English springer spaniels

Time for the super-spaniel?

I don’t know how many English springer spaniels there are in the UK, but my guess would be between 160,000 and 200,000. This is based on 12,000 puppies being registered with the Kennel Club annually, plus the fact that there are many pure-bred but unregistered springers. Assume an average lifespan of…

Clumber spaniels

Gundog breeds in focus: The Clumber spaniel

Look at the wonderful Victorian paintings of Clumber spaniels and you will see a dog that has only a passing resemblance to the Clumbers that dominate the show benches today. This sporting spaniel was developed by the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire as an active, agile dog,…

Mark and Jamie Bettinson

Mark and Jamie Bettinson: A profile

A glance at the diary entries on the desk at Bridgecroft Kennels in Hengoed, south Wales, reads like a who’s who of field trialling. Bridgecroft is one of the nerve centres of the UK trialling scene. Mark Bettinson was born three miles from the kennels and Jamie, his son, just…

Springador

Why have crossbred gundogs become so popular on shoots?

Are we guilty of overlooking crossbred gundogs? Felicity Winters thought so, and was inspired to write to the editor of Shooting Times, urging us to take more notice of the growing number of crossbreeds working on shoots. Felicity has a point: there are certainly far more springadors (springer x Labrador)…

Brittany spaniel

Rule Brittany

France and England may be separated only by a narrow stretch of water, but the difference in our shooting culture could hardly be more different. Shooting is hugely popular throughout France, but the French word used to describe it — la chasse — neatly sums up our continental cousins’ approach.…

Continental pointers in action

It was over 25 years ago when I first saw an HPR (hunt, point, retrieve) pointer working. I was photographing a spring pointing test and the dog was a German shorthaired pointer called “Basil.” I can clearly remember him casting out over a field of winter wheat, he was running…

Which dog is best for rough shooting?

Which dog for rough shooting? For many gundog owners there can be nothing more exciting and rewarding than shooting over their own dog. However, it takes hours and hours of training to produce a dog that will hunt within shot range, is steady to flushed game (especially ground game) and…

Gundog bloodlines

Gundog bloodlines

When choosing a puppy or a stud dog, don’t be blinded by a famous name in a dog’s pedigree. Joe Irving reveals why creating a successful bloodline requires consistency