Pudelpointers: Authentic versatility in a little known breed.
This series of Project Upland hunting dog breed profiles focuses on the hunting characteristics that set one breed apart from another. Within a breed, individual dogs may vary in temperament, conformation, instincts and abilities. This particular article focuses on the Pudelpointer.
Developed in Germany around 1880, the pudelpointer was a cross between pointers and pudels. Confused by many because of the name, pudels were not the poodles we know today. They were a rough coated gun dog noted for strong water drive and retrieving ability. Pudel is the German word for puddle. The breeding objective was—and still remains—to create a versatile water and field dog. Pudelpointers were brought to the U.S. by Sigbot “Bodo” Winterhelt, one of the founders of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association.
Hunting style and temperament
Pudelpointers come from hunting lines. These dogs have avoided the pitfalls of show breeding and companion dog popularity that often diminish solid hunting traits. They are strong runners working at a medium to fast pace (the pointer influence). They love the water and perform well in cold or harsh conditions (the pudel influence). Pudelpointers track wounded game. Some also display the German breeding influence of giving voice, which is barking while tracking. They take well to training and can handle a moderate amount of pressure. They have a remarkable desire to hunt with enthusiasm and focus. From woodcock to pheasants, rabbits to big game, pudelpointers are capable workers for a variety of hunting pursuits.
Pudelpointers have an affectionate and people-oriented personality, complemented well by their shaggy haired, expressive faces.
Traits important to hunters
Medium. The weight range is 45-65 (females and males).
Height: males should be 22”-27”, females 20”-26”
Depending on the breed club or registry, the pudelpointer’s coat standard can include short smooth coats, rough coats, or wirey coats. Controversy continues over which of these varieties to accept and how to present the breed. All the coats are flat and somewhat rough to the touch. They are medium in length with a dense undercoat that protects against brush and prevents soaking. The rough and wire coats are suitable for breeding. Although the short coat does better in warm temperatures, it is not generally considered standard for breeding. The rough and wire coats can be stripped in the spring before the warm weather.
Pudelpointers display pointing and retrieving skills as well as a readiness for training at an early age.
Hip dysplasia and epilepsy are the predominant risks.
Finding a Good Pudelpointer Breeder
Compared to many other upland hunting dog breeds, the population of pudelpointers in the U.S. is very small. Most pudelpointer breeders use the NAVHDA registry. The Pudelpointer Club of America, the North American Pudelpointer Alliance, and the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation are also sources for finding breeders. Prospective pudelpointer buyers should read up on the differences in these clubs and the breed standards they endorse.
Nancy Anisfield is an outdoor writer and hunting dog photographer, creative director for the Ugly Dog Hunting Company, member of the Pheasants Forever / Quail Forever Board of Directors, and co-owner of the Track2Wing Project which grants Action trackchairs to individuals with mobility challenges who want to train and hunt with bird dogs. She and her husband live in Hinesburg, Vermont, where their lives are governed by her two German shorthaired pointers and his two German wirehaired pointers.