Ugly Mugs

Does your hunting buddy have an Ugly Mug?

We spend untold hours with our faithful hunting companion. We share adventures, the spoils of the hunt, and maybe a few snacks along the way. But sometimes they were born with a face only a mother can love, but we appreciate them all the same.

Send us a picture of your magnificently hideous hunting dog. We’ll pick the ugliest (never an easy task) and feature him or her in our next catalog and on our website. The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for Ugly Dog merchandise. Don’t forget to include the dog’s name, your name, address, and phone.

Please mail the photo to:

Ugly Dog Hunting, att: Ugly Judges
1067 Silver Street
Hinesburg, Vermont 05461

Or email the photo as a jpeg attachment to: [email protected]

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The UD22FX Genetic Filth Marker

Top hunting dog breeders have held a deep, dark secret for decades. They have been unwilling to share
it with prospective puppy buyers in fear the owners would ignore a pup’s excellent pointing ability, strong water drive or athletic conformation, and run away in shear domestic terror.

Coming clean (yeah… you’ll appreciate the beauty of that pun soon), we would like to discuss bird dogs’
genetic marker for filth. We’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill muddy paws here. We’re talking an
attraction to decomposed rancid gunk so advanced that dogs with the marker can appreciate the
nuanced difference between rotting compost and raccoon upchuck. The UD22FX marker is passed down from generation to generation as a recessive component woven into the prey drive DNA strand,
detectable only through protein saturation of the limbic system’s output.

According to Darwin’s Theory of Barfolution, the UD22FX marker originally was only found in one or two
pups per litter, mostly in early crossbreeds where cleansing treatments post goose-dung-roll penetrated
the skin and altered the dogs’ genetic composition, keeping transmission of the marker to a minimum.
Unfortunately, when the wirehaired griffons discovered the hunting crowd’s amazement at the filthy
results of UD22FX behavior, hungry for physical attention as griffons are prone to be, they then sought
mates with the marker in the hopes of enhancing their aptitude for getting really really dirty thus
requiring delightful daily massages with a slicker brush and tickley undercoat rake. From the griffs the
marker spread to the Munsterlanders, from the Munsters to the Chessies, and since Chessies will hump
anything, it rapidly spread to the short-coated breeds, finding the best genetic environment for marker
sustainability in the German shorthairs. Shorthairs had already elevated the search and rescue of
revolting garbage to an art form, so the UD22FX has easily evolved a stronger genetic resilience.
(Researcher’s note: this applies only to the various breeds’ hunting lines. Happily for the companion and
show lines, UD22FX appears to weaken in the presence of ribbons and bows.)

The subversive UD22FX genetic anomaly guarantees owners they will win the My-Dog-Is-Most-Repulsive Contest at grouse camp. It also provides job security for truck detailers and frou-frou groomers who run out of beauty pageant contestants off-season. High powered trash breaking ecollars aside, the best solution for hunters whose dogs have the marker is twofold.

One, if your dog is an inveterate sludge magnet, be sure to use shampoo or cleansers such as the
DERMagic Grooming Spray that have natural deodorizing ingredients. The harsh chemicals found in some detergents and cleaning products can be harmful to a dog’s skin and coat, and there’s no time during hunting season for binge watching a bird dog version of the Itchy and Scratchy Show.

Two, turn on your universal nature lover. Decomposed bird guts and rotten-egg smelly, iron-saturated
marsh slime are gifts from a Mother Nature who doesn’t want you to lie awake at night wondering why
your life smells like a perfumed Hallmark card. Embrace the inevitable.


                                                                               [photo: Reina; owners: Kate Swanson and Darren Nelson]

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Recognizing a Bloat Emergency

Collage of Pointer with Basketball and Brake-Fast slow feeding dog bowl

One summer evening several years ago while playing fetch with his favorite hexabumpers, German shorthair Scratch (who looks like a cross between a brachiosaurus and a deep-chested Shetland pony) suddenly walked away trying to throw up. He was clearly uncomfortable, couldn’t produce vomit and hunched up as he circled the yard. He looked like he’d swallowed a basketball. And he felt like he’d swallowed a basketball. Even though it had been three hours since he ate, his stomach was bloated and drum hard.

Fortunately, we recognized these symptoms as indicative of gastric bloat and torsion (technically, GDV – gastric dilation and volvulus) because the Ugly Dog Founder, Scrub, had it happen a few years before. We raced Scratch to the truck and drove directly to the emergency veterinary clinic. There, the vet put a tube down Scratch’s throat to where it almost reached his stomach, relieving the gas. We were lucky in that the “torsion” part of bloat and torsion – the twisting of the stomach – was partial and the stomach righted itself, so surgery that night wasn’t needed.

Dogs can bloat without the stomach twisting, but when it does twist, the situation is life-threatening. Blood supply in and out of the stomach is cut off resulting in a severe drop in blood pressure and damage to internal organs. The dog can die within hours.

One thing known about bloat is that it is more likely in deep-chested dogs such as German shorthairs and wirehairs, weimaraners, vizslas, shepherds, setters, boxers, etc. Above all, if a dog bloats and flips its stomach, timing is critical.

