View Full Version : What bird dog to get?

Ranger Al
February 1, 2006, 01:46 AM
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...


February 1, 2006, 06:12 AM
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.

February 1, 2006, 08:33 AM
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 :D . My advice is do your homework and find a reputable breeder no matter what breed you choose.

Jack O'Conner
February 1, 2006, 10:00 AM
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.

February 1, 2006, 10:10 AM
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.

February 1, 2006, 01:28 PM
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.

roy reali
February 1, 2006, 07:35 PM
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.

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.

February 1, 2006, 09:42 PM
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....

Vicious, unsocialized hunting dogs have no place in the fields.
Amen to that.

roy reali
February 1, 2006, 10:34 PM
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.

Ranger Al
February 1, 2006, 11:03 PM
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..


February 2, 2006, 05:43 AM
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.

February 2, 2006, 07:45 AM
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!:D

February 2, 2006, 09:29 AM
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.).

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.


February 2, 2006, 10:02 AM
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!.

February 3, 2006, 11:19 PM
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.

February 4, 2006, 12:37 AM
A familiar thread...

Brittany Spaniel...

February 4, 2006, 12:46 PM
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"

Ranger Al
February 6, 2006, 06:44 AM
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..

February 6, 2006, 10:12 AM
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.

February 6, 2006, 03:54 PM
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! :)

February 6, 2006, 04:03 PM
Holy Moly; I agree with Pointer for once.

February 6, 2006, 04:53 PM
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.

February 6, 2006, 05:52 PM
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,:cool: :) 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

dale taylor
February 6, 2006, 06:14 PM
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. [email protected]

February 7, 2006, 12:09 AM

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

I guess the difference is in how we rate a good hunting dog.
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? :D

February 14, 2006, 05:45 AM
Hey Fellas,

I’m new to this forum, but thought id try to put some input. I currently own a German Short Haired Pointer and in my opinion they are one of the best upland dogs out there. They can take a little time to mature, but with some hard training you can achieve wonders. The only issue with children is these dogs like to jump and play a lot and may injure young children because they can be a little too rough.

In regards to duck hunting I’ve known duck hunters who have used GSP who have achieved exceptional results, only problem is the cold water as already stated where in the long run these dogs can suffer. A German Wired Haired Pointer might be an option.

I am living in Australia and a new law has been introduced where tail docking is now illegal. I am now contemplating on breeding my dog as I don’t know whether I would like to see GSP's with long tails. What do you'z guys think on this matter? I am not sure what the laws are like over there in America.

Thanks Steve

Beretta 687 SPII
Miroku 9000

February 14, 2006, 07:01 AM
Was and still am a lab guy. But.....I'm the more I see them, the more I'm impressed with water spaniels (Irish and American versions). Might be my next dog.

Just my thought.

February 14, 2006, 12:00 PM
The English Cockerspaniel is an awesome dog for just what you want.

February 14, 2006, 02:24 PM
I am living in Australia and a new law has been introduced where tail docking is now illegal. I am now contemplating on breeding my dog as I don’t know whether I would like to see GSP's with long tails. What do you'z guys think on this matter? I am not sure what the laws are like over there in America.

I am of the understanding that the nerves have not fully developed at birth when tail docking and ear cropping (see Dobermans) is done. I do not have strong feelings regarding this issue; but I do like the asthetic of the docked tail. I only support docking if done immediately after birth.

I'd breed if you think you have a superior dog. I'd not dock the tail, but if the law ever changed you would be fine for future generations. I do feel strongly that dogs should only be breed if they characterize the breed, or if they offer enhancements to the breed. Those yahoos who puppy farm have no concern for the dogs the breed. They should be driven into bankruptcy by consumers who refuse to partonize their establishments. Hunters especially should pay top dollar for a fine puppy from parents who hunt and hunt very well. They should also be of top temperment and trainability.

February 14, 2006, 08:21 PM
Siberian Huskie makes a great Bird Doggie.

February 14, 2006, 10:56 PM
This is DEE DEE(German Shorthair) she was rescued form my local shelter. She is about 1.5 yrs old. Great pheasant dog, points like a dream and a great family dog. She loves to hunt and play with our cat!!!!!! :) But, you can't go wrong with a GSP !!!

