Marita Dellepiane de Berczely and her daughter Vicky are the owners of Von Marienkamp Kennel. Two forested hectares in La Plata area, provided with twelve individual kennels is the ideal environment where her specimens of Kurzhaar, the breed she embraced with passion five years ago, are born and bred.
In the company of Decio Salvatori (her handler for the last two years) we shared an interesting chat over the breeding, showing and development of this breed.
“Why Kurzhaar, Marita?”
Marita “The thing is that among all the hunting dogs, the Kurzhaar conquered my heart due to its nobility and comradeship. It is a very functional dog, as it retrieves fowl or furry pieces, either on the land or in the water, besides being also able to track the trail of wounded wild boar or deer until the piece falls. In Europe they are used to retrieve and carry the pieces in the woods up to where their owners are. We should point out that in Europe wild boars are hunted with rifles. Everything is different here. That is why we have to adapt first of all to our local fauna, and then to the preferences and inclinations of our hunters. That is the way in which the Kurzhaar will finally prevail in Argentina. Which doesn´t necessarily mean that we are spoiling the breed, but that we should adapt to our reality.”
(Marita shows us pictures from a German magazine where a Kurzhaar is carrying out what is known as pattern, whereby the animals work in pairs, one of them is pointing and the other one stays behind while giving support. In the next picture, a Kurzhaar is sitting next to a fallen deer while making its typical howl by means of which it tells its owner the exact position where the piece is. While we share a “mate” we let Marita enjoy a couple of bitter sips while we talk to Decio who, besides being a dog handler of different breeds, is a guard dog trainer.)
“Decio; What is so special or distinctive in the handling of a Kurzhaar?”
Decio “ It looks much nicer if you can get the dog to go ahead of you on the track. But the handling of this breed is quite atypical. It is generally not shown as it should. Taking into account the standard handling, the handler has to adapt to the breed. For instance, when the dog is standing, it should never be allowed to stretch its neck in a swan - like fashion as a Doberman would do, although it might look nice. If the animal does not do this while hunting(which is its original function) we must not show it in this way. What upsets me is when a specimen which is shown in this way wins. Neither should it be shown with its tail upwards. It should be at the same level or only a tiny bit higher (Decio shows us two picture where he himself is showing it incorrectly. Now it is his turn to have some “mate”, so we let him enjoy it)
“Marita; Are there any differences between the European and the American versions of this breed?”
Marita “ Yes. The European ones are more temperamental and structurally heavier. In Germany all varieties of coats are accepted, discouraging only the breeding of solid black animals. In the U.S.A. the breed is called German Shorthaired Pointer. They prefer a lighter, more elegant, faster dog with a more docile temper. At American shows no shades of black are accepted, although they are accepted at Fieldwork Trials. At present they are discussing the possibility of accepting black coated animals at Beauty and Structure shows.
“Which line have you adopted?”
Marita “As the majority of the real breeders do, I think that we must search for excellence. What we show, either on the track or in the field, has to have the aim of getting the best sires within the breed. For instance, some people believe that it should be a “slow” dog. I don´t agree with this. A Kurzhaar has to be fast enough to define a piece in a few seconds (this will show us the degree of synchronization between its head and its refined sense of smell) It is not esthetical to see a hunting dog walking in the field without any agility or stamina, or simply trotting away in a careless way. Lack of spirit in a dog is impossible to revert. On the other hand the opposite can be controlled with an efficient training.
(Marita does not hunt herself but she is the photographer on the farm. Her sharp eye allows her to depict the free gallop of the Kurzhaar until it finds a scent, stops short on its legs and then it lets its body skid, remaining, sometimes, in a motionless fashion with its head to one side pointing to the piece for its leader. Meanwhile, she handed to us one of the most popular German hunting magazines – Wild and Hund . Her voice sounded full of pride when she mentioned that when she was interviewed once, its editor Mr Rüdiger Klotz was deeply impressed by the sight of her dogs working in the fields. R. N.)