Hunting potential of the pointing dogs based on the junior hunting tests in Poland
Keywords:gun dog, working dog, pointer, setter, hunting association
AbstractJunior hunting tests evaluate the innate predispositions of the young dogs for hunting. Junior pointing dogs (<2 years old) are evaluated in six competitions: scent, pointing, searching, speed, swimming and obedience. The aim of this study was to analyse the influence of selected factors on performance of the young individuals. Analysis was based on the results of the junior hunting tests of the pointing dog collected over years 2007-2015 by the Polish Hunting Association. The database included 2107 individuals belonging to 26 breeds, such as German shorthaired pointer, Weimaraner, Irish setter, German wirehaired pointer, and Gordon setter. A nonparametric analysis of variance was performed to determine impact of age, sex and breed on dogs’ performance. Spearman's correlation was carried out to estimate associations between traits. Breed influenced (P <0.01) the total score as well as individual categories. The best performing pointing dogs were German shorthaired (87.74 points) and wirehaired pointer (86.78 points). The poorest results were achieved by English (64.23 points) and Irish setters (69.82 points). Sex affected the total score, speed (P<0.05) and swimming (P<0.01); the dogs performed better than bitches. Age did not have a significant impact on the results (P>0.05) except from swimming (P <0.01); older dogs produced higher scores. The most correlated categories were scent and pointing (0.754) as well as searching and speed (0.750). The data characterize the current status of the hunting potential of different breeds of pointing dogs in Poland and can be used as a tool in further breeding and training programs.