field spaniel

Gundog problems – dogs that will not mark

One of the gundog problems we see commonly at Gamegoer is dogs that will not mark. There are several reasons this can occur, but it is due mainly to the way they have been trained. A large proportion of handlers train their dogs on their own and two main problems can manifest. The first is when the…

Black and yellow Labrador retrievers

Why is the Labrador retriever such a favourite with shooters?

A versatile breed, this hunting companion is the eyes and ears of its owner, can be used to detect drugs, explosives, open doors and even post letters. It can guard, jump, swim, and is the epitome of man’s best friend. No article on the breed would be complete without mentioning the Buccleuch Labrador. The Buccleuch Labrador In the 1830s, the 5th Duke…

working dog

Are Labradors born to be greedy?

Scientific research is a marvellous thing. I mean, who would’ve thought butter is not bad for us after all and two good gluts of red wine a day keeps the heart healthy and the arteries open. Amazing.  But that’s not all: when it comes to keeping fit, walking is better than a gym workout, and blueberries (without cream of course) are the…

working cocker spaniel puppy

Puppy vaccinations – what you need to know

A: I have always tried to pick up my new puppies at eight weeks or very soon after. This, I believe, is the optimum time to be able to become a replacement parent for the puppy and to begin forming a close bond with it. Usually they have not begun their vaccination…

Labrador

The allure of the Labrador

Last year, more than 32,000 Labrador puppies were registered with the Kennel Club; in the US that figure was over 150,000. This is certainly a dog with global appeal — but why? The first Labradors arrived from their native Newfoundland more than 200 years ago. The breed’s strong swimming and marking ability when retrieving…

Barrie Hughes

Meet devotee of springer spaniels, Barrie Hughes

Spaniel ownership can be both enormously satisfying and extremely frustrating. I’ve survived 33 years of it, but am always full of admiration for those who have managed longer. So when I met Barrie Hughes and heard that he had owned working springers for exactly 50 years, I wanted to learn more. I…

Labrador in water

Hip dysplasia in Labradors

Q: My wife and I would like to buy a Labrador for me to take out once it is trained, as I shoot occasionally. We have found a reputable breeder near us, who comes highly recommended, have met the bitch already and are very taken with her. The breeder has had the…

Wilson Young gundogs

Wilson Young Kennel Club Field Trial Sub Committee Q&A

Wilson Young was interviewed in the June 2016 issue of Shooting Gazette Amy Bates: Tell us about your picking-up? Wilson Young: “We shoot six days a week and on occasions we can have five groups on the same day, so I’m out every day hosting a party and normally have…

Keep dogs safe from car collisions

How to keep dogs safe from car collisions

Most dogs love cars. Travelling in the car is usually a precursor to something more exciting, such as going for a walk or perhaps a shooting expedition. I don’t think dogs experience disappointment in the same way that we do, but it’s not difficult to detect a dog’s crestfallen look when it…

Queen Elizabeth in the field

A Royal picker-up

Gundogs have been a part of the Queen’s life from infancy. Her grandfather, George V, inherited his own father’s taste for gameshooting, as well as a more hands- on approach to the care and training of working dogs than Edward VII had ever shown. In the year before Elizabeth’s birth,…

training a puppy to run in a straight line

How to train a puppy to run in a straight line

Neil Varney uses a place-board and natural retrieving alleys to train a puppy to run in a straight line to retrieve. The labrador puppy, Remy, is growing very fast both physically and mentally; he is now beginning to test a few boundaries, and at times push his luck. He has…

Cocker spaniel in field

12 questions about spaniels answered

How can I improve my spaniel’s picking up skills? The gundogs in question are 10-month-old litter brothers – one is a good hunter, the other bad at retrieving. What can be done about it? Shouldn’t working spaniels have docked tails? A reader is worried about two young spaniels with tails that are…

HPR breeds

Hunt, point and retrieve – truly versatile dogs

Many years ago, when I started out photographing gundogs, I used to attend quite a few spring pointing tests and it was at these events where I not only saw my first HPR working in the field, but I also developed some lifelong friendships with a number of handlers that…

Heel work and quartering

How to improve heel work and quartering

During the past month Remy, the Labrador puppy, has been coming along really well with his lead work, and over the past week or so I have gently started to introduce some more formal heel work but this has not been without its challenges. To encourage the little dog to…

microchips for working dogs

Microchips for working dogs

Question: I have heard that working dogs are exempt from compulsory microchipping. Does that mean that I needn’t have had my Labrador, which I work on a number of local shoots, microchipped recently? Veterinary surgeon Tony Buckwell advised: What you have heard is not quite correct. The exemption, under the Microchipping of Dogs…

Lurcher

Run rabbit run, here comes the lurcher

When I was growing up I used to spend a lot of my school holidays with my grandparents in a small rural village in Kent. Next door lived an old man called Bert, he was a cowman on a local farm, but what he didn’t know about the countryside just simply…

John Halstead Drakeshead Gundogs

John Halstead of Drakeshead Gundogs interview

John Halstead of Drakeshead Gundogs originally spoke to Robert Cuthbert for the In the Hot Seat interview featured in our April 2016 issue. Robert Cuthbert: Was it a busy season in general for you? John Halstead: “I shot around a dozen days last season. It’s probably much more than that…

Dogs make your life better

10 ways dogs make your life better

Dogs make your life better in myriad ways. From being a best friend and political ally to making you popular with the opposite, is there anything they can’t do? You’ll have your own thoughts of course, but here are our 10 ways dogs make your life better Dogs make your…

Lab in a fleece

Keeping your dog safe from ticks and burrs

There’s not much Mary Leigh of Equafleece doesn’t know about keeping a dog healthy and comfortable. She set up Equafleece 16 years ago and it’s quickly become a popular brand with gundog owners. We asked her a few questions. Shooting UK: How can you protect your dog from ticks and…

Ian Openshaw

Ian Openshaw on gundogs and field trials

Ian Openshaw and I first met a few years ago at a mock grouse trial in Northumberland. Having heard a few tales about the man who has judged the Retriever Championship twice, the Cocker Championship once and the Spaniel Championship twice, I was interested to find out what he was…