golden retrievers show dogs

Can a show-bred dog really be a working dog too?

There’s one piece of advice for the would-be gundog owner in every book I have: if you want a puppy to bring on as a gundog, make sure you buy one from working stock. Show dogs to workers? It’s really such an obvious piece of advice that it hardly bears…

German Shorthaired Pointer

A shoot day is no place for an overexcited dog

Q: I own a rather excitable dog, an exuberant German shorthaired pointer (GSP) that I take beating on several driven shoots. He works well once the drives start and always gets compliments. However, my problems occur at the start of the day and in between drives. He has rather a…

training a gundog to hold a line

How to train your gundog to hold a line

At a recent gundog training session, all of my dogs were running well, handling and stopping, hunting hard and generally being very pleasing. However, the ground was a little different to what they’re used to. The ground I was on was much more unforgiving. It had small gullies, ditches and…

Blue Merle Border Collie

Are blue merle dogs prone to health problems?

Q: Is it true that blue merle dogs have health problems? I was told this after acquiring a blue merle collie from a dog rescue centre but as far as I can tell, so far, he seems to be perfectly sound and healthy. A: A blue merle is a black…

field trials for dogs

What’s ahead for field trials in 2021?

All being well as we come out of the paralysis of lockdown, field trials for dogs will return once again. Pointer and setter handlers will have missed the early spring grouse trials on the moors and the East Anglian pheasant and partridge days that are traditionally held in April, but…

day-to-day gundog training

Day-to-day gundog training

Day-to-day gundog training Lizzie, the young flatcoat, has gone home for a little break. She is now one year old and coming on a treat, but she needs time to just grow up. It is easy to push a young dog too hard too fast so they become overwhelmed and…

spaniel spaniel in cover

What can I do about the scratches on my spaniel’s face?

Q: One of my spaniels has so many cuts around her eyes and over her muzzle from having to retrieve birds from deep cover that it doesn’t take much to make them start bleeding again. Is there anything I can use to prevent spaniel scratches and stop them reopening? Treating…

black Labrador puppy

Checking up on a pedigree

Q: I am doubtful of the pedigree details of some Labrador puppies I have been offered. Pedigrees are widely available online and provide information for those who can simply make up a pedigree — and often the buyer is none the wiser. So how can I verify what I think…

black Labrador

What you need to know about hip dysplasia and gundogs

A good question and well done for admitting that you don’t know about it or understand what hip dysplasia in dogs is. Explaining hip dysplasia in dogs The hip joints are at the top of the hind leg in dogs and are ‘ball and socket’ joints, so that flexion (lifting…

Slug pellets

How to protect dogs from poisonous slug pellets

Dogs and slug pellets don’t mix and are in fact a lethal combination. Losing a fit and healthy dog through poisoning is dreadful, as illustrated by this story I heard. Watch out on walks During a walk on farmland in Kent a lagotto Romagnolo bitch discovered a small pile of…

Italian spinone

Italian gundogs – what are their strengths in the field?

I’ve written recently about both French and German gundogs. On the same theme, this is a piece about Italian gundogs, but it wasn’t one I was planning to write. However, a friend with a passion for all things Italian — from formaggi to Ferrari and ciabatta to chianti — challenged…