American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby flitecontrol » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:40 pm

AverageGuy wrote:Not sure I got your point FC.


Going back and reading what I posted, I'm not sure a point was made. Sorry for the confusion.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:49 pm

carramrod wrote:Funny, the French Brits I've seen are some of the best upland hunters I've been around, and American Brits are pretty much all pets.


Make no mistake about it there are some fantastic American Brittanys from Field Trial lines that will hunt big and hard all day.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:55 pm

chiendog wrote:Officially, America has never produced a native breed of pointing dog. Sure, in the early days, there were dogs known as 'native setters', produced by mixing English, Irish and Gordon setters. But as a breed, they never took off. So even though English, Irish and Gordon setters over here haven't had a drop of blood from UK lines in over 100 years, they are still considered English or Irish or Scottish. Basically every single breed of pointing dog in the US today started off somewhere else and are all still considered, officially, as English, or French or German etc. even though they may not be anything like the dogs in the country of origin.

Unofficially, every pointing breed ever brought over to the US has been 'americanized', some more than others. The Brittany, it could be argued, is up there with the GSP in terms of Americanization. Some North American strains of the breed are so different from the dogs being bred in France that a case could be (and has been) made for it to be declared a separate breed. And there is actually precedent to support the case: differences in Cocker Spaniels bred in the US and the UK became so obvious that in 1935 they were separated into two different breeds, the American and English Cocker Spaniels. They've remained separate ever since.

Recently, the UKC has recognized the Epangeul Breton (French Brittany) as a separate breed. Other orgs may follow, but there really isn't any formal system to decide when a breed should become separate from the imported version in the US. If there were such a system or method, I think it wound't be long before American Setters, American Pointers and American Wirehairs were declared officially. As it is though, those breeds already exist...but they go by different names :D


Craig, thanks for your insight. It seems that in some circles folks attach American to the American version quite readily; whereas, folks don’t do this with the other breeds. I wonder what it would take for it to be generally understood that it is an American breed like the American Cocker? I’ve never heard anyone attach American to any other Pointing breed as with the Brit.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby orhunter » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:32 pm

Flitecontrol:

I was a WPGCA member for around 15 years, long after I thought I wanted a dog from them. Wanted to stay in touch just to know what was going on and to monitor any changes in their breeding program. In the spring of '05, I was in Jerome ID for the spring test. I was testing my NAVHDA dog with the club. During the weekend, I cornered an individual who'd name I need not mention and asked if the club ever considered purchasing domestic dogs for their breeding program? I was told, no breeders would sell them dogs. Now that was a load of crap, I didn't buy a word of it. For one thing, how is any breeders going to know what an individual has planned for the dog? And the second more important thing is, it showed the club had no interest in breeding WPG's. As though their current program had to follow the path it was on no matter what. A second load of crap. They could have spent two or three years acquiring new breeding stock and be on the road to success but no. Suppose their pride or just being stubborn got in the way of doing the right thing. I was really taken aback by their attitude.

I don't know what timeline you're referencing in your post so don't know the actual significance. My club involvement began around 1995. I know why the club did what it did back when it did it and the problems with the dogs at the time. A majority of the dogs today are no different from the dogs back then. The key here is, it doesn't involve all the dogs available today.

Your mention of the German litter that was brought over is just a reminder of how little effort was used to acquire the best dogs. This continued with the first few imported CF's from the Czech Republic. I think they just bought whatever folks would sell them and not the best they could get, or should have gotten. You can't build a solid breeding program on crap dogs. Maybe what drove them to do this was the lack of money? I really don't know. You have to have deep pockets to take on this kind of project.

Just out of curiosity, I did a little CF investigating of my own through a V-Dogs member living in The Czech Republic. Some of you may remember her. I requested photos of the breed that were considered good examples. What I suspected all along appeared to be true in that the dogs acquired by the club looked nothing like the dogs in the photos. The fellow who chose the dogs to be photographed is a highly respected person so it wasn't by accident the dogs looked different.

Anyhow, I may be way off base but this is how I saw it.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby carramrod » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:04 pm

JTracyII wrote:
carramrod wrote:Funny, the French Brits I've seen are some of the best upland hunters I've been around, and American Brits are pretty much all pets.


Make no mistake about it there are some fantastic American Brittanys from Field Trial lines that will hunt big and hard all day.


