Sporting Dogs

Sporting Dogs - The Hunters

sporting dogsSporting dogs, which are also referred to as the "Sporting Group" by kennel clubs, are the dogs which are typically used to hunt small game and birds.

Sporting dogs were originally bred in England to aid the elite and nobility on the hunt. Some of the dogs that have come from this include the retriever, pointer, spaniel, and setter. These types of dogs are extremely popular now, even for people that have no intention of ever taking them hunting.

One thing to remember about sporting dogs is that they are bird dogs. This means they have highly energized abilities in field and water settings, and need a good amount of exercise. They are very alert and active, and because of that, they make excellent companions.

Sporting Dogs - Different Breeds

American Water Spaniel - The American Water Spaniel is not very well known outside America. It is a gundog known for having a very friendly demeanor and an excellent sense of smell. It is quite talented when it comes to being a loyal companion, flushing game, and retrieving waterfowl.

American Cocker Spaniel - Closely related to English Cocker Spaniels, the American Cocker, or "Merry Cocker," is not timid, but is equable in temperament. It has a good amount of obedience and working intelligence, and will be a fantastic addition to any family after being socialized from an early age.

Barbet - This French water dog is grouped with flushing dogs and retrievers. They're actually a rare breed, and have brown, black, or black and white fur. Their demeanor is goofy, intelligent, obedient, and joyful, making them a good choice for the elderly and children.

Boykin Spaniel - This furry brown spaniel is actually South Carolina's state dog! They are skilled at hunting wild turkeys and have quite a bit of stamina, even in very hot weather. Boykin Spaniels are social and friendly, and do well in family environments.

Bracco Italiano - A very effective and versatile gun dog developed in Italy, where it is the most well known. They are a powerful and athletic dog, and have large ears and upper lips, making them look serious.

Braque du Bourbonnais - These French gundogs have a short tail, tiny spots on their fur, and a rustic appearance. They are excellent pointers and hunters, though they've been considerably less effective and common after World War II.

Brittany - These bird hunters are setters or pointers, though many think of them as spaniels. They have a strong build but are not heavy, which allows them to be very athletic. They are known for being sweet natured and easy to train, making them a good choice for a family that wants to raise a dog the right way.

Cesky Fousek - These gun dogs have a nice moustache of fur on their face, and do well as a family dog. For hunters, they are an ideal companion, as they can track large game in just about any kind of terrain.

Canadian Pointer - These medium sized dogs are bred to hunt upland game. They do very well outdoors but can even make nice indoor pets. Of course, they're very pack oriented and will want to be a big part of the family.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever - Chessies are known as gundogs, retrievers, and sporting dogs. They love the water and are great hunters, and are valued as family pets due to their affectionate, intelligent, happy nature. They are protective of their family though, and can be reserved around strangers if they aren't socialized.

Clumber Spaniel - These snoring dogs are the largest spaniels. They're desirable for hunting under heavy cover. They make very loyal and gentle companions, though they tend to shed and drool a lot. They love to lie around and sleep all day.

Curly Coated Retriever - A Curly is a retriever bred specifically for waterfowl and upland bird hunting in England. Though they're taller than other retrievers, they have the same fun loving and lively disposition. They are the happiest when they get plenty of exercise.

Drentse Patrijshond - A Drent is a superior retriever and pointer, and they are bred to hunt fowl in marshes or fields. For how driven and focused these dogs are on the hunt, they are excellent family pets and sweet around children.

English Cocker Spaniel - These cockers are sporting gun dogs and can be bred for working or to show. They are very happy and constantly wagging their tails, though they are known to be stubborn. They're good family pets, and will usually take very strongly to one person in particular. They prefer to not be alone.

English Setter - These athletic dogs are part of the setter family, bred for their endurance. These people oriented dogs tend to cause mischief if they aren't given enough attention and things to do. When they are, they are gentle and calm and good around children.

English Springer Spaniel - These gun dogs were bred to flush and retrieve game. They are affectionate and excitable, quick to learn, friendly, eager to please, and obedient. They're great on the hunt because of how alert and attentive they are.

Field Spaniel - A medium sized spaniel, these dogs are patient around children and make good family dogs. It's important to give them a sense of purpose though, such as agility work or hunting. If they don't get it, they can become destructive and bored.

Flat Coated Retriever - These retrievers are adept in the water and on land. They're quite talented and active and really want to please people. While they're excellent with children, they are very outgoing and energetic and should be supervised to prevent any accidents.

French Spaniel - These hunting dogs were developed in France and are friendly. However, the breed suffers from a couple of health issues. They're known to form very strong bonds with their masters, and need plenty of exercise.

German Longhaired Pointer - These gun dogs were originally bred in Germany and are intelligent, kind, and gentle. They are prone to separation anxiety and do not do well as indoor dogs. They are happy when given jobs and exercise, and will play well with other dogs.

