Banjo had her first hunt test this weekend, but I thought before i blogged on about that, I should go back to the beginning.
About 7 years ago, Eli got a bit. Bit by some bug that made him think he needed a German Wirehaired Pointer. Sure I said. No problem, I like dogs. Little did I know where that would take us!!
Our first girl, Stella Blue, will be 6 in a few days. She’s such a sweet, mindful girl. Now. As a pup, not so much. When Eli started working and left her for a full day for the first time, she picked off one of my chickens each day. Needless to say, Stell and I have not always seen eye to eye. She also loves to demolish any amount of chocolate chip cookies left on the counter. But her and I have learned from each other…..her by way of a barrel roll with a dead chicken and me just understanding to put the cookies away before leaving a room! And I do love her dearly now.
Eli (and I, to a lesser extent) are members of NAVHDA, or North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association, and more specifically the Finger Lakes Chapter. This organization is the main way that we test our dogs as proof of their hunting abilities. Stella received a Prize 1 in Natural Ability (a basic puppy test), Prize 1 in Utility (a bit more advanced) and scored a 195 (out of a possible 200) at the Invitational (the national level of testing!) although sadly, not enough to make her a Versatile Champion.
So in one year we got Stella, the following year Summer was born, and then in the next…….you got it! Another GWP!
Thunderhill’s Black Muddy River, or “River” as we called him, came to us!
River also scored Prize 1 in both NA and UT, and had excellent potential. However, he was a bit small framed for Eli’s liking, so we weren’t likely to use him to breed to Stella. After he’d been with us for a year and a half, Eli took both dogs (and my dad :)) to South Dakota to hunt pheasant. River found a wonderful home there were he could point wild birds to his heart’s content.
Stella has given us 2 litters of beautiful pups. Our first litter in 2009 was 8 pups.
Her second litter, last year, was 7 pups and miraculously they were all females!! (Of course, we had 3 males spoken for before the litter hit the ground!!)
Out of last year’s litter, we kept a female. Dark Star’s Banjo Pickin’ Girl, or just plain Banjo to us now.
Banjo had her first hunt test this past weekend. And like mama, she scored a Prize 1, 112 in Natural Ability! But I’ll let that be a post of its own…..
As for a breeding this year? I was obviously very excited about it in that post, but the success of that breeding was not 100% obvious. So we wait. Time will tell……