Which Gun Dog is Right for You?

When investing in a dog for shooting, it is essential you choose the right companion. This dog will be with you for many years to come and we hope to give you an insight into which dogs we feel will act as both good companions and good gun dogs. Everyone is different and some may have more patience than others when it comes to training a dog. In our experience, when you attend shoots up and down the country, the dogs you are most likely to come across are of Labrador descent. And there are reasons for this.   Firstly, they are easy dogs to train so this makes the Labrador retriever an instant hit with many new dog owners. Even if they bark or jump up at strangers or house visitors, this can easily be trained out of them. They also have an extremely good temperament and so make good house pets as well as out on the field (especially if you have children). And if you really were to get stuck, there is a wealth of information from other dog lovers about this breed due to its popularity.   You may also be tempted by the Springer. These are often thought of as the all round best dogs for shooting. An accurate description definitely, but in comparison to the Labrador – a different ball game when it comes to training. Time and time again we see these dogs put up in kennels due to what the owners’ describe as bad behaviour. But more often than not this has been down to the lack of training given to the dog. Springers are an extremely high maintenance breed and without proper training can be troublesome for some. However if you have the time and patience, this can pay off with this breed of canine, and they are extremely capable when it comes to shooting.   The most popular breed of Spaniel is the Cocker. These are small dogs that are used for both show and for work and make excellent gun dogs. They are easy to train and extremely intelligent. Bella the cocker spaniel (as seen on ITV) is a great example of how incredible these dogs can be and how loyal to their owners they are. In terms of exercise, usually an hour per day is enough for these dogs. They are attention seekers and will look for praise from their owners. They are extremely eager to please their owners and when out, can be found to be quite happy sniffing around burrows and in fields.   Another dog highly regarded as a gun dog is the Golden Retriever – named for its ability to learn to retrieve game from the field. These dogs are renowned throughout the world for being fantastic pets but also as tremendous work dogs. They are used by the police force as sniffer dogs, by the blind as guide dogs and also make great gun dogs. Like the Labrador, these are easy to train and a good temperament makes them good family companions. It should be noted that these dogs can grow to be large, so it is essential that they have enough space and are exercised for at least two hours every day.   Whichever breed you choose to adopt, there will be difficult times and good times and it is essential that as a new owner you are prepared to give your dog the attention and training it requires. If this can be achieved, then you will have a companion for life – not just as a pet but as a gun dog also. If you’d like to help support Dog A.I.D. please see Bella’s website for details of her 365 day trick challenge to raise money for the charity.