Golden retriever

Why aren’t golden retrievers more popular in the field?

You’ll see plenty of Labradors in the field but not so many golden retrievers. Which is rather illogical because a golden retriever that has been well-trained is definitely the equal of a Labrador. Golden retrievers are handsome, intelligent and easy to handle. So it’s a mystery. A relatively new breed…

English springer spaniel

Why is the springer spaniel becoming less popular?

In the 1980s I belonged to a shooting syndicate with one simple rule: every member had to own a working gundog. It was a walk-one, stand-one shoot, so it was a practical ruling. There was no suggestion as to what sort of dog it had to be, but every member…

Do springer spaniels get bored?

There’s one thing I’ve learned about springer spaniels in nearly 40 years of owning and working the breed: there’s no dog that loves to hunt more than a springer. And as anyone who has owned or shot over one will confirm, they are born optimists, happy to work a piece…

sprocker puppy

What should you expect with a sprocker puppy?

Should you get a sprocker puppy? Q: I am intending to get a gundog puppy this spring that I can train to accompany me shooting. Having done some homework and looked at various breeds, I had decided on either a cocker or springer spaniel, but I am a little concerned…

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Is a cavalier King Charles spaniel a gundog at heart?

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that inside many a cavalier King Charles spaniel there’s a cocker spaniel trying to get out. So I wasn’t really surprised when I read the following story sent to me by Debbie Grounds in response for my request for stories of 
non-gundog breeds that…

Sprocker spaniel

Just why is the “sprocker spaniel” becoming so popular?

Sprocker spaniels – the lowdown Sprockers have masses of energy and need to be kept busy They are intelligent dogs and easy to train – but keep training consistent. They like to know what their owners want from them Sprockers need to know who is the ‘alpha’ in the household…

cocker spaniel

Should there be random DNA tests for cocker spaniels?

You may recall sprockergate, the scandal that shook the cocker trialling world a couple of years ago. What brought the story into the tabloids was the accusation that HM The Queen owned a dog, competing in cocker trials, that was allegedly a sprocker (English springer and cocker cross). A sprocker…

cocker spaniel waiting

All about the cocker spaniel

Look around the shooting field today and you’d be correct in thinking that the cocker spaniel and the springer spaniel are two of the most popular gundog breeds. But the spaniel’s heritage stretches back centuries. It is one of the oldest “type of hunting dog” and was originally bred to…

working cocker spaniel

Would a working cocker spaniel be right for you?

Once upon a time everybody had a black Labrador. Then chocolate Labradors arrived on the scene. Now fox red Labs are de rigeur it would seem. Mind you, the dog that you’re likely to see in the field just about everywhere now is a working cocker spaniel. Not so long…

English springer spaniel

Why you should consider taking on an English springer spaniel

Throughout the 20th century  English springer spaniels were the most popular shooting dog in Britain. Whether it remains so today is debatable. In recent years I’ve been on a number of shoots where there wasn’t a springer to be seen, something that would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago.…

flatcoated retriever

What’s happened to the flatcoat retriever?

Every once in a while, often at a country house owned by people who don’t much like throwing things away, one comes across old copies of Shooting Times. It is always reassuring to note the extent to which our sport is still the same but, of course, things do change…

pointers dog breed

The history of the pointer

When someone tells me they own a pointer I always have to ask what sort. Usually it turns out to be a German shorthaired pointer, as this is the most numerous pointing breed in the shooting field today, but strictly speaking a pointer is a pointer. Pointers are grouped with…

Arthritis in dogs

Are chocolate Labradors poor retrievers?

I was asked recently about my opinion on a dog’s eye colour. The inquirer felt if a Labrador had light-coloured eyes, it was more prone to be skittish and wild. It was something I had never even considered. I have always preferred a Labrador with darker pigment around their eyes…