The wife has her heart set on getting a dog. My conditions are that if we get one 1. it has to be a duck dog, and 2. We have to train it as a bird dog. We'd like to get a lab, but I've seen a lot of labs that just get too big for the house we have. We're in a great place to run around, but I don't want a dog bigger than 60 pounds in the house. We've been looking at some lab-beagle mixes, or maybe another (smaller) mix with another bird dog breed. I'm curious if a lab mix will work as a duck dog, or if it's imperative that you go with a purebred. Is that a bad idea? It seems like it would be a good compromise between a house dog, and one that would hunt too.
Also, anybody out there train their retrievers to hunt upland (grouse and ptarmigan) in addition to waterfowl? I hunt both, but I understand that you might need to train a dog for both scenarios, which might confuse them. Any thoughts on this appreciated. This will be my first dog since I was a child. Thanks-