I have no doubts about it, it's just different experiences, and kind of highlights the breed club vs. registry issues others are hitting on. There aren't many DD or GWP owners that I've met out in public that don't hunt their dogs. Granted there aren't many that I've met away from the field.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby flitecontrol » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:54 pm

orhunter wrote:Flitecontrol:

I was a WPGCA member for around 15 years, long after I thought I wanted a dog from them. Wanted to stay in touch just to know what was going on and to monitor any changes in their breeding program. In the spring of '05, I was in Jerome ID for the spring test. I was testing my NAVHDA dog with the club. During the weekend, I cornered an individual who'd name I need not mention and asked if the club ever considered purchasing domestic dogs for their breeding program? I was told, no breeders would sell them dogs. Now that was a load of crap, I didn't buy a word of it. For one thing, how is any breeders going to know what an individual has planned for the dog? And the second more important thing is, it showed the club had no interest in breeding WPG's. As though their current program had to follow the path it was on no matter what. A second load of crap. They could have spent two or three years acquiring new breeding stock and be on the road to success but no. Suppose their pride or just being stubborn got in the way of doing the right thing. I was really taken aback by their attitude.

I don't know what timeline you're referencing in your post so don't know the actual significance. My club involvement began around 1995. I know why the club did what it did back when it did it and the problems with the dogs at the time. A majority of the dogs today are no different from the dogs back then. The key here is, it doesn't involve all the dogs available today.

Your mention of the German litter that was brought over is just a reminder of how little effort was used to acquire the best dogs. This continued with the first few imported CF's from the Czech Republic. I think they just bought whatever folks would sell them and not the best they could get, or should have gotten. You can't build a solid breeding program on crap dogs. Maybe what drove them to do this was the lack of money? I really don't know. You have to have deep pockets to take on this kind of project.

Just out of curiosity, I did a little CF investigating of my own through a V-Dogs member living in The Czech Republic. Some of you may remember her. I requested photos of the breed that were considered good examples. What I suspected all along appeared to be true in that the dogs acquired by the club looked nothing like the dogs in the photos. The fellow who chose the dogs to be photographed is a highly respected person so it wasn't by accident the dogs looked different.

Anyhow, I may be way off base but this is how I saw it.


I joined the club in 1977 or 78. I have no idea who you spoke to in Idaho, but to state that no breeders would sell their pups to club members is misleading. Club members already had the best WPGs in North America. But, as stated earlier, were facing a genetic dead end in their efforts to further improve the breed. WPG breeders in Europe, while willing to sell all but the best of their dogs, were facing many of the issues we were in North America and wanted to keep their best dogs. There are no super WPGs in Europe. If they are better than the WPGs in North america, that is a reflection of the quality of dogs here. The bitches from the imported German litter were the best the Germans were willing to send, and a reflection of the quality of WPGs the Germans were willing to let go. You can't base an opinon of the entire group of females from the impression of one individual who observed a bitch in heat over a few days, and you can't fault the Europeans for wanting to keep their best dogs. After considering many factors involving many versatile breeds, the club felt the best option was Fouseks because they had many desireable traits (looked like WPGs, had good coats, proven ability, etc.) and the Czechs were willing to sell their best dogs due to economic conditions there. I'm sure you saw many of the progeny from the outcrossing program at the Idaho WPGCA test.

IIRC, crossing with Fuseks began around 1984-86. I was told there are eight or nine different lines of Fousek. Breeding is generally kept within a specific line, and they do not breed between lines unless there is a need. One line is specifically used for breeding to the other lines as needed to invigorate that line. I'm not sure this makes sense, but I'm not a breeder. The Fousek is the most common versatile hunting dog in its native land. The Fouseks imported to the U.S. have coats that are usually liver and white ticked with liver plates. They resemble WPG or GWP/DD with hard coats. Some coats are flat lying while others are longer with some wave or curl to the hair. It would be difficult to differentiate between these breeds just by appearance.

