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Thread: Wachtelhunds?

  1. #1

    Default Wachtelhunds?

    Hey guys, we are starting to think about getting a new dog since we lost our lab to kidney failure in November. I'm not in a big hurry to find a new dog and was listening to the new podcast Randy did with the guy from Orion Coolers where he talked about the terrier he was training to do blood tracking. I started to do some research and found these Wachtelhunds, they look like a very versatile dog. I waterfowl hunt and thought the blood tracking sounded like a really good idea. I was wondering if anybody on here has had any experience with these dogs? I have spent a lot of time around other spaniels so I'm guessing they are about the same but I thought I would see if anybody on here had any first hand experience. Thanks guys.

  2. #2
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    No experience with that breed.

    Tons of experience with Labs.

    If you goal is to double duty (waterfowl and tracking), I can't advise there. If you want your birddog to track a bird, I think they have enough for that.

    Sorry to hear about your dog. Hope you find what you are looking for.
    "There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm." ~TR

    "He was a mighty hunter before the Lord." ~Genesis 10:9

  3. #3

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    Thanks 406, it was pretty sad, he was only 9. I thought we had at least one more year of hunting left when he got sick last summer. Are you a member of the retriever club down there in the root? I used to train there when we lived in Florence.
    I came across this breed on the blood trackers of America website looking at all the breeds, kinda hoping I would see labs on there. These wachtelhunds were the only waterfowl and blood tracker i saw on there. There is a small kennel here in helena that raises them that reached out to, i will report back if i find anything meaningful out.

  4. #4

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    Lots of wonderful working dogs out there, but my clear favorite are the English-Style Labs. Great noses, great drive, great retrievers, love water, good for ducks/geese/pheasant/grouse, work in the cold - true of most labs, but then add to this that the english labs are super calm and laid back, even as puppies - great house dogs. Also, a fair number of english labs are naturally pointers too. Given their noses and desire to please, I would guess they could be trained to find just about anything, sheds, blood, etc. but I have only trained to hunt birds.
    Last edited by VikingsGuy; 02-27-2018 at 09:10 PM.
    "Freedom is NOT Free"

  5. #5

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    I hear you there Vikingsguy, our lab was a english, he was a great dog.Name:  20170930_095422.jpg
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  6. #6

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    A good looking dog, sorry to here you lost him too soon.
    "Freedom is NOT Free"

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    Fowl P, I can't speak to that breed but wanted to point you to the UBT club. Drahthaars make incredible waterfowlers and blood trackers and I urge you to consider those too, but they are cat eaters and not for everyone. The UBT has some info and link to DW club. Check this out for a link to the DDs and DWs. Let me know if you have questions about the DDs or german system.

    https://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org/category/breeds/

  8. #8

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    Though I've not yet tried to train Hank to blood track, I've been told by a high level dog trainer that it's a fairly easy processes to teach a dog. Says they are tracking a pheromone that wounded critters release more than the actual blood. Same thing criminals release allowing dogs to track them as well. He stated training a dog to key in on that and follow it is easy because it's so innate in dogs.

    'Twer it me, I would get a breed that is bred for what I want to do most with it, then worry about cross training. Hank is my first bird dog, and to date I'm a fan of 'ugly', versatile hunting breeds. I ended up with a pudelpointer, but the drahthaar's mentioned above can be absolute machines! My pard has them and they are wonderful hunting dogs. The part about cats rang true with a couple of his as well...

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    1_pointer you are correct about the wounded scent, it is released by the interdigital gland in the center of the deer's hoof (same used to mark when a doe stamps her front foot when alarmed). Learning to track that is level two for the dogs though, many naturally track blood and learn later to associate that gland - which is when they start recovering deer that would be impossible to track with our eyes. For anyone interested I always recommend this book, its the bible and to my knowledge the only quality writing on the subject in english:

    http://www.born-to-track.com/book/order-info.htm

    I helped a Pudelpointer track some deer this year, they are definitely capable and on average softer than DDs- could be good or bad depending on needs.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GAdrahthaar View Post
    ..... but they are cat eaters and not for everyone.
    I had a Drahtharr many many years ago, well behaved & friendly dog, until a cat was anywhere near the mix. I have no idea why they hate cats, but from my statistical sample of one, I agree with GAdrahtharr.
    Last edited by fishing4sanity; 02-28-2018 at 01:52 PM.
    Being defeated is a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent.

  11. #11

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    I forgot one important detail, any new dog we get has to be a good family dog. My girls will probably be 2 and 6 when we get a new dog. They will have big shoes to fill following our lab. I have been around DDs a little, good hunting dogs but the ones I was around weren't very good family dogs, but just my experience. This was one of the other reasons I was attracted to the wachtelhund, all of the spaniel I've been around were great family dogs. I've been reading up on people training labs to blood track, so if nothing else I can work with our next lab to teach him the ropes. We will see what happens, but my wife has always been a lab person so anything else will be a tough sell. thanks guys.

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    My DD is great with kids and is fully trusted to be alone with my covey of nieces and nephews between 2 and 7 years old. But the concern is understood, the PPs (or DWs) might be more yalls style.

    The best tracking dog in the state of GA is a yellow lab, she's well over 700 deer recovered. And there are several other good ones here as well, but lots of labs wash out of tracking even with very experienced trainers. I don't know why so I won't speculate but even the long dedicated lab owners for retrieving have switched breeds for tracking down here.

