Q&As

Sporting Shooter - - Contents -

QWe are in the process of get­ting a gundog puppy and we’re not sure on which breed to choose. My wife wants a Labrador, as she grew up with Labs and likes the breed. I would like a spaniel, but am not sure which one. I love the look of the Clum­bers, but have been told that they have is­sues with their eyes. I would be in­ter­ested in your opin­ion. I be­long to a walk one, stand one syndicate. We shoot 10 days a year and have a re­ally good time. All of us feel it would be bet­ter if we had more dogs on the shoot!

AHOWARD KIRBY replies: This will never be a cut and dry an­swer as there are so many con­sid­er­a­tions. Per­haps a good place to start is that more gundogs on your shoot may well im­prove its per­for­mance – but those dogs will need to be well trained and obe­di­ent if they are to achieve this goal. So you need to choose a breed that’s highly train­able. I would ar­gue that all of the breeds are train­able, but the main con­sid­er­a­tion is that you choose the breed whose char­ac­ter­is­tics best suit the job.

It ap­pears that you will need a dog that is happy to sit qui­etly on the peg and also work in the line. The easy ones to rule out are the HPRs and point­ers and set­ters as they are not de­signed for this role, al­though, of course, there are al­ways ex­cep­tions to the rule. Both re­triev­ers and spaniels can be trained to ful­fil your re­quire­ments. I’m as­sum­ing this is your first dog and for that rea­son my first choice for you would be a Labrador. Clearly, this will make your wife happy so this would be another rea­son to make this choice!

With re­gards to health, most breeds have par­tic­u­lar is­sues that breed­ers do their very best to test for in or­der to avoid health prob­lems in the pup­pies they pro­duce. Use the Ken­nel Club guide­lines and ad­vice from the breed spe­cial­ists to min­imise any po­ten­tial health prob­lems.

Good luck with which­ever puppy you choose, en­sure you re­search the breed thor­oughly and get good ad­vice on house train­ing and day-to-day man­age­ment be­fore you col­lect it.

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