8th October 2018VDD Internationale Hegewald-Zuchtprüfung – 3rd-6th October 2018
The Hegewald is one of the biggest field events for gundogs in Europe, but is restricted purely to the Deutsch Drahthaar. I have attended the Hegewald almost every year since 2003 and competed in it numerous times. This year I took along my friend, Lloyd Birch who was keen to see what all the fuss is about.
At the heart of the ethos of the VDD (Verein Deutsch Drahthaar) Hegewald is the motto of the breed, ‘Leistung Zum Typ’ – which literally translates as ‘performance to the standard’. Junior dogs are assessed over 2 days of field and water tests and undergo a detailed conformation assessment by several judges.
The sheer scale of the Hegewald is breathtaking with almost 200 dogs across the 2 days split into almost 60 separate field test groups, each with 3 judges each with their own designated hunting grounds and sharing 6-8 high quality water test locations.
The dogs only have the opportunity to attend once in their lifetime, whilst a Junior (generally the year after they were born, provided it was before November). They are tested on hunting, pointing, shot steadiness, retrieving on land and water and following dragged game. There are strict pre-qualification rules with required scores in the VJP Puppy test, a water test qualifier, mandatory health tests (eg. Hip/Elbow/Shoulder X-rays etc.) and conformation requirements eg. must be docked.
It is the worldwide showcase for the Deutsch Drahthaar and one of the largest and most prestigious single breed field events in Europe. Winners at this level often sell for well in excess of 10,000 euro.
This year, the top spots went to:
- (171) Abbi II vom Spanger-Forst handled by Ulrich Pabst – 246 pts
- (31) Jack II vom Bandorfer-Forst handled by Dirk Kristen – 245 pts
- (162) Doro III v.d. Dachsweise handled by Glibert Erbs – 245 pts
- (121) Hanna II vom Bandorfer-Forst handled by Herbert Tretter – 243.5 pts
- (42) Castor III vom Spanger-Forst handled by Herman Hellwinkle – 243 pts
This is quite an impressive line up, Herman Hellwinkle is the breeder ‘Vom Spanger-Forst’ is a 3 times winner of the Hegewald (1986, 1999 and 2015). Herman owned Kimmax Bliss (I bought her mother from Herman originally). Bliss is the only UK bred dog ever to compete successfully at the Hegewald. After her Hegewald, I bought Bliss back and she is now lives with me and is now a UK/German show champion also.
Wilfried Steffens is the breeder ‘Vom Dachweise’ has won the Hegewald twice (2007 and 2016) and his lines are behind many of the top dogs in the UK.
Last but by no means least, Sven Bielefeld and his ‘Vom Bandorfer-Forst’ kennels, who himself won the Hegewald in 2004 has helped many people around the world find good quality Drahthaars, including my own Pia Vom Fuchsberg, who is currently Our Dogs Top Brood Bitch not only in GWP’s but all Gundogs.
This is a shining example of ‘fit for function’ that is backed by health and hunt qualifications as a requirement for breeding. The system is not without its faults and issues – but the spirit of what they are trying to maintain cannot be faulted.
As usual a great evening with hundreds of competitors and judges sat together celebrating and toasting all the winners – a rare sight for what is essentially a field competition.
You would not believe the time it takes to keep on top of the breed stats, so please do let me know if you think if I have misquoted your dog’s stats, misspelled or omitted anything.
Peter F McCullough
m: 07515 964424