German Shorthaired Pointer - These strong, athletic dogs are very agile and able to retrieve heavy game. Their tails are usually docked, but some countries don't allow this any longer. They're versatile hunters and happy to spend time at home with a family as well.

German Wirehaired Pointer - This griffon breed is sturdy, well muscled, and has a wire-like, weather resistant coat. They're an affectionate hunting dog who needs a consistent owner that will give them jobs to do.

Golden Retriever - Originally bred for retrieving upland game and waterfowl, these majestic dogs have become one of the world's most popular breeds. They're extremely versatile and intelligent and can be used for a huge variety of jobs. They're also confident, kindly, and fantastic family pets.

Gordon Setter - These large setters are sport and gun dogs used to hunt a variety of birds. They are known for being very alert, confident, and interested. They're the happiest when given rigorous training and do best with other dogs and people when socialized early.

Irish Red and White Setter - These setters look essentially the same to their cousins, the Irish Setters, but are used as gun dogs. They take decisive and firm training, but once trained, they are quite loyal.

Irish Setter - These gun dogs have a long, silky brown coat and get along very well with other dogs, animals, and people. They can be a little too excitable for small children and animals, and need plenty of exercise and work to do to remain happy.

Irish Water Spaniel - This very large, rare spaniel is usually found in working retriever environments. They're quick to learn, inquisitive, and alert, and are quirky enough to be considered clownish. With socialization they'll be very friendly to family and strangers alike.

Kooikerhondje - Kooiker Hounds are Dutch spaniels bred for use in duck hunts. Though not very well known in North America, they are rapidly becoming popular because of how friendly, good natured, and cheerful they are. They thrive in domestic environments and usually need a little time to warm up to strangers.

Labrador Retriever - These gun dogs have become among the most popular breeds for family pets in North America. The main color varieties are chocolate brown, black, and yellow. Labs are fun loving and excellent with children, making them a great addition to any family willing to train them.

Lagotto Romagnolo - These Italian water retrievers are made to work and often used for hunting truffles. Their fantastic sense of smell allows them to do this well, though their vision is not the best. They are very loyal and can be easy to train and should get socialized when they're still very young.

Large Munsterlander - These German gun dogs have widely varying coats that are mixtures of white and black. They are gentle with children and don't mind living indoors. Their pointing instincts mature later than other hunting dogs but they are very versatile in the field after that.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - The smallest retriever, they get their name by luring, or "tolling" waterfowl. They have a fox like appearance, and are quite alert, energetic, and intelligent. They have a reputation of being patient with children and are affectionate and outgoing.

Pointer - The English pointer is graceful and athletic. They actually do the best when they live indoors with a family. Since they're not aggressive, they can easily coexist with other animals and are great around children.

Portuguese Pointer - These gun dogs are bred for hunting Red-legged Partridges. They are a medium sized dog with a square build and short, coarse fur.

Small Munsterlander - These German dogs can do quite a bit. They're bred to retrieve, hunt, and point on land and in water. They need patient and gentle training but are quite attentive and intelligent. They will be a challenge to control if their master is not consistent.

Spanish Water Dog - These multi-purpose Spanish dogs are used in herding, hunting, and to assist fishermen. They're known for being intelligent, loyal, affectionate, and diligent. They need a good balance of play and work and will thrive when they get it.

Spinone Italiano - This Italian breed is mainly used as a gun dog, but also does well as assistance or companion dog. They have a wiry and close lying coat and are loyal and friendly. Amazingly, these types of dogs have been around for more than 2000 years.

Sussex Spaniel - These spaniels are known mostly for being energetic and clownish, they have a slow paced side as well. They bond very closely with and are protective of their family and are nice around kids. They can be used on the hunt, but they're stubborn during training, making it harder.

Vizla - These Hungarian dogs are the smallest pointer-retriever breeds. This makes them really useful when it comes to hunting upland game and fowl. It also makes them an attractive family pet, one that is easy to train and gentle mannered.

Weimaraner - These German dogs have been used by royalty in the past to hunt deer, bear, and boar. They are an all purpose dog that loves to play games and needs a great amount of exercise. They have to be trained early on to prevent getting bored and causing trouble.

Welsh Springer Spaniel - These spaniels are always red and white, and they're known for getting attached to their families. They tend to bark at strangers and avoid them but will warm up to them as they do with other pets and children.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon - These hunting gun dogs are well adapted around water and in thick undergrowth thanks to their harsh coat protecting them. They're known for being very jovial and friendly like a puppy while being extremely intelligent at the same time.

Are Sporting Dogs for You?

Sporting dogs are excellent companions to hunters and single people. They also love a large family and will quickly become a member of any household that will have them. If you're planning on doing a lot of hunting, then it's a no brainer; a sporting dog is the way to go.

If you just want a nice pet for your family, they are excellent as long as you make sure to exercise them every day. They also need a good amount of attention and "jobs" or "duties" to do. If you can commit to giving them exercise and make them feel useful, they will thrive. If you're looking for a calm breed that really doesn't need to go out much, they're not for you.


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