Best gundog breed: I’ve been interested in participating in field trials for some time now, and while friends and family swear by either labradors or English springer spaniels, I like the look of flat coat retrievers.

Do they make good gundogs, do you have any advice on bloodlines, and ultimately, which is the best gundog breed?

Mark Whitehouse says: Picking the best gundog breed is difficult.

Flat coat retrievers are not at the forefront of competitions, so, if you are interested in field trials, spaniels and labradors are a much sounder option.

I have trained a few flat coats over the years and have found them to be late developers in comparison to spaniels and labradors who, at 15 months, would be almost fully trained to trialling standards. I’d therefore be tempted to say they are the best gundog breeds for trialling from the ones you’re looking at.

A flat coat would not mature until around three years of age, and even then they tend not to be the same standard.

 Spaniels are fantastic hunters.

Yes, flat coats make good gundogs, but you will have to be very patient and understanding.

Do they compare with labradors and spaniels for competition work?

I have to say no, they are not the best gundog breed for that.

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