The History of the German Shorthaired Pointer Club

One must go back, in fact, to 1949 to find the first beginnings of the Club. It was in that year that the following advertisement appeared in a dog paper:-

Please will Mr. Sterne who owns a German Shorthaired Pointer contact Mr. Vickers

Mr G SterneMr. Sterne did as requested and the two arranged to meet at Waterloo Station. After waiting for some time, Mr. Sterne was about to give up when he caught sight of a figure in the distance, accompanied by a German Shorthaired Pointer, making for the exit. A hurried chase, a hasty “Mr. Vickers? – I’m Sterne”, and the three dashed down the platform, boarding the train as it began to move.

Arriving at Manor Farm, Longsutton, they soon discussed the possibility of forming a specialist club. By the time Mr. Vickers’ brief visit was over, a decision was reached, a specialist club would be formed.

An immense amount of preliminary work had to be done. Dogs had to be traced in all parts of the British Isles. Some fifty adult German Shorthaired Pointer dogs and bitches were located.

On 20th June 1951 a letter was sent to those owners known to be interested in the formation of a specialist club, suggesting a meeting at the Charing Cross Hotel on Thursday, 26th July, 1951 at 3pm.

Seventeen enthusiasts attended the meeting:- Mr. & Mrs. G.C. Sterne, G.E. Vickers, H. Branford, J. Vaughan, R. Wick, C. Lake, Miss M. Lake, Col. P.F. Palmer, J. Dub, Mrs. M. Brown, Major R. Hepton, Major & Mrs. M. Meredith·Hardy, Mrs. W. Langley, Miss Frost and C. Vickers. They unanimously decided to form a Specialist Club to promote, foster and protect the breeding and use of this dual purpose gundog in the British Isles and to organize field trials for the breed. After considerable effort and much correspondence, the Kennel Club granted the application to form a specialist club under the name “German Shorthaired Pointer Club”. Geoffrey Sterne was elected the first President of the Club. Mr. G. Vickers became the first Club Secretary, and Mrs. S.M. Middleton was one of those elected along with a committee of six, at the first Annual General Meeting held on 10th July 1952.

1st GSPC Event 1952Arising out of a decision taken at that first AGM an ‘At Home’ was held at the Army School of Health, Ashvale, Aldershot, by kind permission of Major General (then Col) P F Palmer. On 23rd August 1952. Thirty one dogs were divided into three groups and judged for conformation by Major N A Johnson and Mr J Dub. Results: Dogs. 1st Mr J Gassman’s Blitz of Longsutton. 2nd Mrs V Warne’s Saltus v.d. Forst Brickwedde. 3rd Mr & Mrs G C Sterne’s Arko v Heidfield. Bitches: Equal 1st Maj N A Johnson’s Diva v.d. Langen Heide and Mr C Vicker’s Afra v.d. Brille. 3rd Dr B T Halliwell’s Astra v d Bockelheide. Juniors: 1st Major P T Simmond’s Berka v Eisborn.

1st Test Trial 1953This ‘At Home’ was followed by a Test Trial and Rally at Ashvale on 26th September 1953 at which there were four categories for the 27 dogs entered. Results: Dog, Bitch and Puppy Conformation, Dog, Blitz of Longsutton. Bitch, Lt Col Reynold’s Inge of Bengarth. Puppy, Air Vice Marshall (then Sqdn Ldr) D W Atkinson’s Nevern Jasper. Handler’s Control, Blitz of Longsutton, Test Trial, Blitz of Longsutton tied with Arko v Heidfield.

It was in 1953 that Mr & Mrs Sterne made a tour from their home in Longsutton to as far as Scotland, covering 1,680 miles in 13 days and seeing 18 dogs plus an assortment of owners , one of whom thought he had an English Pointer and could not understand where the other half of the dog’s tail had got to! (In 1962 a man registered his Weimaraner as a German Shorthaired Pointer and wondered why the other German Shorthaired Pointer had spots).

Arising out of the many questions asked about training, conformation and breeding of German Shorthaired Pointers, the first number of ‘The German Shorthaired Pointer – Retriever News’ was published in January 1954, and continued to be published three times a year until the autumn of 1958. This publication was followed by Newsletters and from 1961 to 2008 a Year Book.

