It may have a funny-sounding name, but the Pudelpointer is anything but a clown. Sure, it may have the clownish behavior and eager-to-please attitude of the Poodle, but it also has the tenacity and pointing instincts of a Pointer. And if you happen to love anything and everything that comes out of Deutschland, not to mention that now-famous mustache, then gets ready to fall in love with the Pudelpointer. This is a dog that’s bred to hunt, but will always savor fun and laughter with its family.
History of the Pudelpointer
The parents of the very first Pudelpointer were a male English Pointer named Tell and a female German hunting pudel known as Molly. Tell was owned by Kaiser Frederick III while Molly was owned by hunting dog author Hegewald. Tell was the first of the nearly 100 different Pointers while Molly was the first of the 7 different Poodles that Baron von Zedlitz used in the creation of the Pudelpointer in 1881. Von Zedlitz’s aim was to create a hunting dog that is fully capable of pointing, tracking, and retrieving game, whether it is on land or on water. It is for this reason that the Pudelpointer is regarded as one of the best hunting dogs on the planet.
Von Zedlitz chose the Poodle for its ease and willingness to be trained, intelligence, love of water, and remarkable retrieving capabilities. The English Pointer was also chosen because of this insatiable desire to hunt, a superb scenting ability, and an unmatched pointing instinct. Both Poodle and English Pointer, formidable hunters as they are, are also well-loved for the companionship that they bring to the home.
While Molly and Tell were the original parents of the very first Pudelpointer, Von Zedlitz realized that he needed more than just a single generation of Pudelpointers to establish uniformity in its genes. As such, Von Zedlitz set out to create a gene pool that involved about 80 English Pointers and 11 Pudels in the first three decades of the breeding program. There were more Pointers used in the program since the Pudel (German for ‘Poodle’) had much stronger genes. It took Von Zedlitz more than 30 years to develop the much-sought traits of the breed.
After the first 3 decades of the intensive breeding program, English Pointers were reintroduced occasionally into the gene pool to help further strengthen the characteristics of the breed. Unfortunately, the first and second World Wars saw the decline in numbers of the Pudelpointer. After the war, efforts were made to reintroduce the Pointer into the remaining Pudelpointers to help reestablish the breeding stock.
By the mid-1950s, the very first Pudelpointers from Germany found their way to North America. Sigbot ‘Bodo’ Winterhelt is credited for introducing the Pudelpointer breed in North America in 1956. Mainz, Germany-born Winterhelt brought Cati von Waldhof to Canada after getting consent from the German Pudelpointer Club. Winterhelt loved working with Munsterlanders when he was still a teenager in Germany. However, because there were no more Munsterlanders after having been wiped out by distemper in the 1950s, Winterhelt decided to bring instead a Pudelpointer to compete in North American field trials.
Cati was a phenomenal hunter; faithful to the nature of its forebears. Cati began winning prizes as well as earning the respect of other breeders. Winterhelt met Douglas Hume who was in love with hunting dogs as well. Together, they worked to translate the German tests for versatile hunting dogs into English tests.
In 1960, the group established the All Purpose Gun Dog Association and with it the rules for versatile hunting dogs. There were 14 entries in the first and only competition of the all-purpose gun dogs. Bodo’s Winterhelle’s Komet easily bested the competition and earned the accolade of both hunting dog fanciers and the press. Komet, an offspring of Cati, laid the foundation for the creation of the standards that will be observed by the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association or NAVHDA. By 1977, the Pudelpointer Club of North America was finally established.
It should be understood that breeders of hunting dogs in Germany require all dogs that are to be approved for breeding to pass the Hunt Test. This is an event wherein the natural abilities of gun dogs, as well as their training, are evaluated against standards. Only those that pass the minimum scores for each of the Hunt parameters in tracking, field, and water skills are given the go-signal to be bred. As such, one can look at the Pudelpointer as one of the truly versatile hunting dogs on the planet since it is duly recognized by the Verein Pudelpointer in Germany, the North American Pudelpointer Breeders Alliance, and the Verein Pudelpointer Landesgruppe North America.
In the US the Pudelpointer is not a popular dog and for very good reason. Since this dog is primarily bred for its phenomenal hunting skills, having it recognized by the American Kennel Club will mean a shift in the focus of breed standards from one of the hunting skills to one of physical conformity. Pudelpointers do not show dogs; they are venerable hunters. AKC members only care about the looks of the dog, not its temperament or its true working nature.
So don’t expect to see the Pudelpointer in the AKC’s list of recognized breeds, although it is placed in the organization’s Foundation Stock Service.
Given that the Pudelpointer is a dog more revered for its work ethics rather than its physical characteristics – more into its function than form – getting a Pudelpointer can be challenging. Regardless, here are some of the physical characteristics that you can expect from this breed as well as a few other facts.
- The Pudelpointer can weigh about 44 to 66 lbs with males typically heavier than their female brethren.
