German Engineered for Versatility
German Shorthaired Pointers are “energetic and athletic,” “full of vim and vigor” and “need a little room to burn off energy *every* day,” according to the experts.
PureDogTalk caught up with three long time GSP breeders at their national specialty show in Boise, Idaho in May. Char Rutar, AKC Conformation judge, Bob Straight, AKC Field Trial judge and David Nauer, AKC Agility judge, whose wife, Karen, judged the national specialty.
Living with German Shorthaired Pointers
You’re not buying a maniac, the breeders said, but the breed is built to work for a long time with tremendous endurance. They are high drive and high energy. Biddability, the dog’s willingness to work for its owner, is a key quality for which breeders strive.
“People need to be aware of how they will enjoy life with this breed,” Straight said. Nauer added that owners can choose a variety of venues to vent the breed’s energy. Jogs, hiking, hunting, agility, dock diving, scent work, tracking are all games these dogs like to play.
All three of our experts agreed that a dog’s structure is the key for its longevity in active sports. “Your pick conformation dog is my pick agility dog also,” Nauer said.
“They are extremely people oriented,” Rutar noted. “While there are differences in bloodlines, they aren’t as needy as some hunting breeds.”
Hunting with GSP
“If I had half the energy these dogs have in the field, I’d control the world,” Straight said. “Talk to the breeder,” Rutar added. “Find out what makes the breeder tick and you will find out what is important to them in their dogs.” Straight, agreed, noting that buyers should ask the right questions of the breeder to get the right match with the type of hunting dog they want.
From “All Age” field trial dogs, those that show the maximum independence when the handler is on horseback, to “meat dogs” that work close to a walking handler, Shorthairs offer a working style for every hunter.
“It’s important to deal with a breeder who will guarantee the health of dog,” Straight noted. “The breeder should warrant that the dogs have met the (GSPCA) health testing requirements.”
The national club recommends that breeders test for health hips, hearts, eyes, elbows, and a genetic disease called CD. (http://www.animalgenetics.us/Canine/Genetic_Disease/CD.asp)
“Shorthairs are relatively healthy,” Rutar said. “We’ve seen some epilepsy. Some cancers pop up. A few heart problems. These are all there at a pretty manageable level. Breeders have religiously been screening hips for at least 30 years.”
A note from your host: The human race is the least inbred mammalian species in the world. WE have all these diseases. Breeders can mitigate the incidence with ethics and responsibility.
The BEST thing about GSP?
- Enthusiasm at whatever they do.
- Versatile hunter, versatile companion.
- They exude joy.
Parent Club Website:
Notable moments in GSP Conformation history:
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Gretchen Schultz aka the "Queen of Slobber"
For a woman of such tremendously strong opinion and personality, it is remarkably difficult to find much public information about Gretchen Schultz.
I hope you guys enjoy hearing from one of my great idols and, at least distantly, mentors.
I always was slightly terrified of Gretchen even from across the Expo Center in Portland, but she was my original “stalking” victim! I watched *everything* she did. Short of growing a “rat tail,” as they were called in the day, I wanted to be JUST like Gretchen when I “grew up.”
2nd Generation - Daughter of Professional Handlers
The daughter of very famous professional handler parents, Gretchen’s father, Walt Shellenbarger, went on to judge. He scared the bejeezus out of me the few times I was in his ring! Her mother, Jo, handled the famous Traveler, Ch. Gretchenhof Columbia River to Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club in 1974.
Jo also showed Clumber Spaniels for the one and only Bets Young of Cypress Woods kennels. My parents were very involved in the early 1980s with convincing the powers that be in the Clumber Spaniel Club of America (primarily Bets) that field work should be included in the national events. I have very vivid memories of Jo, toward the end of her career, convincing my 15 year old brother to dance with her at a social event in Bets’ home.
Gretchen and German Shorthaired Pointers
Gretchen grew up with 50 German Shorthaired Pointers, but started her junior showmanship career with an English Cocker Spaniel, because the German Shorthairs were too big for her. She credits her mother with teaching her about breeding dogs and her dedication to her parents’ memories is obvious.
Despite an attempt to break away from the allure of the dog show world, traveling the world and some wild adventures, Gretchen couldn’t stay gone for long. Her passion for the sport runs deep and wide.
How did Gretchen get the nickname Queen of Slobber?
Married for many years to Bruce Schultz, they were a powerful handling team. Gretchen became known as the “queen of slobber” for her most consistent clientele… Bloodhounds and Mastiffs. Gretchen handled the Bloodhound bitch, Ch. Ridge Runner Unforgettable, to the record as the top-winning Bloodhound of all time. Just before Westminster 2001, Gretchen had knee surgery, so Bruce showed ‘Fanny’ to her big Group First win.
Fundraiser for American Cancer Society's Relay for Life
As a multiple cancer survivor, literally given months to live more than once, Gretchen has become a major fundraiser in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She remarried in 2013. She and husband Phil Lawrence are avid golfers.
Gretchen is, if nothing else, forthright in her opinion… She expresses frustration with the judges’ approval process at the AKC and describes the “old days” and a system by which judges “sank or swam” based on their ability to draw an entry and their popularity with clubs and exhibitors. She currently judges 13 breeds along with junior showmanship.
Gretchen Schultz PHA Hall of Fame Inductee
The PHA is pleased to announce establishment of the Hall of Fame intending to recognize current and past members whose individual effort over the years have made immeasurable contributions to the Association, the dog handling profession, and the sport of showing purebred dogs.
Their unselfish work, guidance, and leadership have permitted the PHA to evolve into a strong, vibrant, and honorable organization that proudly represents the interest of professional dog handlers. Without their lifelong involvement and dedication the Association, nor the fancy, would be the showcase it is today for the exhibiting of purebred dogs.