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Top German gundog imported to Britain


Mirko Vom Bockenhagen

Last year’s top German Wirehaired Pointer stud dog has just entered the UK from the breed’s homeland, Germany after a two year campaign to secure him. This is the first time a GWP of this quality has entered the UK from its country of origin.

Peter and Maxine McCullough of Kimmax GWPs first started searching for a new bloodline to continue their quest for true dual purpose gundogs. With the help of the internet and friends in Australia and the USA they decided to focus on Germany.

Peter says that Germany was the obvious place to look, not just because it is the homeland of the breed, but because the whole German system, through the VDD (Verein Deutsch Drahthaar) helps the breeder find out so much about the dogs.

Peter became a member of the VDD and collected as many of the breed stud books (Zuchbuch) as he could lay his hands on. They are a veritable goldmine of information showing not only every registered litter born that year but trends in litter sizes, teeth quality and most important of all to Peter, the hunt scores and conformation scores of offspring and parents.

Under the VDD system dogs are tested for working ability at three stages, the youth test (VJP), the intermediate test (HZP) and the adult test (VGP) and dogs to be used at stud are expected to get sufficiently good scores in these tests to be approved by the Breed Master. In addition they are also assessed on conformation and coat at the HZP stage.

The hunt scores are based on a battery of field tests, similar in some way to a mixture of UK gundog working tests and utility tests but using real game across up to 40 disciplines in the final adult test. Scores are categorised based on accuracy of tracking, nose, searching ability, steadiness on point and co-operation with the handler.

Recommended

Peter and Maxine’s own quest lead them to a four year old male, black and white GWP called Mirko Vom Bockenhagen, owned and bred by Antonious Kohues. Mirko came well recommended by friends, one of whom had seen him at the annual breed competition, the Hegewald, in 1999 when he was 18 months old. They also managed to track down a photograph of him on the VDD stud dog web site and were very impressed.

The stud books allowed Peter to determine that Mirko had been in the top 25 GWP Stud dogs in 2000, overall Top Stud Dog in 2001 and would be top again in 2002.

Further research in the VDD documentation revealed that Mirko had a conformation score of 11/12, the highest recorded in the current stud dogs. This meant he has a score of 11/12 for conformation and 12/12 for coat quality giving Peter and Maxine further confidence in the dog. Detailed information was also available on his dentition (the Germans are meticulous on this aspect).

The icing on the cake for Peter in particular was Mirko's outstanding scores in the formal hunt test regime. Mirko holds the record for the highest ever hunt score in the adult test, the VGP - he scored 343 pts gaining a rating of Priez 1 and only failing to gain maximum marks in 2 of the 40 disciplines.

Peter said "the VDD system is superb, allowing you to track the achievements and quality of not only the dog in which you are interested but its parents, grandarents and even offspring. I cannot imagine how I could compile a similar amount of information in the UK on a dog I had not seen."

Convinced by the recommendations and the homework, Peter contacted the owner of the dog, via the VDD, to enquire if he would consider selling him.

After a long series of e-mails, with the help of one of the Executive Committee of the VDD, an agreement was reached to sell Mirko to Peter and Maxine after Mirko had completed his stud commitments. Mirko was very expensive by UK standards but Peter and Maxine were reassured by their research.

Publicity

After spending a week in Holland with Mirko in April this year, Peter was convinced he was what they had both searched for and Mirko was released into the UK on his Pets Passport.

Mirko Vom Bockenhagen at Kimmax will make his show debut at Driffield. Maxine still has some nervousness after her experience with her first import, Sh Ch Femkes Footsteps Isaac at Kimmax who was stolen only a few weeks after being made up in 1996. He has never been found since despite massive publicity in the press, radio and TV.

Peter cannot wait to start field training his new lad out on the UK grouse moors. Since making up their first home bred full champion in 2001, Ch Kimmax Rock the Kasbar at Chiparus, Peter has been keen to get a really good German field trained GWP to see how the two systems compare. He hopes to adapt Mirko's training to try him out in the UK field trial system.