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Old February 22, 2010, 03:51 PM   #1
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Reccommendations for a Waterfowling Dog

Been looking for a waterfowling dog for a while. Have always hunted with buddies and their dogs and its time I invest in a good hunting partner. I'd love to go with a trusty Lab but my wife thinks they're a bit too big. Been eying a Brittany Spaniel for a while, but I've also heard that some are great, some aren't in water. Here's what I'm looking for:

1. Something with either short hair, or something I can keep the hair somewhat short on - little shedding is a plus!
2. Under 60 pounds
3. Must be good with children
4. Natural at water retrieving

I know there's a million hunters with gundogs on here, so if anyone would like to give me a recommendation, (w/picture if possible), of what you think would work for us, I'd be much obliged. Just wanna glean from your wisdom and experience. Thanks in advance!

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Last edited by WacosSon; February 22, 2010 at 05:44 PM.
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Old February 22, 2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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You've described a Lab....sorry buddy. All the other retriever's I know of have long hair.

Hound's don't make good retriever's, IMHO.
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Old February 22, 2010, 05:02 PM   #3
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I've got labs, but I was watching a dog breed show on Animal Planet a few weeks ago and they profiled a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. A little smaller than a lab with water and pointing instincts. Looked like what you're describing.
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Old February 22, 2010, 06:19 PM   #4
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Lab! They're #1 for a reason and I've owned a few of the others. Lab!

Edit to add: I've had a lab that had no noticeable shedding and one that shed like a mammoth collie. All labs have a double coat but the range along a sliding scale is extreme with regard to the inner coat, the one that particularly sheds. The only way I know to look for this is to get some experience looking over parent dogs.

Last edited by LateNightFlight; February 22, 2010 at 06:26 PM.
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Old February 22, 2010, 06:51 PM   #5
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Yea, Lab's are the way to go and if you look around you will find a small lab under 60 pounds. A small lab can handle most any waterfoul so don't cheat yourself with a different bread.
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Old February 22, 2010, 08:33 PM   #6
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Id go with a lab. They are the best for cold weather/water because of their double coat. they are very good with people and kids. Build a cage outside with a doghouse that has very good insulation. There goes your shedding problems. having dogs inside ruins their senses.
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Old February 22, 2010, 08:36 PM   #7
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having dogs inside ruins their senses.
not to mention ours as well.

I have hunted quail and dove over GSPs for many years. I don't know how they'd do with waterfowl, but they are amazing hunters.
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Old February 22, 2010, 08:37 PM   #8
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The problem with using a small dog for waterfowl is that it takes those long lab legs to get over the rough stuff/mud/weeds, etc. The best waterfowling dogs are almost always on the large size. The last lab I had came from a professional waterfowl guide up in NC. He was 105 lbs but very lean. Those long legs would get him over lots of stuff that would have hung up a smaller dog.
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Old February 22, 2010, 08:52 PM   #9
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Labrador Retreiver,do yourself a favor and look at the A.K.C standard for your chosen breed,Labs in particular, as many breeders think a Lab is supposed to be a 90-100lb block head.You are supposed to be able to lift the dog out of the water after a retreive and put him/her in the boat.You ain't doing that with a dog over 80lbs(still to big)Labs have loose skin for a reason, thats your hand hold to get him/her in the boat. The standard as I recall is for Bitches 55-65lbs,Dogs 60-75 lbs.Look at the parents, if they are big labs, keep looking.There are good reputable breeders who know and understand this.
There are many wonderful lesser known breeds that meet your requirements,My favorite German Wire Hair, the'll do it all with grace and beauty(sorta) Tend to like the lesser known dogs as there is less chaf to sift through.
Look at the the French Brittany instead of the American Spaniel a.k.a Brittany best dog I've ever had.Beautiful colors excellant dispositions, as hunters as good a nose as any, will do waterfowl.

Last edited by longranger; February 22, 2010 at 09:07 PM.
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Old February 22, 2010, 09:18 PM   #10
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having dogs inside ruins their senses
This probably started when someone way back when didn't want a big huntin' dawg in the house and were tired of their kids pestering them about it. Then it was perpetuated by folks like the late, great trial trainer and author James Lamb Free. (Who also believed in peppering a dog with #8 shot for corrections )

Look around and you'll find plenty of NFC, NAFC, FC titled trial dogs that double as family pets. Don't underestimate your lab's ability to do everything and be everything if you have the patience for all that enthusiasm.

Last edited by LateNightFlight; February 22, 2010 at 10:29 PM. Reason: corrected to reflect current AKC title abbreviations
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Old February 22, 2010, 09:51 PM   #11
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many breeders think a Lab is supposed to be a 90-100lb block head
Longranger makes a good point here; there has long been a split between trial and hunt bred dogs, vs. bench show dogs. I have never seen a trial dog that would catch a ribbon from a confirmation judge. The bench show dogs are much heavier with a particularly blocky head, and usually much quieter/calmer. A bench show breeder will assure you their dogs will hunt, and most will with a good start, but that’s not how I’d spend my money.

And the other side of it... A trial bred dog is a bit over the top for most people in terms of energy. If you're not going to compete, if you don't need a dog that blast off on a straight line every time, then you probably don't need absolute trial breeding. Chances are you can find a really great dog through a fellow hunter who can boast *some* FTC champs within a half dozen generations.

