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Woodrings GSP Kennels - Our Dogs Make Our Point!

Here are a few, albeit simple, thoughts we have concerning bird dogs. The questions and answers surely could have been more detailed but the purpose of this page is to give you just a taste of my own philosophy and hope you find some good common sense in it.


    This is a good question to ask but the answer can be rather long - SO . . . The short answer is:

“A good bird dog is one that you like, that does what you want it to do, and that has the health to do what you want it to do.”

Did you notice my short answer has three parts to it? First, A good bird dog is one that you like. I have hunted over all kinds of dogs - English Pointers, Brittanies, Setters etc . . . I like them all - but I prefer to own GSP’s. If you ask a bird dog owner which breed is the best the happiest hunters say, “MINE”! Unhappy owners aren’t so sure (if you know what I mean). If you want to be a satisfied bird dog owner - then own the breed that excites you. Here is a picture of a recent family hunt - please note that there are two dogs in the picture, a GSP and a Brittany. The Brittany belongs to my dad, Brits are what he prefers, his Brit makes him happy, his Brit is a good dog - but if you were to ask each of us which is the best breed - well. . . MINE!

Second, a good bird dog does what you want it to do - if it doesn’t it is not a good bird dog - at least not to you! I like my GSP”s to obey my commands, point birds, retrieve them, work a middle range etc. I am happy when my dog meets my expectations. I usually come home quite satisfied with my dogs because they do what I want them to do. Some people prefer their dogs to be steady to wing and shot, others are not so concerned about that. Others have different expectations. It’s all about what you want. If you have ever seen professional trainers field trial their dogs you would be quite impressed with the discipline their dogs have - you can have that kind of dog too . . . but you will invest serious time into getting a dog to the place where they will handle like a national champion. THIRD, a dog should be healthy enough to accomplish the first two points of my definition. If a dog is not in good health then you will not be happy with it. If a dog is not in good health it will probably not do what you want to do or do it poorly and as a result you will not be happy with it. A healthy dog matters!


    The answer is - yes and no. When I say “title” I am talking about titles conferred through field trials or competition such as Field Champion, National Field Champion, Dual Champion, etc. Here is what I have discovered - just because a dog has a title(s) doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great dog - conversely, just because a dog doesn’t have a title(s) doesn’t mean it is an inferior dog. Anyone who has been around the trialing scene knows that some dogs with titles were more lucky than good, anyone who denies this hasn’t been to enough trials. Some dogs that don’t have titles are excellent hunting dogs with the potential to be champions but will only ever be a hunting dog because that is all their owners desire. I do not trial my bird dogs but that is my choice. I may change my mind and trial them someday - but not now. That is not to say that titles cannot be useful. Titles certainly do put the odds in your favor that you will get a pup that will be a great hunter. All of my dogs descend from dogs with titles. Titles or not, when looking for a puppy the question that really counts is “Are the parents proven hunters - CAN THEY HUNT?”


Obviously there are things you should look for like alertness, confidence, desire, certain physical characteristics etc. Much has been written on this subject and there are as many opinions and methods as there are books and articles but I have lived according to some advice a seasoned bird dog owner gave me once when he said, “You don’t buy the puppy you buy the puppies parents, if the parents are good, odds are the puppies are good – if the parents are good then you can pick whatever puppy you like best.” Yep, that’s overly simplistic, but in general that principle has served me well. I would never buy a HUNTING pup from someone who doesn’t hunt or whose dogs are not proven hunters – I simply do not like the odds.


This is a matter of opinion and preference – in my opinion the answers is yes. Registration with a reputable registry such as the American Kennel Club allows a dogs ownership and genealogy to be traced and may also offer other valuable information to the breed. Also, most people running puppy mills tend to shy away from registration or anything else that might expose bad practices although this is not always true. All my dogs are registered and not one puppy leaves my kennel without registration papers.


Woodrings GSP Kennels has interest in only one breed – German Shorthair Pointers. I spend a lot of time doing research on the dogs we use, they must meet breed confirmation and they must be proven hunters. The dogs must have all the traits I am looking for such as desire, intelligence, good disposition etc. I do not breed dogs I would not own nor do I take any breeding lightly – I do NOT breed anything I find to be inferior. I look for the traits I like and want. My creed is “If I can’t do it well I am not doing it at all.”