View Full Version : Hunting Dog Question

roy reali
October 25, 2009, 07:09 AM
Why do some people say that if you let a birddog help hunt rabbits that it wll ruin her for feathers?

I was looking up German Shorthair Pointers the other day. In Germany, this breed is used for bird hunting, small game hunting, big game hunting, and even vermon dispatching. All one dog. In fact, the best GSP's are suppose to do all hunting tasks. I guess this breed was devloped for the man that could not afford to buy different breeds for different hunting tasks.

Does anyone here use their bird dog for other types of hunting? Has it caused any problems?

Are dogs in Germany just smarter then ours?:D

October 25, 2009, 08:33 AM
Roy, I think it is mostly a lack of training knowledge on behalf of the handler.

In the hog hunting realm, we have to worry about our dogs "trashing" on cattle or other desired livestock. But there are quite a few hog hunters who use their dogs as cattle dogs by day and hog dogs by night. So that kinda blows the "one job" theory out of the water.

In fact in the "real roping" thread I posted, several cowboys sicced their cattle dogs onto a deer track and bayed the wounded deer then went on to herd cattle the rest of the day;)

October 25, 2009, 03:46 PM
Roy, it's almost a strictly American thing you are describing. I used to run my Golden Retriever on birds, rabbits, squirrel and it would even tree the odd daytime coon. But when I started getting into coonhounds again if you had a dog that ran anything but coon you had a trashy dog. No possum, no cats, no fox, etc etc. When I switched to terriers I was still kinda stuck in this mindset. I wanted it to run coon and that was it. But after time I came out of my shell. I don't care what my dog runs to an extent. Obviously livestock and deer are off the list, so are skunks. Other than that it's all good. At night I don't care if a $8 coon, a $1 possum or a no account feral cat. During the day coyote, fox, squirrel and rabbits......go for it. After all, what the heck do I care what comes home. Game is game. If i can sell it or eat it I happy.

Over sea's, many dogs including terriers, wire haired pointers, shorthairs, etc are game dogs.


October 25, 2009, 08:54 PM
in my experience a dog that hunts both rabbits and birds is not very desirable as they may very likely be hunting rabbits when you are really looking to hunt birds, or vice versa, rabbits are plentiful here compared to quail and it doesnt take long for a dog to start trailing a rabbit and then may just ignore that covey of quail that may be in the area cause they are set on trailing the rabbit.
even though they may be good at hunting both it can be difficult to get them to hunt what you want at the time, if you dont care what type of game you take guess it really doesnt matter. but the game hunted could be out of season.

roy reali
October 25, 2009, 09:09 PM
in my experience a dog that hunts both rabbits and birds is not very desirable as they may very likely be hunting rabbits when you are really looking to hunt birds, or vice versa,

Then are dogs in Germany superior to our dogs? I am serious about this question. As I mentioned before, GSP's over there are expected to do all manner of hunting. Just being able to hunt birds is not enough to certify the dog as versatile.

October 25, 2009, 09:41 PM
Well yes, the germans have always been superior breeders of all working dogs. To tell the truth, they use absolute zero emotion when it comes to dogs. When they are working up a breed, if it don't cut it it's culled. They have no time for faults.

But that's neither here no there. Bejay is a perfect example of Americanized hunting with dogs (not a slam, just the way we have been doing it for the since WWII). Airedale used to be the most popular dog in the country by a wide margin. This was greatly do to their versatile abilities. Since WWII it's almost impossible to find a good hunting airedale. Even here in the US, farm dogs would pull double and triple duty as hunting dogs, stock dogs and protection. We've become specialized, so have out dogs.

Why would a rabbit be less desirable than a quail? See, over there, when they go hunting they aren't rabbit hunting, they aren't quail hunting, they aren't varmint hunting, etc etc. They just go hunting!! No, they don't have a certain command they use with their dogs to get the dogs to hunt one game one day and another game the next (even though I'm sure some have done it and it's possible). Their dogs may run hare, birds or varmints all in the same hunt. If they want to avoid a certain game that particular day they avoid areas that hold that game. They also maintain strict control of their dogs and are able to call them off of game that they may not want at that point in time. If they want hogs they call them off of game other than hogs. Also, dogs get real good at picking up on intended game just by the type of cover they are hunted in. A buddy had a hound that could be run on daytime coyote but would only run coon at night. When we take dogs out a night we can walk out in a field and the dogs head for timber.

Take my Jagdterrier. I can take her out hunting anything. I can call her off rabbits if I'd rather be yote hunting. I can call her out of a hole if I prefer to move on. I've never used her on pheasant (I hunt furry critters, not feathers), but I'm sure she would be great at it and I can control her 100% of the time. Over all, when I leave the house we may chase squirrel, coon, rabbit, fox, opossum or coyote. I never know from day to day, min to min. There's nothing I hunt (cept deer, not legal with dogs) that I won't sick her on.


roy reali
October 25, 2009, 09:57 PM

See, they use the same dogs for rabbits and birds. To some Americans this would be blasphemous.

