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.

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-…

Bobbery pack

Will cross-breeds ever rule in the field?

While I appreciate the wealth of pure-bred gundog breeds, I would not hesitate to use a cross-breed working dog if it gave me an extra edge for a particular job. It takes months to train a gundog properly and minutes to ruin one, so it often pays to create a type…

Clumber spaniel retrieving pheasant

Clumber spaniels – a genuine gundog breed

During 2015 there were 217 Clumber spaniel puppies registered in Britain. Compare this with 10,500 springer spaniels and 22,500 cocker spaniels registered and you will realise that this is not a common breed. Historic theory The breed’s history is uncertain before the middle of the 19th century. One theory is…

Microchipping

10 things you need to know about dog microchipping

Approximately one in five dogs have not been microchipped, according to DEFRA. The estimated dog population in the UK is 8.5 million – 86 per cent of which (7.34 million) of which have been microchipped. The remaining 14 per cent need to have a microchip by 6th April 2016 when it…

Malcolm Taylor Gundogs

Malcolm Taylor of the Tyne Tees & Tweed Field Trial Association

Malcolm Taylor commentated on the spaniel section at last year’s CLA Game Fair. He did a fine job and during the downtime we chatted dogs and shooting – what else? He has been on the Field Trial Liaison Council for more than 10 years. He is currently its chairman and…

pointing dog

Spotlight on continental HPR breeds

One of the founding fathers of modern electric blues music was a man known as Muddy Waters. A fellow black musician, bemoaning what he perceived to be the hijacking of their music — mainly by the American middle class — once voiced his concern. Muddy, far simply agreeing, responded: “Black, white;…

dog with injured tail

Dog tail docking

What can you do quite legally in England which could cost you a fine of up to £5,000 or even six months in jail if you repeated it in Scotland? Celebrate a famous World Cup win? No. Not wear a kilt to a wedding? Wrong again. The answer is docking…

Gundog pedigree certificate

What to look for in a pedigree certificate

The breeder should provide the puppy’s pedigree before you make a commitment to buy. The pedigree is one of the things a serious breeder uses to plan a litter. An educated buyer looks at the pedigree when deciding whether to buy a puppy, and a responsible breeder will be proud to…

Gundog breed Labrador

Which gundog breed would suit all of my needs best?

A: First, find a gundog club by visiting The Kennel Club. This will have details of location, area of operation and what the club in question has to offer. Not all gundog clubs run training classes but most will be able to put you in touch with a good gundog trainer. Your…

curly-coated retriever

Pedigree dogs in peril

Previously I looked at the winners and losers in the annual registrations of pedigree dogs. The winners included the Bracco Italiano and the cocker spaniel, plus the Hungarian vizsla and its wirehaired cousin, while the losers included several of our traditional favourites, ranging from the Labrador to the English springer spaniel. There…

puppy with ball

An insider’s guide to training gundog puppies

It’s going to be a busy summer at the Twistmount Kennels as I have a few youngsters that are ready to start their more formal training. I have two home-bred young springer spaniels that are showing real potential, a little liver-and-white bitch called Dolly and a black-and-white dog called Logan.…