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Interview with Catrinel Pauna & Petru Didi Antonovici (I)

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For some deliveries we are going to be able to know the work of Catrine Pauna and Petru Didi Antonovici as breeders, their vision of the versatile dog and in special of the Deutsch Kurzhaar.

Breeder Presentation

[PP] In the Gsp world, tell us please, who are Catrinel Pauna and Petru Didi Antonovici?

[CD] In 1995 I (Catrinel) had my first German Shorthaired Pointer coming from old Romanian lines. Brus was bought mainly as a family dog, but at the age of 1 year he participated into his first dog show and we had a surprise when he was placed 1st in a large class of junior males. This was the moment when I started to like this and I continued. Even if for me Brus was the best dog in the world, I realized that he was not good enough compared to the GSPs outside Romania. Therefore, in 2000, due to the kindness of Karin Stramann, the breeder of Hege-Haus, Irbis vom Hege-Haus arrived in Romania. It was a major moment for the Romanian GSP. He was the first German import coming from such a famous kennel and his owner was a girl of only 20 years old. Irbis brought me many satisfactions over the years, having an impressive record and by producing puppies with improved hunting qualities. He was even used for breeding by a Spanish breeder, Paco Guzman of Valcreole. Unfortunately Irbis died at the age of 6 years old and we haven’t been able to keep any son of daughter of him. Since then I realized that the life of dogs is very fragile.

In 2004, I met Petru Didi Antonovici, when he bought from me Karpaten Irbis Anduril, a son of Irbis and Tara, bred by me. That was the moment when we met for the first time.

In 2007, there was a change in my personal life that brought Petru Didi Antonovici and I together. Didi came with a vast hunting experience and also with experience with hunting dogs. Didi had his first GSP in 1969 and since then he had various dogs from different hunting breeds. Didi comes from a family with many generations of hunters. His grandfather was the Jagermeister of the Romanian Royal House and his father was a hunter too. He participated at hunting since he was a little boy.
We joint or forces and knowledge and we started breeding together.

[PP] Your Kennel Name, Von den Donau Wirbeln, how did you choose it?

[CD] Each of us had his own affix. I had “Karpaten Irbis” and Didi had “De Vatra Dornei”. We registered “von den Donau-Wirbeln” together. “Donau” is the Danube ( , a major European river that originates from the Black Forrest in Germany and flows across Europe, in the end emptying in the Black Sea, in Romania. So it’s connected to the country of origin of the GSP and also to the country we live in. “Wirbeln” means “whirls/swirls”, so the “Whirls of Danube” represent very well the blood and temperament of our dogs.

[PP] Are you a Hunter? Why?

[CD] We are both hunters. In Didi’s family all men were hunters (grandfather, father, uncle, cousin). He was raised with hunting stories, between hunters and he learnt about shotguns and rifles and ammunition since he was a boy. At the first hunts he was carrying his father’s hunting bag. That was a tradition and also the initiation ritual into the hunting world. I (Catrinel) became a hunter a few years ago. We both like traditional hunting and we prefer old shotguns. My shotgun is an old French St. Etienne with Damascus barrels, while Didi has several classic shotguns and rifles, his favorite being a Johan Peter Drilling.

[PP] You became a Gsp dog trainer. Why?

[CD] We became trainers as we needed to train our dogs for hunting. We believe that every hunter that owns a hunting dog should work with his own dog in order to create a great hunting team. We will write more about, at one of the next questions, where we will detail more this issue.

[PP] You became a Gsp work judge. Why?

[CD] Petru Didi is an international working judge with a various expertise for most hunting breeds Becoming a working judge is the natural way of evolution. In Germany most trainers are also judges. This can only happen after years of experience in hunting and training. Over the years he owned, trained and hunted with many hunting breeds. All this experience is very useful and can only help when dealing with a temperamental dog as the Hege-Haus bloodline GSP that we are breeding and owning. Petru Didi always had GSP, but over the years he owned other breeds as Airedale Terrier, Transylvanian Scenthound, Jagd Terrier, English Pointer, English Setter, Hannoverscher Schweißhund and Slovakian Hound. For the past 10 years he only had GSP.

[PP] Why do you breed Gsp´s?

[CD] From our point of view, the Deutsch Kurzhaar is most versatile and useful hunting dog breed. Of course we may be subjective, but everyone has the right to his own opinions and tastes. The Deutsch Kurzhaar is a very beautiful dog, hardworking, lovely companion, easy to care, intelligent, quick learning. It is a noble and confident dog. As active as it can be in the hunting ground, as pleasant and calm is at home as a family dog. Once a DK owner, you will always want to have DK.

[PP] Your name is worldwide well known, what do you think the reason is?

[CD] I believe that is only one reason: a lot of work combined with many years of active presence in the GSP world.

The Breed

[PP] Suiving Klaus Kiefer: Noble, multipurpose, reliable, easy to care. In your opinion, what significance have thouse expressions?

[CD] The words of Mr. Claus Kiefer are the best description in only a few words about the breed. There is nothing more to add to the words of a great specialist of the breed.

[PP] In Europe, people breed following those indications?

[CD] In the countries where the German selection is applied, yes. Outside this area, only a small percentage of breeders follow all these. Especially the versatility suffers in countries where the GSP became a specialist instead of a versatile dog.

[PP] How do you see the Gsp stock across Europe?

[CD] In our opinion, Germany and Austria are doing the right thing in what it concerns the selection and their breeding stock.

[PP] Do you have a formed opinion over Gsp´s specialisation in the southern european countries? What do you think about it?

