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Winnipeg, MB, R3A 0X5


Through words and images, we are on a mission to share our passion for pointing dogs, upland hunting and sporting dog photography. 


Pointing Dog Blog

The world of pointing dogs in words and images, moving and still.

Filtering by Tag: Update

A New Pup!

Craig Koshyk

Aramis des Marais de Saint Hilaire 
Dog folks are a curious bunch. No matter how many dogs they currently have and how happy they are with them, thoughts of the "next dog" still pop up from time to time. For Lisa and me our next dog is always an ongoing conversation since we are constantly exposed to dangerous levels of puppy cuteness. After all, in our travels, we often meet with top breeders and handlers of all sort of dogs and many of them offer us a pup at some point. So we'd probably have a dog or two from every pointing breed in the world if our credit cards could handle it.

But somehow, we've been pretty good at resisting temptation. We keep just enough dog power with us to cover our hunting needs and keep us warm on cold Manitoba nights.

But then, last May, Henri died.

Henri the Pocket Rocket nearing the sound barrier in pursuit of snipe. 
His passing left a massive hole in our hearts and massive shoes to fill. We were suddenly down to two ancient gundogs: Souris nearly 16 and Uma 12. Sure, we had other dogs we could hunt with when needed. We chased roosters with the Amazing Maisey.  Zeiss rocked the prairies in honour of his buddy Henri. Beebe, a daughter of Henri , spent the fall with us cuddling, hunting and getting her freak on with Zeiss (pups are due next week!). But when the season ended, we were left with a nagging void around the house.

As our hearts began to mend, we considered getting another Weimaraner. But over the years, we'd lost two magnificent Weims to terrible diseases so now, every time we talk about it, we end up on the verge of tears. So we thought about the other breeds we'd always wanted. The list was long. Lisa and I have never met a breed of pointing dog that we didn't like. But we do have a short list of dogs we want next. It includes breeds with a lot of white in the coat (I wrote about the reasons why here) and a couple of other breeds that we've always loved, the Portuguese Pointer and the Picardy Spaniel

Aramis des Marais de Saint Hilaire, one of the best Picardy Spaniels I've ever seen. 
Then a couple of weeks ago, photos began to pup up on my Facebook feed. They were of the first litter of Picardy pups whelped in the UK. I had been helping breeders of Picardies and fans of the breed connect via Facebook and email for a number of years already. I'd even set up a Facebook group for the breed and told anyone that would listen that the Picardy would be a great choice for North American sportsmen and women. 

So last week I 'shared' the post with all the photos of cute Picardy pups and wrote: If you've ever considered getting a Picardy pup, now might be the time! Check out these photos of pups from the first litter whelped in the UK and try to resist.

One of the shots that shattered my resistance. Photo: Sue Axtell

And the more I looked at the photos, the more I felt my own resistance fading. At one point I had to step away from the computer and plead with Lisa,: "Talk me down dear, help me step away from the edge". I fully expected her to provide me with some solid, logical reasons why I should not get a pup at this time. But instead of being reasonable and helping me resist, she said: "A new pup!? I'll go get my purse..."

So, despite my best efforts, it looks like the first person to give into temptation!

SAY HELLO TO LEO!! He's headed to Canada!

Photo: Sue Axtell

Since announcing that we were getting Leo, I've received a lot of questions about him, his breed and our reasons for the choice. Here are a few answers to the most common among them:

Why that breed? Do you just want to show off by having a breed nobody else has?
How rare or popular a breed is has zero influence on our choice of hunting dog. I have always maintained that you can find hard-hunting, well-bred gundogs in any pointing breed. The only difference is how much time and effort it takes to actually find and get one. With some breeds it is dead easy; just find a litter, reach in and pick a pup. Your chances of getting a decent hunting dog are excellent. With other breeds, it is a total crap shoot, you really have to search high and low to find a good one among all the crap.

Having studied the pointing breeds for nearly 2 decades and having excellent contacts in a ton of breeds means that Lisa and I can find a decent gundog in just about any breed we choose. So it comes down to which breed is best suited to the kind of hunting we do (there are quite a few) and all the little things about it that, for whatever reason, we find appealing. Lisa loves the expressive eyes of the Portuguese Pointer, I love the tri-colour coat of the Picardy. Lisa loves the curly coat and quirky characters of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel and I like the class and style of Pointers and Setters.

This is Leo's father Justus, a fantastic dog in all respects. 
So why did you choose the Picardy in particular? Was it a spur of the moment decision?
We met our first Picardy Spaniels in France about 10 years ago and have been a fan of the breed ever since. In fact on one of our trips to Europe, I would have purchased the handsome fellow at the top of this post right there on the spot! I wrote about him in my book and used his photo for the main shot in the breed chapter. So, no, it was not a spur of the moment decision.

