32 episodes

Explore the history, myths, and incredible stories of hunting dog breeds around the world. Co-hosted by Jennifer Wapenski and Craig Koshyk. A Project Upland Podcast.

HUNTING DOG CONFIDENTIAL is made possible by Eukanuba Sporting Dog. Complete and balanced nutrition for your canine athlete. https://www.eukanubasportingdog.com/

Hunting Dog Confidential Northwoods Collective

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 179 Ratings

Explore the history, myths, and incredible stories of hunting dog breeds around the world. Co-hosted by Jennifer Wapenski and Craig Koshyk. A Project Upland Podcast.

HUNTING DOG CONFIDENTIAL is made possible by Eukanuba Sporting Dog. Complete and balanced nutrition for your canine athlete. https://www.eukanubasportingdog.com/

    Episode 32: Drahthaars, Langhaars, Bretons, and Other International Breeds in America

    Episode 32: Drahthaars, Langhaars, Bretons, and Other International Breeds in America

    We’ve been talking about the role of “place” in the history and culture of hunting dog breeds, but not every breed fits neatly within geographical boundaries. There are several breeds in North America who have a foot in two worlds: the parent country (often Germany) as well as North America.
     
    We explore breeds such as the Deutsch Drahthaar, Deutsch Langhaar, and Deutsch Kurzhaar which are known by their German language names in order to differentiate from the German Wirehaired Pointer, German Longhaired Pointer, and German Shorthaired Pointer. Even though the names directly translate, the use of the German name signifies a very specific system and methodology that exists behind the individual dog. Each of these breeds is managed by a U.S.-based chapter of the German parent club, rather than an AKC or NAVHDA-based breed club.
     
    The German clubs, along with their U.S.-based chapters, tie together a dog’s performance, health, and conformation into a single system. Before a dog can be bred, it must successfully complete a series of tests and evaluations. The purpose of this system is to ensure that the dogs maintain their consistent form and function, generation after generation. This fits in with the German hunting culture which requires “certified” hunting dogs in the field—in other words, it’s based on qualification rather than competition.
     
    So is a Drahthaar the same thing as a GWP? We settle on the answer of “it depends”—at least when it comes to an individual dog. One dog may be the offspring of two Drahthaars but if the parents weren’t tested and certified for breeding within the regulations, then the puppies can’t be considered Drahthaars…even if the genetics are the same. But if this continues for five, ten, or twenty generations, at which point do enough differences creep in that they could be considered different breeds altogether? So rather than studying any one individual dog, it’s more productive to look at the GWP vs. DD discussion at the larger population level. In that case, they are not the same thing, since the breeds are managed in entirely different manners.
     
    Is a German-bred dog right for you? Again, it depends. Jennifer talks about what drew her to the Deutsch Langhaar club, ultimately causing her to jump in feet first. But as with anything else, it’s a matter of personal preference. If the idea of a standardized system with strict protocols resonates with you, then it could be a great fit. On the other hand, if you bristle at the idea of being governed by a strict system, then it likely won’t be a good fit for you. Craig talks about the importance of evaluating the culture around a breed before deciding if it’s the right breed for you.
     
     
     
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    Share | Comment, review and discuss this episode of the podcast in our Project Upland Community Facebook group.
     
    Hunting Dog Confidential is presented by Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food and supported by Syren USA and Kent Cartridge.

    • 57 min
    The Modern Era of Bird Dogs in North America

    The Modern Era of Bird Dogs in North America

    The end of World War II saw thousands of American servicemen and servicewomen returning home to the United States and Canada, many of whom brought home new dogs they’d met while in occupied Germany. These “new” dogs were unlike the setters and Pointers that dominated the bird dog scene in North America. Defying labels, these dogs could search, point, retrieve, and track.
     
    Some of these dogs fit in well with the American field trial culture and found success alongside setters and Pointers. Others, however, struggled to find success in the competitive environment that favored fast, big-running dogs over the versatile, jack-of-all-trades dogs produced in Germany.
     
