Dogs have always worked for mankind and in the large forested areas in Europe they were essential for finding game for food. Some dogs developed an instinct to hold birds while a net (Tyras) was thrown over them and those that could became highly prized.
All shapes, sizes and coat colours were mated together to keep this standing (pointing) instinct and collectively they were known as Vorteshhunds. As forests were thinned out for pasture land and travel became much easier, those dogs which worked well began to be bred to similar types which worked on other large estates and during the 18th/19th Century, three coat variations were developed, Langhaar (longhair), Drahthaar (Wirehair) and Kurtzhaar (Shorthair) and a rudimentary breeding programme commenced for each variation.
At this time Langhaar (longhair) dogs were brown or black with white but by the middle of the 19th Century different Germanic states began to have colour preferences and the majority culled out black puppies from litters, however, in Westphalia and Munster these black dogs were preferred. In 1878 it was decided to hold a show in Hanover where all brown coloured dogs could be examined and the best would be chosen for a specific breeding programme. Those that were became the foundation of a breed standard and the Deutsch Langhaar was registered as a breed the following year. £ years later, the black Vorteshhunds became registered as Grossen Munsterlanders and formed a separate breed.
In Germany the Longhair is traditionally the choice of foresters, it was large boned, big and cumbersome and known as ‘the slow dog’. As families lived in secluded forests, the dogs were taught to guard but this instinct has now been bred out. They are used mostly ‘after the gun’ as a tracking dog for fallen wild boar and deer.
In the Northern states de-forestation turned immense areas into pasture land and game birds became the dominant quarry, so the faster air-scenting dog was required. With the invention of fire-arms, dogs needed to ramge over longer distances so setter blood was introduced to quicken the pace. Too much was added and the Longhairs were loosing their breed type, so a club (the Deutsch Langhaar Klub) was formed so that breeding could be monitored and in the end what was achievbed was a dog with ‘German marmalade with a little English sauce’.
In the Lowlands, Holland and Belgium an even faster dog was required to range over vast open areas so yet more Setter blood was introduced.
In Germany, the breed continues to be used as an all round hunting dog, none are sold to pet homes.
A breed master system makes sure that only the best are used in a breeding programme. Each dog must earn the right to breed and must score well in both temperament, health and conformation as well as in Prufung (working) tests.
In Holland, Belgium and France the breed is used more as a pointing bird dog and because game is scarce a far ranging dog with a superb nose is the aim. The Nederlandse Vereniging Langhaar hold trials, pointing and retrieving tests and owners compete in the show ring too with some kennels winning top continental awards.
There are GLP’s in Scandanavia, Canada and USA. The Jagdegebrauchshund (hunting dog) Club (USA) is affiliated to the one in Germany and their dogs can be tested and scored by German judges.
In the UK the breed soon gained a respected reputation as a hunt, point retriever, in trialling , in the shooting field and, as a good looking gundog, the breed has gained awards in the showring too
Overview of the breed
Introduced into the UK in 1993, the German Longhaired Pointer is included in the hunt, point, retriever (HPR) group.
An interim standard was accepted by the Kennel Club in May 2000 and the breed can now be shown in Import Register classes.
In 2001 Konan vd Hafkesdell mit Arany (imp) won Best Import (all breeds) and in the field Wamilanghaar Drumelzier became the first Field Trial Champion in 2003.
A club has now been established with the aim to promote and improve the breed as a working gundog.
KC Standard for German Longhaired Pointer
Powerful but elegant and excells with its game finding ability both on land and in water. A good retriever, biddable and loyal.
Bred for temperament since conception, the GLP adores its owner, is extremely good with children and easily adapts to kennel or home. GLP’s do not feel the cold, are naturally clean and socialise well with other dogs. Suspicious of strangers, but for the familiy’s sake not their own, can be quite vocal too.
The head should not look coarse with a soft expression and should have a slightly rounded top with equi-distance from occiput to nose and nose to jaw with no pronounced stop in between. Lips should not hang down too long and the nose should be solid coloured. The eyes should be oval and dark. The teeth should have the correct number with a scissor bite.
The ears are one of the most important features of the breed and a correct covering is essential. They should not be set too low, hang slightly forward almost to the mouth. THe hair must be wavy and thick with feathering on the outer edge. No dead hair is removed.
The neck is strong and the sternum is prominant. Moderate length of bodyand front and hind angulations should be the same, ie. 45 degrees. Stifles usually do not have pronounced angulation. The stride should cover the ground with drive.
The tail is carried horizontally or in line with the back, well feathered and strong. The coat typifies the breed so should be correct, usually 3- cms in length but longer on the sternum, throat and underside. Legs should be feathered.
Colours include brown, brown with wite, brown with white brustfleck (chest), brownschimmel, hellschimmel and forellenschimmel.
Height is ideally 63-66 cms in dogs and 60-62 cms in bitches.
Living with the breed
Without a doubt the best working dogs we have ever had in 25 years, they find game and are soft mouthed and quiet. Having worked them on Pheasant, Partridge, Grouse, Snipe, Woodcock, Mallard, Geese, Rabbit and Hare, this breed has never let us down. With the ability to air and ground scent they are excellent on ‘runners’ and would make excellent stalking dogs too. Once trained a GLP should make an unbeatable shooting companion.
Although their temperaments are superb and would suit a family pet, the prowess of this breed liesin the shooting field and this is where it should belong. They would not adapt to a city environment as they need plenty of space and stimulation preferring country life instead.
At the moment only one or two litters are born each year.