At Vom Rogers-Hütte Kennel, we take a broad view of the Drahthaar temperament that looks beyond simple friendliness to other dogs and to people. We are specifically looking for self-confident dogs that take life in stride, who are stable when faced with new circumstances and who are comfortable with their worldly position. The dog's greatest desire is to work side-by-side with their human partner, therefore: the final component of temperament we demand is friendliness and reliability. We expect our dogs to accept polite dogs of all ages and types and to be comfortable with men and women of all ages. However, we also expect our dogs to display normal dog behaviors of protecting themselves from attack.
The desire trait is most easily understood as 'prey drive'. A dog with a high level of prey drive will hunt hard all day long even if contact with game is scarce. While on the other hand a dog with a low prey drive will give up easily if early contact with game is not made. Desire to hunt is genetically passed to a dog from his or her bloodlines. However, if a dog is given proper exposure to birds and other things that stimulate the prey drive, this trait can effectively be influenced and developed. At Vom Rogers-Hütte Kennels, we look for dogs who are naturally driven to find game and display a 'no quit' attitude at all times.
Use of Nose
Anyone who has spent time around hunting dogs will tell you that you just cannot overcome a poor nose, no matter how skilled you are as a trainer or how much time and practice you put into it. A dog with a mediocre nose will let you down in difficult conditions. On the same hand, a dog who has inherited a strong desire to find game (prey drive) could possibly get the job done although he or she is handicapped to some extent. The bottom line is this: A high quality nose is extremely important for developing a quality gun dog. Nose quality is the part of the equation where we heavily rely on the Verien Deutsch Drahthaar testing system to offer insight, not only about our dog's nose use but also about any potential stud.
In the dog world, pointing can be described as the inherited tendency to 'freeze' on a scent and or sight of game. A strong pointing instinct is critical for handlers who hunt wild game, such as birds. A well bred dog should never look like it is pointing because they were given a command to do so. In other words, we look for dogs that display the strong natural desire to point with very little training or instruction outside the normal exposure to game practices.
We strive to produce dogs that display a willingness to work for the handler and the gun. To us, a dog that will automatically adjust its range to suite the handler and the terrain is displaying cooperation. Furthermore, a cooperative dog will always know where the handler is and will not only locate game but will hold point until the handler arrives for the shot. A cooperative dog will then willingly retrieve the game for its handler and expect nothing more than a 'good boy' or pat on the back. The cooperation trait is not as important as desire, because a dog that is not cooperative can be made so through obedience training. However, a dog that is naturally cooperative is much nicer to have around.
A dog that hunts with its head up and follows air currents will undoubtedly find game faster, more efficiently, and more numerous than a dog that hunts with its nose down. At Vom Rogers-Hütte Kennel, we believe that a truly versatile hunting dog should be genetically capable of a deeper concentration level. We believe that the tracking ability trait is overlooked in other breeds, as is demonstrated in their lack of blood tracking ability. As mentioned before, we are avid big game hunters. We look for dogs that have been supplied the genetic tools to switch in between their use of nose for finding birds and their use of nose to deliberately find crippled birds or wounded big game animals.
We look for dogs that show independence, enthusiasm, and willingness to find game in any cover and on any type of terrain. A versatile hunting dog should display eagerness to produce game for the handler from the start of a hunt to the last moments in the field; our dogs should leave the impression that no game has been left undiscovered. We believe that cooperation also plays a big part in how a dog performs its work in the field. We prefer a dog that has the natural ability to adjust its search pattern to suit the terrain and cover being hunted. A dog that searches the terrain and covers out of our sight is of little use to us as 'foot hunters. We prefer a dog that can balance cooperation with his or her prey drive while also searching for game.
Waterfowl hunting is a part of the outdoors that we enjoy. As a result of this, we expect our dogs to be genetically equipped with the desire and intestinal fortitude to enter water in search of game. A versatile hunting dog should posses passion and the ability to transfer its on shore duties to the water without hesitation. This means that the dog should search cover systematically and with industry, he or she should also display inherited traits of nose, cooperation, and tracking ability while in the water.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it is hunting performance that drives a good breeding program. Hence, Vom Rogers-Hütte only participates in the German performance based breeding system. Only Drahthaars that have been determined 'fit for breeding' by the testing system will be selected by Vom Rogers-Hütte for breeding. This is the best system in the world for training, testing, and breeding versatile hunting dogs, such as the Deutsch Drahthaar, because it was developed by hunters for hunters.
While our ideal Drahthaar would exemplify the versatile hunting dog traits listed above, we also take the belief that 'Form Follows Function' very seriously. With that in mind, we will always strive to produce Drahthaars that not only posses the inherited abilities to function as top notch hunting dogs, but will also fit the following criteria:
A Dog of Moderate Size and Substance
A dog meeting the height and weight standard has a noble head with a determined expression, moves like the athlete that he or she is, and is immediately identifiable as a Drahthaar.
A Drahthaar carries a harsh, flat lying, and dense outer coat that is approximately 2 - 4 centimeters long, equivalent to .75 - 1.5 inches, and has a dense water-resistant undercoat: This type of coat, due to its hardness and density, will protect the dog against weather and injury while it performs its hunting duties.
A Healthy Dog with No Chronic Illness
Our dogs fit well into active homes where they will have serious jobs, regular training, and exercise. We seek hunting homes for the vast majority of our puppies, homes where the dog is a respected working companion and homes where the dog participates in many if not most of the family activities. Training and working with the dog is a top priority.