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Old August 6, 2012, 02:33 AM   #1
PoorRichRichard
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I need help picking out a specific bird dog...

I'm starting my research on finding a new bird dog. Here's my criteria:

-I need a dog dog that will get along with my 2 young female beagles, ages 2 and 4, both spayed. They both generally get along very well with other dogs.

-I'd prefer a prefer a medium/smaller sized dog both because of the beagles and also because I have small children. Also, my yard is not huge, only about 2000 square feet.

-I'd like a dog that is not super hyper- he or she will get tons of attention (walk/run 4-5 times a week) but I need a bird dog that won't tear up my house/yard.

I'm not particular as to a pointer or retriever. I hunt primarily dove and both Gamble's and California Valley Quail. I also hunt ducks, but again, a retriever is not a necessity. Are here any particular breeds (or crossbreeds) that both point and retrieve?

Any and all advice as to breed (or crossbreed), age, and sex of a potential bird dog given my criteria would be greatly appreciated

Nothing to do with this post, but here's a picture of my girls doing what they do best.... other than beg for treats...

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Old August 6, 2012, 07:21 AM   #2
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Boykin Spaniel.
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Old August 6, 2012, 01:10 PM   #3
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Old August 6, 2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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Old August 6, 2012, 06:45 PM   #5
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Asking for a recommendation for a bird dog is like asking simply TFL for a recommendation on a handgun. Seriously you'll get a lot of different suggestions on breeds.

To better help you we would need more information regarding your desire for a bird dog.

1. What type of bird hunting do you intend to do? Waterfowl hunting? Pheasant? Grouse? Dove? All or some of the above?

2. Do you prefer a dog that handles closely to you or are you ok with your dog wandering far from you and perhaps out of sight?

3. Do you need a retriever or do you just need a dog to find the birds for you to shoot?

4. Are you hunting in cold weather or warm?

If all of these questions are answered a more precise suggestion might be made.

Just remember though that you actually are asking for a sort of paradox in dogs. A dog that is going to be an excellent hunting dog will also be overtly energetic as well. This is how it will be the majority of the time. There will be some that are less energetic and still be an excellent hunter but that's more of an exception than the rule.

Bird hunting requires a lot of running and perhaps swimming when it comes to the dog. The dog must be hard headed and stubborn enough to push through the thickest reeds and thorns to get to the bird and at the same time must have the energy to run many miles (if upland bird hunting) in search of birds for you to shoot. If you require that they retrieve they may need to swim across a large amount of water to retrieve a bird you downed. They must also have the drive and determination to find that bird unless called back regardless of how thick the grass is or how difficult it may be to catch a scent.

Everyone wants a great hunting dog that is low key and isn't running about the house tearing things up but that's hard to get. What most people don't understand is that the great hunting dogs that they see on TV that just loaf about their owners/handlers and hunt with amazing determination and efficiency are kept busy every day. Every day they're being trained to hone their hunting skills and every day that training requires they swim, run and hunt - activities that drain much much more energy than just taking the dog out for a walk twice a day.

My dogs are lazy inside the house and are happy to just lay at my feet but every day they are taken to the field and trained for hunting. Every day they run at least 1000 yards, some days upwards of 3000 yards, while learning to hunt and retrieve. That's running... they are also walked as well and taught leash manners as well as off leash manners. By the end of the day they're pretty tired and that makes for a "low energy" dog. If someone were to take one of these dogs and fail to give them this kind of exercise regularly these dogs would turn into hyperactive terrors.
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Old August 6, 2012, 08:04 PM   #6
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He gave me everything he really needs in the short narrative in the post. I'm a GSP type person but can clearly tell that he wants a Boykin Spaniel, it fits his desires to a T.
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Old August 7, 2012, 12:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Asking for a recommendation for a bird dog is like asking simply TFL for a recommendation on a handgun. Seriously you'll get a lot of different suggestions on breeds.

Pretty much the just of it. There are many breeds that point and retrieve. There are many dogs that would make a great companion for your family and your other dogs. I suggest you go to one of the many dog websites and research. Going to breed specific websites will tell you just what owners here will tell you....that theirs is the best. Go to a neutral site like AKC that will give you an unbiased description without all the bling.

