We describe the Braque du Bourbonnais as an affectionate, intelligent dog of medium build. That if bred properly possesses the potential to develop into a very passionate hunter.
We believe the Bourbonnais to be a softer natured dog with a great desire to please. What this means is; if over handled in the first 2 years of life it can inhibit their ability to become the best they can be. This can be said of any breed but with the softer nature comes the difficulty for mistakes to be fixed. If you were to ask any professional trainer, what the hardest part of his job is he would tell you fixing mistakes made by the owner.
Our evaluation program is based on letting puppies be puppies, for the first 16 months. Throughout this period very little is done in the way of formal training on planted birds. It has been our experience through socialization, introduction to various environments, birds and gun introduction, the exposure to wild birds both in the spring and fall we are able to quietly watch, learn and listen to our dogs. Through wild bird exposure we find they learn on their own to develop the self-confidence to handle birds in a natural manor.
Throughout this time period each puppy is graded on
These qualities are at the top of the list for our future hunting partners. Followed by:
A.) Natural point
Without the top 7, A-C would be of little importance – you can’t point what you can’t find.
We have little use for dogs that will score well on a test with planted birds, but lacks the temperament or drive to keep searching when birds are not easily found. The joy of owning a hunting partner who loves the hunt as much as the shot is what we are looking for. Included in the evaluation all dogs between the ages of 4 months and 1 year travel to our shop every day and roam free to visit with the customers. All must practice good citizenship; they are trained to stay or stand and to come.
We hope for a puppy to reach 12 – 14 months around May, this allows for our introduction to a test / evaluation environment, water work and a few tracking situations. We proceed carefully during this time. While we feel that a test / evaluation are important, we are fully aware that proceeding too fast can cause confusion for a young dog (Natural Ability Test). This is not a race, with any quality program our goals are measured in constant improvement. We feel you can lose much more than you can gain if pushed too hard and too fast.
We have tried to balance a system that takes into consideration that attributes we require in our hunting dogs along with including an independent evaluation program.
For this we have chosen VHDF a relatively new evaluation program. This program offers us more freedom to expose our pups to more natural hunting environments over a longer period of time as opposed to a program that is more of a trained to a test system.
With VHDF along with our balanced program we are able to offer a “hunting” evaluation of our dogs before any decision is made to breed. VHDF offers a 1 – 10 (11-12) scoring system which we feel gives us more of an in-depth look at the dogs’ natural ability. The 11-12 are recorded for excellent performance. With the clearer total picture VHDF gives us we feel compelled to promote VHDF for our program.
We still include NAVHDA as a testing system. Although when using the 1 – 4 scoring system we feel it is hard to get a clear picture of the dogs’ natural ability performance, unless you know the dog personally and where it came from. There is no acknowledgement for excellent, this system leans more toward the average performance, than the exceptional. It opens the door for some breeders to train their pups to a test, and then use that information as a marketing tool.
With a balanced program (hunting & evaluation) you have a better insight on your dog’s true abilities and where they may excel. The test/evaluation count for a 1/4 of the over all view of the dog.
If you consider at best 10% of puppies sired from selective quality breeding’s have the potential to pass on traits necessary to improve the breed. You cannot breed average to average and get anything better than you already have and in most cases will lose what you had.
Our claims of quality are based on our hunting, and evaluation program. To use statistic or claims without using the entire picture available is not in the best interest of the breed.
This program represents our opinions, we encourage all of our puppy owners to join or participate in NAVHDA, VHDF, AKC, NSTRA or any of the venues available. We would caution not to become too over confident and loose focus on the main goal to develop a quality hunting partner.