I'd always known that one day, I would get a Picardy. As a mediocre trainer and someone who just wants an easy-to-live-with gundog, French breeds tend to fit my style better than German breeds. And since the Picardy region has a lot in common with Manitoba --good to great waterfowl and upland game hunting -- the pointing breed native to that area seemed to make sense. And finally, I've always thought that among all of the French pointing breeds, the Picardy may be the best suited to North American hunters and the types of game and terrain we hunt. By bringing Leo to Canada I am putting my money where my mouth is and making a commitment to the breed. With fellow hunters in Québec and the US I want to establish a breeding population of Picardy Spaniels on this side of the Atlantic.

Loves water you say?

Aren't rare dogs way more expensive? Aren't they rare for a reason (ie: they suck)?
Short answer: no. Long answer here.

Leo left side. Photo: Sue Axtell

Picardy SPANIEL? Spaniels are flushing dogs, not pointing dogs! 
There are actually more breeds of 'spaniels' that point than breeds of spaniels that flush! Sort of.  It's complicated.

Are you abandoning the Weim? 
No. I love Weims and will continue to support the efforts of those in the breed that are committed to producing solid hunting Weims. We will continue to hunt with Zeiss and Maisey even if they don't live with us and will probably get another Weim at some point in the future.

Leo right side. Photo: Sue Axtell

The Picardy intrigues me. How can I get more info? Where can I get a good one?
Start by buying my book!  lol..  If you are on Facebook, check out the group I set up for the breed in North America here. There are breed clubs for the Picardy Spaniel (and Blue Picardy and Pont-Audemer) in France and the Netherlands and a Picardy club in the UK. If you are serious about getting a Picardy, drop me a line via Facebook or via email: and I will be happy to lend a hand.

Leo in full cuteness mode. Photo: Sue Axtell

UPDATE: New photos of Leo posted here

Enjoy my blog posts? Check out my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals

My Photo Essays Are Getting a Makeover

Craig Koshyk

With my trusty Canons and Leicas near Broomhill, MB (photo: P. Dot Porquez)

I've recently fallen in love with a new online platform for publishing my photo essays. I've only posted two projects so far, and both are just updated versions of essays I've already published here. But stay tuned for a lot more to come!

I will still be using this blog for various rants, raves, updates, news and other features, but for picture-heavy photo essays, check out the new look at I will also embed the essays right here, but to really appreciate the great look of the new site, click on the link at the bottom of the essay.

Prairie Dogs by Craig Koshyk on Exposure

2013 Year in Review

Craig Koshyk

With over 200,000 page views in 2013, it was the best year yet for the Pointing Dog Blog! Here's a look at some of the highlights:

Most popular post (by traffic): The Weimaraner Part One (parts two and three were also quite popular).

Most commented post: The Tumbling Pheasant, a photo essay about an unusual photo session in the wilds of North Dakota.

Most controversial post: The Whitemaraner and the follow-up pieces here and here. My exploration of white coats and piebalding in Weimaraners struck a nerve with more than a few folks.

Most popular video: Everybody Knows Where Broomhill's At is the first video I've posted related to  Volume Two of my pointing dog books

Most popular photo essay: 12 Things I learned at Broomhill was one of the first posts I made in 2013 and turned out to be very popular, especially among the Pointer, Setter and field trial folks.

Biggest trend: VIDEOS! In 2013, I vowed to upgrade my video gear and video skills. The first part was relatively easy. I saved my pennies and purchased a decent camcorder and Go Pro rig. But the jury is still out on the second part. My video skills still lay far, far behind my photo skills. But I have fun making more videos this year than I've ever made. Here's the complete list of videos posted in 2013. 

Thanks to everyone who visited the blog in 2014. I am especially grateful for the support of Gregg Elliot at the Dogs and Doubles Blog, Andrew Campbell at the The Regal Vizsla the fine folks at the Upland JournalVersatile Dogs and the Gundog Forum in the US, the WorkingHPR forum in the UK, Field Chasse Passion in France and the Il Bracco Italiano forum in Italy.

How to Pass the Time Till Opening Day.

Craig Koshyk

The 2013 hunting season is over 6 weeks away and I'm already getting the itch! But I've found that one way to pass the time between now and opening day - besides enjoying some fine sipping whiskey and gorgeous summer weather - has been to revisit some of our photos from last year. 

Here are a few from last November when Lisa and I met up with good friends Judy and Vince Balog for our annual South Dakota pheasant hunt. Judy, Vince and I were armed with shotguns. Lisa was armed with a 

My Next Dog?

Craig Koshyk

Currently I have plenty of dog-power available to me to hunt just about anything. So I am not in the market for another dog right now. But in a year or three, Lisa and I will probably welcome a new addition to the herd. And even though we don't know what breed of dog it will be, we know this: it will have a mainly white coat. Mainly white?  Why?

