To insure the continued quest for improvement of performance, regulations were established which require that all Deutsch-Drahthaar used for breeding must first meet certain hunting performance standards. This evaluation of performance is conducted at special field tests designed to demonstrate inherited qualities.
The testing program of Group North America adheres to all VDD and JGHV Test Regulations. To evaluate hunting ability, VDD/GNA sponsors Spring Natural Ability Tests (VJP), Fall Breed Tests (HZP), Fall Utility Tests (VGP), and Coat and Conformation evaluations (Breed Shows). For the purpose of breeding hunting dogs that are valued highly for versatility, the breed tests evaluate inherited ability, rather than establishing the superiority of one dog over another. To enter a dog in these tests, an owner must be a member of a JGHV affiliated club, such as VDD/GNA.
Testing of the dogs' inherited natural ability begins with the Natural Ability Test (VJP) when the dog is approximately one year old and essentially untrained (i.e. the dog has not been trained to retrieve to hand, although it should have been exposed to furred and feathered game and demonstrated to the handler its ability to track furred game and search for and point feathered game). This "Puppy" Test is designed to evaluate the young Drahthaar's inherited abilities in five different categories (pointing, nose, tracking, search, and cooperation).
Fall breed Tests (HZP) are conducted each fall for the Drahthaar whelped prior to October 1st of the previous year. The HZP for the retrieving trained dog, again allows evaluation of the five qualities listed above, and adds several demanding retrieving tasks. Desire, obedience, and trainability are also important aspects of the is evaluation.
The ultimate field test for the fully trained Drahthaar is the Utility Test (VGP). This test allows evaluation in 26 categories, and 18 different hunting situations. This test is a comprehensive evaluation of the dog's performance. Obedience is emphasized in the VGP, however, natural ability also is evaluated. Handlers of the Deutsch-Drahthaar are encouraged to strive toward the successful completion of the VGP.
Many breeders of the German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) errantly refer to their breed as Drahthaar. In addition to significant differences in breed standard, the Wirehair has been bred without regulation or restriction since the late 1950's, but especially without the performance testing that proves the ability of the Drahthaar. After years of unrestricted breeding and no versatile performance standards the German Wirehaired Pointer has evolved into a distinctly separate breed.
All certified judges at GNA sanctioned events have successfully trained and handled a dog through all tests, and have served as an apprentice judge in a minimum of two VJP's, two HZP's, and two VGP's.
Many think the abilities of the VDD registered Drahthaar are phenomenal, but this should be expected when you consider the discipline, care and dedication which has gone into its development.