What's the best gun dog breed
I've never handled a gun dog before, but I'd like to get into this.
Can anyone advise me what breed is best for a newbie and the best place to get training. Something like a 1 week course would be good.
LABRADOR. Number one hunting dog ever! Beyond that, I think the Lab is more forgiving of a handlers mistakes than any of the others. A wide variety of people can be successful training Labs. They are gregarious, eager to please, intelligent, versatile and make a great companion when not hunting.
For a new or inexperienced trainer you should be able to take a Lab just as far as you want to go.
Depending on where you are, take some classes and join a club. Use other peoples experience to off set your lack thereof. Don't be afraid to find a pro to get with. Understand just like any any business, there are good and bad Pros. Listen to what every body has to say, discount nothing. Find a way to pick and choose the best ideas to fit you and your dog.
There are allot of great breeds out there to choose from, it depends on what you intend to hunt and on your lifestyle. There are some great local clubs that can help you out, I am a member of Arctic Bird Dog Association (check out our website at http://arcticbirddog.com/. We have pointing dogs and spaniels. I am a spaniel person and think field bred Springers are the best dogs ever. but like the previous post Lab person everyone has there preferences, and variety is the spice of life so take a look at all the breeds to help you decide which one you like.
Pete, you are more than welcome to come watch our training classes, attend our fun day, or come to a hunt test so you can really see dogs in action to help you make a decision. You are even welcome to help out - we always welcome help!
There are some great retriever groups around, Midnight Sun Gun dogs http://msgda.org/ are the one's I am most famliar with - they are GREAT folks, very helpful and welcome new people to their events - I help them out once in awhile. Plus they have some awsome dogs. Alaska Working Retrieves are also a great group - http://www.alaskaworkingretriever.com/
This should give you some options. Good luck and keep us posted!
exactly what leftie said!
I am also a spaniel person, but I second what she says. Go to those websites, check out when the events are, and just show up and watch the dogs work and ask LOTS of questions. Come to the training classes to see different dogs at different stages.
The next question you need to ask yourself is, what are YOU going to do with a dog? Hunt upland game, spaniels and pointers tend to have the upper hand here. Ducks, labs seem to do very well there. I have both a lab and a springer. The lab has more speed in the water and on the ground, but the springer is more thorough, and will bring back twice as many birds as the lab. I have a very good springer, and a ok lab, they have had almost exactly the same training, except I sent the lab to a pro trainer, as I was having some difficulty with her with retrieves.
anyway ask tons of questions, and have fun! and join a training group it pays HUGE dividends!!
Yes, spaniels and Labs are great dogs.
Originally Posted by TBLOOMA
Or...get just one all around dog for the upland setting or blind, the breed that we have and offer:
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons; the ultimate hunting dog that is also a fabulous family dog.
Last edited by fullkurl; 11-14-2009 at 16:16.
I think it depends alot on what you are going to hunt. Do you want a specialized type of dog, or an all around? Are you going duck hunting, rabbit hunting, upland bird hunting, all of the above? Since this is Alaska you probably want a breed that can handle some real cold weather.
I like the German Wirehaired pointer, but I have never owned one. I just like the experiences I've had with other peoples dogs.
Best Gun Dog
The best gun dog is one you want and fits your personality. There are lots of good breeds to choose from so do lots of research. However, I think the second most important factor is the quality of the breeding. There are stark differences between a proven bloodline and one that is not. I recently purchased a Deutsch Drathaar (German Wirehair) from Germany, and she is extremely easy to train but lots of energy. The entire breeding program is based on a performance basis. Check out the VDD/GNA website if you get a chance.
I am new to dog training, but not new to dogs.
The dog is the easy part.
The training is the hard part.
Determine what you want to do with the dog, there is more than just training for hunting, but who wants to do that! Ducks can be covered by any dog that loves to retieve in the water. The only issue is the colder end of the season and that can be addressed by preparation and equipment.
I have yet to meet/own a springer that did not love water work.
The only problems I have ever had with a springer in AK is the amount of snow they bring inside with them in the winter. I gave my old pooch hair cuts in the winters not the summers.
35 years of "we don't need no stinking training" upland bird hunting springers, and now I have a yellow lab duck dog. The training of the trainer has begun.
As everyone stated, it entirely depends on what you are going to hunt and what fits your personality. One work though, there is no such thing as a one week training class that will teach your dog AND you for hunting. It takes more than that.
I had a German Shorthair and he did everything, pointed birds, retrieved ducks, blood trailed, coursed rabbits (hares) and was a great dog. Mine, and most wirehairs are a little "hard headed" and it takes time and patience to train them. They are very eager to hunt and "please" the owner. They are mostly one man/woman/family dogs.
Hopefully, most people feel like the breed they own is the "best." I like german wirehairs and other versatile hunting dogs the best.
Check out http://www.birddogsforever.com/ for interviews and some video of lots of different breeds. I've listened to/watched many of his free podcasts and will probably eventually spring for the DVDs that he produced.
Good advice and link!
Originally Posted by 2jumpersplease
And it's important to realize that the pride folks have in their various breeds bodes well for those looking.
Many would overlook drahts, wirehaireds, griffs, etc. if there weren't fans of those more rare (and excellent) breeds.
Ultimately, research and dedication to your new pup are very important.
they are all good
It boils down to what you like and what you want
I have trained and hunted with retreivers and pointing breeds and I have hunted over spaniels (never owned one).