Well it turns out that 50-year-old eyes are not great at seeing dogs with coats that act as camouflage in the field. I now have to put orange vests on my Weims every time we hunt just so I can keep track of them as they hunt or find them on point.

Without a vest, Souris is almost impossible to find in heavy cover,
even though she is wearing a blaze orange collar in this photo.
There are actually TWO weims in this shot; one pointing and one backing.
Both are wearing orange collars. Can you find them?
Last season I hunted with a couple of absolutely awesome English Setters brought over from Holland by my good friends Marjolein and Roel Kamman. The Setters are from Italian lines, were bred in France, and have mainly white coats. And even though they run fairly big, fly across fields and sprint through the heavy cover, they are a thousand percent easier to see than my Weims, especially when they are on point.
THIS is why I want a white dog.
They are so much easier to see in heavy cover.
So what are my choices? Well, in Volume One of my book on Pointing Dogs, I include a chart that indicates the various coat types and color combinations available in the Continental breeds.

Looking it over, it seems like the list is actually quite extensive. And when the British breeds (Pointers and setters) are included,  it turns out that there are over 20 pointing breeds in which you can find dogs with a lot of white in the coat. So the long list looks like this: 
  • English Setter, Pointer
  • Irish Red and White Setter
  • Épagneul Français (French Spaniel)
  • Épagneul Breton (Brittanny)
  • Braque du Bourbonnais
  • Braque de l'Ariège
  • Braque Saint Germain
  • Braque Francais (both types)
  • Old Danish Pointer
  • Burgos Pointer
  • GSP 
  • GWP
  • GLP
  • Drentsche Patrijshond
  • Small Munsterlander
  • Large Munsterlander
  • Weim (sort of...see my blog post on the "Whitemaraner")
  • Bracco Italiano
  • Spinone
  • Pachon Navarro
  • Ca Mé Mallorqui
  • Cesky Fousek
By narrowing the list to only those breeds in which the majority of dogs have mainly white coats, it looks like this:
  • English Setter
  • Pointer
  • Irish Red and White Setter
  • Épagneul Français (French Spaniel)
  • Épagneul Breton (Brittanny)
  • Braque de l'Ariège
  • Braque Saint Germain
  • Old Danish Pointer
  • Drentsche Patrijshond
  • Small Munsterlander
  • Bracco Italiano
  • Spinone
And if I limit my search further, say by selecting only breeds that are relatively easy to find, offer a good selection of field-bred lines and are mainly selected for the type of hunting I do (80% upland birds, 20% waterfowl), the list gets even shorter:
  • English Setter
  • Pointer
  • Épagneul Français (French Spaniel)
  • Épagneul Breton (Brittanny)
And, finally, if I narrow it down to breeds with long tails (because I like long tails) only three breeds remain.
  • English Setter
  • Pointer
  • Épagneul Français (French Spaniel)
    So over the next couple of years I will be keeping my eye on those breeds, looking for just the right breeder and just the right litter. In the meantime, I will just enjoy watching videos of them in action. 

    Here's an awesome video of some really nice Épagneuls Français. 

    And here is an incredibly beautiful video of and English Setter in hunting Ptarmigan in Iceland

    And here is a video of famous American Pointer breeder Bob Whele and his Elhew Pointers


    Breed of the Week: The Large Munsterlander

    Craig Koshyk

    The low-lying, sparsely populated regions of northwestern Europe have been the birthplace of several of the gundog breeds that we know today. Most are long-haired pointing dogs that developed from a common rootstock of so-called chiens d’oysel. One breed, a handsome black and white gundog, is named for the area in which it was developed—the marshy plains surrounding the city of Münster, Germany. It is the Grosser Münsterländer, known to the English-speaking world as the Large Munsterlander, and often referred to as the LM.

    Noting that many French breeds were divided along the lines of coat color, Jean Castaing wrote: Outside of our country they don’t understand our obsession with restricting the selection of hunting dogs based on color. But it seems that Castaing’s German neighbors could not resist the urge to split at least one of their breeds based on nothing more than 
coat color. In 1909, the German Longhaired Pointer Club decided to remove black* from
 their breed standard. Ten years later, hunters who had continued to breed black and white dogs despite the ban formed a new club specifically for the “pure breeding of the long-haired, large, black-and-white Munsterlander”. *Details of how and why the decision was made to remove black from the standard are given in the German Longhaired Pointer chapter. 

    In 1922, the club began holding breed-specific shows and performance tests. However, independence for the new club did not last long. In 1933, with Germany under Nazi rule, it was forcibly amalgamated with the club for the German Longhaired Pointer. Studbooks were, however, kept separately.

