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Gundog terminology explained

Know your FTCh from your FTW. Not sure? Read on and all will be revealed ...

walk at heel training

A reader writes: “I have been searching various gundog websites for puppies, which I intend to train for rough shooting. However some of the abbreviations that seem to be in common use aren’t very familiar to me. These include such terms as  FTCh, FTW, D/DC and GWT Winner. Could you explain these to me?

Our gundog expert comments.

First things first with gundogs

First off, you must ensure that you buy your gundog puppy from sound working stock that has been proven in the shooting field. Exercise caution when buying a puppy from a website and make sure that it is reputable and that the dogs have been bred properly and kept for the right amount of time with their mother. Also ensure that you are choosing the right gundog breed for the job in hand.

If you don’t follow these precautions you could end up with a dog that is not suitable for working in the field, or worse, a dog that has congenital defects due to bad breeding, which will result in large vet bills and a lifetime of ill health for the dog.

Technical gundog terms

Technical terms such as FTCh and FTW represent gun dogs that have competed in field trials on live game under Kennel Club rules, achieving the highest standard of award.

FTCh stands for Field Trial Champion and FTW stands for Field Trial Winner.

Gun dogs that have GWT after their name have been involved in gun dog working tests.

These gun dogs have only handled canvas dummies and may have never handled live game.

The abbreviation D/DC stands for docked and dew clawed.

This is a must for working spaniels (you can read up on tail docking laws here)  and all should have veterinary documentation to prove a professional has done it correctly and legally.

More advice on gundogs

We have a full section covering questions about gundog health and gundog training here which you might find useful.

When talking to breeders about puppies make sure you always ask the right questions and ensure the puppies are Kennel Club registered and have the correct docking and microchipping certificates. Microchipping is now a legal necessity in the UK.