I’m looking for a part trained gundog for the new season but am not sure where to look. How should I start my search?
Jeremy Hunt says: Many people have had their fingers burnt buying a part trained gundog as it’s not uncommon for unscrupulous sellers to offer gundogs that have begun their training but then started to show a fault.
It can be difficult to spot where a seemingly keen young labrador is anything other than the genuine article. The asking price is often a giveaway – a promising youngster with a blemish-free training record doesn’t come cheap – so beware of anything with a bargain price tag!
Having said that, there are good young gundogs out there, it’s just a case of knowing where to look – and why not start at the top? Draw up a list of some of the most well known breeders of working labradors (a list of the runners at the IGL’s Retriever Championships is a ‘Who’s Who’ of the top kennels) and start phoning around. Most people will be able to recommend someone else if they have nothing to offer themselves.
Even if we weren’t before we’re certainly big into memory now. Hard on the heels of last year’s Great War…
When you go to look at a gundog it’s essential to take someone with you who has gundog experience. If a gundog is more than 12 months old it should be offered for sale with hip X-ray results and an eye test certificate at the very least. The health test results for the parents of anything under 12 months should also be made available.
If you and your advisor believe the gundog is right for you it should be taken on a two-week trial. There should be no issue with this and any responsible seller will agree to it.
Another option would be to buy a good youngster that hasn’t started training. These aren’t easy to find either but at least you’ll have a ‘blank page’ and can send the pup to a trainer of your choice.