working cocker spaniel

Which breed would suit you better – a springer or a cocker spaniel?

So you’ve decided to take on a spaniel. Springer vs cocker spaniel – the differences Springers have a size advantage over working cocker spaniels Cocker spaniels have a better engine and more staying power than springers Cockers are thought to be ‘prettier’ than springer spaniels and come in more colours…

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…

differences between cocker and springer spaniels

13 reasons why cocker spaniels and springer spaniels are different

Both springer and cocker spaniels are capable of doing a useful day’s work out in the field. Both are biddable. However, they do have different characteristics. Differences between cocker and springer spaniels Springers have a size advantage over cocker spaniels Cocker spaniels have a better engine and more staying power…

Irish water spaniel

The Irish water spaniel

The joker in the spaniel pack. No, not my words, but those of an Irish water spaniel owner and enthusiast, talking about the foibles and idiosyncrasies of his favourite breed. The Irish water spaniel, he assured me, could lay claim to being the only HPR native to these islands. He…

silver Labrador

Would a silver Labrador be right for you?

What exactly is the right colour? The Kennel Club’s breed standard states that “any shade of gold or cream” is acceptable for golden retrievers, while the American KC requires “rich, lustrous gold of various shades”. Colour is a contentious issue in many breeds. However, when it comes to controversial coat…

black Labrador puppy

What makes the perfect Labrador?

If you wanted to start an argument at a game fair, 
you couldn’t go far wrong with initiating a discussion about what the perfect Labrador should look like. Even the most casual countryside observer will be aware that there 
is huge variety in the breed. As it is the most…

Welsh springer spaniel

Will the Welsh springer spaniel survive?

A chance encounter with a Welsh springer spaniel (WSS) on a shoot earlier this month reminded me what a handsome breed this is and what a shame it is that we do not see more out working. Welsh springer spaniel – a curious breed It is the most numerous of…

Working dogs

All-round gundogs – do they exist?

Most of my friends have more than one dog, they may have a spaniel or two for beating, a retriever for shooting at a peg or picking-up and a few of them even have a “terrorist” (terrier) to keep the rodent population in check. But, just imagine that you could…

Hungarian wirehaired vizsla

Secrets of the Hungarian wirehaired vizsla success

The Hungarian wirehaired vizsla (HWV) is a relatively new breed, created a century ago in Hungary by crossing smooth-haired vizslas with other pointer breeds — among them the German wirehaired pointer and the pudelpointer — to produce the dog we know today. Tough, all-purpose hunting dog The breed’s development was…