a question like that 20 years ago would have been crazy. Nowadays, it is probably being studied by someone in a lab coat. We are beyond the modern age. We are now in a sort of post modern age for gundogs. Hang on to your hat, it's going to be an interesting ride!

*Homozygosity mapping and sequencing identify two genes that might contribute to pointing behavior in hunting dogs: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26401333









Enjoy my blog posts? Check out my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals

www.dogwilling.ca