dog raw bones

Is it safe to give your dog raw bones to chew?

Is it safe to give my dog raw bones to chew? This is one of those subjects where opinions differ. Some dogs will chew bones their whole lives and never experience a problem. Others will require emergency surgery after being given only one bone. The complications of giving a dog…

Labrador colours

How important is the colour of a gundog’s coat?

As we all know, sound working-bred spaniel puppies are in high demand at the moment, so I was delighted to be able to tip off a friend about a litter I had heard about. She arranged to see them and I was sure she would end up buying one. I…

guard dogs

Guard dogs to guard gundogs

Dog theft is a hot topic at the moment; in particular of gundogs. They are stolen from cars, kennels, houses and gardens. One of the issues is the money these dogs are worth to potential thieves. Another big issue is that the breeds most commonly used as gundogs are inherently…

English springer puppy

What to look for in a gundog’s pedigree certificate

A reputable gundog breeder should provide the gundog puppy’s pedigree before you make a commitment to buy. This is because the dog’s pedigree is one of the things a professional breeder uses when planning a litter. A wise and well informed gundog buyer will look at the pedigree when deciding…

perfect Labrador

How can we breed the perfect Labrador?

The Labrador retriever was first recognised by the Kennel Club as a breed in 1903. It was originally known as the St John’s dog or lesser Newfoundland dog. The breed was in Newfoundland in the 1700s and imported to England in the 1800s. When I was researching its origins, I…

Lame dog

What should you do about lameness in a dog and what causes it?

Lame dog Q: My working lurcher is on/off lame on her right foreleg and there appears to be swelling around the wrist. Any suggestions? A: Lots. Most importantly, I would immediately confine her to barracks until the problem has been diagnosed. Continuing to exercise your lame dog now may jeopardise…

gundogs

How to train a young gundog to be disciplined in company

Gundog training together Anyone who works or trains gundogs will tell you that they are addictive. Once you have one you will want another, and this will be the case most especially if you want to go picking up. In fact, many shoots will insist that if you aspire to…

gundog puppies and COVID-19

Puppies and umbelical hernias – what you need to know

Umbilical hernia on puppy Q: My puppy bitch has an umbilical hernia that the vet intended to repair when she was spayed after her first season. However, we are having second thoughts about neutering her and wanted to know if this means she still needs an operation to repair her…

Springer spaniels

It’s time to change the law on working gundog theft

Dog thefts, especially those of working gundogs, are on the rise. One of the great mysteries about stolen gundogs is what happens to them as almost all disappear without trace. What happens to stolen gundogs? We have all heard suggestions that they are taken to be sold on as trained…

Dewclaws

What should I do about my dog’s dewclaws?

Dogs and dewclaws Q: My dog still has his dewclaws, but I’ve been told that these are usually removed soon after birth. Is it too late to have them removed now? What would you advise? A: It is legal to remove dewclaws from puppies whose eyes have not yet opened.…

Teckel

All about the German teckel – a working dachshund

The working dachshund or teckel At one time the term ‘prey drive’ was mainly reserved for terriers and hounds and only occasionally used by the gundog fraternity. However, in the past 30 or so years, with the rising popularity of hunt-point-retrievers we have seen it used more frequently to describe…

Black Labrador

Why the Labrador is an endangered breed

Spot the odd one out: grey wolf, Labrador, golden jackal, coyote. All four are members of the genus Caninae, and have scientific names prefixed with the word Canis. However, a big clue is that the Labrador is the only one that can be trained to retrieve pheasants, sniff out drugs…

Fox-red Labrador

Should I get a fox-red Labrador?

I recently received this query from a reader who was wondering how a fox-red Labrador would perform out in the field. Q: My son-in-law is keen to buy a first working dog to train himself. Like many young people, he is influenced by what’s fashionable, so he’s been looking for…

Black Labrador lying down

Do Labradors really originate from Canada?

Spend a day out in the field on a shoot and the chances are that somebody, somewhere will have a Labrador. But despite being such a popular gundog, some think that Labradors are from Canada originally, rather than being a European breed. It’s said that fishermen in this bleak peninsula…

hpr gundog

Which is the best hunt, point and retrieve gundog?

Rory Major of Bryantscroft Gundogs has probably trained and competed with more breeds of gundog than anyone else in the business. He has trialled everything from retrievers and spaniels to setters and most breeds of hunt, point and retrieve gundog (HPR). He made up the first British wirehaired pointer field…