Pudelpointer

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
 
Photo of adult Pudelpointer

A medium-sized, wire-haired, brown or black dog with a characteristic moustache and beard, the Pudelpointer has been in existence for just over a century. Bred in Germany by mixing Poodles and Pointers, this combination has been an undeniable success.

While most often used as a hunter, a job at which it excels, the Pudelpointer is also popular as a companion animal, getting along well with children and other dogs. They are calm and good-natured, and once provided with plenty of exercise and time spent outside, they will gladly relax with you on the sofa in the evening time.

About & History

Originating in the late 19th century, the Pudelpointer was consciously developed in an effort to create a multi-purpose hunting dog. The German hunting Poodle (or ‘pudel’) was bred with the English Pointer and the result was an adaptable and skilled, medium-sized gun dog.

Baron von Zedlitz is the man credited with this breed’s development, and it is widely accepted that he was the first to produce a Pudelpointer in 1881. He used Kaiser Frederick III's Pointer called ‘Tell’ and a hunting Poodle bitch called Molly, who was owned by a famous author with a specific interest in hunting dogs. It goes without saying that the chosen canines were fine examples of their respective breeds. During the next few decades, many pure-bred Poodles and English Pointers were bred into the line, until the desired Pudelpointer was eventually produced.

At a time in history when hunting was so vitally important and popular, the development of a hunting companion that was as capable in water as on land, and that was both obedient and smart, was widely appreciated. As it would not have been affordable for the majority of people to own a selection of hunting dogs, the Pudelpointer offered a sort of ‘all-in-one’ dog, if you like. A natural born retriever, pointer and a tracker, the Pudelpointer is renowned for being able to work in a variety of conditions, hunting just about anything their master desires. Typically, the Pudelpointer is used to hunt birds, rabbits and game.

In the year 1956, Mr. Sigbot Winterhelt (or ‘Bodo’ to his friends), introduced the Pudelpointer to North America. He was a German trainer with a passion for the breed and continues to be an advocate for them even today. Interestingly, this is a breed that is respected for its working ability far more than its physical appearance. Any dog wishing to breed must first pass a ‘Hunt Test’, a series of events set out to judge the dog’s hunting capabilities. This breed is not officially recognised by the American Kennel Club. Many breed fanciers state that this a conscious choice, as they fear that gaining recognition could lead towards a trend for breeding Pudelpointers based on their looks rather than performance.

Today, this breed is rare outside of its native Germany, and one gets the impression that Pudelpointer enthusiasts are quite happy to keep things that way.

Appearance

Pudelpointer Large Photo

It is undeniable that the Pudelpointer bears close resemblance to the German Wirehaired Pointer. Their head is in proportion to their body, framed by large, shaggy ears that hang closely to the cheeks. Their sparkling, alert, amber eyes should be set deep within the face.

They are medium-sized, standing between 53 to 65cm at the withers, and weighing from 20 to 30kg. Breed member should be athletic and strong, while being capable of nimble and swift movement. They are slightly longer than they are tall, with a straight top-line and well-muscled limbs. A moderately docked tail (around 30% removed) is commonly seen, particularly in those dogs that work for a living.

Ideally, their coat should be wiry and rough. In truth, given their pedigree, the texture of their fur can vary widely between breed members, with some displaying a smooth or even woolen coat. The colour can be liver, brown or black, and white markings are acceptable as long as they are not prominent. Their nose colour should match that of their coat. They must have a moustache and beard, as well as noticeably bushy eyebrows – all of which serve to ensure a very endearing face.

Character & Temperament

The most important character traits that the Pudelpointer possesses is its willingness to hunt and its confidence when around guns. This dog should be confident, patient and laid back, rarely getting flustered on the job. With a high work ethic, they are diligent workers that won’t happily give up on a trail. They love to be outside and active.

Their ability to fit seamlessly into a household, while maintaining their strong hunting instincts is one of the Pudelpointer’s most desirable qualities. Tolerant of children, they will happily play with them, gladly ‘goofing off’ during their down time. They form a close attachment to their family, affectionate and loving, often craving attention. Owing to this, the Pudelpointer can be prone to separation anxiety and does not do well if left alone for too long.

As with any hunting dog, the prey instinct is strong in this breed and great care should be taken if attempting to house them alongside smaller pets, such as cats and birds. Capable of being a watchdog at home, the Pudelpointer will quickly make their owner aware of any perceived intruder, barking to alert others of their presence.

Trainability

A dream to train, the Pudelpointer is a smart and eager student who longs to please. Early socialisation is key, exposing this dog to a variety of people, animals, noises and events to help build their confidence. It is widely accepted that positive reinforcement training works best with the Pudelpointer. They are highly motivated by both praise and food.

Health

Often quoted as living well into their teens, the Pudelpointer tends to be a healthy breed with relatively few health complaints. Potential owners should consider the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia – Breeders are well aware of the Pudelpointer’s predisposition to developing hip dysplasia and should all be hip scoring their breeding animals and passing on the information to puppy purchasers. An animal who does not score well should not be considered a breeding candidate. Hip dysplasia is a common complaint in many breeds of dog, and will lead to lameness, pain and osteoarthritis in later life.
  • Ear Infections – As the Pudelpointer will spend the majority of its life out and about, frequently wet, their floppy ears are at high risk for developing infections. Owners should be on the lookout for red ears, bad smells, thick otic discharge and a dog that shakes or scratches at the head. Infections are generally resolved through the use of cleaners and a course of medicated drops. Drying ears after a swim can help to decrease the prevalence of infections.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Bred to work, the Pudelpointer should never be thought of as a lap dog. They need regular exercise and should be given the opportunity to go on long walks or runs several times a day. Outdoor access is essential for them to burn off excess energy and display their natural behaviours in an appropriate environment. Given their high-spirited nature and relatively big size, it is not recommended that this dog be homed in an apartment or small house.

Off-lead exercise should be provided if suitable, and ideally, this dog would be given the opportunity to hunt or participate in scent trials.

Grooming

This dog is known for being a light shedder, and not requiring a great deal of coat care. Their low maintenance fur is ideal for the outdoor dog, rarely getting tangled and offering some resistance to thorns and brambles, as well as rugged weather conditions. Brushing through their coat twice a week should keep it in good nick. The ears, paws and skin should be routinely checked for burrs, parasites and grass seeds after any outdoor foray.

It is essential that owners are comfortable with basic ear care and are happy to regularly check and clean the ears. If unsure how best to perform these tasks, any local veterinary clinic would be happy to offer advice.

Famous Pudelpointers

There are no breed members of note just yet.

Cross-Breeds

The Pudelpointer is a pure-breed of dog that is actually a cross of the German Hunting Poodle and the English Pointer. There are no well-recognised Pudelpointer mixes around.

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