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Old February 1, 2006, 01:46 AM   #1
Ranger Al
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What bird dog to get?

I am planning to do pheasant, quail, and maybe duck hunt in California. I've seen lots of German shorthair pointer (GSP) around pheasant hunt and was told that they are full of energy and could be pretty rought with children. I was also considering Lab( one of my buddy got one and didn't really want one) and was told they are awesome with kids and very easy to train. The next constestant would be English Springle (not sure of spelling).

all opinion appreciated...

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Old February 1, 2006, 06:12 AM   #2
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Labs shed a lot! I like them anyway. Be very careful about the breeder. Too many people breed dogs for the quick buck. They have little regard for genetics and breed improvement.
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Old February 1, 2006, 08:33 AM   #3
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I had a Golden retriever that i trained for upland and water fowl.I should say he trained me.He was a natural.I think i just got lucky with him,because when he was gone i got another and wanted to shoot him.I got rid of him and i am now hunting dogless . My advice is do your homework and find a reputable breeder no matter what breed you choose.
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Old February 1, 2006, 10:00 AM   #4
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Black Labs from the right bloodline make fine pheasant dogs; they're also right for ducks over decoys.

We raised Springers for 9 years, all hunting stock. They excell as flushers and retreivers. Plenty of energy and very eager to please. But as with any AKC dog, over line breeding has ruined many Springers. You'll want to buy hunting stock and plan to pay significantly more than typical pricing at your Mall Pet Shop. Several reputable breeders located near Pierre, South Dakota. They also sell trained adult dogs.
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Old February 1, 2006, 10:10 AM   #5
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You also need to look at your personality and lifestyle too. Certain dog's mesh better with certain people. Some hunting dogs range further away when hunting and therefore more walking is needed. Close-in hunting dogs can be used at a different pace.

Hunting is only part of a dog's life. What kind of personality do you want from the dog while at home. Some breeds have a lot of energy that needs to be burned off daily. Some breeds can mellow out without much fuss.

The type of hunting to be done is an important aspect to consider when choosing a hunting dog. The personality and abilities of the hunter needs to be considered too.
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Old February 1, 2006, 01:28 PM   #6
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Of course, a far far more important consideration than which breed is buying from a good reputable breeder who loves the breed and breeds for health, temperament, and working ability, not some backyard breeder yahoo. Having said that, many breeds are good for upland birds. All of your pointers, setters, and spaniels of good breeding will be good for that. BUT, since you threw ducks into the mix, you need a dog that likes the water and has a thick coat that will keep it warm when retrieving in icy waters (not necessarily a long coat; but a thick coat). That means a water retreiver such as a Labrador is your best bet. But with Labs, you have to be *especially wary* of poor breeders since there's zillions of poor breeders for this breed. Plus, not all lab lines point very well, so you need a lab from an excellent breeder who breeds for pointing (all labs will naturally be trainable to retrieve). So, if you're really gonna hunt duck too, better get one that likes the water like a Lab. I'm pretty sure that Goldens, Flat-Coated and Chesapeake Bay retreivers are also excellent for waterfowl, but again, you need to find a line that has a pointing instinct so that they can do quail & pheasants too!

There's a few others who don't mind water, like a Weimareiner, Visla, GSP, or GLP/GWP, IINM.

As far as one that is a good family companion as well, you are on the right track with water retreivers like Labs, Goldens, Flat-coated, & Chessies. They are all amicable and want to be part of the family. Ditto on the Weimereiner, Visla, & German pointers, but not quite to the same extent as retreivers. The latter are much better watchdogs than retrievers, but if that is not a concern, then I'd definitely look into some quality Lab lines who are bred for both water retrieving and upland birds (pointing).

Now if want to eliminate ducks, or get a separate dog for ducks, and just focus on upland birds, then there's no dogs more birdy than traditional setters & pointers, whether standard American pointer, Irish setter, etc. I would also consider a GSP or GWP for a dedicated upland dog, since again, they make better pets.

P.S. With GSPs, like Labs, there's a million bad breeders. Not quite as many horrible breeders as labs, but certainly a lot of bad ones. Do a ton of research before buying. Get a contract with a health guarantee, and require OFA (hip) and CERT (eyes) certification. Also test the dog to the extent possible before buying, and find out if its parents were actually hunters, and/or if they earned any working dog titles in competition. It's funny how with your best breeders, you actually pay little to no more than you would from a scumball backyard breeder, because they do it for the love of the breed and operate on very thin profit margins. Whereas backyard breeders do it for a quick buck. Sometimes even great dogs are cheaper with the best breeders for this reason - so you can't let price be your guide as to the quality, and you certainly can't rely on lip service about how great they are from the breeder. You need background, facts, & evidence - ask a million questions.
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Old February 1, 2006, 07:35 PM   #7
roy reali
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What?

