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"Best Hunting Dog You've Never Heard Of"
When FARM SHOW editors saw the above headline recently in a magazine ad we decided to check out their website and talk to a breeder. It turns out none of us had ever heard of the dog breed known as Deutscher Wachtelhund, and we wanted to find out what we’d been missing.
  We connected with Dave Pepe, a Deutscher Wachtelhund breeder from Pelican Lake, Wis. Pepe is an Air Force veteran who learned of the Wachtelhund breed while he was stationed in Germany in the 1980’s. He bought a Wachtelhund pup in 1991 and brought his first pair of Wachtelhunds to the U.S. in 1993. In subsequent years, he became a recognized Wachtelhund breeder and worked with a Canadian breeder to gain UKC recognition for the Wachtelhund. He also established Deutscher Wachtelhund of North America (DWNA). He is currently the DWNA Chairman.
  Pepe told us that Wachtelhunds originated in Germany in the 1700’s. The Wachtelhund is a medium-sized dog 17 to 21 1/2 in. tall and 48 to 64 lbs. at maturity. Animals are either dark brown or brown ticked with white, with colorations ranging from blond to red. They show extraordinary hunting and tracking abilities and have a vibrant and friendly personality.
  “Less than 10 percent of the people in Germany know of the Wachtelhund, and fewer in North America,” Pepe says. “It lacks notoriety because it’s sold only to hunters. In Germany, owners are avid hunters, professional hunters or gamekeepers.”
  The breed now has 8 registered kennels, 6 active breeders and about 300 registered dogs in the U.S.
  Pepe told us that DWNA is affiliated with the parent breed organization, VDW, in Germany. It’s committed to the integrity of performance testing through hunt tests. Each spring and fall the DWNA has hunt tests where dogs must meet minimum requirements for breeding.
  Pepe says, “there are stringent rules, 67 pages for the 4 performance tests. Each test has 3 judges from outside the DWNA, 1 VDW and 2 JGHV-USA judges. The Wachtelhund is judged on a 165-yard feathered drag and retrieve and a 367-yard rabbit drag and retrieve. Also in the test are a duck flush and retrieve in marsh grass and a 400 meter blood trailing test. Wachtelhunds must achieve a certain proficiency to be breedable.
  Pepe says the DWNA organization is committed to a heritage of testing and breeding. “Our breeding rules are 18 pages, and breeders must meet strict standards,” he says. “Our goal is to maintain standards of quality and assure the owner they’re getting an extraordinary hunting dog and a wonderful family pet.”
  Wachtelhund puppies generally cost about $1,000 and most new owners spend more to train and test their dog for hunting or breeding. “The best part of owning a Wachtelhund is that they’re born to hunt and to love people,” Pepe says. “Our motto is ‘bred by hunters for hunters’.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Pepe, 160 Max Rd., Pelican Lake, Wis. 54463 (ph 715 487-4024; dave@deutscherwachtelhund.org;

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #6