Irish water spaniel

The Irish water spaniel

Hunt, point and retrieve (HPR) dogs are increasing in popularity but it’s unusual to see an Irish water spaniel in the field, although it could lay claim to being the only HPR native to these islands. These spaniels are not only keen hunters, point before flushing and are good retrievers…

Labradors

What makes the perfect labrador?

Is the perfect labrador a product of breeding or training? There is huge variety in the breed and starting a discussion about what makes a perfect labrador will inevitably draw out some firmly-held opinions. (Ever heard of a silver labrador?) Around 35,000 labs are registered with the British Kennel Club…

feeding puppies

Feeding puppies: top five tips for keeping them healthy

Feeding puppies and gundogs Taken from Charlie’s notebook, these are the top five tips from Skinner’s for keeping your gundog healthy: (Read more about feeding a dog here.) Feed a nutritionally complete diet. Regularly assess your dog’s weight, preferably by using weighing scales. For dogs working in the colder weather,…

gundog steals

How can I stop my gundog eating game?

What can you do if your gundog eats game instead of returning it to you and leaving it intact. A reader wrote to me recently saying: “Twice last season my labrador ate 
a brace of partridges laid to cool in the back of the pickup. The dog, a six-year-old, had…

itchy labrador

How do you treat an itchy labrador?

Let’s take a look at itchy dogs in general, which of course include an itchy labrador. It must be said that itching, or pruritus, is simply a clinical sign that something is not right. Setting aside those few dogs that scratch due to boredom or anxiety, there are three main…

anxious dog under bed

Best products for calming anxious dogs

Anxious dogs are miserable. Their worries can be set off by all sorts of things. Separation anxiety, loud bangs, uncertain routine, suitcases appearing in the hall. (If your dog has swallowed something harmful, here are some instructions on how to make a dog vomit in an emergency.) Noise and anxious…

transporting dogs in cars

Transporting dogs in cars

Recent surveys have shown that 4% of pet owners whose dogs were insured had had an accident or near miss as a result of the animal being loose in their car. More worrying is that 21% of owners would usually leave their dogs unsecured on car seats. So, since most…

Wire Haired German cross English Springer Spaniel

Crossbreed gundogs: the rise of the working mongrel

Pennine pointer. It’s not a breed recognised by the Kennel Club and it’s not really a breed at all (like all crossbreed gundogs), but it is a tough, all-round gundog that has been produced by gamekeepers working on the grouse moors of the Pennines. They wanted a dog that was…

Gundog breed Labrador

Best dog coats

We asked vet Tony Buckwell whether dog coats are really needed? Or are they just an unnecessary accessory? He replied: “A lot depends on the breed of gundog you have. Working dogs sometimes need a coat to protect them when they’re doing their job. For example, a lot of wildfowlers like to…

working dog diet

Feeding dogs: before or after exercise?

Feeding dogs – before or after exercise? So should you feed your dog before or after a walk? There is no scientifically established “safe” time for feeding dogs, but in general I tend to advise the longer before exercise the better. I would suggest allowing at least one and a…

gundog ready for the beating line

Get your gundog ready for the beating line

People often ask: “How old should my dog be before taking it into the beating line?” The truth is there is no straight answer — so much depends on the dog and the trainer’s ability. But the question every trainer should be asking themselves is: “Is my gundog ready for…

Dogs on shoot day

A gundog’s first shoot day

Now more than ever, many gundog enthusiasts around the country are excited and preparing for the shooting season. A lot of those are novices or first-time handlers and will currently be wondering whether their dog is now ready for the season. Are the dogs’ and handlers’ skills good enough to…

Vet examines a dog's teeth

Have vets got too big?

Last month, a friend tried to take his dog to the vet as he was concerned about a fast-growing cyst. The dog is a German shorthaired pointer that has worked all its life, but is now retired. It was not a happy experience for either dog or owner. No appointments…