Everything you need to know about your gundog. This collection of information and advice covers field trial and working tests, gundog training and exercise, breeds and gundog health plus help with breeding and buying or selling your gundog.

Labrador in water

Hip dysplasia in Labradors

Q: My wife and I would like to buy a Labrador for me to take out once it is trained, as I shoot occasionally. We have found a reputable breeder near us, who comes highly recommended, have met the bitch already and are very taken with her. The breeder has had the…

Wilson Young gundogs

Wilson Young Kennel Club Field Trial Sub Committee Q&A

Wilson Young was interviewed in the June 2016 issue of Shooting Gazette Amy Bates: Tell us about your picking-up? Wilson Young: “We shoot six days a week and on occasions we can have five groups on the same day, so I’m out every day hosting a party and normally have…

Keep dogs safe from car collisions

How to keep dogs safe from car collisions

Most dogs love cars. Travelling in the car is usually a precursor to something more exciting, such as going for a walk or perhaps a shooting expedition. I don’t think dogs experience disappointment in the same way that we do, but it’s not difficult to detect a dog’s crestfallen look when it…

Queen Elizabeth in the field

A Royal picker-up

Gundogs have been a part of the Queen’s life from infancy. Her grandfather, George V, inherited his own father’s taste for gameshooting, as well as a more hands- on approach to the care and training of working dogs than Edward VII had ever shown. In the year before Elizabeth’s birth,…

water retrieves

How to introduce a puppy to water retrieves

With the arrival of warmer weather, it has been a good opportunity to introduce the young spaniels to a bit of water work and introduce water retrieves. Though the puppies are the same age, it is surprising how different they dealt with this new aspect of their training. Logan, the black-and-white…

training a puppy to run in a straight line

How to train a puppy to run in a straight line

Neil Varney uses a place-board and natural retrieving alleys to train a puppy to run in a straight line to retrieve. The labrador puppy, Remy, is growing very fast both physically and mentally; he is now beginning to test a few boundaries, and at times push his luck. He has…

English springer spaniels

Do spaniels smell more than Labradors?

  A: The simple answer is no. Working spaniels do not smell any worse than any other dog. The question of why some dogs smell more than others, however, is more complex. Dogs do not sweat like people but they do perspire from their paws, and produce a scent from their hair…

springer at peg

My springer won’t move from the peg!

A: Dogs that are used to working in isolation can react adversely to more busy environments. The noise and activity at a driven shoot can be quite daunting for any dog when it is first introduced. Being close to the other Guns is perhaps also making his situation unbearable and a common…

Pedigree dog health

12 questions about spaniels answered

How can I improve my spaniel’s picking up skills? The gundogs in question are 10-month-old litter brothers – one is a good hunter, the other bad at retrieving. What can be done about it? Shouldn’t working spaniels have docked tails? A reader is worried about two young spaniels with tails that are…

HPR breeds

Hunt, point and retrieve – truly versatile dogs

Many years ago, when I started out photographing gundogs, I used to attend quite a few spring pointing tests and it was at these events where I not only saw my first HPR working in the field, but I also developed some lifelong friendships with a number of handlers that…

Heel work and quartering

How to improve heel work and quartering

During the past month Remy, the Labrador puppy, has been coming along really well with his lead work, and over the past week or so I have gently started to introduce some more formal heel work but this has not been without its challenges. To encourage the little dog to…

microchips for working dogs

Microchips for working dogs

Question: I have heard that working dogs are exempt from compulsory microchipping. Does that mean that I needn’t have had my Labrador, which I work on a number of local shoots, microchipped recently? Veterinary surgeon Tony Buckwell advised: What you have heard is not quite correct. The exemption, under the Microchipping of Dogs…

Lurcher

Run rabbit run, here comes the lurcher

When I was growing up I used to spend a lot of my school holidays with my grandparents in a small rural village in Kent. Next door lived an old man called Bert, he was a cowman on a local farm, but what he didn’t know about the countryside just simply…

Dog's first shoot day

Your dog’s first shoot day

A very common question we get asked at Gamegoer is: “How old should my dog be before I get him in the shooting field?” In truth, this is always a difficult one to answer as it depends on so many different things; the dog’s level of training, the dog’s personality (is…

John Halstead Drakeshead Gundogs

John Halstead of Drakeshead Gundogs interview

John Halstead of Drakeshead Gundogs originally spoke to Robert Cuthbert for the In the Hot Seat interview featured in our April 2016 issue. Robert Cuthbert: Was it a busy season in general for you? John Halstead: “I shot around a dozen days last season. It’s probably much more than that…

Dogs make your life better

10 ways dogs make your life better

Dogs make your life better in myriad ways. From being a best friend and political ally to making you popular with the opposite, is there anything they can’t do? You’ll have your own thoughts of course, but here are our 10 ways dogs make your life better Dogs make your…

Lab in a fleece

Keeping your dog safe from ticks and burrs

There’s not much Mary Leigh of Equafleece doesn’t know about keeping a dog healthy and comfortable. She set up Equafleece 16 years ago and it’s quickly become a popular brand with gundog owners. We asked her a few questions. Shooting UK: How can you protect your dog from ticks and…

Pedigree dog health

Pedigree dog health survey forewarns future problems

I’ve no doubt that all of us, when we take on a new puppy, hope that it is going to enjoy a long and healthy life, with nothing more than routine visits to the vet. Sadly, that’s not always the case, but by buying strong, healthy pedigree puppies from health-tested parents the chances…

Ian Openshaw

Ian Openshaw on gundogs and field trials

Ian Openshaw and I first met a few years ago at a mock grouse trial in Northumberland. Having heard a few tales about the man who has judged the Retriever Championship twice, the Cocker Championship once and the Spaniel Championship twice, I was interested to find out what he was…

Rescue gundogs

Rescue gundogs prove their sporting worth

Most fieldsports enthusiasts heed the advice of acquiring animals from proven working stock, whether they be gundogs, terriers or even ferrets. This is because knowledge of an animal’s ancestry provides an invaluable insight into its sporting potential and behavioural traits. However, I know of certain circumstances that resulted in this time-…