    As the new breeds looked to gain a foothold in North America, some clubs sought marketing help to take advantage of the growing influence of television and mass media to generate interest in their breed. The Weimaraner is a classic example of publicity and popularity gone wrong—while the efforts to market the breed were wildly successful and led to an explosion in popularity, the dog failed to live up to all the wonder-dog hype and quickly fell out of favor. As with anything, popularity is a double-edged sword; breed clubs have long sought to straddle the line between promoting the dogs to hunters without losing control of the messaging and, ultimately, the natural hunting abilities.
     
    The introduction of the versatile breeds from the European continent eventually led to the formation of NAVHDA, which represented a stark departure from the competitive nature of traditional field trials. This new system was based on the German versatile hunting dog system with some changes made to better suit the North American hunting traditions. What began as an idea in a living room in Canada eventually became an international club with thousands of dogs tested annual and membership growing every year.
     
    The late part of the twentieth century saw a major transformation in the availability of technology and information, ultimately culminating in the introduction of the internet and, later, social media. Suddenly, hunters could connect with like-minded people across the globe. Breeding decisions were influenced by genetic testing. Litters could be advertised and promoted with the click of a button. Information that was once limited to members of certain clubs is now widely available to anyone with an internet connection. This modern era is characterized by technology, information, and—ultimately—connection.
     
    What does this new era mean to the future of breed clubs and registries? Craig has a few ideas about how these organizations will need to change, or else risk becoming irrelevant. Tune in to hear his vision and encouragement for riding the inevitable waves of change.
     
    Enjoy the show and don’t forget to rate, review, subscribe, and share this podcast.
     
    Share | Comment, review and discuss this episode of the podcast in our Project Upland Community Facebook group.
     
    Hunting Dog Confidential is presented by Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food and supported by Syren USA and Kent Cartridge.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    The Golden Age of Hunting Dogs in North America

    The Golden Age of Hunting Dogs in North America

    Up until the late nineteenth century, the use and breeding of hunting dogs in North America was rather chaotic. Dogs were used in a variety of different ways, whether it was market hunters using Setters to retrieve waterfowl or big game hunters using Pointers to track and hold wounded elk at bay. There was no consistency in the breeding, either, as different types of dogs were often mixed and matched at will.
     
    Before long, though, some of the same concepts from the industrial revolution found their way into dog fancy. In order to achieve consistent results, fanciers knew they needed to apply a consistent technique along with a form of quality control. Registries were formed, pedigrees were issued, and dogs were judged according to newly established standards. The result was consistency in breeding and a standardized form and function for the dogs.
     
    While hunting was still an everyman’s activity, dog enthusiasts knew that they needed “men of means” in order for dog breeding to really gain momentum. Before long, success in the show ring and in field trials was accompanied by increased social standing. This increased attention—and financial backing—was exactly what hunting dogs needed to reach their golden age.
     
    Pointers and Setters were the first breeds to become established in North America, but imported dogs from Europe soon followed. The “Russian Setter” (likely a Wirehared Pointing Griffon) was an early arrival, followed soon after by the Brittany, German Shorthaired Pointer, and the Labrador. We discuss some theories on why—with the exception of the Griffon—those early imported breeds went on to become some of the most popular hunting dogs in North America today.
     
    We end the episode right around the end of the second World War, when returning servicemen and women were bringing new German hunting dog breeds back home to North America. The economic boom and the growth of the middle class fueled an explosion in popularity for many of these dog breeds. For some dogs, popularity was both a blessing and a curse. Stay tuned for the next episode where we discuss some of these examples.
     
    Enjoy the show and don’t forget to rate, review, subscribe, and share this podcast.
     
    Share | Comment, review and discuss this episode of the podcast in our Project Upland Community Facebook group.
     
    Hunting Dog Confidential is presented by Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food and supported by Syren USA and Kent Cartridge.

    • 46 min
    Early America, Part 2

    Early America, Part 2

    We continue the history of hunting dogs as a function of place and time, resuming our discussion about dogs in North America in the colonial era.
     
