A reader asks: I go rabbit and pigeon shooting and now intend to get a gundog. A friend says Labradors are born half-trained but I'm also considering a spaniel. Can you advise?

Our gundog expert advised our reader on the choice between a Labrador and a spaniel. 

An English Springer spaniel from good working stock is an ideal choice for the one-dog roughshooter.

These dogs can be trained as competent shooting companions; to sit steadily in a pigeon shooter’s hide, as well as to hunt to flush game and retrieve from all sorts of prickly, thick cover.

Your friend is obviously a Labrador supporter and has probably never had the pleasure of owning a good English Springer spaniel.

Labradors can, and do, make good roughshooting dogs, but they are not always placid companions and many of the top strains can be fast and need expert handling.

The Labrador breed has been developed for its retrieving expertise first and foremost, whereas spaniels have been bred for hunting excellence and as the roughshooter’s companion.

Whichever breed you choose, seek sound advice to make sure the animal is fully trained for life.