Blitz of LongsuttonOn the 4th September, 1954 the first Club Field Trial was held at Brandsby Hall, Yorks. There were 21 entries. Results: Test Trial: 1st Nevern Jasper; 2nd Blitz of Longsutton; 3rd Max of Phillimore; Reserve Nevern Aurora. Handler’s Control: Blitz of Longsutton. Conformation: Dog, Blitz of Longsutton; Bitch, Mrs Godby’s Weedonbrook Elizabeth. Puppy, Mr H G Pearson Adam’s Rindy of Brandsby.

German Shorthaired Pointers made their first appearance at Crufts in 1953 when seven pioneers entered the two classes available to them and came away with seven awards. By 1954 two classes – Novice Dog or Bitch and Open Dog or Bitch – were available for German Shorthaired Pointers, the breed having gained Kennel Club recognition. German Shorthaired Pointers were the first breed of gundogs to be added to the classification since 14th November 1912 when the Kennel Club agreed to give Golden (or Yellow) Retrievers a separate classification.

Nevern JasperThe first time the breed had a separate classification was at the Ladies Kennel Association on 3rd November 1954, where there were two classes. Results: Puppy, Mr & Mrs G C Stern’s Dinah of Locjetive; Mixed Open Class, 1st Mr C I Rooke’s Nevern Bruno; 2nd Nevern Jasper; 3rd Mr W K Simpson’s Nevern Jaegerin Heidie.

Mr W SimpsonEarly in 1954, Mr Vickers, who had been very active as Club Secretary, had to resign owing to ill health. He was succeeded by Mr W K Simpson who had been acting as Club Registrar. He was elected Club Hon Secretary at the AGM on 13th May, 1954 which post he held until February 1960 when he was posted overseas. On his return from overseas he became a member of the Management Committee in 1964 and again Hon Secretary in 1968 until his retirement in 1978. In 1960 Mr A W Mongor took on the post of Hon Secretary. He was succeeded by Mr D Roberts and then Miss Joan Hyde (later Mrs Dickinson). The Secretaries following on from Mr W K Simpson were. Mr Colin Bates, 1978. Mrs Val Grant, Mr Humphrey Greenwood, Mrs Catherine Sellin, Mrs Caroline Kenny and is now held by Mr Ian Halbert.

Mr Meredith HardyFrom the early years, Mr Michael Meredith Hardy, who was the owner of the imported German Shorthaired Pointer dog Don of Kieve, has acted as Legal Advisor to the Club until his death in 2012.

The Club was granted Show Championship status in 1955 and four sets of challenge certificates were allocated. In 1963 a further milestone was reached when the Kennel Club allocated challenge certificates to the Club for a breed specialist championship show.

This continued to be the Club annual event until 1970 when a Club Open Show was added to the list. In 1968 and 1975 the German Shorthaired Pointer was Best of Breed and Gundog Group Winner at Crufts Championship Show.

Patrick of Malahide
Wittekind Igor
The first full scale field trial was held at Hailes Castle on 1st October 1955, by kind permission of Mr M W Brander. The Senior Stake was won by Nevern Jasper and the Junior Stake by Mr W Macdonald’s Ross of Dunboyne.

From the outset the aim of the Club was Kennel Club approval of, and acceptance of, a field trial schedule which provided for all-round work in the categories of hunt, point and retrieve.

On the 3rd March 1958 the Field Trials Committee of the Kennel Club agreed to grant the Club’s application for recognition of their trials to enable show dogs which had won challenge certificates to obtain the necessary qualification for the title of champion.

By now the breed was gaining in popularity, field work was improving, Club field trials were being run under Kennel Club rules, German Shorthaired Pointers were also running in Pointer and Setter trials with success.

In August 1957, Mr M W Brander won first and second place in the Scottish Field Trial Association Pointer and Setter Trials at Yester with his German Shorthaired Pointer bitches Ch Dunpender Weedonbrook Werra and Dunpender Fredrika, the first time that any German Shorthaired Pointers had won in the field in the U.K. Other German Shorthaired Pointers which won in Pointer and Setter trials were: Ch Nevern Jasper, Ch Nevern Jagdmaedchen, Ch Everserve Rolf, Ch Morsdax Morning Mist and Ch Larberry Link. In 1959 a German Shorthaired Pointer Senta of Fallowes Ireland’s supreme Champion in the first Pointer Setter International Field Trial held there.