    When Europeans arrived on North American shores—whether it was the Spanish, the French, or the English—we know that they had dogs with them. Early writings and paintings from this era depict a variety of dogs that accompanied the colonists for purposes of protection and hunting. Some of these dogs bear a strong resemblance to old varieties of pointers and hounds.
     
    In order to better understand the development and use of hunting dogs during this time, it’s important to understand the culture around hunting at the time. Back home in Europe, hunting was reserved by law for the elite landowners as a leisure activity. Even though North America offered the legal and geographic freedom for everyone to hunt the abundant game, it was still frowned upon, especially as a form of recreation or sport. This mindset was largely due to religion, which tended to view any sort of idle leisure activity as a sin. It was also believed that consuming wild meat could lead to savage, wild behavior. So while people did hunt in colonial North America, it was only done out of necessity and rarely as recreation.
     
    Attitudes began to change in the mid-1800s as the population boomed and the cities became increasingly polluted and crowded. Americans started to look toward the wilderness not as a place to fear, but as a place of solitude and rejuvenation. Writers around this time are credited with changing the very definition of a “sportsman” from a gambling, drinking man to a self-sufficient hunter or angler. Men who worked and lived in the dirty cities began to yearn for the clean air and freedom to roam in pursuit of game and fish.
     
    This transformation was swift and effective. Hunting as a form of recreation was soon widely enjoyed and even prescribed by doctors for better health. While they didn’t have the language of mental health at the time, evidence points towards a culture that recognized outdoor activities as a healthy pursuit for both the body and spirit.
     
    Before long, the newly rebranded sportsmen looked at their hunting dogs as an essential part of the hunting experience. Suddenly there was interest in breeding and training better dogs, along with the realization that such activities would take an investment of serious time and money. Early enthusiasts looked to England as an example of how competitions, trials, and shows could lead toward the development of superior dogs. This cultural transformation reflects the beginning of the golden age of hunting dog breeds in North America, which we will explore in the next episode.
     
     
    Offering the same disclaimer as we do in the last podcast episode, we acknowledge that North American history is fraught with bias, racism, and erasure. While our research is conducted with that in mind, we also realize that the facts we report are not free from bias. Please don’t hesitate to reach out via email if you have any corrections or alternate perspectives to share.
     
    As always, we thank you for listening and invite you to submit feedback or questions to us at HDC@northwoodscollective.com.
     
    Share | Comment, review and discuss this episode of the podcast in our Project Upland Community Facebook group.
     
    Enjoy the show and don’t forget to rate, review, subscribe, and share this podcast.
     
    Hunting Dog Confidential is presented by Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food and supported by Dakota 283, Syren USA, SportDOG Brand and Kent Cartridge.

    • 50 min
    Early America, Part 1

    Early America, Part 1

    This season of Hunting Dog Confidential will explore the history of hunting dogs as a function of place and time. We begin in North America, starting with the earliest evidence of domesticated dogs from about 10,000 years ago. This episode brings us right up to the end of the pre-colonial era in the fifteenth century. We’ll continue our exploration of North American hunting dog history in the next episode.
     
    Fossil and DNA evidence suggests that dogs arrived in North America about 5,000 years after the first humans arrived. These dogs were descended from wolves but were partially domesticated. It’s believed that these dogs participated in hunts and likely provided guardian assistance around indigenous camps, too.
     
    Tales abound of tribes using dogs to pursue everything from polar bear in the far north to otters and fish in the most southern reaches of South America. Many of the stories share similar characteristics, such as small dogs being used to distract the quarry from the approaching hunter. This is reminiscent of the way in which terriers are still used today in Germany once larger dogs have a boar at bay.
     
    Early North American dogs were not selectively bred in the same way that we produce “breeds” today, but circumstances certainly led to the selection of dogs with certain characteristics and abilities. Those that were useful were kept around and allowed to reproduce, while those that weren’t useful were likely culled.
     