February 15, 2006, 10:32 AM
You said a friend had a Lab he didn't want, I will say DON'T get a Puppy and raise him your way.Any breed of hunting dog has to be trained properly I have seen many good dogs ruined from people that just take there shotgun and start shooting over the dog:eek:I used to hunt my three Brittany's all at the same time,but they all had there Electronic Collars.Some may find them cruel but for most dogs is a great training aid.My female Brittany was one of the best hunting dogs I have ever had but to put her in the field with out that Collar:eek: just wouldn't have worked. You know they do have a POINTING lab that has become popular over the last few years.:)

February 16, 2006, 06:25 AM
Russ is right in saying that a fair bit of effort and training needs to be put in before you can see the benefits of a gun dog. I have never heard of the electronic collars down under but a good method that I have used on my GSP to initially use a rope and have a choker chain on the dog. Go find a few paddocks without a shotgun and let the dogs instincts come into action. The rope is good to train with because when the dog runs too far for your liking you can pull on it harshly while calling out with a fierce "BACK". Keep this up and the dog eventually realises that every time you call out "BACK" something bad is going to happen. I have heard of hunters who buy a dog or get given one and if they don't do what their blood line says then they are given the bullet. If your a keen hunter and want a gun dog for this pure reason then it is better to spend that bit extra and buy a pure breed from a recognized breeder then to be disappointed and end up with a dog that only can eat, sleep and ****.


Beretta SP II
Miroku 9000

February 16, 2006, 09:21 AM
I'm confused! he asked quote pheasant, quail, and maybe duck!
is there a good dog for all three? will a lab point? and is a lab going to hunt singles on quail? or phestent and hold on them till you get there?
doesent he need a dog that will hunt out singles and point? and retrieve over water? Im not a duck hunter! they taste like %&^* to me! I do like quail and dove! I have hunted over good german sh's.

Art Eatman
February 16, 2006, 10:46 AM
dgc940, for some folks its the retrieve that's more important than the finding and pointing. Depends on where and how you hunt, and how many birds there are. I don't any one dog can do everything perfectly, so you prioritize.

I guess.

:), Art

February 16, 2006, 01:45 PM
Are there no bird doggers out there who recognize the very real abilities of the Brittany Spaniel?

As bird dogs go, they do everything well... :)

Hell, if for no other reason, they're not "inbred". :D :D :D

roy reali
February 17, 2006, 12:14 AM
In Germany, shorthairs are considered all around hunting dogs. Here is what they have to do to be certified there: point and retrieve upland game, retrieve water fowl, track wounded animals, hunt small game, assist in locating large game.

That sound pretty versatile to me.

February 17, 2006, 10:56 AM
Thanks Art I was just wondering. Im not very versed in bird dog hunting!
I do think in my brushy country I would wont a sort haired dog! would hate keeping lh brushed?

February 17, 2006, 11:34 AM
I don't have any specific experience with Chesapeake bays

My family has always been a Chessie family for generations so I'm a little biased. The conventional wisdom is that if you want a tough dog that will plow through the roughest, cold icy water you can find, then you want a Chessie. But they are more stubborn, less trainable (not less intelligent), and less friendly to strangers than Labs. In computer terms, this is not a bug, it is a feature.

Chessies were bred during the no limits days of hunting when skilled hunters with a good dog would back literally hundreds of ducks per day. The hunters were dirt poor so you wanted a combo retreiver/guard dog to guard your stash of ducks. Good retreivers also had a tendency to get stolen from their owners because they were so valuable. Chessies were bred to be strong one-family dogs that are intensely loyal to their owner and aloof (or worse) to strangers.

I think most people would be happiest with a Lab. They are the most versitile retreiver. But labs are also for people like to joke that their dog would wag their tale and lead a burgler to the silver and china. For the most part you will never get that from chessie.

From a Chessie Rescue League, Don't buy a Chessie ... (http://www.cbrrescue.org/articles/dontbuy.htm)

February 18, 2006, 03:41 PM
Most bird-doggers will tell you that you will "mess up the hunt" in the dog... if you make the dog a house pet...

