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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blood tracking dogs in the press

Today I have come across two articles on the use of blood tracking dogs.

The first one is Dogs on the Trail by P.J. Reilly, Woods and Waters was posted today click here. It covers recent developments regarding possible legalization of blood tracking in Pennsylvania. Andy Bensing, a good friend of ours and a driving force behind Deer Recovery of Pennsylvania,  is featured in the article.

And Bensing and his wirehaired dachshund Eibe

The second article comes from the current issue of North American Whitetail and was written by Tracy Breen - The Scent of a Whitetail. It can be viewed click here. I am glad to see that John Engelken featured in the article has a book coming up soon "Tracking Monsters". It can be preordered from his website The picture comes from the article and shows John's bloodhound Jesse.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blood tracking is coming to Iowa!

So far this summer has been like no other summer that I remember. Hot, hot, hot! When it comes to the weather the heat has been sweltering, day after day. These conditions are not conducive to blood tracking training, and even some early mornings and late evening are plainly too hot and humid to do any training at all.

But enough about the weather. This summer has been also hot in terms of progress being made towards the legalization of blood tracking in several important deer hunting states. It looks like last week there was a breakthrough in Iowa and blood tracking will be becoming legal there in 2011.

Last Thursday two United Blood Trackers members Brian Hibbs and Patt McCaffrey did a presentation to the Iowa Natural Resource Commission  to support the leashed dog tracking petition that they had submitted earlier. The response was very positive, and the NRC Board voted unanimously to move forward with the rulemaking process. This is a huge step forward. Congratulations to Brian and Pat as it looks like their hard work and commitment are paying off.

We also wish good luck to Brian whose wirehaired dachshund Scout is expecting and will be whelping soon. For more  information about legalization of blood tracking in Iowa or Scout's puppies contact Brian directly at cell 319-430-8065 or

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Call for hunters' action in Pennsylvania

From Andy Bensing of Deer Recovery of PA:

On June 29th, 2010 Pennsylvania Game Commissioners officially supported House Bill 2526 that would amend the Game and Wildlife Code (Title 34) to legalize the use of leashed blood tracking dogs to recover lawfully harvested or lawfully wounded white-tailed deer. Now Pennsylvania hunters need to contact the Chairmen of the Game & Fisheries Committees in Harrisburg: Representative Ed Staback  and Senator Richard Alloway

Tell them you want blood tracking dogs legalized in Pennsylvania!

Blood tracking becomes legal in Idaho!

According to the 2010 Big Game Hunting Rules posted click here it is now legal to use blood tracking dogs. The actual text says on page 68: "The use of one blood-trailing dog controlled by leash during lawful hunting hours and within 72 hours of hitting a big game animal is allowed to track wounded animals and aid in recovery. A hound hunter permit is not required."

A big thank you to Scott Sorenson for the info. This great news is a cause for celebration in Idaho! Now hunters will be able to legally use dogs to help them recover wounded big game.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blood tracking puppies at different stages of development

Not much blood tracking is going on, except for puppy training and conditioning. Our two litters of puppies are around eight weeks old, and their progress and development is covered by our "other" blog at

At eight weeks puppies require a lot of attention. They are fully independent of their moms, and they need to be exposed to other dogs. At every meal we bring 2-3 puppies to our kitchen, where we also have two adult puppy-friendly dogs. Right now puppies are learning very rapidly, and our challenge is to provide enriched and stimulating environment. This is why this blog does not get updated as often as it used to be - these days we spend a lot of time with the pups.

Yesterday we had visitors - Beth and Gentian Shero, who brought their two wires Mariel and Mae with them. Our pups have not been vaccinated yet so we did not let them to have contact with Mariel and Mae, but they enjoyed playing with Beth and Gentian.

Beth with puppies

Then we sat outside in the shade and talked while pups explored the surroundings. It was good to see Mae, and especially Mariel, who was bred to our Billy on June 8. With her belly getting rounder she is showing definite signs of pregnancy, and she should be whelping in three and a half weeks. To learn more about Mariel contact Beth at or go to

Pregnant Mariel

On Monday, July 12, another batch of puppies was started. Susie Gardner of Buckeye Outfitters of Ohio brought her Greta (Melodie v Moosbach-Zuzelek) for breeding to Joeri. Greta, who is three years old, has turned out to be an outstanding tracking dog. We are happy to see her being bred and having a chance to pass her talent to the next generation of trackers. To get more info on her search this blog for Greta. You can contact Susie about upcoming puppies at 330-260-7725, but I think that her waiting list might be full.

 Great and Joeri while tied

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dead On! Deer Anatomy and Shot Placement for Bow and Gun Hunters. Tracking Techniques for Wounded Whitetails.

John's new book arrived today from the printer! We both put a lot of work into this project, so this is a good day, when we can finally relax and open a bottle of wine to celebrate. We created a new website for the book at, where more information is posted. You can purchase the book there, and for a limited time we are going to pay for shipment. Within next few weeks the book will be available on, but until then we will be selling it by ourselves, just like we have been selling John's first book Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer.