- Male Pudelpointers can stand 22 to 27 inches while females can grow 20 to 26 inches.
- It can have chestnut- or liver-colored coat, although there are some dogs that can come with black coats.
- Ideally, the Pudelpointer hunting dog has a dense, wiry, and harsh coat as protection when it tracks prey.
- It has a moderately broad and relatively flat skull with the well-balanced muzzle in terms of width and length.
- One very unique characteristic of the Pudelpointer is the presence of a beard on its face.
- The eyes typically follow the color of the coat.
- It has a deep and broad chest with a body ratio of 10:9, which is slightly longer than it is tall.
- It retains the low-shedding tendencies of its Poodle gene.
- The Pudelpointer can live up to 14 years.
Things You Should Know
The Pudelpointer is a venerable hunter, although it does retain the adorable characteristics of its Poodle and English Pointer ancestors as a family companion. That being said, it will still require the appropriate care from the right person.
The Pudelpointer is a smart dog; a quality that is inherent in gun dogs. It is very easy to train, a trait it got from its Poodle ancestor. Its hunting instincts are also very strong, something that it got from its English Pointer parent. It is for this reason that a Pudelpointer should always be trained whether to go on a hunt or to carry out simple chores in the house. This dog loves to have something to do. If you don’t give it something worthwhile, it will never hesitate to look for something else. Good thing the Pudelpointer got the eagerness of the Poodle to be trained. As long as you use the correct methods of training, keeping the training sessions short and really interesting, and never forgetting the value of rewards, you can ensure that your Pudelpointer will lead a relatively happy life. And so will you.
This hunter requires only the best dog food available. It would be great if you can feed it high-quality raw whole-prey foods. If not, only high-quality dog food will suffice. A typical 50-lb Pudelpointer will need about 1,100 to 1,200 calories every day. If it is going to do heavy work, then it will need more than that. Remember that the Pudelpointer is not meant to be a lap dog. As such, it should always be given something to do. That being said, it needs sufficient calories to help provide for its energy as well as high-quality proteins from meat sources to help develop and maintain its muscles. Fresh vegetables and fruits should always be made a part of its diet as these are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.
Regular daily exercise is a must for this dog. If you don’t have the luxury of space at home where the Pudelpointer can run freely or even engage in vigorous play, it should be walked for at least 30 minutes at least 3 times each day. Playing a game of fetch or even hide-and-seek with this dog is such a joy since it can act out its hunting instinct. The same is true with Frisbees, fetching sticks or balls, or even letting it to go or run after a ball that you roll on the floor or ground. It also loves to swim, hike, and follow you in your outdoor adventures.
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Just like training, a Pudelpointer needs to be socialized early in its life. The hunting instinct in this dog is strong. As such, it has the tendency to chase smaller pets like cats and other furry creatures. This can be somehow tempered if the dog is socialized early enough and allowed to grow and develop together with other pets. Unfortunately, this doesn’t automatically mean that it will not chase other animals that it is not really accustomed to. It is affectionate to its family. And while it doesn’t show aggression towards strangers except to bark to announce the presence of a stranger, it is generally aloof towards them. Its strong hunting instinct may not also be safe around small children; although they do love kids.
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It is a low-shedding dog which should be welcome news for those with hypersensitivity conditions, especially to pet dander. Its coat is naturally rough so brushing doesn’t have to be done every day. However, it should still be brushed every week just to retain the health of its coat. Clipping the nails, cleaning the ears, and brushing the teeth are all important and should be done monthly, weekly, and daily, respectively.
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A relatively sturdy breed, the Pudelpointer doesn’t really have any serious issues that are specific to this breed of dog. Of course, other diseases that are common to medium- to large-sized dogs can still be present. These can include hip dysplasia, eye problems, allergies, and even bloat since this canine is deep-chested.
Pudelpointers are perfect for folks who …
- Understand the need to socialize and train the dog as early as possible
- Will use only positive reinforcement methods in dog training
- Lead a very active lifestyle, preferably those who enjoy outdoor activities
- May have pet dander hypersensitivities
This dog is not recommended for…
- People who are looking for a lap dog
- Those who dislike training or socialization of dogs
- Families with very small children and/or small pets
Willing to please, friendly, and smart; these are the characteristics of the Pudelpointer that its human family truly admires. It is calm and can exercise exceptional self-control, especially when duly trained. It is one of the very few breeds of dogs that are truly versatile hunters, combining the many fine qualities of a tracker, pointer, and retriever into one super-compact, highly-trainable hunting dog. Just as its desire and drive for the hunt is strong, its affection and love for the people around it is equally formidable. It won’t mind snuggling up close to its master for as long as its work is done. They only require one thing from their owner: time.
The Pudelpointer may not have the adorable looks of a Poodle, but it sure has the heart of one. As long as you can give it quality time training it, socializing, playing, and even exercising it, the Pudelpointer can be a great family pet.