Couldn't disagree more. This dog, Tustin (http://www.geocities.com/shrthair/tustin.html), practically grew up in my son's diapers, but he is a very capable, hard-going all-around birddog.
The fact that the potential owner, however, has limited land to raise the dog on leads me to believe that a Brittany may be a better dog for the family. Most lines of GSPs are a lot larger and more high-strung than Brits, and if he isn't willing to invest the time to give the dog regular, vigorous romps on a daily basis he might better be suited getting a less turbo-charged beast for field and family. Brits make excellent hunters, are easily groomed, and make wonderful house pets.

roy reali
February 18, 2006, 07:46 PM
Did you ever watch that hunting show called, Hunting With Hank?

It was kind of hokey, but you have to admit the Hank, the Setter, was an awesome hunting dog. Do you remember his tag line? He always said, "Never, ever, spoil your birddog."

February 18, 2006, 09:35 PM

From my post #25

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

I guess the difference is in how we rate a good hunting dog.

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?

870 wingmaster
February 19, 2006, 12:39 AM
I say any retriver,''kind of says it all'' wheather it is a black lab.chocolate.yellow,golden!! they are all great dogs with great personality and great with kids,people!! They love to please there owners.:)

February 19, 2006, 02:13 PM
dgc940, for some folks its the retrieve that's more important than the finding and pointing. Depends on where and how you hunt, and how many birds there are.

Our weather/rain (and 'yotes and hawks and...) have been very tough on the quail where we hunt that we might only find a covey per hunt session. I guess that makes me think that the point is more important that the retrieve. I want to bust the covey; not the dog..... With good training a good bird dog should be able to do each well, but with unseasoned dogs the hunt can go south fast (I also think the point is the easiest teach.)

I don't any one dog can do everything perfectly, so you prioritize.

I have seen GSP do almost everything perfect. Great nose, great points for long periods of time, great retrieves, trailing wounded game.....can you tell I like GSPs? They are also very social and even tempered in the bloodline I have worded with.

February 19, 2006, 02:59 PM
Well, here goes the giggles, snorts and guffaws. I bred and trained hunting dogs for several years, many years ago. They were the best all-around dogs you could ask for. Swim in a cup of water, hunt close, range out, hound, trail, point, flush, guard and play with the kids. The biggest problem is that they are often smarter than the people owning them. :D

It is hard to find a good bloodline in the States, any more. However, if you are willinmg to put the work required into training, the Standard Poodle is hard to beat as a hunt-anything companion.


February 19, 2006, 03:48 PM
snort; guffaw; ahemm.

Do you cut hair for a living?

Just teasing; just teasing.

February 19, 2006, 03:55 PM
the Standard Poodle is hard to beat as a hunt-anything companion

I can't believe it took this long for this to be pointed out.

I learned by accident that poodles make excellent hunters. When growing up I would watch our minature (think beagle sized) poodle point at birds in the back yard. After some reading on the breed, I figured why not? I took her to a friend of my fathers that had bird dogs and we trained her for upland birds. She became a great quail flusher, and pheasant dog. My mother wasn't to thrilled that I took her pet and made it work for a living, but when all was said and done, she sure did like the birds we brought home.


roy reali
February 20, 2006, 01:26 AM
A friend of mine has a standard poodle. Yes, they have hunting dog blood in them. In fact, my friend showed up to this retriever competition with his dog. They were tossing out bumpers and seeing which dog could get them fastest. He asked if his poodle could give it a try. They said okay, while smirking and some eye rolling.

After a couple of runs, they were not laughing at his standard p[oodle anymore.

February 20, 2006, 02:21 AM
i have a german wirehaired pointer and shes a great hunting dog on all types of game (ducks upland and deer havnt taken her elk hunting yet lol) thier good house dogs and family dogs because they are verry freindly but protective of there family. thoses were the pros now some cons our family has had german wirehaired pointers for many years (i think like 1969 i dont know they have been around longer that me) they have a LOT of energy; just like labs to be know for hip problems, a couple of ours have had diabtis, they live to long... i know your saying what? mine (the youngest) is seven she still acts like a puppy and will out last all my buddies 2 year old labs on a hunt. but you get so attached to them over this long period thats its really hard to let them go. oh by the way a long time is 20 years was the oldest then all the rest made it from 16 to 18 and the youngest was 14 but all that beeing said ill never switch breeds
by the way has anyone seen a black one mine is

February 20, 2006, 06:51 AM
Hey maas, my short haired is black. You dont see many of them around, most popular colour being liver. I personally think black looks heaps better.


