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RICHARD S. JOHNS
1/22/15 – 2/1/2005

Richard "Dick" Johns

Richard S. “Dick” Johns was raised in Kingston, Pennsylvania, the son of the late Dr. Robert G. Johns, a bird hunter.  While he grew up hunting and fishing along the Susquehanna River, his first love was hunting grouse and woodcock with bird dogs.  In an area where at the time only a setter was considered to be a bird dog, Dick at age 16 won his first field trial with a pointer.  By the time he was 25 years old, many bird dogs had known his assured hand having numerous field trial wins.

When World War II came, Dick Johns originally served in an artillery unit.  He received the Bronze Star for saving wounded men under fire and later received the Purple Heart for wounds from white phosphorous.  Dick, an accomplished horseman, under the direction of General Terry Allen formed a cavalry unit with captured German horses and equipment.  Amazingly, Rich S. Johns may have been responsible for the last mounted cavalry charge of the United States Army.  At the end of World War II, he successfully led a cavalry charge against enemy soldiers who occupied a mountain dwelling.

Dick Johns located some German Shorthaired Pointers and, between engagements, hunted both partridges and pheasants with these dogs in the flat fields of southwestern Germany.  His success caught the attention of ranking officers who requested that he guide them on upland bird hunts.  It was during this time that he was able to acquire two German Shorthairs from Peter Kraft, the dean of the modern German Shorthaired Pointer: a wonderful bitch, Nanny Luckseck (Senta) and a male, Sepp v Grabenbruch.  Following the war, Dick was stationed in Germany for a year, and made arrangements with Army officials to ship the dogs to American.

This new immigrant stock quickly proved their worth.  Johns continued to import German Shorthaired Pointers from Germany, and these dogs became the foundation stock for a breed improvement program that proved its worth not only in Shorthair competition but also in all-breed competition.  His Field Champion Xilla Oranien Nassau and her sister, Field Champion Xenia Oranien Nassau, along with Dual Champion Kay vd Wildburg all won on the open shooting dog circuit.  In addition, Johns won the National German Shorthaired Pointer Associations (NGSPA) National Championship with Kay vd Wildburg in 1959 and went runner-up with him in this event in 1961 and 1963. 

Richard S. Johns whose kennel was located in Benton, Pennsylvania, was the first major Shorthair field trial professional in the East.  He authored a book on German Shorthaired Pointers, served as president of the old Pennsylvania German Shorthaired Pointer Club, and as president of the NGSPA Region 2 Championship, was active in the Eastern German Shorthaired Pointer Club, the Columbia County Pointer and Setter Club, and for several years was on the board of directors of the National German Shorthaired Pointer Association.

Johns was never found lacking when it came to sponsoring field trial activities or working for field trial organizations.  In addition to judging local trials for all breeds, he judged the National German Shorthaired Pointer Association Championship five times, the National German Pointing Dog Association Championship twice, as well as the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America National Championship twice.  

Richard S. Johns was one man who never let the ideal of the perfect dog slip from his vision.  He devoted over 65 years of his life to the development of gun dogs and spent nearly as much time as a participant in the great sport of bird dog field trials.  He graced our trials with magnificent dogs, sportsmanship, and enlightened insight.

 

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