Special dogs

Dogs that track deer

How prepared are you for when things don’t quite go as planned in those final moments of a stalk? We discuss deer dogs, their training and the best procedure to enhance the chances of finding a lost animal with Tony Lowry from UK Deer Track and Recovery.

What would be on your ‘essential’ kitlist for a stalking foray in the UK? Beyond the rifle and appropriate clothing, and depending on the nature of your stalking, I’d guess a knife, binoculars, mobile phone, sticks, headtorch and windchecker might feature. What about a dog? A dog that is capable of tracking a deer for more than a few hundred metres? How prepared are you for when a stalk doesn’t go quite as planned? In the vast majority of cases, the stalker gets within a sensible...

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The rough shooter's dog

Author: Ben Randall

The sight of dog and Gun working together to put game in the bag is a joy to behold, but how does one achieve such a partnership?

Before taking the first steps towards acquiring a dog, the prospective owner will have – or should have – a good idea about what they want their dog to do when it grows up. For many, the end goal is typically either a peg dog, a dog for picking-up behind the Guns, or a dog that will perform steadily in the beating line or when walked-up shooting. Cross-over between the three is not rare. It is the last of these roles, though – the rough shooting dog for walked-up sport – that is the...

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Life changing labradors

Author: Heather Waktare

It’s okay to cuddle up on the sofa with your gundog, they can be so much more than just a working companion.

Three years ago my brother Bruce and his wife Gayle decided to up sticks from their two bedroom cottage in Walton-on-Thames and head for the Scottish Highlands. This announcement came as a big surprise to me. They were both true townies with a penchant for good restaurants, trendy pubs, cinemas, coffee shops etc. They found a house just 10 miles north of Inverness on the Black Isle, and soon after settling in they announced they were going to buy two dogs, not just pooches, but gundogs!...

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Mole, the millennium dog

Author: James Chapel

After more than 1,000 shoot days at his side, James Chapel looks back at the long and loyal life of his remarkable black labrador, Mole.

Mole was my first labrador and, although my family have always had a number of dogs, he was also my first proper gundog. I lead a very enviable life in that I run the William Powell Sporting Agency based in Banbury and, as a direct result of this, end up attending/hosting/managing over 100 days each season myself. The actual business is involved in far more than this, but one person (and as Mole found out – one dog) can only attend so many days in a year. My first sight of Mole was of him...

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Logan’s Run

Author: Peter Curran

Following the piece in the first issue on how far we drive to collect our new puppies, Peter Curran reports on a 1,000-mile plus adventure to collect a new pointer.

We enjoyed the article on puppy collection in Issue 1 of Gundog Journal and thought other readers might like to hear about my long journey to collect two pointer puppies in October 2014. Being a keen pointer and setter field trials competitor, I wanted to obtain another full working dog with similar good blood lines as one of my current pointers. Having found the breeder and line I wanted, it was just a case of arranging the finer details for a long trip to Scotland.   Cotswolds to...

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My Dog of a Lifetime (Part 1)

We ask six people from the shooting world about their all-time favourite gundogs.

  David Bontoft Owner, Hull Cartridge I remember my first conversation concerning Madge. We were having a splendid lunch at the Sandringham Flower Show in July 2012. My daughter Faye was having dog chats with Amanda Clark, wife of David who was then the headkeeper at the marvellous royal estate in north Norfolk. Amanda mentioned that her son-in-law Sam had a cocker bitch and it was due to have a litter any time soon. My ears pricked up and I zoned in on the conversation. Faye was...

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My Dog of a Lifetime (Part 2)

We ask people from the shooting world about their all-time favourite gundogs

  Will Templer Sporting agent Having had springers most of my life, I wanted a change on several accounts, but primarily because I was spending ever more time behind Guns as a sporting agent. Although springers will sit happily at a peg, I wasn’t good enough at teaching them and never managed to train one to be totally silent. This led me from a German wirehaired pointer (seldom in the same county!) to a wirehaired viszla because of a feature I saw on Crufts, where a woman was...

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My Dog of a Lifetime (Part 3)

We ask two passionate shooting people about their favourite gundogs.

Neil Fletcher Former leicester tigers rugby player Although I’d been involved in country sports with my dad from an early age, I only really got in to shooting seriously when I joined Leicester Tigers in 1996/97. I started going pigeon shooting with Dean Richards and an old boy named Brian. Brian knew everything there was to know about decoying pigeons and geese and was a real old countryman. He had a black lab called Harley and I loved to watch him working, retrieving shot birds from...

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FtCh Speckle of Ardoon

Patrice Fellows turns the spotlight on a spaniel that confounded her own breeding to become one of the best ever, and a trainer who most definitely did it his way.

The late Keith Erlandson was a man steeped in spaniel training and he made up 20 FTChs, but none is as legendary as the cocker spaniel FTCh Speckle of Ardoon. Known in his home as The Polecat, she was, in his words, ‘brilliant, dauntless and dangerous to know.’ Erlandson also considered her ‘a freak of nature’. She was bred in Northern Ireland by Will Sloan out of Colleen of Elan, a ‘sticky little bitch’ who ‘never seemed inclined to do much work.’ Colleen was the offspring...

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Billy Steel Jnr

Author: Anne McKay

The winner of the 2018 IGL Retriever Championship talks to Anne McKay about his methods.

Born into a keepering family, as a 12-year-old boy Billy Steel Jnr got his first labrador to call his own. Sadly, this dog passed away at only one-year-old. But his father, Billy Steel Snr, gave him another labrador, a bitch called Kirsty, who went on to be used for beating, ferreting and anything else required. At the age of 14, Billy took the day off school to compete with Kirsty in his first novice Field Trial at Carmichael Estate, near Biggar in the Scottish Borders, and proceeded to win...

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FTCh Breeze of Drakeshead

Author: Patrice Fellows.

We dip into the pantheon of legendary gundogs to select one each issue.

John and Sandra Halstead have owned several legendary labradors, but FTCh Breeze of Drakeshead was their greatest winner. He is the only dog to win the IGL Retriever Championship three years in a row, a feat never repeated before or since. Remarkably, the last two wins were accomplished with a heavily bandaged paw. John first qualified Breeze for the Championship in 1984 when he was not yet two at the Duke of Wellington’s Estate at Stratfield Saye, Hampshire. He ran alongside their older...

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Man’s Best Hunting Buddy

Author: Glyn Ingram

Working dogs are not confined to the shooting field. Glyn Ingram of the British Deer Society (BDS) takes a closer look at the crucial role of ‘deer dogs’.

Photographer / TWEED MEDIA Man and his best friend have been hunting large herbivores together for a very long time, at least 20,000 years and possibly as long as 30,000 years. In fact, humans and dogs have evolved in tandem. From our very first beginnings we were hunter-gatherers and only began to domesticate livestock around 9,000 years ago; the relationship between man and dog started long before that. Dogs appear in ancient cave art from many cultures around the world and invariably the...

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