  13. #13
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    one of my favorite breeds is Wirehaired Pointing Griffon...at home just about everywhere, eager to please, and family friendly. It is probably easier to find pups than a Wachtelhund. the Wachtelhund looks like a good dog though

  14. #14

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    I can see labs not working out, mine didnt give a shit about anything but birds. Deer, squirrels, whatever, he didnt care but he would come out of his skin for birds. We'll see what shakes out, i have lots of time to ponder...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by GAdrahthaar View Post
    1_pointer you are correct about the wounded scent, it is released by the interdigital gland in the center of the deer's hoof (same used to mark when a doe stamps her front foot when alarmed). Learning to track that is level two for the dogs though, many naturally track blood and learn later to associate that gland - which is when they start recovering deer that would be impossible to track with our eyes. For anyone interested I always recommend this book, its the bible and to my knowledge the only quality writing on the subject in english:

    http://www.born-to-track.com/book/order-info.htm

    I helped a Pudelpointer track some deer this year, they are definitely capable and on average softer than DDs- could be good or bad depending on needs.
    I was angling for a DD, but the wife thought the pudelpointer puppies were cuter. I've been very happy with Hank and he's a bit of a softie, which so far has not been an issue. All his faults are mine as it's my first attempt at training a dog and I've stumbled on doing that correctly more than once and didn't realize the time/space needs adequately. That said, we have fun and even bring home a few birds now and again.

    I sorta wish a former poster was still around. His DD just passed a few months ago and he'd taken her through a whole bunch of the DD trainings. I could learn a lot just reading you to discuss your two dogs.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by fowl punishment View Post
    I can see labs not working out, mine didnt give a shit about anything but birds. Deer, squirrels, whatever, he didnt care but he would come out of his skin for birds. We'll see what shakes out, i have lots of time to ponder...
    Well trained labs will only get excited about what they are trained to hunt. I am glad my lab ignores every rabbit and batch of sparrows that gets kicked up hunting. She learned to be excited about game birds because that is what she gets rewarded for. And later, she learned to be excited about sheds, and I would guess she could learn to be excited about other distinct smells as well. Labs live to please and have great noses not sure why any particular smell would be out of their ability if trained properly.
    "Freedom is NOT Free"

  17. #17

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    I realize I'm a little late to the party on this one, but 11-12 years ago I trained a little bit with a guy that had Wachtelhunds. He had to jump through a pile of hoops to get his dogs and at the time he was pushing to get the breed established/recognized. I didn't get a ton of exposure to his dogs, but they seemed okay and had good temperaments. Haven't spoken to him in years, but it appears he now breeds and has a kennel (Oak Ridge).

    While eating lunch in a small diner in NW NoDak in 2011 I had an orange hat on when a guy sat down beside our table and asked how the bird numbers had been. Turned out he was on his way back to Wisconsin from Montana. I told him I had married a cheesehead so we struck up a conversation. I asked what kind of dogs he had and he told me it was a breed I'd never heard of- Wachtelhunds. I smoothly said, "Yeah, those pesky little German spaniels." The dude did a double take and looked at me sideways. Turns out he knew Dave as well and he had been breeding them for a while (Eagle River kennels). He had a female that seemed a bit grouchy, but the rest of his dogs appeared to be tired and happy.

    There aren't many of them out there. Looks like there are six breeders listed for the US, so it's pretty funny I've randomly bumped into two of them. The old adage with dogs is there is more variation between dogs of the same breed as there is between breeds. The VDD/VDK German system (or "dog cult" as some friends call it) requires a blood tracking component in their tests. One of my best friends had a great VDD dog who was money on grouse, pheasant, ducks, deer tracking, and quietly cuddled with their young daughter at the end of the day. Unfortunately, she died this winter at the age of 12. Like any breed, proper exposure during the puppy months can prevent a lifetime of dog "issues with kids."

    I've seen firsthand how much more emphasis the Europeans put on tracking/retrieving versus breeders in the US. My dog's mother was an import, and I would stack my old red vizsla up against anybody when it comes to finding a crippled bird or a deer. He'll be 14 in June (good Lord willin'!!), but his desire to track and retrieve was something he showed naturally from a very young age. I dread the day I have to look for another puppy.

    Best of luck in your search and spend some time talking to as many people as possible. I had dozens of people tell me I shouldn't get a vizsla, because "they don't hunt- just get a GSP/Brit/Griff/Lab/etc…" If you haven't already, check out a local NAVHDA event and talk to some folks. I found the best blood I could get, and could not have found a better dog for my needs. I'd never owned or trained a dog before, but we managed to bumble our way through a Prize 1 Utility Test on our first attempt. I had no real desire to test him at that level, but since most of it came naturally for him we did it.

    When you do find a new pup, take lots of pics and post a few!

  18. #18

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    My Drahthaar is an excellent blood tracker naturally, but it’s worthy to train them for it.

    As far as humans go, it’s critical to get the correct breeding as some dogs are “sharper” than others when it comes to aggressiveness. Most VDD breeders will help you translate your pups pedigree.

    Cats and other dogs area totally separate subject, some dogs are great some are unpredictable at best.
    And, they tend to get more aggressive as they age.
    Wachtelhunds are intriguing, I would like to look into them myself.

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