Most breeds of hunting dogs do get along well with both people and other dogs. Vicious, unsocialized hunting dogs have no place in the fields. Dog fights and shotguns make for a bad mix.

FirstFreedom
I have had less then pleasurable encounters with Chespeake Bay Retreivers in the field. I realize that much of a dog's temperament is determined by its upbringing, but the ones I've crossed paths with growled. A friend of mine recently moved here from a much colder state. Chessies are much more common there. He did tell me that as a breed, they are not the most social dogs towards other canines.

If your experience with this breed is different, please let me know. My experience is very little.
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Old February 1, 2006, 09:42 PM   #8
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Hmm, no I don't have any specific experience with Chesapeake bays; I was just going by what I have read; you may have run into poorly-socialized ones, or you may be right about Chessies being more unfriendly as a breed. I dunno... I can tell you that a good lab is wonderful (though probably not a good watch dog). But a "bad" lab is a bitter experience because it will start out wonderful and then when it's health or hips go south a few years later, or it bites a child unexpectedly, and you have to put it down young, it'll rip your heart out. So do some research on how your breeders look out for health qualities, temperament, and of course, working ability. If you can get the pick of the litter, this is very good, even though cliche, because you can watch how they play, and pick one that is bold, yet sociable; curious yet obedient, etc. Then socialize like CRAZY with people, other dogs, cats, & noises through 26 weeks! Then start training them young....

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Vicious, unsocialized hunting dogs have no place in the fields.
Amen to that.
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Old February 1, 2006, 10:34 PM   #9
roy reali
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Not Sure Either

FirstFreedom, to be honest, I am not sure about the personality of a run of the mill Chesapeake Bay Retreiver. I know that standard labs are usually fine around other dogs.

The problem with labs is that they are now the number one most popular dog on the AKC registry. That popularity leads to poor breeding and poor quality dogs.

Germany strongly regulates dog breeding. Not just any Joe Blow can start breeding dogs. Most police agencies use dogs that are imported from Germany or are at least only a generation or two removed. The quality of a German born dog is far superior to any bred here. While I generally detest government interference into our daily lives, I wish they would regulate dog breeding a little more.

I still think that the hunters style of hunting needs to be taken into account. A person that likes to hunt at a casual pace should not get a pointing breed. A person that isn't keen on grooming or deburring a dog shouldn't get a setter. There are many variables to consider when getting a dog. One only hope that the person does their homework first.
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Old February 1, 2006, 11:03 PM   #10
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Thank you to everyone who give their input. I agreed Lab are very popular and they are everywhere! I am leaning toward the Spanial, due to their size and their gentle toward the children.

I've spoken to several breeders about GSP and was told that they are full of energy and will make each other lives a living nightmare if they don't get enough exercise. I live in the middle of the city and do own my home with tall fences around the property and I don't think I have enough room for GSP.

Settler is my other breed, but it is hard to locate breeder where I am located (Fresno, CA). From what I've seen they are popular as show dog and I would not want to get that kind of blood line.

Again, thank you for everyone input..

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Old February 2, 2006, 05:43 AM   #11
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I know of a couple of really nice English Springer Spaniels, some nice English Cocker Spaniels, too. As hunters the English have not let the show ring conformation determine studs and dams. Please spend time with several breeders and make the best choice you can. Most people will put up with a substandard dog instead of euthanizing it and starting again. That may be in excess of ten years. If you calculate the cost of a dog over its lifetime, you will see that a 1500 dollar puppy from a proven cross and a reputable breeder can be a bargain when compared to a 350 dollar idiot.
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Old February 2, 2006, 07:45 AM   #12
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When we went to get my springer, we told the breeder that we wanted a female. He brought the four females out and we just stood by and watched. One little one came up took a snif as if to say howdy, then went on about her sniffing. Nose to the ground and going a mile a minute! The rest of the pups wanted your attention, not her, there was sniffing to do! She had the blaze on her face that my dad said you had to have and the ring around her neck. The blaze can not touch the ring. She had fairly wide hips, and a good posture. That was 8 years ago. She hunts the scaled quail like a pro. (If you know scaled you know what a street fight that can be!) I will say though, I don't feel she is big enough to get into the weeds around here where the phesant like to get. She tries, but after about an hour, it whips her butt. She is my BEST friend and will never be replaced. One of a kind!
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Old February 2, 2006, 09:29 AM   #13
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youp speaks very wisely.