February 20, 2006, 07:08 AM
There is a lab sharing our living quarters that will bite you if you would come in ununvited. You would be advised not to reach into my truck or boat either. Mike will make up to you, his time and way. If you try it you had better have a fast hand. He is not trying too hard to bite, but will protect what he thinks is his. I did not train him this way. If you mess with enough dogs you will discover that you actually do little training beyond come, sit, stay, and maybe a few hand signals. A great hunting dog was born to be great and a sorry dog was born to be sorry.

February 20, 2006, 09:39 AM
Shorthair --- Nice looking dogs.

February 20, 2006, 09:53 AM
I am very pleased with our family's german short hair. He's easy to clean since the short hair isn't a magnet for burrs. He is a little rowdy around kids but he has never let us down in the field. Also, the slight web in his paws makes him fairly nimble in the water.

February 20, 2006, 11:22 PM
Did you ever watch that hunting show called, Hunting With Hank?
Don't think so. But I agree with the premise, and would add "kids" to the list of things never to be spoiled.

From my post #25
I read the post, was only commenting on the statement identified.

Shorthair --- Nice looking dogs.
Thanks, but they aren't perfect. Time training pays off in the field, that goes for all the time. If you think you can train your dog once, or that he'll just kind of figure it out when you take him afield, no breed, line or individual dog will fail to disappoint.

February 26, 2006, 10:07 PM
Vicious, unsocialized hunting dogs have no place in the fields.
or any other place for that matter.

Our farmyard mutt is a golden lab who goes by flash (or stupid depending on circumstances). He was never trained to hunt but has a natural instinct for it it seems. He loves to run and retrieve things and holds them quite gently in his mouth which is a bonus (although he does slobber a lot). He also loves the water. Chasing birds seems to be his biggest joy in life aside from laying on your feet and sleeping.

Any experience that i've had with golden labs is that they are quite smart and extraordinarily affectionate. Flash loves his people and hasnt bitten anyone in his five years of life. A warning though, labs chew everything they can get a hold of until they are three years old. Flash doesnt chew anymore he just carries shoes around and slobbers on them.

February 28, 2006, 04:19 PM
here is my bird dog a brittney spaniel she is great with the kids and hunts harder than I do

Ranger Al
March 2, 2006, 01:38 AM
I am still confused.... I know Labs are super smart dog (but didn't want what my buddy have a lab). I am tempted to go with Springer due to their size and would have to deal with their coat. Although, GSP is still a dog I wish I could have. Who know, maybe I'll get both! I just hope the wife wouldn't make me live outside with them! lol

Lloyd Smale
March 2, 2006, 06:05 AM
I guess i look at it this way. My dog is 95 percent my friend and part of the family 5 percent a hunter. Ive have many differnt breeds of dog and my current dog is my first lab a chocolate. I will NEVER have another dog other then a lab again. Hows that for strong feelings. You will never find a kinder gentler more loveable dog then a lab. Now mine can be a dumb ass and chews everything he can but has wormed his way into my heart and is the first dog i can honestly say truely is my best friend.

roy reali
March 2, 2006, 11:01 AM
There is nothing wrong with labs, except their popularity. They are ranked number one on the AKC popularity list. This has caused many to engage in poor breeding practices.

I have a friend that trains field dogs. He has had labs show up that did not have any birdiness in them at all. He would plant a pigeon in a release box and the dog had no idea what it was or what to do.

There are labs that are great hunters. But with this breed a potential owner really has to do their homework to make sure his dog comes from a hunting line. Less popular breeds tend to keep their hunting instincts intact.

Overbreeding is big problem. Look at German Shepards, another popular breed. Police departments have to import dogs from Belgium or Germany to get ones that still work the way they were intended to. Americans have overbred them into uselessness.

While I generally detest government interventions, I think we need some control over our dog breeding programs. In many countries dog breeding is highly regulated. I realize that soinds unamerican, but those countries do develop superior dogs.

March 5, 2006, 04:07 AM
topgun i have to agree i think black looks better also. also all i have to say is WOW!!! i never thought so many people liked the german shorthair/wirehaired pointers i always thought they were kind of a cult secret. around here (northern california) its rare to see a shorthair and un herd of to see a wirehaired pointer. when my grandparents got their first one they had to go to idaho to get it.

roy reali
March 5, 2006, 11:05 AM
Being rare or uncommon are good things in the dog world. Improper breeding usually does not affect the less common breeds. I have noticed that in the last few years that German Shorthairs are creeping up on the AKC popularity list. That is not a good thing.

