German Wirehaired Pointers are not the breed for everyone – there is a breed for everyone and it is essential that you look at what you are able to offer a dog and what you want/expect from a dog before deciding on the breed. If you set out down the wrong road because you ‘like the look of a puppy’ you could ultimately be setting yourself up for a lot of work and heartache.
If you decide that the German Wirehaired Pointer is the way to go then your ‘puppy safari’ commences. This obviously starts with your homework. German Wires are by no means a popular commercial breed – with an average of around 300 a year being registered with the Kennel Club (although obviously more are born). It is fair to say that puppies are always available if the purchaser is prepared to travel and has no firm ideas of exactly what they want ie dog or bitch, liver or black etc. Endeavour to gain as much information as possible about the breed, read books/journals, check the internet, visit shows and talk to the exhibitors, try to visit dogs in their home settings and if possible go along to a gundog working test or field trial.
Speak to a variety of people/breeders and decide who you feel comfortable purchasing a puppy from. A responsible breeder will be keen to find out about the sort of home you will be able to offer the puppy and will encourage ongoing contact between you. Still, have in mind that the slight differences in prices may be present, as the different breeder has a right to list the price according to its standards.
GWP puppies are to die for – they have ‘swoon appeal’ in bucket loads and ‘cute’ running through them like a stick of Blackpool rock – but don’t be fooled! They are going to develop into large, powerful and more-often-than-not challenging adults that will certainly need time and effort on your part to allow them to reach their full potential.
When selecting your puppy, ensure that you see the babies with their mother – it is not unusual that you cannot see the father, but if he is on the premises you should be able to see him also, plus any other members of the extended family. Whilst mum may be a little guarded or protective of her brood, with reassurance from her owner she should allow you to touch and interact with the puppies. However if she doesn’t allow you near, then her overall temperament may be suspect and it may be advisable to view other litters. Remember you do not have to buy a puppy from the first litter you see, if you are unsure about anything there will always be other litters to consider. Take time to make your selection – you will hopefully have to live with this family member for the next 12-15 years! Ask as many questions as you like – a few suggestions being:
Are both parents and puppies KC registered?
This is important if you want to find a real GWP puppy, as you do not want a mix of two breeds.
Is the person selling the puppies the breeder/owner of the bitch?
Is it possible to contact the stud dog owner to talk to them?
Have parents had any health checks?
Are the puppies wormed/vaccinated/chipped?
Check what endorsements (if any are in place)
If you go ahead with the purchase then a responsible caring breeder will always be on the end of the telephone if needed to offer advice and guidance once you have your new puppy home. The amount of information provided varies from breeder to breeder, however you s should certainly receive a comprehensive diet sheet, some food to carry over for a day or two, details of vaccinations and worming carried out and when the next ones are due and all paperwork pertaining to your puppy. If the paperwork is not available then written assurance that they will follow. A receipt for monies paid should also be obtained.
Have your puppy checked by your own vet soon after purchase. If any concerns are raised discuss these with the puppy’s breeder. Breeders generally love to receive puppy/adult updates even if it is only in a Christmas card to know how little things are going. Breeding a puppy is a work that becomes a bit sentimental over the time and you simply like to get some feedback from the people who decided to take of your hairy little four-leg baby. Also, whilst the majority of breeders go out of their way to produce healthy, well natured dogs things may sometimes not pan out this way. So, more out of courtesy than anything else, any problems with your dog should be reported back as ultimately this knowledge may have an impact on future breeding plans from siblings.
If you are looking for a GWP puppy please refer to the GWPC breeder listings and also the GWPC Puppy Register. You can also get general puppy advice from any of the GWPC Committee.
You can also find details of litters registered with The Kennel Club on their website. Feel free to browse and ask whatever you want to know before you decide to buy a puppy!