October 26, 2009, 01:10 AM
ive hunted with german shorthair pointers that could point rabbits or birds they can be great bird dogs but when they get started hunting rabbits they are not that great, but then again I have no desire to hunt rabbits, just birds.
if you wanted to hunt both they could work for you. problem is you may be hunting whatever trail they come across first and around here that is usually a rabbit, if you keep them off rabbits and just looking for birds then they will be alot better bird dog and find alot more birds than the dog that is hunting both.

roy reali
October 26, 2009, 06:56 AM
ive hunted with german shorthair pointers that could point rabbits or birds they can be great bird dogs but when they get started hunting rabbits they are not that great, but then again I have no desire to hunt rabbits, just birds.

In Germany, dogs that can't hunt all game are considered failures. Did you know that their dogs are also used for tracking big game and dispatching vermon. The more one dog does the more valued he is.

There are specialized dogs over there too. But the average Joe couldn't afford more then one dog. So they developed breeds that are known as versatile breeds. If a versatile breed dog is used to hunt one species in one manner, where is the versatility?;)

October 26, 2009, 09:42 AM
Actually, the germans aren't the originators of versitile breeds. Most hunting breeds were versitile in origins. Most of the terriers have origins in Ireland and England. Poor folks needed dogs to control vermin and for hunting (or poaching as was the case in where the aristocrats controled ALL of the land). Only the rich had dedicated dogs like foxhounds, deer hounds, setters and guard dogs. Like stated, the it was the same throughout much of the US in the past. Mountain Curs, Airedales, Blackmouth Curs, assorted terriers, etc.

I don't have a problem with dogs dedicated to one type of hunting or one critter. I've had am and if I was to get into more nighttime coon hunting or back into pheasant hunt I may own some dedicated dogs. But for now I like to hunt about anything and having one dog to use is great. Less, dogs food, less poop, family pet that sleep on the floor next to me, etc etc.

As a guy once said on a hound site I visit every so often, " I've always though that some hounds were just trashy, now it appears that they were just high dollar versatile hunting dogs!"


October 26, 2009, 09:59 AM
There were quail around here when I was a kid, not so many now.

Anyhow, my setters would point a rabbit. Don't recall it bothering me any.

October 26, 2009, 02:17 PM
guess it really comes down to the hunter if he wants versatility or not personaly would rather have a dog that was dedicated to just hunt birds whether it is quail, pheasant or just finding and retrieving doves when dove hunting they are all birds.
there is plenty of versitile dogs in america so no I dont think german dogs are superior if you are out bird hunting do you want your dog to be trailing rabbits most of the day or what if your hunting rabbit do you want him to be hunting birds instead.
in the link you gave it said they did pointing trials on a rabbit or a bird it didnt say both even though they are capable of doing both the dog may preffer one over the other. wonder how many of those dogs would be trailing a rabbit and walk right by a covey of quail or even flush birds and completly ignore them because they are trailing a rabbit

James R. Burke
October 26, 2009, 07:24 PM
I had a G.S.P. for over twelve years. Just used him for birds. I think they can be trained to do both, but I dont rabbit hunt, and did not want him running a rabbit when I was out bird hunting. A rabbit sent stays so the dog will follow it, a bird will break sent when it flys. I am sure there are ways to do both but like I said I was just into the birds. Do you like to hunt both, that is the question? If you do give it a try. If not why bother? By the way the G.S.P. is one great hunting dog. Everyone I know has there favorites but they are great in my book. The not so good things about them they are a very, very, high strung dog. They need alot of exercise or it will come out in a bad way around home. They are not for everyone. There not a dog to leave loose outside without being with them. There is no doubt they are runners and hyper has h_ _ _ ! There are some great hunting dogs that are better around home and sticking around, so be very carefull on the dog you get. Good luck Jim.

October 26, 2009, 11:50 PM
I believe that it is the English and Americans that classified dogs and stuck them into particular 'slots'.

As a child, Mom raised Dachshund's for show and was pretty po'd for me taking them hunting. They were great for .22LR sized game.

Dad brought home something that might be classified as an Airdale and Herman turned out to be the best hunting dog ever, I swear that the dog could read my mind.

Lucifer was an Afgan that belonged to my first wife. A national blue ribbon winner. $2K stud fee. He was also a deer and hogs worst nightmare.

Zach was a Gordon Setter who scored a 60 pt. duck on his first day in the field, unfortunately it wasn't duck season. He also didn't like deer and hog hunting. He was given to an avid duck hunter.

Abby was a German Sheperd and every bit as smart as Herman. Her main role was to protect my wife and small children, kudos to her. She also figured out her first hog in about 3 mins. and was heck on wheels after that, also my last dog.

I guess that what I'm saying is that with training most dogs will do what you train them to do if you work as a team and everybody is having a good time.

Back to the GSP's. I had an Uncle who had them exclusively and they always struck me as a one-man dog. They didn't even respond well to my aunt. Weimaraner's also fit into this catagory. JMO.

roy reali
October 27, 2009, 12:51 AM
I guess that what I'm saying is that with training most dogs will do what you train them to do if you work as a team and everybody is having a good time.

Standard Poodles are hunting dogs too. In Eurpe they are classified as gun dogs.

Why is it that here in America we use the term "sporting dogs" and in Europe the term is "Gun Dogs".