    The cohabitation of the two clubs came to an end immediately after the Second World War. The Large Munsterlander regained its independence but enthusiasts soon split into two competing factions.  In an excellent book published by the Large Munsterlander Club of North America, club president Joe Schmutz writes that:
    Out of disagreements, a second club was formed and two Large Munsterlander clubs existed side-by-side until 1969. This two-track organization was a disadvantage for the breed. For example, an exceptional performer "Kapp vom Langenshof" took second place in a demanding national test for all breeds where only 13 of 19 dogs passed. Kapp's brother "Keck" was also much praised. However, because of strife among club members these two dogs were only rarely used for breeding.
    Finally, in the early 1970s, the two Large Munsterlander clubs agreed to join forces. With renewed vigor, they succeeded in expanding the breed’s population in Germany and beyond. The first Large Munsterlanders were exported to the U.S. in the mid '60s and to the UK in the early '70s.  Today the Large Munsterlander is well known in many parts of the world and enjoys an excellent reputation as an eye-pleasing, easy to handle, hard hunting all-around gundog.

    Looking back on all the years I have spent traveling to hunt with and photograph various breeds of gundog, a handful of events really stand out in my memory. Two of them occurred on the same day on the vast prairies of Saskatchewan where I had travelled to hunt with Joe Schmutz and his small herd of Large Munsterlanders.

    The first memorable event starts out like the opening line of a joke: A Canadian, a German and a Frenchman walk into a bar... The bar—more of a restaurant, really—was on the main street of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. I was there with my friend, Yannick Molès, who had just arrived the day before from France. We had agreed to meet up with Joe Schmutz, then president of the Large Munsterlander Club of North America, so we could all go chasing huns and sharptails.

    Since Yannick and I had arrived a bit early for our meeting, we decided to see some of the sights of the small prairie town. As we wandered along Main Street, we discussed the upcoming hunt—in French. Entering a small shop, the owner greeted us by saying: Bonjour Messieurs, puis-je vous aider? (“Hello gentlemen, may I help you?”). We were stunned. There we were, in the middle of Saskatchewan, thousands of miles west of Québec and an ocean away from France, yet somehow the shopkeeper spoke...French? It felt like we were in an episode of The Twilight Zone, especially when we realized that everyone else in the shop was also speaking French.

    But there was a logical explanation. You see, the folks in Gravelbourg have been speaking en français ever since 1906, when French priests founded the town. And I am sure that Yannick and I were not the first visitors to stand slack-jawed upon hearing la belle langue way out there on the bald prairies.

    Once we had regained our composure, we met Joe for lunch, then headed out of town with a unique assortment of dogs: two Weimaraners, two Pont-Audemer Spaniels and four Large Munsterlanders. The action in the field was exceptional. We found huns, sharptails, pheasants and ducks. The dog-work was outstanding. I was particularly impressed by Joe’s LMs. They showed a thorough, steady search, charging into even the nastiest thorn bushes and thickest grass. They were strong pointers and natural backers. And it was the natural backing of Joe’s dogs that eventually led to the second memorable event.

    It required two 'shots' to get this photo. Joe
    shot the rooster with his shotgun and I shot
    it with my camera as Joe's fine LM made the
    It was near the end of the day. The sky glowed with the rich red tones of what was sure to be a spectacular sunset as we enjoyed some homemade deer sausage and dark rye bread on the tailgate of my truck. As he packed up to leave, Joe decided to let all four of his dogs out to have one last chance to do their business before the long ride home. As Yannick and I gathered up our gear and readied the truck, the Munsterlanders ran through the stubble with Joe following along with his gun, just in case.

    Suddenly, Joe shouted, “Hey, guys!” Turning, we were greeted with a sight that has remained with me to this day. As the ripe orange prairie sun set over a stubble field stretching to the horizon, four Large Munsterlanders—one pointing, three backing— stood like statues as their proud owner moved in to flush. And where were my cameras? Packed away with all the rest of the gear, of course!

    I had managed to get some great shots of the dogs earlier on (one of them actually made the cover of Gundog Magazine) but when the perfect one-in-a-million shot basically lined itself up right in front of me, my trusty Canon and Leica were at the bottom of a camera bag.

    So, instead of taking photos of the event, Yannick and I just soaked it all in. We watched Joe move in for the flush. A single grey partridge burst from the cover. Joe fired. The bird flew on. Joe fired again. The bird flew on. Joe fired a third time. And the bird flew on, not a feather out of place.

    Throughout it all, the dogs remained rock-steady. And from what I could tell, the fact that Joe missed all three shots didn’t really bother them. I could only conclude that, in addition to being excellent all-around hunting dogs, Large Munsterlanders are also quite forgiving.

    Read more about the breed, and all the other pointing breeds from Continental Europe, in my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals