"von Argos"
a registered VDD kennel 
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Must I test my DD?

     You donít have to --- but it is the testing and evaluations for more than 100 years that have been instrumental in creating the great versatility and the strong genepool of this breed.  By testing your dog, you will contribute information that profits all DD breeders while you train your dog at the same time.  The best way to prepare is to join your VDD Chapter and attend training days. You should also consider becoming a member of NAVHDA and attending NAVHDA training days as well.  There are some differences in  these two testing systems (read the manuals!!) but you will meet great people who share your priorities in both organizations and your dog will be better trained---you will become a better trainer.  A trained dog is simply nicer to live with and a more enjoyable hunting companion-which is the whole point!!  The levels of testing are gradual and logical and many new owners have done very well (one of our first time owners earned an HZP-192, an outstanding score!!). VDD breeders rely on owner's reports from testing and hunting because it provides feedback/information for future breeding.  The VDD is a breeding community with the goals of providing quality to dogs to serious hunters and identifying the best possible breeding stock for the future. Dogs that can make positive contributions to the breeding pool should be fully tested and evaluated so they can be qualified for breeding.  JGHV testing is not a competition but rather the measuring of a dog against a standard of performance. In this system, there are no champions-only a very small percent even get close to a maximum score.  Typically, owners with dogs that have scored in the "good to very good" range are more than happy with the abilities of their DD.  We enjoy these dogs because over the decades breeders and hunters have tested their dogs and qualified them for breeding.  While DD are bred to be hunting dogs, the VDD is dependent on owners testing their dogs and qualifying their dogs so that they may be considered for the breeding pool.  It is always a loss for any breed when great pups are never heard from again. 

Why track rabbits?  Why must dogs retrieve fox?
     The reason that JGHV testing includes tracking wild rabbits or hare is to evaluate a dog's ability and persistence while tracking live and especially wounded game.  The DD is used for hunting hare in Germany, perhaps more than here.  Tracking hare for 100's of yards (sometimes 1000 yds or more) over varying cover (grass, bare ground, brush lots, creek bed, etc)  is simply more difficult than tracking a pheasant 50 yards through short  cover.  Testing dogs under more difficult conditions helps identify those with superior talent. Many owners may never hunt their dogs on rabbit/hare-indeed some may use their dogs to hunt just birds or track big game.  But this testing is about maintaining ability and mental stability in the breed not just hunting what some owners may care about.  The same is true for retrieving fox during the VGP (the two day utility test).  The aim of the VDD and the result of JGHV testing is to maintain the breed as a versatile breed with all the ability and instincts (and physical ability!!), no matter what requirements any one hunter may have of a dog.  This testing does require a bit more - but it has resulted in more - a very large number of excellent hunting dogs and a strong breeding pool.  
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