Any dog that is a hunter at heart will be demanding. Even Boykins because of their stamina need plenty of attention and work. A walk 4 or 5 times a week will not do it. Especially at a young age. If they get bored, they get mischievous and nervous. That generally turns into chewing or some other form of destruction. This is true regardless of breed or sex.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
He gave me everything he really needs in the short narrative in the post. I'm a GSP type person but can clearly tell that he wants a Boykin Spaniel, it fits his desires to a T.
How can you say that? How well do you know the OP and his desires for a bird dog? How well do you know the traits of the Boykin Spaniel? Can you say for sure that the Boykin Spaniel is the perfect dog for him?

I know only a little about the actual traits of a Boykin Spaniel - from what I already knew its pretty much like a Springer except with a solid coat and a little smaller - like a Brittany Spaniel.

Being a Spaniel its a working/hunting dog. I figured it would be high energy and need lots of exercise, more than just 5, 6 or even 7 long walks a week. So I figured I'd do some research. Here's what I found...

From http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/boykinspaniel.htm

Quote:
The Boykin Spaniel is a working dog and needs a lot of daily exercise, including a long, brisk daily walk, where the dog is heeling beside or behind you, never in front as, in a dogs mind, pack leader goes first. They have a high drive, very willing, intensely energetic dog that needs adequate exercise and a “job” to do daily to burn off energy and exercise their very nimble mind. They will find ways to entertain themselves if not provided by their owner and can be very destructive when bored or when their primal instinct to walk has not been fulfilled.
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boykin_Spaniels

Quote:
They can sometimes be described as energetic with great endurance that lasts throughout the day. They are extremely adaptable to different environments as long as they are given ample opportunity for social interaction and plenty of time to burn off excess energy. They are not easily angered and tend to be eager to please and friendly, but they love attention. Boykins have great energy reserves and will always outlast you in any activity you choose.
From the AKC: http://www.akc.org/breeds/boykin_spaniel/

Quote:
The Boykin has the stamina to stay by its owner’s side during a full day of work, so it fits in best with an active family.
All this says to me that the Boykin shares the same energetic traits as the Springer which I know from personal experience to be VERY energetic - to the point of being considered hyperactive by people who are not familiar with the breed and its needs. If the OP gets a Boykin he'd better work that dog every day and work him/her hard so as to burn off that energy.

Aside from that the Boykin, being so similar to the Springer, would fit the OP's needs if he wanted just a general bird dog. Both are superb upland game bird hunters and will even retrieve waterfowl too. Really the only difference is a slight size difference (with the Boykin being a touch smaller) and the coloring. They are still very energetic though and needs to be worked to be content to lounge about at home without chewing up everything.

Having semi-professionally trained Springers, Labs, Chesapeake Retrievers, Goldens and other sporting dogs as flushing retrievers of upland game birds and as duck dogs I can say from my experience that sporting breeds, if bred for hunting, are extremely energetic. I've also talked with pointer trainers and they say the same of their dogs too.

On a side note I find it amusing that Wikipedia suggests spraying the dog's coat with cooking oil to help prevent tangling of its long coat. If you're going to own a spaniel you're just going to have to deal with the fact that if you work them you'll have to brush them every day. If you don't work them then you might get away with less brushing but I've never had a non-working spaniel.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:50 PM   #9
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Brittany + 1

I have only worked behind Brittanies and German Shorthairs (females). This time I have to go with the Brittany. Might add that I do not know what a Boykin is but am sure it would be fine !!! ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:57 PM   #10
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:49 AM   #11
Saltydog235
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I can say Boykins because I have worked and been around Boykins all my life. I don't need an AKC journal or some other article to know that the traits the OP posted in the initial post fit the breed to a T. A springer would be another option but the Boykin tends to be a little more docile and biddable once they get through the "teenage" years. Heck, the man wants a hunting dog, none of them to my knowledge are lazy, do nothing lap dogs if they have any inkling of prey drive.

Sometimes a whole lotta book learnin' and data doesn't make up for real life experience and being around certain breeds for your entire life.