What kind of spaniel you thinking about - springer, brittany, cocker, what? Don't forget, cockers were hunters before backyard breeders ruined them. If you can find a serious non-conformation breeding line (hunting line), they will hunt. Some (most) spaniels have long hair, so this means removing burrs & such from their furr, as someone mentioned above; keeping them groomed. If you're willing to do that, fine. If not, you might want to consider a shorthaired breed (pointers, etc.).

Quote:
I've spoken to several breeders about GSP and was told that they are full of energy and will make each other lives a living nightmare if they don't get enough exercise. I live in the middle of the city and do own my home with tall fences around the property and I don't think I have enough room for GSP.
That too is an extremely important consideration, and you are very wise to listen to that. You really may want to consider a Vizsla (Hungarian Vizsla). They are small like spaniels, family oriented, and I don't *think* they'll go crazy & tear everything up without sufficient exercise (but you need to check on that), and they will hunt most everything. They are considered an all-purpose hunting breed - from the right lines, you can teach them to point, retrieve on land & water, and even track downed game.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...+breed&spell=1
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Old February 2, 2006, 10:02 AM   #14
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Depending on breeding spaniels can be agressive towards children/other dogs, and if trained to retreive they are likely to "peg" (retrieve) birds that sit tight/are slow to flush. They also are nowhere near as good in water as labs and having a single coat they soon get cold. the lab is your best all round choice and if well bred are good with kids and other dogs, they certainly are good water dogs. You say duck shooting which only requires a good water dog. The best of all is spaniel trained to hunt and flush and a lab for everything else. I guess from your questions you have never trained a dog. Buy a good book on gundog training and be prepared for 12-18 months work to acheive a dog to be proud of. If buying a pup wait until at least 6-7 months old before trying to train it, it is a baby and has to learn about the world around it. You can start things off right by encouraging it to come to you for food and when thats working go on to waiting before eating it ( only a few seconds at this stage), start gently encouraging it to sit and wait before eating, but dont expect too much and dont be severe, praise for doing right is the best ecouragement. dont fall into the trap of giving food as a reward for doing right later in its training , apart from needing a pocket the size of a grocery bag, you ruin the dogs ability to find game with its nose.
I have been at this 46 yrs+ and have never used tidbits to get a dog to do what I want, the praise and tone of your voice works perfectly because the dog is after your approval as the lead pack member. It takes three years to bring a dog to its peak ability and three minutes to ruin it completely. If you are dog training you cant be shooting, get a buddy to do the shooting after tha basic training and you concntrate on the dog. Even when fully trained a dog can still be ruined and any dog will always try to see what it can get away with even when old, thats how they have survived for so long, they are eternal optimists!
Here are two pics of some of my past dogs, sadly all hunting in the everafter now, hell it brings back some real good memories!
P.S the books on Amazon by Martin Deely and Peter Moxon are both worth the reading they are very good at it and you will do well following their lead, the others are not so good particularly James Douglas, he managed to do nothing very well and managed to shoot himself accidentally in the end!.
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Old February 3, 2006, 11:19 PM   #15
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I think it is tough to find a dog that would perform well with pheasant, quail and duck. I've done all my hunting is kansas/missouri and I think that you need to separate the pheasant/quail dog from the duck dog. I grew up with a GSP and take issue with those who believe they are not good with kids. If a dog torments people I believe it is because people torment the dog. I do agree that all dogs need to be excersized, especially large breeds. Also it has been my experience that if you regularly give the dog an opportunity to hunt it can make up for the "backyard breeder" dog. I've hunted for 35 years and have never purchased a dog from "hunting stock". There are two key factors to hunting dog ownership; get the dog out in the field as often as possible; and show the dog love. Consider how many days the dog will be the family pet as opposed to how many days you will actually take the dog hunting. I've lived with a GSP, and English Setter, and currently have a Weimaraner. All have been great companions and decent hunters. Based on what little I know of your situation, I'd get an English Setter and watch duck hunting of TV.
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Old February 4, 2006, 12:37 AM   #16
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A familiar thread...

Brittany Spaniel...
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Old February 4, 2006, 12:46 PM   #17
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I currently own an adequate Chocolate lab that has wormed his ungrateful way into our hearts. I have in the past owned top dogs. You may find a top dog in a haphazard breeding program. Some 'backyard' breeders are very good at it, they just do not want to make a career out of it.

