Chesapeake Bay retriever

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is the ultimate wildfowling dog

Looking down at  me as I write is a splendid drake pintail, a memento of a wildfowling excursion in February 1989 with fellow Shooting Times contributor Mike Swan. Mike shot the pintail and presented it to me afterwards. It had been retrieved perfectly by his golden retriever. Mike has always had golden retrievers, so it was completely unmarked and instead…

dog dandruff

How to treat a Labrador with flaky skin

A concerned reader asked this question regarding dog dandruff: Our two-year-old black Labrador has developed flaky skin that is visible when I pull back his coat. I first noticed it after I washed him down after a particularly muddy afternoon shooting woodies. It does not seem to bother him, he does…

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…

Black Labradors

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Bobbery pack

Will cross-breeds ever rule in the field?

While I appreciate the wealth of pure-bred working gundog breeds, I would not hesitate to use a cross-breed working dog if it gave me an extra edge for a particular job. It takes months to train a gundog properly and minutes to ruin one, so it often pays to create a…

curly-coated retriever

Pedigree dogs in peril

Previously I looked at the winners and losers in the annual registrations of pedigree dogs. The winners included the Bracco Italiano and the cocker spaniel, plus the Hungarian vizsla and its wirehaired cousin, while the losers included several of our traditional favourites, ranging from the Labrador to the English springer spaniel. There…

Korthals griffon

Popular gundog breeds – what’s on the rise?

Has the pedigree dog had its day? While it might be much too early to predict its eventual extinction, figures from the Kennel Club (KC) show compelling evidence of its decline. In 2006, a total of 103,773 gundogs were registered with the Club in the UK. Numbers held steady for the next…

spaniel in brambles

Are dogs really colour-blind?

ONE OF THE extraordinary things about dogs is that they may be able to mark a falling bird 200 yards away, but they will run straight past a dead bird lying in the open without seeing it. It’s a reminder that a dog’s eyesight is very different from our own.…

Reader's photos of the week

10 photos of the week from our readers

From young shots, jumping dogs and spectacular winter scenery, our inbox has been overflowing with fantastic photographs this week. If you would like to send us your photographs to be shared on our Facebook page or right here on the site then please email shootinguk@timeinc.com or message our Facebook page.…

Lab with pheasant

Labradors come home for the 2015 Retriever Championships at Buccleuch Estate

The 2015 Retriever Championship was held over three days, from 30 November to 2 December at the Queensberry estate by invitation of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry and sponsored by Roger Skinner Ltd. With 52 Labradors and two golden retrievers battling it out, competition was tough as the event…

gundog trainer

Gundog etiquette – picking up birds

Many novice handlers aspire to be part of a picking-up team, but few are fully aware of the responsibility that comes with working your dog in what is a vital part of a gameshoot. The aim of a good picker-up is not to come back to the gamecart laden with dead birds,…

English setter

Passing over pedigrees?

EARLIER THIS MONTH The Telegraph asked readers to vote online for their favourite breed of dog, which they did in impressive numbers. More than 30,000 votes were cast during the four days the poll was open. Its results make fascinating reading, for in the number one slot wasn’t a breed at…

Mark and Jamie Bettinson

Mark and Jamie Bettinson: A profile

A glance at the diary entries on the desk at Bridgecroft Kennels in Hengoed, south Wales, reads like a who’s who of field trialling. Bridgecroft is one of the nerve centres of the UK trialling scene. Mark Bettinson was born three miles from the kennels and Jamie, his son, just…

Labrador retrieve point-of-view video

Labrador retrieve point-of-view video

If you’ve ever wondered what your dog sees when going for a retrieve, the video above has the answer. Seth Morris mounted a GoPro camera to his yellow labrador and filmed the dog’s point of view when he was playing in the park. The video shows the pet labrador fetching…