[Didi] Many southern European countries, such as Spain, France, Italy have their own breeds. Why haven’t they developed their own breeds in the desired direction (field-trial), instead of trying to change the breeds created by other countries for other tasks? The English Pointers, Setters and the DK were specialized by those countries for field trial.

[Catrinel] The Germans created the DK as a versatile breed. The conformation of DK should enable the dog work in a constant manner over the hunting day, should help him enter in dense cover, the deep wide chest, long muzzle, strong back, and not only these, are the attributes of a versatile hunting dog. The Germans don’t want a dog that can run as fast as possible for 15 minutes and then rest in the car for the next days. The conformation of the field-trial dogs is different and after years of experience you can tell if this is a field-trial dog coming from lines other than German. This is just my own opinion and everyone is free to breed the type of dog they prefer.

[PP] Do you explains hunters what specialisation means?

[CD] We cannot tell the hunter about specialization. They would laugh in our face. The hunter needs an all-rounder dog that can hunt all day, a dog that can adapt to all hunting scenarios. All hunters have their own pride and the dog is a continuation of that. A dog that solves all hunting “puzzles” will be the pride of the hunter, while a dog that won’t work will make him feel ashamed when hunting together with his hunting friends. Many times when hunting with our dogs, we had to recover the ducks shot over the water by hunters whose dogs didn’t want to enter the water and retrieve them. Recently one of our friends who has 2 dogs from us, was called by his hunting friends while he was at home to join them hunting and retrieve all the 6 shot ducks they couldn’t recover. For a hunter is very frustrating not to be able to recover the shot birds from water. Unfortunately the tests in some countries are limited only to the field work, without any water work or tracking. We believe that in time there are problems when many generations of dogs are bred without any water work requirements.

[PP] Does exist some kind of influences between EU countries refering the Gsp stock?

[CD] We believe that there isn’t a massive influence of some countries over others; each country manages the breeding stock using their own selection. But we believe that there are breeders whose breeding is influenced by the selection and breeding stock of certain countries.

[PP] How do you see the Gsp stock in Italy and the old yugoslavian republics?

[CD] In these countries we see an obvious orientation towards the field trial.

[PP] Does the breed converge or diverge in thouse countries comparing them with the central european countries? Is it good for the Gsp stock?

[CD] It diverges and from our point of view is not good for the breed.

The Ethology

[PP] What means “die Wesenfestigkeit” for you?

[CD] “Die Wesensfestigkeit” is a component that makes the DK complete. A correctly built DK is not accomplished if he misses this.

[PP] It´s important? Why?

[CD] Of course is important, as this is a trait of the DK required by the standard. The breed standard doesn’t refer only to the exterior of the dog, but also to this component that makes the dog whole.

[PP] What means “multipurpouse” for you, in a deep sense?

[CD] We believe that a Deustch Kurzhaar should work in field, water and forest. He should be able to track big wounded game by blood track, he should be able to find and retrieve the small lost game. More than that, a Deutsch Kurzhaar should also be able to catch and kill furred predators from hunting grounds, such as wild cats and foxes that do damages among small game. Hunting with a good hunting dog is beneficial as no shot game is lost. The Deutsch Kurzhaar should also be the everyday partner of the hunter and part of the family. He is a lovely companion and in the same time he can protect his territory (of course, not as well as a specialized protecting dog). Unfortunately many hunters don’t have time for their dogs and they only take them hunting a few times every year and then they say they are disappointed by the dog. However this is not the dog’s fault, it’s the hunter’s as the dog must be kept in good condition year-long and not just only when we decide we need him. You cannot expect wonders from a dog locked in the kennel almost all year. Regarding the versatility, there is one more important thing that also has some influence on the dog’s capacity. The breed standard allows practically 4 major colors: brown and white, black and white, solid brown and solid black. The color also has an impact on the dog’s working, as a solid black dog will have problems adapting and hunting in a very hot country where his color would disadvantage him as he would become hot much quicker than a white dog. So the breed colors allow the DK to be used as a hunting dog everywhere, from the cold Nordic countries to the hot southern countries. From our point of view, this is also part of the DK’s versatility and adaptility, as this breed can satisfy the needs of the hunters worldwide.

[PP] How important is Inteligence for the Gsp stock?

[CD] The intelligence of the dog is not something that can be quantified relative to the breed standard. But in the same time is a very important quality for the complex hunting situations in which a DK may find himself. The intelligence of a hunting dog can determine him take quick and correct decisions in the management of that hunting situation. We appreciate the intelligence of a hunting dog especially when he deals with circumstances he has never met before. Intelligence combined with experience has a major impact on dog’s decisions during hunting.

[PP] In your opinión, does exist a close relationship between multipurpouse and inteligence?

[CD] There is an indestructible relation between intelligence and versatility.

[PP] Gsp´s inteligence, it´s posible to work it up by training the dogs?

[CD] By training the dog, the dog gains experience. Intelligence is a native trait, but the more experienced is the dog, the better he knows how to use his intelligence.

[PP] Gsp´s with low level of “Wesenfestigkeit” do be used for breeding? What about with shy dogs, nervious or too dominant?

[CD] We believe that is not right to use for breeding such dogs as stated above.

[PP]In Spain, many hunters thing that Gsp´s are dangerous, too aggressive to other dogs or persons, Do you agreed?

[CD] We believe that there are exceptions inside the breed, but in general we cannot speak about aggressively towards other dogs or people. But let’s not forget that in Germany for over 100 years these dogs must kill foxes or cats. When this happens for so many generations, it’s normal to have some aggressiveness inside the breed.