You must decide what you want and go and get it. Do not be conned by the first set of brown puppy eyes staring at you. You will probably have this dog in excess of 10 years, be careful. The absoulute bottom line is "It is hard enough to get good dogs out of good dogs, let alone good dogs from the mediocre"
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Old February 6, 2006, 06:44 AM   #18
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Its going to be tough as my boys wanting a puppy. I do want them to have a dog to play with and in return I like to have him hunt with me during the hunting season. I've considered the visula and can not locate the local breeder. I am also considering lab due to their patient and gentlness to the kids. Also the Springer for their size and gentlness. I am tempted to go toward the backyard breeders, but certainly understand from the experince here. I know mistake will be made and I am hopping that the dog will over come the mistake. If he or she doesn, well I am sure we will certainly have a good pet around the family!

You are right, I do not have experince in training dogs. I will certainly will be taking courses from the local kennel club.

Thanks for all the input

Anyone know of a good breeder in California? I would love to talk to and hope to put my name on the list..
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Old February 6, 2006, 10:12 AM   #19
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I'd recommend spending some time looking at dogs that hunt in the same area you hunt in (esp. if it's public land.) The opinion of local hunters may put you in contact with exceptional breeders, and that is far more important than the actual breed.

The GSP is the most versitile breed I've had the pleasure to watch, but the two I'm speaking of came from field trial champ line breeding (Dixieland). I'm not nieve enough to assume all are the same. I believe most GSP's are more houndy and slow. My father-in-law (who owns the two GSP's I'm refering to) is currently selecting a male to mate his bitch. He has been looking for a couple years now and he thinks he finally found a mate.

I love the English Setter too. They seem a little more high strung, but they are great family pets with the never failing urge to make the handler proud.

I haven't see a standard "pointer" that impressed me, but I put that on the trainers and not the dogs.

Be prepared to spend two to three times the puppy mill rate to get a dog with hunting in it's veins. It's well worth the extra money.

I'd personally look for a breeder before a breed. That's where the difference is the greatest.
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Old February 6, 2006, 03:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Its going to be tough as my boys wanting a puppy. I do want them to have a dog to play with and in return I like to have him hunt with me during the hunting season.
Most bird-doggers will tell you that you will "mess up the hunt" in the dog... if you make the dog a house pet...

If you get the right breed (Brittany Spaniel) and the right dog AND if you keep the dog in a kennel (Not in the house) you might be able to overcome that problem...

Teach the dog obedience and hunting FIRST...

Then, allow the boys to play with the "hunting dog"...
NOT, the other way around...

With boys and dogs... discipline is everything!
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Old February 6, 2006, 04:03 PM   #21
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Holy Moly; I agree with Pointer for once.
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Old February 6, 2006, 04:53 PM   #22
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I realize that many hunters think that you ruin the "hunt" in the dog by making them a house pet. That hasn't been my experience. Dogs do what they do instinctively and only need to be taught disipline. It is likely that if you make a hunting dog a house pet and rarely take him out that dog will be a poor hunter. Dogs need exposure to the outdoors to allow their instinct to work. My weimararner gets out often, is a decent hunter, sleeps on the couch and plays with the kids. It can work that way.
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Old February 6, 2006, 05:52 PM   #23
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Dog Type

A LAB for all seasons and reasons!!!! They are damn good dogs ! I've owned 3 so far they all live good long lives and always loved to HUNT. Look long and hard for the good breeders And you'll pay but it will pay for itself, I have 2 now an old yella 15 yr old( he still perks up a a gunshot) and a 2yr old black bitch who is just incredible! Smart, soft mouth ,just loves to HUNT , Jeez I could go on and on .Springers were ok but got real grumpy and became biters when about 5 yrs old.( they're gone!!!) JITC
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Old February 6, 2006, 06:14 PM   #24
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My GSP was my best dog. Very gentle with my kids including one with Cerebral Palsy who used him to help get up and stand. I recenly had a lab mostly as companion. Wife hated him for shedding and getting in pool. daleltaylor@att.net
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Old February 7, 2006, 12:09 AM   #25
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chupps

Of course, you are right as far as it goes...

I guess the difference is in how we rate a good hunting dog.
Quote:
rarely take him out that dog will be a poor hunter. Dogs need exposure to the outdoors
Any serious bird-dogger will "work" his dog routinely and often...
He will want the dog to range close and work hard...
He will want the dog to hold over the upland bird and watch the birds fall in order to find and retrieve them quickly so the hunt, or shoot, can continue in a timely manner.

If the dog gets easily distracted from these things it is a "poor" bird dog.

However, if the hunter is satisfied with the way his dog performs around other hunting dogs, and under the watchful eyes of his fellow hunters...
Who can fault that?
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