I don't believe the club ever purchased a Fousek; they were all obtained by club members. The first one, Erik Von Erico(?) was bought by a wealthy member of the club for around $5,000 and was used extensively in the early stages of the crossbreeding program with the best WPG bitches here. I believe I'm correct in stating that there were no fees charged for his stud service. There were many in the club committed to improving the WPG, and supported the clubs efforts without expecting to profit in the process. I can't remember the name of the test, but a year or two previous to his importation, Erik placed first in an all European test that was open to all versatile breeds. Some here may know the name of the test. Eric's conformation was excellent - one of the best looking dogs I've ever seen, and he had produced several outstanding litters before coming to the U.S.. He resembled a DD with a longer, slightly curly coat. There were other dogs purchased by various members over the ensuing years; a few more males and quite a few females. They looked much like WPG except with harder coats. Only adult dogs with excellent test results were imported. Not sure what you've heard, but there were no "crap dogs". It turned out that some imported Fouseks were mildly dysplastic as the Czechs weren't checking hips and didn't think dysplaysia was an issue with the breed. The WPGCA identified the dysplastic dogs early on and excluded them from breeding. Overall, the outcrossed progeny performed better than "purebred" WPGs in tests conducted by the WPGCA. Through extensive breeding with Fouseks, the dogs in the WPGCA had mostly Fousek blood after a number of years. Why didn't they then begin to add more WPG blood back into the dogs? Because they would have been breeding better dogs to more inferior ones. I'm sure if the club had become aware of a better breed to outcross with, or a previously unknown population of exceptional WPGs, they would have used them for breeding. You are somewhat correct in stating that the WPGCA reached a point where they were no longer interested in breeding to "pure" WPG. The reason being not that they were married to the crossbreeding program, but that no WPG could be found that were better than what outcrossing had produced.

The following is my opinion, but I believe it is grounded in fact. The problems facing WPG breeders today are similar to what the WPGCA faced decades ago; there are some good dogs, but not enough to improve the breed. Without well informed breeding, a breed will decline over time. When Joan Bailey was club secretary, she was able to lead a diverse group towards accomplishing a common goal; improving the WPG. Unfortunately, the folks that followed Joan lacked her foresight and integrity.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby orhunter » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:19 pm

As a breed, the WPG overall is in pretty bad shape because so many breeders aren't dedicated to producing the best hunting dogs. They don't need to because they have a market for their sub par products. They are selling, "the look," nothing more. Hunters looking for a good WPG have to be aware of this and do the required research. If they end up being dissatisfied with their dog, it's pretty much their own fault. I've been down that road myself and had one of those dogs.

I've hunted with three club dogs. Two weren't worth feeding, the other was fine and was bred once. One of the dogs I hunted with was a pup out of that litter. I've been to more than a few club tests in the ten years prior to testing my dog in '05 but none since. I was at the test in Jerome a few years before '05 when Dr. Dostal visited from The Czech Republic. I wanted to talk to him but that simply wasn't going to happen. I have no idea how good the club dogs are at this time but they were for the most part, fairly unspectacular back then. I was very happy to not have one.

I think there's more than enough good dogs today to improve the breed. The problem is as I stated above, breeders. Most the good dogs end up in the hands of hunters who aren't interested in becoming a breeder. I don't blame them. I didn't and glad for it. If I lived somewhere else, I'd have taken it on but I'm too old now anyhow.

Were you around when the club split? This is an interesting time in Griff history I know little about. I always wanted to look into it because my dog's breeder was from that time period but he died unexpectedly before we could talk at length. His name was Pat McKinley, maybe you knew him? I've met Bill Jensen but it wasn't convenient to talk at the time. There is so much I don't know. I know the club side but not the other.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby flitecontrol » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:31 pm

orhunter wrote:As a breed, the WPG overall is in pretty bad shape because so many breeders aren't dedicated to producing the best hunting dogs. They don't need to because they have a market for their sub par products. They are selling, "the look," nothing more. Hunters looking for a good WPG have to be aware of this and do the required research. If they end up being dissatisfied with their dog, it's pretty much their own fault. I've been down that road myself and had one of those dogs.

I've hunted with three club dogs. Two weren't worth feeding, the other was fine and was bred once. One of the dogs I hunted with was a pup out of that litter. I've been to more than a few club tests in the ten years prior to testing my dog in '05 but none since. I was at the test in Jerome a few years before '05 when Dr. Dostal visited from The Czech Republic. I wanted to talk to him but that simply wasn't going to happen. I have no idea how good the club dogs are at this time but they were for the most part, fairly unspectacular back then. I was very happy to not have one.

I think there's more than enough good dogs today to improve the breed. The problem is as I stated above, breeders. Most the good dogs end up in the hands of hunters who aren't interested in becoming a breeder. I don't blame them. I didn't and glad for it. If I lived somewhere else, I'd have taken it on but I'm too old now anyhow.

Were you around when the club split? This is an interesting time in Griff history I know little about. I always wanted to look into it because my dog's breeder was from that time period but he died unexpectedly before we could talk at length. His name was Pat McKinley, maybe you knew him? I've met Bill Jensen but it wasn't convenient to talk at the time. There is so much I don't know. I know the club side but not the other.