Be careful of back yard breeders and puppy mills, because I guarantee they will promise you whatever you happen to ask for. The best dogs I've had have come from fellow hunters I either knew, or were a friend of a trusted friend who could vouch for a particularly good line they've hunted over. With labs, OFA certification (for hips) is a must. (I had an awesome lab that friends begged me to breed wanting pups out of a litter, but her x-rays would not OFA certify. She never did develop any hip problems, but not breeding was the ethical thing to do.)
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Old February 22, 2010, 11:13 PM   #12
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Size and labs

It sounds like you would want a lab except for your weight requirement. Ive hunted with labs before and they are great. They also tend to be realetivly mellow compared to other hunting dogs. If you want a dog thats good with kids look for a breeder that specializes in calmer more family dogs. As always be sure to check the breeders credentials and the Hips of the parents if it's a lab.
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Old February 22, 2010, 11:32 PM   #13
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labs all the way have had more than ten labs and bred them and wouldn't go with any thing else but every hunter has diff preferences. Were do you live, i may have a dog for you.
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Old February 23, 2010, 01:08 AM   #14
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Go to the AKC web site and check out the hunting group. There are plenty of breeds to choose from. One of them will fit you and your family.
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Old February 23, 2010, 05:16 AM   #15
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Check out the chesapeake bay retriever. It is a very good waterfowl dog.
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Old February 23, 2010, 08:39 AM   #16
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Check out the chesapeake bay retriever. It is a very good waterfowl dog.
Chessies are great retrievers and they work hard but they have a bad reputation for being really stubborn. They generally need a far more experienced trainer than a lab does.
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Old February 23, 2010, 09:13 AM   #17
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You want a great water dog that's smart, even tempered, easily trained, great with kids, single-coated, with a sterling, lengthy history of excellent hunting and field trials, take a serious look at a Standard Poodle. Don't be fooled by the pom-pom top knots and silly haircuts, they are serious sporting dogs whose heritage began in the fields under hunter's guns. The most common folklore holds that in a cultural exchange between Russia and France a lotta years ago, the Russians got the ballet and the French got the Poodles (except Poodles as hunters came from Germany- their name is taken from the German puddeln which means "to splash in water").

Last July I posted this, 18th in a thread about a Mauser duded up with jewels and ribbons. Unfortunately the picture of the rifle on isn't available anymore.

"A very long time ago we had a Standard Poodle named Fred that was maybe the best field dog I ever saw on upland birds. He was smart too, with a bright personality, and we'd often see him in a pose that we took to mean he was thinking about something. I loved him as much as I ever loved anything. He was usually clipped in a "working" style to make water and brush less hard for him to navigate. Once- just once- my then-wife had him clipped in full "entertainment" style, with pom-poms and bows in his topknot, all "duded up" to look like a drag queen. You could see his embarrassment in every move he made, and I shared his feelings. If Rue Paul decided to take up shooting (!), this Swedish Mauser would fit right in, but I'll bet the gun is embarrassed about the way it's been clowned up, just like Fred was."
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Old February 23, 2010, 09:17 AM   #18
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For purely retrieving nothing beats a lab. If you want short hair get a Vizsla. Not all retrieve but those that do are great at it. If you go that way make shure you ask the breeder about the retrieving qualities of their stock.
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Old February 23, 2010, 09:24 AM   #19
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When I was a kid we had a lab. Friendliest dog we ever had and loved the water. Hours of entertainment for us kids and a heck of a retriever when we went hunting.

When we went swimming off the old Potter hill bridge, we would jump off the bridge and splash around in the water and the dog would come right over the rail of the bridge to save us. He would swim up to us and we would grab his tail and he would bring us to shore.

Last time I went duck hunting (Over a field) I had my miniature poodle with me. He was a heck of a retriever. The ducks were as big as he was and it was comical watching him.

If you are worried about shedding, then get a dog with hair, not fur. Hair has to be cut, fur sheds.
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Old February 23, 2010, 09:44 AM   #20
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Golden Retriever is out since you want short fur. Any shedding dog you keep inside will get hair everywhere.

Under 60lbs.... Labs range in size from huge to runt.

Good with kids.... Labs for sure and Golden Retrievers if we hadn't already eliminated it. Of course a even stable pit bull can be good with kids, (I don't recomend that though ) Any dog can be good with kids, but labs are known for being child friendly.

Natural at water retrieving... LAB! and again Golden Retriever if you hadn't minded the longer fur.
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Old February 23, 2010, 10:58 AM   #21
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Whatever breed you choose (and I'd also be inclined to suggest Lab) you must research the line, there can be many variations within a breed depending on how the line was bred. There are big dumb dogs, big smart dogs, big show dogs that won't retrieve a hot dog from a foot away, and field bred dogs that aren't AKC registered that will put AKC FC dogs to shame, all with the same breed on their pedigree.
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Old February 23, 2010, 12:02 PM   #22
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Lab!! But it will be over 60 lbs. Just be careful around children with it. Someone is always crying because the wagging tail hit them!
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Old February 23, 2010, 12:06 PM   #23
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German Short Hair Pointer.
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Old February 23, 2010, 01:51 PM   #24
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German Short Hair Pointer. My brother got one about a year back, and she's sick. One early morning I walked around for 4 hours over a few hundred acres, and when I got back, she wanted to know where I'd been so she started tracking. I made her come back, but then she picked up my trail from where I had left, it was easily 4 hours old. We've not had much of a chance to take her out with birds, and rifles will hurt her hearing too much, but I'm sure she'll do fine.
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Old February 23, 2010, 02:30 PM   #25
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"Check out the chesapeake bay retriever" They are great but but bigger than labs.

I'd go German Short Hair
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