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Performance: The Versatile Shorthair
"I'd rather be at Eukanuba!"

The German Shorthaired Pointer excels in AKC's "Companion Events" -- the events open to all breeds of dogs. GSPs have proven themselves with champions in Obedience (Obedience Title Champion -- OTCH), Agility (Master Agility Champion -- MACH), and Tracking (Champion Tracker -- CT), but can be found succeeding at all levels of competition. The companion events include Obedience, Rally, Agility, and Tracking. AKC also offers a non-titling temperament certification where a dog can earn it's Canine Good Citizen, or CGC, certificate.

The GSP is a high energy dog with excellent drive. Although hunting is the purpose and love of this breed, many GSPs and their owners have found fun and satisfaction in the teamwork, training, and competition in these competition areas. Many National Specialty Shows offer one or all of these events, and some local GSP clubs also will host obedience, rally, and agility trials.

Obedience is the oldest of the companion events (dating back to the 1930s) and has many levels to challenge the novice and expert alike.Obedience features three major levels of competition that will lead to titles, and several other non-regular classes that are well defined. The precision, control, and teamwork is something the GSP will learn to love, and you can find GSP/handler teams at many all-breed obedience trials.

Tracking was introduced by the AKC about a decade after obdience, and was actually a part of the obedience titling program in those early days. The AKC separated Tracking into an independent titling program, later adding the more advanced levels. In 1995 the most recent titles were added -- the Variable Surface Tracker (VST) and Champion Tracker (CT). Since that time there has been one GSP who has attained the VST and CT titles.

Agility remains the fastest growing dog sport and was introduced by the AKC in 1994. Dominated by the herding breeds, agility demands speed, nimbleness, and drive. The GSP can exhibit all of these characteristics, and has excelled in this sport. AKC Agility offers three types of titling programs. Standard Agility includes all of the contact obstacles (e.g. the dog walk, A-Frame, and seesaw), the weave poles, various jumps, tunnels, the tire, chute, and the table. A dog must exhibit control, speed, accuracy, and mastery of all of the agility obstacles to succeed in Standard Agility classes. Jumpers with Weaves focuses on jumps, weaves, and tunnels -- course times are much shorter and speed and control are emphasized. The newest offering -- Fifteen and Send Time, or "FAST", allows the handler/GSP team to accumulate points by successfully completing obstacles of their choice on the course, and completing "the send", where the dog must work at a distance from the handler, completing 2-3 obstacles at separations up to 20'. Agility is popular with GSPCA members, and is something to consider if you have a high drive GSP and limited availibility to hunting grounds.

Rally Obedience is the newest titling program offered by the AKC and has been offered at every National Specialty Show since it's inception. GSPs excel in this form of obedience where handler/GSP teams negotiate a series of stations where traditional (and some non-traditional) obedience exercises must be performed. The handler can talk to the dog as they negotiate this course -- this is an excellent intoduction to classic obedience, but has also formed into a stand alone sport that many consider their primary activity with the GSP. Regardless, it certainly is a sport to consider trying!

Jeri Fishack
Watertown, NY

Eleanor Campbell
Ambler, Pa

June Johnston
Nashville, TN

David Nauer
Colorado Springs, CO


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