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Early days

Choosing the right breed of gundog

Author: Fieldfare

When considering which gundog breed is best for you, follow your head and your heart.

As long ago as 1891, F. R. Bevan, in the 4th Edition of his Observations on Breaking Retrievers, wrote: “I have constantly remarked that men who shoot without dogs tire of sport early in life, whilst all who are fond of animals and of training them retain a long-lasting pleasure in it.” He had a point. More than that, though, ethical considerations – always a priority – are now more pressing than ever. The recovery of wounded game is the first obligation of any sportsman and a trained...

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Finding the perfect pup

Author: Ben Randall

Advice on choosing the right gundog puppy for you.

First of all, it must be stressed that taking on a gundog puppy or a part- or fully-trained dog should never be taken lightly. A dog will need a lot of attention, training, commitment, veterinary treatment and daily care for, with luck, 10–15 years. Deciding on breed and pedigree Choosing a breed of dog should be a careful consideration and thought through thoroughly. Firstly, it is important to establish what your expectations of the dog will be and the role you see it playing in your...

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The rise of the Aga dog

Field Editor Ben Randall considers the increasing demand for gundogs which double as family pets.

I don’t want a super one like yours. As long as it is good with the wife and kids, comes back when called, is steady to game and livestock, great with other dogs, sleeps in front of the fire of an evening, and will pick-up with me during the season and sit quietly on my peg off the lead when needed...” This is now a typical request from an increasing number of my clients – they have high standards! Gundogs have grown in popularity over the last decade, and there are now more people who...

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The new recruit

Author: Will Pocklington

A bundle of energy, inquisitiveness and hope. Lock away your slippers and stock up on kitchen roll, the young pup has arrived.

Three weeks in and nothing below knee-level is safe. Tea towels, shoes, firewood, ornaments, even the 13-year-old terrier – who only just tolerates her – are kept out of reach. A glimmer of hope: she is beginning to recognise her own name. She is a puppy proper; exploring, investigating, experiencing things for the first time and chewing everything in her path. Everything is new and exciting – sounds, sights, smells, and the members of her pack. It was an easy decision, but not one...

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Breeding Masterclass

We ask four expert handlers and trainers – Richard MacNicol, Jayne Coley, Dom Goutorbe and Field Editor Ben Randall – for their advice on breeding gundogs.

Things to consider: Health and suitability DOM: The health of your bitch will determine if you should breed from her. I think breeders have a moral obligation to conduct health tests – they are very accessible now. Testing requirements vary between breeds. Research them online, through breed clubs or the Kennel Club. If a bitch hasn’t had a litter before, should she be having a first litter over the age of six? The Kennel Club will not register puppies out of a bitch that is over 8...

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