A study in Sweden proves what gundog owners already knew

You might have seen a rather pleasing story that appeared 
in the papers last November.

According to a study of 3.4million Swedes, dog owners have a lower risk 
of cardiovascular disease than those 
who don’t have a canine companion. 
Even more significant, ownership of 
a hunting breed gave the greatest benefit.

Curiously, none of the reports of this study that I read seemed to consider that owning a hunting breed was only part of the reason why these people live longer. It is obvious that simply patting your setter isn’t going to do you a lot of good. It is what you do with your hunting dog that counts.

shooting in Sweden

Shooting in Sweden is a rather different sport

Hunting (shooting) in Sweden 
is a very different pursuit from ours. The quarry is invariably wild and its pursuit usually involves a great deal of walking. 
I once spent three days in Sweden hunting willow grouse. We covered a huge area, working with a combination of Irish red setters and cocker spaniels, but didn’t bag a single bird.

dogs in snow

Hypothermia in dogs

I’m often asked whether dogs suffer hypothermia. The answer is yes and there are some particular signs that owners of…

However, I’m sure that we came off the hill a great deal fitter than we started. Thus it is no wonder that owners of hunting dogs are long-lived and less likely to suffer heart attacks, as they are much fitter than those who have a chihuahua (Sweden’s fifth most popular breed) or 
a Cavalier King Charles spaniel (seventh).

Dogs don’t mind if you come home smelling of another dog

Not all the papers took this story too seriously and I was amused by Dr Phil Hammond’s light-hearted comments published in the Telegraph. He considered the many plus points of dog ownership, from the return of unconditional love to expanding your social circle. He pointed out: “Your partner might not look at you, but a dog will — and it’ll keep looking until you take it out for a walk… dogs don’t mind if you get their name wrong or come home smelling of another dog.” However, I enjoyed most his conclusion: “In my experience, for 90 per cent of symptoms you’re better off with a dog than a doctor.”