When Scrub bloated, we got him to the emergency clinic within an hour, but he had already gone into mild shock. They immediately took him into surgery. Collateral damage from the stomach rotating inside the bloat wasn’t too bad. Scrub’s spleen had to be removed, but apparently spleens aren’t necessary. He lived to 14.5 years-old and never seemed to miss his spleen in the seven years after it was removed. At least if he did, he didn’t mention it. The vet also performed a gastropexy, tacking his stomach to the body wall, preventing the stomach from rotating should he bloat again.

A week after Scratch’s bloat, he had the preventative gastropexy surgery, so if he bloats again, he won’t be at risk of torsion. Following a few precautions, we’ve not seen signs of the basketball since. He hasn’t even asked for a new pair of Nikes or court-side tickets to a Celtics game.

Most vets agree that despite an enormous amount of study, no one knows for sure why bloat and torsion happens. Genetics and body type appear to be factors. “Gassy” (aka “farty”) dogs are also more prone to bloat. Among others, precautions include feeding 2-3 times per day instead of once, withholding water after eating for a while, waiting an hour after exercise before feeding, waiting 1-2 hours after feeding before exercise, and using a bowl like the Brake-fast to slow eating and reduce the intake of excess air.

In life-threatening bloat situations, tubes or needles can be used to relieve the gas, but for us non-medical people, a tube is very difficult to insert and a needle must be positioned carefully in the side to be effective.

If your dog seems to be in pain and has a very tight, distended stomach (with or without trying to vomit), get him or her to a vet as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid of looking silly. We all have had the “should we call the vet” discussion, but a little embarrassment if it turns out nothing’s wrong is a small price to pay given the alternative if it is indeed a case of GDV.

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Introducing the Ugly Dog Blog

German Shorthaired Pointer holding blog paper from Ugly Dog Hunting

Ugly Dog Hunting has been channeling the inner spirit of real gun dogs for over 20 years. Under the
therapeutic guidance of our founder, Scrub, (now a celestial body of his own), our staff – both human
and canine – has logged many miles afield under the guise of product testing. Excuses to avoid work
aside, we now feel we have the scope to provide the scoop. Time for an Ugly Dog blog.

Our first inclination was to hire an outside writer for the task. Concurrently, it was our first mistake. We
contracted the services of a freelancer who turned out to be a dyslexic drahthaar perpetually confusing
the word “blog” with “glob” and waxing poetic about the viscous marvels of bear poop during raspberry

Next we hired a Braque du Bourbonnais team that showed a lot of promise, having advanced degrees in
various aspects of freckled media relations. Sadly they turned out to be no more than a pair of online
trolls whose sole purpose in life appears to be antagonizing dogs without dew claws who can’t hold a

Finally we turned in-house to find the right writer for our blog. While Schwarzwald’s Run River Run has
notable dew claw dexterity with a keyboard, she’s taken a leave of absence to complete her field work in
the proper search and demolition of songbird nests. Merrymeeting’s North Country Prairie Dog refuses to engage in any overtime hours for the company unless they include the opportunity to sprint as fast as
possible while looking backwards and subsequently running into stationary vehicles and large tree trunks. Ridgepoint’s Right Rudder wouldn’t even consider our request, making it quite clear that her only purpose in life besides hunting is to lounge in the grass, gaze at the south field, and throw spine-tingling glares of snark at anyone foolish enough to disturb her peace.

That left Scratch. Known by a few as Merrymeeting’s Scratched Gunstock, recognized by many as the
former Lightening Rod of Trouble and current Lord of My Own Zone, Scratch, not surprisingly, does have
a few things to say. When we asked if he’d take the job of Ugly Dog blogger, his immediate response
was a reassuring “Who? What? Me? Where am I? When’s dinner?” A heaping bowl of kibble plus two
Gas-Xs later, he settled in to draft a blog or two. Getting in the mood, Scratch told us stories of his past
glory, highlighting 300 yard running rooster tracks, stunning bracemate backs, and his renowned
penchant for retrieving a spent shotwads. By the time he was done retelling – for the fourth time – the
one about how he handled the 14-bird wild quail covey next to the alligator swamp, his audience started
to lose interest. And when he concluded his long dissertation on how to fail the NAVHDA Invitational by
peeing for 8.5 minutes between the short bird and the memory bird on the Double Mark Retrieve,
everyone had gone home for the night.

This is the point in the blog where our tech consultants say we should add some product mentions to
imbed links and encourage you to explore the site and buy stuff. To that end, Scratch suggested that the best way to develop our blog would be to start with a foundation of solid hunting dog information. For that we direct you to the books and videos we offer, perhaps beginning with the Encyclopedia of Sporting Dogs edited by Steve Smith, The Best Trained Gun Dog written by Joan Bailey, and the terrific Richard Wolters’ series of training videos, Water Dog, Game Dog, and Gun Dog.

From there, we invite you to follow our blog. Scratch is planning varied content – some stories from the
field; hunting dog info; gear tips; and of course lots of unsolicited bird dog opinions on a range of topics
somehow all related to putting a limit of birds in the bag.