A reader wonders which HPR breed would suit him best
Q: I have always used cross-breeds for rough shooting, rabbits and wild pheasants, plus a fair bit of duck shooting as well. They have been all sorts and never very obedient. I now have the funds to be able to afford a pedigree puppy and really fancy a pointer of some sort, but I’m not sure how to choose the HPR breed that would best suit my needs?
A: Certainly the English pointer would not be useful, as their primary function is to locate, point and flush game birds for the gun, and retrieving and working with duck or fur are not their skills. However, one of the breeds from the hunt, point, retrieve (HPR) sub-group would be ideal for the type of shooting you describe.
You will need to choose an HPR breed that can endure the cold and wet of winter wildfowling expeditions. While this rules out breeds with lighter coats such as the smooth-coated vizslas and Weimaraners, they do have cousins with longer, wiry coats that may be more suitable.
I would favour one of the German pointer breeds, which come in three types: shorthaired, wirehaired and longhaired, all of which have done well in field trials in recent years.
The German wirehaired pointer in particular is an extremely popular breed in its native country as well as in the UK, and has a weather-resistant coat, ideal for the wildfowler.
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The German longhaired pointer also has a weather-resistant coat and is gaining popularity in the shooting field.
Whatever your final choice it is extremely important that you buy not only from good health-tested stock but also from a good working strain, as there are many examples of these breeds produced solely for the show ring or for the pet home.