Yes, I was a member when the club split. Some members were not supportive of outcrossing the WPG. One of them decided to run for the position of secretary against Joan Bailey and lost. Shortly thereafter, those who didn't think the outcrossing was the way to go left and formed a separate club. I stayed.

When you say "club dogs", are you referring to pups from breedings approved by the WPGCA Breeding Committee, or simply dogs that belonged to members of the WPGCA? In my experience, there can be a big difference. While either group could produce fine hunters, or duds, overall, the breeding committee dogs performed better in tests, had better coats, dispositions, etc. If you bought a breeding committe pup, you had to agree to test it and be willing to breed it if the breeding committee decided it should be bred. I think most of those whose dogs were selected saw it as an honor of sorts. Buyers got a written guarantee of minimally acceptable performance. The buyer would receive a refund of a portion of the purchase price for entering their dog in Natural Ability and Intermediate tests. Also, if the judges felt the dog wouldn't make an acceptable hunting dog, the buyer had two options. If they wanted to keep the dog, they would get half the purchase price, less any previous reimbursement for having it tested, if they had the dog neutered. Or, if they had it euthanized, they got all their money back. A letter from the buyer's vet had to verify what had been done. I'm not aware of any other club that provided a guarantee of minimally acceptable performance, which is another reason I was attracted to the WPGCA.

You're right about breeders that will sell anything because there is demand. They existed long before the outcrossing and I'm sure that continues today. There was a breeder that was advertising his pups in one of the national sporting magazines, and selling a lot of dogs. Most of them never made decent hunters, but they made puppies, and that was his bread and butter. The few that were tested were sub par in their performance and appearance. Joan asked several members to contribute to an advertisement in the same magazine that cautioned potential buyers about buying a pup without knowing anything about the parents and test scores, suggesting they contact the club. Apparently the counter ad worked as the breeder eventually quit advertising his pups.

Knowing what I do, I'm not sure even those who do the research will be able to find a "purebred" WPG pup with good conformation, great hunting abilities, hard, dense coat, etc. While I'm sure some good hunting WPGs are out there, I don't think the odds are in a potential owner's favor to get the level of quality more readily available in other wirehaired breeds. I've had GWP and DD since leaving the club. I would consider a Fousek if I could get all the information about the parents, test scores, etc. and the price wasn't exorbitant, but that's probably not going to happen.

I'm not even sure the WPGCA still exists, at least under that name. Pretty sure they changed the name to Bohemian WPGCA. I left the club before that occurred.

Why could't you talk to Dr. Dostal? I'd sure like to pick his brain; he's very knowledgeable about dogs, especially Fouseks. I don't remember meeting Pat McKinley, but I may have. I'm much better with faces than names. I attended tests in Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Maine and may have met him if he was at one of them.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby orhunter » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:00 pm

By club dogs I'm referring to those from their breeding program.

I know Pat McKinley was a club member for many years after the split but not active.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:23 pm

By reading the clubs material it appears they have fully abandoned the WPG. They now publically espouse breeding Cesky Fousek, which I was unaware. I know the big problem that folks on the outside of the club had with the ‘Club’ was their claiming to breed WPG’s when their dogs were made up of Cesky Fousek’s primarily. Looks like that has been reconciled to me. They adopted the FCI breed standard for the cesky.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby Highlander » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:30 pm

I have not seen an American brittany’s working so I can’t comment on that but have indeed seen French brittnies and they are very fast runners.
I would say one of the fastest among the continental breeds. in my observation an average French Brittany, especially the ones that come from Italy, are pretty fast dogs, faster than the DDs of Germany.

There is a strange obsession in France, Italy and few other countries with dog’s speed. Therefore, the speed and style of the gallop is one is the most important trait of upland dog, which is very strictly evaluated and judged when comes with tests, especially for male dogs. The dog that fails to run fast in open field gets disqualified in a few minutes during the trails or test. This all based on the FCI rules, which is more top-down organization, as everything else :mrgreen: :mrgreen:, in Europe.

Craig has written a lot about this on his blog, may be he will kind enough and will provide us some more details.

What is NAVDA’s take on dog’s speed?
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:19 pm

Navhda isn’t really concerned with speed as long as the dog searches the terrain well and shows strong desire. It would be nice if some indication of range or speed was indicated on the scoring sheet for each dog; however, in my experience many dogs range a lot different in a short test than when they have hunted for over an hour on a several hour day afield anyway, so maybe it wouldn’t really be extremely useful.