What is a difference between the first and second book? There is a big difference, and for the explanation go to This book is written for hunters who who do not have the time or the interest to develop a tracking dog for themselves. They simply need information useful for killing deer quickly, cleanly and humanely, and they need to know the best tactics for finding deer on their own if complications do arise.

If you like the book or have suggestions how to improve it, please leave you comments at We will really appreciate it. If you are an outdoor writer,  journalist or blogger and would like to review the book, we will be happy to send you a complimentary copy. Just e-mail me at

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wirehaired dachshund puppies bred for blood tracking

It looks like there is not going to be a shortage of wirehaired dachshunds bred out of European hunting bloodlines. In this post we are announcing two litters, but there will be at least two more.

1. First litter has been bred by Gentian and Beth Shero, who live in Poughkeepsie, NY. Those who read this blog on regular basis must be familiar with Beth and Gentian, both Deer Search members and DEC licensed deer trackers. They own two females, sisters, who have been bred by Dale Clifford, out of a  Jessie von Moosbach-Zuzelek aka Sabrina. According to my records Sabrina won the Deer Search's blood tracking competition three times. She was bred to Henri Anons imported and owned by Duane Bush, and this breeding produced Mariel and Mae Von Munterkeit. on June 8 Mariel was bred to our Billy. You can read about Billy at

This litter should produce really nice looking and talented blood tracking prospects. Puppies are expected around August 9. If you are interested, contact Gentian and Beth directly at For more information about Mariel go to Beth and Gentian's website at The below picture of Mariel was taken on June 20 at the NATC Zuchtschau, where she received a "very good" rating.

2. The second litter is expected by Brian Hibbs from Iowa. His female Scout (Kenwood Wurzel Hessenjaeger x Nimara von Eikebrook) was bred to FC Attila von Moosbach-Zuzelek "Bear". Bear was bred by us and is owned by Henry Holt from Illinois. You can read about Bear (who is a very accomplished dog and an older brother to Billy) at Below is Scout's picture.

For information about this litter contact Brian directly at cell 319-430-8065 or

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Shorthaired wirehaired" dachshunds without beards - use them or lose them?

This is the comment under my post

I'm very suprised you don't breed for the DTK breeding policies. So you don't breed for the FCI breeding policies too. And as you know, dachshunds are an original germann breed and the DTK establishs the standard for this breed. If you don't breed for this rules, you don't breed dachshunds!

If you tell the people, that a wirehair that looks like a smooth would be a very good match for bitches with fuller, softer coat, you know nothing about genetics.

If it would be so easy, the wirehairs would have no problems with the hair. It would be interesting to see the result: Albert Einstein and Marylin Monroe, smile.

K.-H. K.

This is my response:

It has taken me a week to think about this comment, which has been awaiting my response. There are so many points that need to be made.

I usually don’t talk about my professional training and career, but in this case I have to bring it up. I do know something about genetics. Before I left Poland in 1981 I completed coursework and Ph. D (doctorate) research thesis with focus on plant genetics. I left before the thesis defense. This was done at the Institute of Genetics and Plant breeding at the Agricultural University in Warsaw. I came to Canada and enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the Horticultural Dept. of the University of Guelph, and four years later I got my Ph.D. there. Again the focus of my research was plant genetics and breeding. After that I worked as a research scientist at Biotechnica Canada, which was purchased by Pioneer Hi-Bred Inc. From 1990 to 1994 I worked as a manager of canola breeding station and was responsible for the Brassica rapa breeding program. Since genetic principles are universal (though breeding strategies might differ depending whether you deal with plants or animals), I think that I have some ideas about genetic basis of a dachshund breeding program.

I don’t follow all the DTK breeding policies, but use the FCI standard as a guide for our breeding. Following all of the DTK breeding policies here in the USA would do more harm to dachshund breeding than good. I am very familiar with the FCI standard and DTK breeding policies since, after all, I was a co-founder of the North American Teckel Club, which is a group of the DTK, and I was the NATC first president. However, when the DTK started to insist that American breeders who have their kennels registered with the DTK follow all the DTK breeding rules, I left the club. In clear conscience I could not stay in because it would mean that I would have to compromise our breeding program. Why?

There are many reasons why DTK breeding policies cannot be implemented successfully in the USA. The USA, in comparison to Germany, is a huge country, and what is possible in European countries is simply impossible here because of the vast distances. DTK regulations require that a dachshund to be used for breeding has to be inspected by a German judge at a Zuchtschau. Until last year, the NATC used to hold one show a year, in the PA/NJ/NY area. Yet, there are many dachshunds out of European hunting lines living in mid-west (I know because we sold many blood tracking dachshunds to hunters/handlers living there), and it is impossible or impractical for their owners to travel to the northeast to attend a Zuchtschau. So these dachshunds just because they are never inspected by a German judge get automatically eliminated from the DTK breeding pool. This situation is not going to change unless the club grows at a very rapid pace and establishes its presence in great numbers outside the northeast, which so far has not happened.

