I’m relatively new to gun dog training and would like to know how to find a pup to train and eventually enter into field trials.
It seems very much like pot luck if you have to pick a pup at eight weeks.
JEREMY HUNT SAYS: There is a well-known term among livestock breeders; “breeding will out”.
It means that any animal will usually reflect the breeding which has gone into producing it.
It is no surprise then to hear that successful field trial dogs have not necessarily been the pick of the litter in the same way that a show-bred puppy would be selected, based on the excellence of its conformation.
Provided you have the choice of a puppy from a well-bred litter of field trial breeding, and provided you pick a healthy, well-grown and bold pup (preferably from parents with low hip scores and current eye certificates) you stand as good a chance of getting hold of a good pup as other buyers who may well be experienced gun dog trainers.
The only reason they would be picking a puppy from this litter would be because they were impressed by the working ability of the pups’ parents.
Quite often it’s the bitch that really pulls in the punters.
Talk to owners of the well-known field trial kennels and anyone with insider knowledge about good bitches already, or about to be mated.
You won’t come across the pup you want in an instant.
Once you feel you have found a bitch which is likely to be having pups at some future date, you need to get your name on a waiting list of buyers.
Some people wait years for a pup from a particular bitch so you may have to be patient.
No one really knows what a pup’s ability will be until training begins.
But if you discuss your situation with someone into the field trial scene they will be able to advise you on the type of pup you should be looking for.
Most will be honest with you if they have a litter due from a bitch that is particularly “hot” and whose progeny may take after her.
This type of dog will be a challenge to train.
Don’t be taken in by those who tell you they have used a top-notch field trial dog on their bitch and expect to produce a litter of world-beaters.
She may be a nice bitch, but when it comes to producing progeny with real field trial potential – despite the fact that she’s been mated to a good dog – she may be well out of her league.
Try and find out which field trial dogs are producing the most successful progeny.
Some top winners – in all areas of livestock breeding – are not good ‘getters’ despite all their wins.
Keep an eye on field trial results and see which dogs are consistently siring stock who are always up there with the winners.