Are the French WPG’s known for more speed than from other countries given the French’s desire for speed?
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby orhunter » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:48 pm

The French desire for speed resulted in behind the scenes (cheating) crossbreeding with setters and maybe some other stuff. The purity of French WPG’s is suspect at best. I’m not on the front lines knowledge wise about current importing of French dogs and using them in US breeding programs and as far as I know, has been discontinued. Like I said, as far as I know. It was rumored a few years ago they were trying to straighten this out but their success is unknown to me. I know some believe the good American dogs don’t need upgrading with imports from any source. That’s a good place to be.
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby JTracyII » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:50 pm

orhunter wrote:The French desire for speed resulted in behind the scenes (cheating) crossbreeding with setters and maybe some other stuff. The purity of French WPG’s is suspect at best. I’m not on the front lines knowledge wise about current importing of French dogs and using them in US breeding programs and as far as I know, has been discontinued. Like I said, as far as I know. It was rumored a few years ago they were trying to straighten this out but their success is unknown to me. I know some believe the good American dogs don’t need upgrading with imports from any source. That’s a good place to be.



I see. I know some breeders are strongly opposed to breeding any dogs with the tan point gene that you alluded too, but others don’t feel it is a huge deal. They just breed away from it and they don’t breed dogs who exhibit the trait themselves. The AKC BREED CLUB has addressed this in a statement saying it is OK to breed to dogs or with dogs who are carriers if the dogs who are carriers exhibit traits the breeder feels are important to the breed. They just recommend breeding carriers to non carriers and then genetically testing pups and only keeping potential breeders who are not carriers. What are your thoughts? Others thoughts?
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Re: American Brittany-The First American Pointing Dog!!

Postby Highlander » Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:38 pm

JTracyII wrote:Navhda isn’t really concerned with speed as long as the dog searches the terrain well and shows strong desire. It would be nice if some indication of range or speed was indicated on the scoring sheet for each dog; however, in my experience many dogs range a lot different in a short test than when they have hunted for over an hour on a several hour day afield anyway, so maybe it wouldn’t really be extremely useful.

Are the French WPG’s known for more speed than from other countries given the French’s desire for speed?


The evaluation and grading of the speed is absent from the German system as well. It falls under the "search" category and carries more of a broad definition as opposed to other FCI test systems. At least is what I remember.
The "style" according the FCI rules is an innate and inherited quality of a breed, which evolved throughout the history and has been strengthened by the breeders. For example the English setter's performance should resemble a creeping she-lion that just saw a pray and slowly moving towards it. When he is galloping it should more resemble "sliding" than running. The point should be on the ground laying with head up in the air.
Now, I know the people say that who cares as long as the dog finds a bird, but their (the FCI) arguments are;
A) The dog that demonstrate the best performances of gallop and the overall style tend save more energy and hunt longer.
B) The most of the time, especially in vast open areas, we basically see dog's running. At least they should be enjoyable to watch.
I am not arguing whether this position is correct or not. That's what they say.

I had a handful of texts and illustrations describing all the breeds working standards, but unfortunately I lost them

As for your question, generally they are faster than the DDs from Germany. This is even more true with DD's in Italy.
Although there are some breeders affiliated with the German systems and take the German tests. DD's are more popular in countries of Scandinavia and German speaking countries and some others east of Germany. That region prefers more versatile type of dogs, that's why the most of rough coat dogs come that place. It's just hunting culture.
In the case of DK they look different than DK's Germany. They are almost always, at least 80% of them, full brown color and look lighter. I have not payed much attention to DD's look as much as I am more into GSP/DK camp.

As for whether in France they cheated with WGP. I don't know, but I am highly skeptical unless I see the actual document and the case. As I have said over there the things are more top-down. This case would have qualified as a fraud with severe consequence. Of course there are some shitty dogs too.
They way the "speed up" this or that breed has got more with inside breed selection. Let say if DK A is faster than a DK B, it is highly likely that the A will be bred. Of course other qualities are take in the account too.

There only two cases where officially cross-breeding took place. One is with pudelpoint, which has to be bred to an "old" type of English pointer ones in the while and I think all this is sanctioned by the mother club.
And the second one was the when the mother club of langhaars, in Germany, sanctioned a cross breed with a highly decorated brown DK. This was some genetic study I believe. The pups were monitored and only few of the went back to the breeding.
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