I inherited my professionally-trained spaniel two years ago. He is a great all-round gun dog and I’ve decided to get him a kennel mate. I am torn between a cocker and a springer, what should I look for?

MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: Both springer and cocker breeds are capable of doing a good day’s work in the field.

Springers have a size advantage but cockers have a better-designed engine and have more staying power.

Before you decide to buy a puppy or an untrained gun dog, you need to do some research on both parents.

You need to make sure they have good trainability, kind temperament, and that they are both from good working stock.

Looks are also important as you have to like what you are buying as he or she is going to spend the next 12 or so years with you.

There are no guarantees with puppies but if both parents are from good working stock this is a very good starting point.

With time and effort you could have a useful shooting companion.

In the trialing world many people suggest that you should have as many field trial champions as possible in the pedigree.

Your own temperament is also an important factor when choosing a pup/gun dog as there are breeding lines that are very soft and sensitive and breeding lines that are very out-going and headstrong.

If you are of a strong character you may suit the outgoing type. If you are quiet and patient you may suit the soft and more sensitive type.

Good luck and choose wisely.

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