For the dachshund to be eligible for breeding in the DTK system, its conformation has to be rated at least “very good”. During evaluation a judge pays a great deal of emphasis on the dog’s size, topline, tail, dentition, gait etc. For example, if a dog misses one incisor, it gets disqualified, and according to the DTK breeding regulations is not eligible for breeding. In the country with many thousands of dachshunds such as Germany, the strict selection of the breeding stock and its purification might make sense (though I don’t share this opinion). In the USA, where we have just a handful of breeders of dachshunds out of European lines, this strict and severe selection would to be harmful in the long run, and prioritization of traits is a must. On the scale of importance, the smooth coat appearing in a population of wirehaired dachshunds is, in my opinion, a minor fault. I would say that the major faults are related to health and temperament, and only a breeder or owner is fully aware of this information. The dachshund’s biggest health problem is disc disease, which is partially controlled genetically, and removing affected dogs from a gene pool makes a great deal of sense. There are other issues related to health that are present in European wires, and should selected against. Temperament problems in their extreme forms such as severe shyness or aggressiveness have a genetic component and should be selected against as well.

But when it comes to the smooth coat showing up in the wirehaired dachshund breeding, this trait is not correlated with health, temperament or working aptitude. It is a recessive trait that is not that easy to eliminate. The FCI standard penalizes it heavily, and one would think that over many years the exclusion of the “smooth wires” from breeding would bring the frequency of the gene down. I have no hard data to say whether the policy has been effective or not (and the DTK probably does not have it either), but I have seen at German hunting tests many dachshunds with the short wild boar coat. I would say that 90% of wirehaired dachshunds we have imported from Germany carry the gene for short hair and absence of beard. We know because subsequently these dogs produced short-coated offspring when bred here. I suspect that when correct harsh and wiry coats are favored in breeding, the way they should be, automatically the presence of the smooth gene is selected for also. Maybe the gene for short coat is needed for the harsh and wiry coat, and selection for the correct coat is associated with selection for the gene for the short coat. This would explain why this gene is still present at a high frequency. While in Germany I heard an opinion from a long time breeder of wires that wires with softer coats should be used for breeding to avoid short coats in the offspring. But to me this situation does not make any sense at all – you have to use softer coats for breeding so you don’t get shorthair puppies, but it is a wiry and harsh coat (not the soft one) that is described as ideal according to the standard!

We put a premium on a correct wirehaired coat in our breeding stock, and I have never used for breeding an individual with a soft and longish coat (we used a smooth “wire” twice). Yet, in almost every litter we get a broad range of coats – on one extreme softer coats, on the other extreme short coats and no-beard, and everything in between, all in the same litter. This has happened in numerous litters over many years (I bred my first litter in 1991).

It was actually Einstein who said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So in the light of empirical evidence collected over many years, I choose to face reality and adjust my breeding practices. I am not saying that the short coats with no beard are favored by us over correct harsh and wiry coats, but I choose not to throw them out any more out of the breeding pool. If a smooth dachshund out of wire parents is healthy, friendly and outgoing, talented in the field, and complements a bitch on the basis of pedigree, conformation, working strengths and weaknesses, I am not going to exclude him from breeding just because he does not have beard! There are many more important issues that I am concerned about, like the small gene pool of wires.

These days the old way of breeding dogs through linebreeding and the purification of lines in favor of cosmetic trivial traits of purely esthetic value has a lot of critics. Many scientists have spoken against it and the literature on the issue is widely available. One can access some papers at  and  (go to canine health) like this one . The dachshund is already fragmented genetically enough according to the FCI standard – after all it compromises 9 different breeds (standard-, zwerg-, kaninchen-size multiplied by 3 coats), which are not allowed to be crossed. Why to exclude smooth wires just because they do not fit the coat description of the wirehaired dachshund? They can be useful in breeding. I am not the only one who thinks this way. At The Zuchtschau 2009 I talked to Mme Agnes de France, President of French Teckel Club. She has authority to approve smooth wires to be bred either with wires or with smooths, depending on an individual dog and his merits. This is exactly the way of thinking I applaud. The last time I checked, France is following the FCI standard as well. I also like the way VDD (Verein Deutsch Drahthaar) deals with beardless Drahthaars. They are not allowed to be shown as they are not true representatives of the breed, but some such individuals get approved for breeding.

If I am wrong in my thinking, I would like to see some data and good justification how the gene for short hair and no-beard hurts the breed of wirehaired dachshunds. What harm is done when occasionally, based on strengths and weaknesses of both parents, a shorthair dachshund out of wires is used for breeding? I am not saying that keeping these beardless dogs for breeding solves the issue of coats in wires, but it does not reduce the small gene pool even further. To me we just have to accept the fact that the correct wirehaired coat in dachshunds does not breed true and eliminating shorthaired beardless dogs is not going to change it. The way we choose to deal with the problem is different – the DTK eliminates the dogs from breeding, and I choose to use them in breeding, occasionally, when needed.

The NATC 2010 - three littermates demonstrate very well a range of coats in the litter produced by two parents with very correct wirehaired coats.

Related posts:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gentian and Beth's

This is a nice video of Mariel and Mae swimming, posted on Gentian and Beth's website Great job!