male or female dog

Dog or bitch? Which is easiest to train?

Q: I have been looking for 
a yellow Labrador bitch puppy for some time but I always seem to miss out on the bitches and there are only dogs left. This will be my first gundog and I was advised to get a bitch as they are easier to train.…

cocker spaniel puppy

How to teach a spaniel puppy to retrieve

Spaniels have been bred for generations to hunt out game from stick piles, patches of bramble and thick bracken banks, and a well-bred puppy should be pre-programmed to get its nose down. However, if you do too much early hunt training with a young spaniel this can become the most…

polydipsia in dogs

Why is my dog so thirsty? Is she ill?

Excessive thirst (referred to as polydipsia or PD on veterinary case notes) is not in itself a diagnosis, but it may be indicative of disease. There are, of course, some “innocent causes”, such as hot weather, prolonged exercise, change to a dry diet or increased salt in diet. Sometimes, all…

firstgundog

Buying your first gundog – what you need to know

Q: “I’m about to embark on acquiring my first gundog and I would like some advice as to what breed to buy and whether to get a puppy or a part or even fully-trained dog. Also, I’m not sure whether to keep it indoors or outside in a kennel and…

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…

Hungarian vizsla

My Hungarian vizsla won’t hold a point. What can I do?

“I have a two-year-old Hungarian vizsla that I have been training for rough shooting and although she hunts really well she will not hold a point and will run in on the birds, which makes it difficult for me to take a safe shot. She is also sometimes reluctant to…

choosing a gundog puppy

How to choose a puppy

Choosing a gundog puppy that’s right for you Once you have decided on the breed of gundog puppy you want, the colour and the sex, you should try to see both parents; perhaps you will have been lucky enough to see them in action in the shooting field or in field…

Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen attends Cocker Championship at Sandringham

An £800 pair of dummy launchers proved key in the training of young bitch Abiann Flawless, which landed the ultimate accolade at the 88th Cocker Spaniel Championship, held on the 6,400-acre Sandringham estate on 8 and 9 January 2018 by gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen. After two days…

dogs good for your health

Are dogs good for your health?

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…

old yellow Labrador

Giving your gundog a comfortable retirement

One of the most frustrating things about good gundogs is that their working lives are so short. A dog is typically three or four years old when it matures into the best you have ever had, but five or six years later you realise that his working life is approaching…

Slip lead on a spaniel

Can dogs get colds?

Q: My dog has suddenly started sneezing. Can dogs get colds and flu like humans? Over the 
past few days there have been persistent bouts of sneezing, runny nose and she snores when asleep as if her nose is blocked. So can dogs get colds? A: Dogs don’t get colds…

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…

teaching dog left or right

Teaching a gundog to go left and right. Should you?

This is not an uncommon question and, in my humble view, gundog handling is an important aspect of a gundog’s training and should not be discounted as simply being a “trick” or clever. If you plan to shoot over your dog, in any form, you will find it an invaluable…

Border terriers

Car sickness in dogs

A car sick dog is miserable and the condition can be caused by different factors. It may not be due to motion. For many puppies their first experience of travel sickness may be associated with unpleasantness, such as leaving his/her litter mates for the first time, or with a trip…

Labrador

Hypothyroidism in dogs. What owners need to know

Underactive thyroid – known as hypothyroidism Let me list your dog’s clinical signs: Lethargy Weight gain Bilaterally symmetrical alopecia Skin changes Itchy skin It would seem most likely that your dog has an underactive thyroid, referred to as hypothyroidism. In very large breeds, the condition 
occurs between two and three…

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…