As I said, I normally tend to favor the GSP, GWHP, Weim and the like but the OP's needs and wants to not fit any of those breeds. And from the initial post, a Lab is way too big for them. Every Brittany I have ever been around is so high strung it takes an hour to run the dumb off of them though they do make pretty good family dogs when they calm down.

OP, just take a look at the Boykin and those closely related to it. Normally they are excellent little dogs that work their butts off in the field but yet become integral family members.
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Old August 8, 2012, 08:40 AM   #12
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First off, pointers should also retrieve and some retrievers will also point. Second, the issues you are worried about with smaller dog vs. bigger dog are really not issues at all. Small dogs don't need less space and big dogs can be friendlier and just as, if not more, tolerant of smaller dogs.

You need to look at strains within a breed as much as the breed itself. There are hardheaded or hyper or lazy or mean dogs in every breed. You need to see and spend time around both parents. Doesn't sound like you are wanting just a hunting dog so avoid dogs that spend most of their time in kennels and are only let out for training and practice. Ask for references from previous litters and if you can, go see something from a previous litter with you own eyes.

Don't try to reinvent the wheel:
Golden Retrievers are great, Labs are always a solid choice, seen some great britney's, there a reason shorthair pointers are popular hunting dogs although I prefer their wirehair brothers.
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Old August 10, 2012, 07:12 PM   #13
WIN71
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I'm confused

Quote:
I'm not particular as to a pointer or retriever. I hunt primarily dove and both Gamble's and California Valley Quail. I also hunt ducks, but again, a retriever is not a necessity. Are here any particular breeds (or crossbreeds) that both point and retrieve?
I use my dog, a GSP, on pheasants, chuckers, and grouse. She finds them, points them, and retrieves them.

When the opportunity presents itself I hunt quail, doves and pigeons but the dog only retrieves. Those birds usually are not hiding so when she does point it is a sight point more often than not. I usually see them at about the same time.

My short hair does not do well in a cold, snowy wet duck blind but she does retrieve better out of water than on land.

I may have missed something in your post but it doesn't sound like you need much of a dog to hunt your type of hunting. However, excepting your lack of the need for a retriever, I think some kind of retriever would help you the most.
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Old August 10, 2012, 08:27 PM   #14
PoorRichRichard
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Good stuff here guys. Thank you.
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Old September 13, 2012, 07:36 AM   #15
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I cast a large vote for the springer spaniel. I've had two who were full of heart, and would flush and retrieve (retrieving everything from woodcock & squirrels, to geese), hunt hard all day, and made great family pets, as well.

Right now I have a golden retriever and he's a great pup, too. Both of those breeds -- in my pretty extensive experience in hunting with other guys' dogs -- get along very well with other breeds. For the most part, when a good hunting dog is out huntin', they're thinking more about the game than they are about each other, anyway.

Best of luck!

Joel
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Old September 14, 2012, 08:33 AM   #16
Wayward_Son
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Springer Spaniel.
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Old September 14, 2012, 08:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Brittany
Not compatable with:

Quote:
I'd like a dog that is not super hyper-
All the Brittanies I've ever known (even the morbidly obese one) could not sit still while they were sitting still. They were definitely high energy dogs, always moving, unless they were asleep. Even on point their docked tails vibrated.....
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Old September 15, 2012, 01:45 PM   #18
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Clumber Spaniel.
http://www.clumbers.org/AboutClumbers/Hunting.php

Lazy dogs that are breed for grouse.
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Old September 17, 2012, 07:00 PM   #19
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Within breeds are substrains,then there are individuals.If I pick a black lab for example,some will point,retreive,do it all.But a whole lot of them are best a wearing bandannas and being frat house mascots.No dis to the lab.

In my limited experience,for the style of hunting I enjoy,I really enjoy the two brittanies I have hunted behind.French strain.One was a field trial washout...not fast and aggressive enough,but bird sense,a nose,and a civilized,trained dog.No barking,the command"kennel up,always instantly obeyed.She'd point and hold,worked close,tracking back and forth.She never really liked carrying birds,but she would.Had to work her on finding dead birds a bit,tossing one in the bush and firing a shot.She got it

This dog was just taking up kennel space,not good enough to compete when my buddy found her.She is gone now.

I'd sure look at a Brittany.Another dog I do not know too well,but I would consider,a German Wirehair
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