I do think our dog breeding programs should be regulated to some degree.

March 7, 2006, 06:39 PM
I Had A Bluetick Hound When I Was A Small Kid. It Was Very Gentle. Also Incredibly Smart. It Could Open Doors With Its Mouth. And My Dad Taught It To Fetch The Paper And Deliver It To The House Every Day. The Only Drawback I Can Think Of Is That It Would Love To Run Long Distances. We Lived On Acreage So It Was No Big Deal But It Could Be A Problem If You Are Going To Keep It Contained In A Small Area. One Day I Hope To Get Another One.

March 9, 2006, 12:57 AM
Well, I dont hunt anymore, but that doesnt mean I dont have any birddog. Below is a picture of my little Brittany pup, Bailey, 8 mos old. This pix taken over Presidents Day weekend, out in Calif Desert. Here she is with my son's Dalmation, playing retreive with a tennis ball. This pup is "birdie" though, even though she hasnt been trained for hunting. She works "off leash" with verbal and hand commands; but of course, still have aways to go.

I got her to be my companion, as my wife (and me, I must admit) also have Doxie's. When she's around the Weiner's, she is a terror. When it is just us 2, then she works quite well. Hopefully her training with command more and more. My wife has spoiled her so much!!


March 21, 2006, 01:34 AM
Over the last 26 years I have had (in this order) an English Setter (great dog for quail and pheasant), a Weimaraner (softest mouth I ever met, good for pheasant and waterfowl), and Brittanies (energy and enthusiasm), which I feel are the best for the type of hnting I do. I have also hunted over labs, GSP, Viszlas, and Chessies. Take a look, play with some, see which ones you like, and get one. I don't know that there is a BEST bird dog, except for the one pointing a bird right in front of you.

March 22, 2006, 09:17 AM
Get yourself a German Vorsteh dog. They are smart, can and will hunt anything and tough as hell. Also a very good family dog, ive raised mine with my two year old son. No problems.


April 12, 2006, 07:13 PM
IMHO, whatever breed you choose be 100% certain the dog is purebred.

I myself have a GSP he weighs in at 90lbs. and is the best dog I have witnessed in the field...Unfortunately:rolleyes: when they are exposed to people they become very protective of said people.:)

My GSP is literally twice the size of all the other GSP's around here and is all muscle...I will give you two prime examples of what to look for in a hunting dog.

1- Our neighbor owns a wolf/german shephard/malamute mix named Timber(read: very big, stupid and tempermental dog) Now for the past 2 yrs this dog has grown a little:eek: and has yet to get past the playfull stage. About two weeks ago I was walking my GSP behind my home and Timber decides to approach me...my GSP some 50yds. out immediately comes to my call and sits down at my feet...Timber continues his approach and my GSP makes no movement other than a barely audible growl...Having been attacked to the point of bleeding by Timber, while I am no small fry I am still intimidated by such a large dog...At this point he is literally within about 6 inches of my GSP and begins to growl and bark at me!
Now I am a little worried both for the safety of my GSP and Timber(If he attacks me or my GSP I feel required to euthenize him) I tell my GSP to "Get him" although I was more wishing than expecting it to happen.
Well, long story short my GSP with at least a 60lb weight disadvantage...knocks Timber to the ground...and lunges for his throat!:eek:

Thankfully the thick coat of Timber protected his life...At this point I tell my GSP to "release" and "go get in the pen" Very much to my amazement he releases the now visibly and audibly scared Timber and walks the 1/4 mile back to our house and enters the pen!!!
2-Last spring my GSP sat stock still in what appeared to be a laying down or crouching point...For over a half hour I watched out the window wondering what was going on...Finally curiousity got the better of me and I had to investigate. What Happened? A baby pheasant had walked through the yard and somehow or another had managed to get within reach of the GSP...When I got to the dog the baby pheasant was in his open mouth and the dog was stone still with the most helpless look I have ever seen.:D

Not to mention, everytime he enters a field at least one bird gets pointed.:)