DL-GNA has been growing at a record pace in the last year. And while it is very exciting to see so many Deutsch Langhaar puppies, breed-certified stud dogs and brood bitches, and new DL-GNA members, there has been one area where we have lacked development. A key component to the quality of our breed is the JGHV testing system. We cannot breed dogs without having tests that evaluate their performance. We have struggled to sponsor enough tests for the growing number of Deutsch Langhaars in North America. Adequate testing grounds are available but the limiting factor is judges. We need more judges to evaluate our dogs. With more judges, we can sponsor more tests. With more tests, we can evaluate more DLs and ultimately be able to produce more talented and proven gundogs.
To become a JGHV Judge, someone must first pass the VJP, HZP, and VGP with a dog that they have trained and handled. We have a good number of folks running their dogs through the VJP and HZP, but a much smaller percentage of owners attempt the VGP. Currently, about 9% of DLs whelped in the US or imported from Germany are run through a VGP. Therefore, we see passing the VGP as the first major hurdle to developing new judges.
Once someone has passed all 3 levels of testing with their dog, they can apply to the JGHV Judge Apprenticeship Program. Through this program, they must apprentice at least 2 VJPs, 2 HZPs, and 2 VGPs. At least one of each of these tests must be “out of chapter”. That means that apprentice judges will likely need to travel quite a bit to complete their apprenticeship. We see the cost of travel to apprentice tests as the second major hurdle to developing new judges.
In the hopes of encouraging more DL-GNA members to enter the JGHV Judging Program, DL-GNA would like to provide financial assistance to DL owners. Therefore, we are introducing a new Judge Stipend Program where we will essentially pay you $2,000 to become a judge.
Current DL-GNA members who are planning to apprentice judge through DL-GNA are eligible to apply for this stipend. Applicants must have been a DL-GNA member for at least 3 years. Applicants must have purchased hunting licenses for at least 3 consecutive years prior to applying. And finally, you must have run your dog through the VJP, HZP, and VGP within the past 48 months before applying for the stipend.