Finding the Dogs

Ted’s family have always had dogs. When he was a boy, the family dog, Judy, was a mongrel (bâtard); fast, very clever, and much loved by all. His elder brother now has two Border Collies, his younger brother has three black Labradors, and for years it was Ted’s plan to have two English Pointers. However, the time had to be right; his work meant a constant change of countries, cultures and climate, he would have to wait.

In 2006, after settling in France, Julie said:

“I think it’s time to find you a dog.”
“No”, replied Ted, “It would be much better to have two pointers, so that they
are company for each other”
“OK, two, but I’m not sure about having pointers”

Ted wasn’t worried, he knew that after seeing some photographs of pointers, Julie thought that they seemed cold and unfriendly. However, she had only seen photographs, and he had a plan.

Two months later they were in England for Christmas, and he took her to visit a breeder
(éleveur) near Hereford. He knew that she had a litter (litière) of pointer pups (chiots) that were almost a month old, too young to buy, but just the right age to be very appealing. The plan worked and Julie adored them.

From that day on, it was agreed; Ted would start looking for two pointers. They also decided on two bitches (chiennes), from the same litter.

English Pointers are not a very well known or popular breed (race); one survey shows the Labrador Retriever as the most popular dog, with Pointers at 114th. So there are not many breeders, not many litters, and not many pups each year. However, pointers are popular gundogs (chiens de chasse) and sell quickly.

A further complication was that there aren’t any breeders of English Pointers in France. There are pointers in France, but the breed is not the same. This would mean buying the dogs in Britain, and persuading the breeder to keep them for four months, longer than usual, so that the dogs would be able to have the injections and the chip (puce) to qualify for their passports. Without this, the dogs couldn’t travel to France.

two pointers walking in the black mountain
The Kennel Club is always a reliable source of information on all dog matters in Britain. Through their website Ted found a list of breeders, and contacted some who had litters; none had a pair of bitches. For the next three months, he kept a close eye on the Kennel Club Database.

In the spring he went to England to visit two breeders. He went to the first, but without luck. He didn’t like the dogs very much, and anyway, the breeder wasn’t prepared to keep the pups for four months.

He went to the other breeder who was in the same part of the country, and here he had better luck. Although the litter of eleven pups were all already sold, he liked the dogs better, and he got on very well with the breeder. Even better, she had plans for another litter in the autumn, was prepared to give Ted and Julie first choice of the bitches, and, after consulting her vet (vétérinaire), agreed to keep them long enough for the dogs to receive their passports.

Everything seemed to be going well. Now it was a question of waiting.