clip your dog's coat

Should you clip your dog’s coat for the summer?

I own a working cocker spaniel that is 12 months old. Can you please give me advice on how to look after its coat, as some say you can cut it but others say not to. I do not know what to do for the best.

diet for working dogs

What’s the healthiest diet for working dogs?

I’m often asked by owners of gundog breeds what they should be feeding their dogs. They want to know all about the healthiest diet for working dogs. Here are some of the questions I’m asked and here’s what I say. Are all brown kibble diets bad? You simply cannot lump…

black labrador

Do dogs have to wear collars?

Gundogs are controlled with slip leads but it’s rare that you’ll see one with any sort of collar. So do all dogs have to wear collars? Is it required by law? Out in the field you’ll see teams of working dogs under immaculate control and not a collar in sight.…


Is this the best way of “dogging-in?”

Dogging-in means using a dog to push straying pheasants from the boundaries of a shoot back into the middle. It’s a major job for keepers during October and can sometimes seem infuriating. Time-consuming and impossible without a dog. My favourite breed for dogging-in may surprise you but it’s a decision…

sprocker or cocker

Sprocker or cocker spaniel? How can you tell them apart?

Should you get a sprocker or cocker spaniel? I admit to being a fan of sprockers as I like their hybrid vigour. They are not a designer cross-breed like a Labradoodle but simply spaniel x spaniel, and it should not be forgotten that both breeds share the same ancestry. However, since a cocker crossed…

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…

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…

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

Which gundog puppy will be pick of the litter?

Q: How do I going about choosing a puppy from the litter? I’m planning on breeding gundog puppies from my bitch this spring. She’s five years old and I only want to have one litter from her, but because she has been such a good shooting gundog I want to…

black Labrador puppy

How to choose a gundog puppy

Which breed? First of all, you need to decide which gundog breed will suit your shooting needs and also your life. When choosing a gundog puppy breed remember that most gundogs are only out in the field for three or four months a year. So how are you going to…

outside kennels for gundogs

How to choose a kennel set-up for your gundog

Outside kennels for gundogs Q: I am about to buy a new outside kennel set-up for my two cocker spaniels. Some systems that I have looked at have a kennel at the end of the run that is tall enough for me to walk into. The dogs would have access…

cocker spaniel with rabbit

What size is the perfect gundog?

OK, I admit it. I have always been a fan of big, old-fashioned springers, chunky cockers and Labradors with substance, but I’m beginning to think that gundog size doesn’t really matter after all. When it comes to performance, small dogs can perform as well as, and sometimes better than, bigger,…

black Labrador puppy

Health checks you must carry out before breeding Labradors

Q: “I am considering breeding from my 
young Labrador bitch but have to confess 
to being overwhelmed by all the advice 
I am getting. Any thoughts?” Thoughts on breeding Labradors A: First I would say that breeding from your only dog can be fraught and is not entirely without risk.…

play-training gundog puppies

Are tennis balls dangerous to dogs?

Q: My dog trainer has advised me to use tennis balls to train my Labrador to hunt and retrieve but I’ve heard there are risks from balls. Are tennis balls dangerous to dogs? What are your thoughts on this issue? Tennis ball risks When dogs play with balls there is the…