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History of the GWP

The History of the GWP as a breed

In the beginning of 19th Century after the Hunting Law in Germany opened hunting to more than just a privileged few, the Drahthaar was created from a mixture of dogs.

Realising a new German breed was required the breeds split into long-haired, short-haired and wire-haired. The Griffon and Stickelhaar had the best coats but lacked in performance so poodles and pointers were introduced.

In 1873 Eduard Korthal started breeding hunting dogs and founded the Griffon Club in 1883. Any dog that did not come up to standard was PTS. However, his breeding is credited for the present German Wirehaired Pointer.

In 1902 in Berlin the German Wirehaired Pointer group was formed and by 1928 the German Kartell recognised the German Wirehaired Pointer as a breed. 

In 1920 the breed arrived in America. The German Drahthaar Club of America was formed, to become AKC Championship level in 1959 as the German Wirehaired Pointer. 

In 1959 Holland saw the founding of the breed, only coming to fore in 1963.

The GWP in the UK

The first German Wirehaired Pointer to be KC Registered was imported into the UK from Germany in 1955. However, breeding was a problem due to a lack of registered dogs so this bitch was mated with a well-bred German Shorthaired Pointer.

By 1972 there was only one Registered GWP related to the 1955 dog, called Chang, and although he had GSP in his lineage he looked and acted as a GWP. So in 1974 a pair of litter mate GWPs were imported and this pair were the ancestors of all black and white registered Pedigree GWP in the UK. 

In 1975 a trio of GWP were imported from Holland and formed the Wittekind line. Also in 1975 a GWP bitch was imported and started the Matraver line. 

By 1976 there were nine registered GWPs in the UK and Major George Wilkinson started an enthusiasts group at Hindhead called the GWP Club; after 5 years of perseverance it was recognised by the Kennel Club of GB in 1981. 

  • In 1982 an American dog was imported to start the Tickencote line.
  • In 1983 a Dutch import Bemmeraue-Wittekind arrived.
  • In 1984 an American import started the Bareve line.
  • In 1985 two unrelated dogs arrived from Germany.
  • In 1989 two unrelated dogs also arrived from Germany.

During this period there was an expensive nine-month quarantine period, so it required great skill to choose a dog and to mate it to get the desired results. It was decided early on that good temperament was very important, a well proportioned dog with the required skill for hunting, consideration to the coat and to aim for a dog fit for purpose which was to hunt in all terrain in all weathers. The gene pool was quite small so the same dog was often seen on a generation pedigree.

German and Dutch breeding advisory groups were very strict in judging, controlling and registering their breeds so it was determined that UK GWPs would have brains and beauty.