    Offering the same disclaimer as we do in the podcast episode, we acknowledge that North American history is fraught with bias, racism, and erasure. While our research is conducted with that in mind, we also realize that the facts we report are not free from bias. Please don’t hesitate to reach out via email if you have any corrections or alternate perspectives to share.
     
    We read a few passages from the book A Dog’s History of America by Mark Derr https://books.google.com/books/about/A_Dog_s_History_of_America.html?id=9Xa6q-mT5xwC
     
    As always, we thank you for listening and invite you to submit feedback or questions to us at HDC@northwoodscollective.com.
     
    Share | Comment, review and discuss this episode of the podcast in our Project Upland Community Facebook group.
     
    Enjoy the show and don’t forget to rate, review, subscribe, and share this podcast.
     
    Hunting Dog Confidential is presented by Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food and supported by Dakota 283, Syren USA, SportDOG Brand and Kent Cartridge.

    • 34 min
    A Sense of Place

    A Sense of Place

    We are back with a new episode providing a sneak peek of season three of the Hunting Dog Confidential Podcast. Craig and Jennifer catch up on what they’ve been up to since the last episode (hint: they’ve been hunting with their dogs) and what’s new in the Hunting Dog Confidential world.
     
    As a recap, season one explored the what…what breeds are used as hunting dogs and what were they developed to do. We did a quick survey of all the hunting dog breeds, ranging from pointing dogs to spaniels, retrievers, hounds, terriers, and many more. In season two, we explored the how… how are these dogs used to hunt and what are the methods people use with their dogs to hunt game. We explored traditional bird hunting with a pointing dog and a shotgun, we discussed small game hunting, big game tracking, driven hunts, and falconry.
     
    Now, we want to dig a little deeper and establish a sense of place by asking where. The location where hunting dogs developed played a huge role in their characteristics and their use. This includes not only their geographic location, but also the time in which they were developed and refined. This is still true even today, where breeds can develop regional differences as dogs are bred to excel in the local terrain and culture where they are hunted.
     
    The possibilities for exploring rabbit holes are endless and we are so excited to launch this new season by digging deeper into the stories behind our hunting dogs. This third layer will go even deeper into the cultural fabric and human connections where our hunting dogs were created and continue to be refined today.
     
    As always, we thank you for listening and invite you to submit feedback or questions to us at HDC@northwoodscollective.com.
     
    Share | Comment, review and discuss this episode of the podcast in our Project Upland Community Facebook group.
     
    Enjoy the show and don’t forget to rate, review, subscribe, and share this podcast.
     
    Hunting Dog Confidential is presented by Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food and supported by Dakota 283, Syren USA, SportDOG Brand and Kent Cartridge.
     

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
179 Ratings

179 Ratings

DL owner ,

Episode 32

Another great episode by this team. Especially appreciate the explanation between the German system and American systems.

In my opinion, if you want the best chance of getting a good hunting dog the German system eliminates the chance of failure with the puppy you get by its health, confirmation, and performance standards. Which, by the way, have been in place for 100 plus years of breeding.

I personally own two Deutsch Langhaars which may make me somewhat bias. But, a good example of the benefits of the German system is the fact that not one Deutsch Langhaar in America has failed the VJP test which is the equivalent of the NAVHDA Natural Ability test. And my dogs are both great hunters and companion dogs. And as you stated in the podcast “I’m all in” with the Deutsch Langhaar North American Organization and their requirements.

Really enjoy these podcasts. Can’t wait for the next one and Magazine. Both the best in the Upland experience. Great job as usual!

JLCellist ,

History and Practicality!

This podcast has been such a joy, especially to a new dog hunter like myself. My only experience is with the dogs I currently own and have this deep repository of knowledge has been invaluable and inspirational.

Thank you to both of the hosts for undertaking this challenge and for doing it so very well! I look forward to each new episode like a new book from a favorite author or blockbuster movie release!

Padtor Kurtis ,

Great help for new bird hunter

Thank you for your wisdom on the history of dogs. I am getting my first Brittany this spring.

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