Retrievers and spaniels are probably the most versatile, and more likely to be better in water for waterfowl. However, there are several pointing breeds that are versatile ( the continental breeds) as well. I have even known brittanys to fetch a few ducks and geese, not their forte but saved the guy from swimming.
I wouldnt do it but I have known hunting rotweilers, and german shepards.
As mentioned above, get out in the field and observe as many as you can. The clubs mentioned are a good place to start.
Read books, watch videos....pick one you like to look at too. You have to live with it for many years.
I would be happy to let you join me and my dogs in the field.
Thats easy. Beagles! The underdog of the alaska canine world. They are easy to train to hunt. Most do it naturally. Course all they do is chase stuff!
Im jesting here. I know your probably looking for an all purpose dog.
Lots of good advice has been given here already on the matter.
And assuming your a novice gun dog owner here is some points I like to give all people considering gundog ownership.
A hunting dog is usually one High energy animal. During the off season you cant just walk them around the block for exercise. When I got my two, I never realized that. That has been a major issue with me and the dogs. They need to hunt wether I want to or not.
Also you need to take a good hard look at the oppurtunities available up here. Maybe I didnt expand my horizons enough but it became readily apparant that upland bird hunting up here isnt like Nebraska. Its harder, Less birds, less access, less training oppurtunity. And by that I mean our weather and having to ship birds up here are a pain.
I love my pointer, but really she is just a house dog now due to the constraints of training, schedules and plain lack of bird oppurtunities.
The beagle though, now he is a good hunting dog for rabbits and its easy and great to do up here. But he is not the pet the pointer is.
Just some food for thought.
And the arctic bird dog puppy class was great. My pointer made great progress through it. I owe alot to that club for teaching me and the dog right.
also when my two pass on and if I get into dogs again, I might go the lab route. The majority I have seen have been well rounded.
Most of my dog experience is with retrievers. For all the years I trained my dogs, worked with pros, ran clubs, helped others, the lab just fit a wider variety of people.
All breeds have, or come with, general characteristics. Certain things that you can or should be able to plan on. Not every pit bull will fight, but what were they bred to do? Not every dachshund is stubborn, abrasive, hard headed, but after all, they were bred to go into small holes after things that bite. There are anomalies in all breeds, but again, there are things to plan for.
For myself, I found goldens to be too soft and not forgiving enough. I found Chessies to be too stubborn, and unwilling to follow. For the folks that find those dogs to work out for them, kudos. There are great dogs in both breeds. But I found more labs that were workable than any of the others. I saw a wide variety of people obtain better results with labs than the others. As far as house dogs go, labs excell. As our kids can attest, we called the dogs "Whappin Tails" when they beat the kids half to death just being happy. Maybe that is what is wrong with my boy?
If I weren't going to have a lab, and wanted to stick with hunting dogs (I have long thought that a herding dog would be cool to have) I would look at the wirehair. My impression is that they tend to have an off switch at home that allows them to relax. The pointer that we had as a kid, and several I have been around and worked with, did not have that switch. I also like dogs that size. A springer might fit the mold too. What is not to love about how happy their butts get? Man what a wiggle! And if a large dog doesn't fit, the springer is smaller but still carries enough weight to handle big birds.
My labs have carried everything from Greater Canada Geese to grouse, Sandhill Cranes to spawned out salmon, and ducks to hares. They love to hunt whatever happens to be on the menu for the day. They are at home on the Tanana, in the mud flats, on the mountain, or in the trees.
And with all that said about my number one choice, I love taking every opportunity to hunt over well trained dogs of every shape, size, and color.
Thanks for your comments everyone - some great advice!
What dog is best for me?
I live in Colorado and hunt mostly dove, but have hunted duck and geese. In the future I would also like to hunt rabbit, quail and other small game. I have done a lot of research and have found that GSP is a very well rounded dog as well as labs. I am active and single, but in the next couple of years I plan on having a family.
What is the best dog for my situation?
I only got to hunt them once, and that was in Mexico. We used guides, not dogs, to pick up birds. Is all dove hunting done via pass shooting or is any done by flushing?
Part of what makes a good dog is the ability for that dog to fit the handler. As I said before, not everybody can handle anything that walks on 4 legs. What is your attitude, temperment, and history on working with dogs?
I would think a springer could both mark birds from your side and flush birds in the field very well. The lab could also. Both dogs are water dogs. And both make good family dogs.
GSP's are very versatile. But as I recall when we were kids the one we had did not have an "off" switch. The few I've been around since were pretty much the same way. If you are looking for a dog that goes hard all the time, and never quits, and aren't worried about being laid back while a house dog, by all means go GSP.
Tough to call from here. Give us some more info on you and your experience. That might help.
As an aside, if you decide on a specific breed, go ask people who don't have that breed who they would get a dog from. They usually have nothing to profit from by giving good answers. Vets can also give good info.
Originally Posted by Sierra Hotel
I respectfully disagree. We can hunt from August 10th through March 31st in some GMU in the state that is much longer than most of the areas I ever hunted in the lower 48. Now if you talking about weather and conditions I understand that some folks don't get out as much in the winter and the deep snow hampers some dogs. But with a snow machine and a decent coat and a pocket full of booties for my GSPs, youll see me out at -20 tromping throught the brush with a happy dog on point and a frozen grin on my face.
That being said, I love my GSPs and labs are good too. But everyone is right get a dog that fits you life. GSPs don't take to sitting around too much.