Application for the title of Field Trial Champion for German Shorthaired Pointer was made in the spring of 1961. On 29th May 1962 the Kennel Club granted the title of Field Trial Champion to German Shorthaired Pointers. This meant from then on that German Shorthaired Pointers could compete only in field trials, the schedule of which provides for all-round work in the categories of hunt, point and retrieve.

This recognition of the German Shorthaired Pointer as a gundog in its own right represented the fulfillment of the policy and aims of the breed club since its inception in 1951. This had been achieved in just over ten years continuous effort, by a small group of dedicated members of the Field Trial and Management Committee, but their task was not completed until in 1973, the Kennel Club accepted for inclusion in the official Kennel Club Field Trial Rules the Field Trial Regulation and Guide for Judges for breeds which hunt, point and retrieve, compiled by the Club.

1963 was a significant year for the Club. Interest in the breed was increasing and Club membership growing. This resulted in a demand for centres of activity in various parts of the country. Four Club Branches were established, providing opportunities for members to learn how to train their dogs and to compete in working tests and field trials organised by these branches.

Today these facilities are still being provided by the Club Branches and Groups in various parts of the country. In the main these centres depend on the enthusiasm and much hard work of the few dedicated members. We now have 8 Branches and Groups.

Mrs Iris SimpsonIn view of the increase in the number of members and dogs a new post was created in 1964, that of Membership Secretary and Registrar to deal with enrolment of members and to keep details of the registered German Shorthaired Pointers and their pedigrees. A great deal of work on the register of dogs was carried out by Miss J V Robinson while she was Membership Secretary until 1966. From then on this post has been filled by Mrs Iris Simpson then Mrs Maureen Court took over this position when Mrs Iris Simpson retired.

In 1983 The German Shorthaired Pointer Club successfully introduced Spring Pointing Tests which have steadily grown in popularity. They are still run annually, during the period from mid March to the first week in May when partridges have paired up prior to nesting.

Never before had the Top Stud Dog and Top Brood Bitch of all breeds been, in the same year, of the same breed and, for that matter, ‘husband and wife’. In the past, two Weimaraners have taken these awards, but in different years, however, in 1996 Top Stud Dog was one German Shorthaired Pointer, Ch Inchmarlo Ragot Mai, and Top Brood Bitch another, Sh Ch Hillanhi Laith.

Ch Inchmarlo Ragot MaiDuring 1996, Ch Inchmarlo Ragot Mai had no less than ten of his progeny win CCs: Ch Inchmarlo Kitiara, Sh Ch Isara Kurzhaar Bootlegger, Sh Ch Hillanhi Magdalene, Ch Hillanhi Sandor, Sh Ch Hillanhi Heisen, Sh Ch Hillanhi Hertana with Magregor, Sh Ch Hillanhi Tjabo (Top GSP 1995), Ch Redmires Summer Skye, Sh Ch Redmires Star Attraction and Redmires Starlight Cascade. Several more of the year’s winners, including Playboy, are his grandchildren.

Sh Ch Hillanhi LaithA bitch whom is unarguably listed as one of Britain’s most successful brood bitches is Jean Bates’ homebred German Shorthaired Pointer, Sh Ch Hillanhi Laith, dam in five litters of nine titleholders and four other CC winners.

Laith was top brood bitch in GSPs each year from 1990 to 1996. Overall she was second in 1990, tenth in 1993, fourth in 1994 and third in 1995. During 1996, six of her progeny won CCs – Sh Ch Hillanhi Heldin, Sh Ch Hillanhi Brown Velvet, Sh Ch Hillanhi Tjabo, Sh Ch Hillanhi Hertana, Sh Ch Hillanhi Heisen and Ch Hillanhi Sandor.

Over the years the Club was running an increasing number of field trials for German Shorthaired Pointers and other breeds which hunt, point and retrieve. The aim of the Club has been to prevent any split between show and working strains by encouraging members to enter their dogs in both shows and trials and by this means to ensure that we continue to have a breed which commands attention both on the bench and in the field. This has been achieved with nine dogs gaining Dual Champion Status.

The foregoing has been looking back over the past sixty four years and to the events which brought recognition for the German Shorthaired Pointer and added the ‘Hunt, Point, Retrieve’ category to the Kennel Club Gundog Groups.

But now the Club must look forward. What the coming years may hold for the Club and the breed is as yet unknown, but may the same courage and enthusiasm of those who fought the early battles for the establishment and recognition of the German Shorthaired Pointer in this country prevail in the future.