spaniel with hen pheasant

Do spaniels smell more than Labradors?

Q: I would like a springer or working cocker spaniel to train as a gundog, but my father is not keen. My grandparents had a show-strain cocker who was a lovely dog but she really smelled, no matter what my grandparents did to try to stop it. Should I get…

differences between cocker and springer spaniels

13 reasons why cocker spaniels and springer spaniels are different

Both springer and cocker spaniels are capable of doing a useful day’s work out in the field. Both are biddable. However, they do have different characteristics. Differences between cocker and springer spaniels Springers have a size advantage over cocker spaniels Cocker spaniels have a better engine and more staying power…

Irish water spaniel

The Irish water spaniel

The joker in the spaniel pack. No, not my words, but those of an Irish water spaniel owner and enthusiast, talking about the foibles and idiosyncrasies of his favourite breed. The Irish water spaniel, he assured me, could lay claim to being the only HPR native to these islands. He…

dog with injured tail

The law on tail docking

Docked tails: I want to ask my new picking-up team about their dogs' docked tails.

cocker spaniel puppy

How to teach a spaniel puppy to retrieve

Spaniels have been bred for generations to hunt out game from stick piles, patches of bramble and thick bracken banks, and a well-bred puppy should be pre-programmed to get its nose down. However, if you do too much early hunt training with a young spaniel this can become the most…

English spaniels

Is your gundog a fussy eater?

One of the remarkable things about dogs is that they will apparently happily eat the same thing every day, every week, throughout the year. A skinny spaniel stayed with us recently while its owners were away on holiday. The dog was delivered with its bed, food bowl and a big sack of so-called complete food. “She loves…

Working gundog

How Camrosa can treat spaniels with skin problems

FOLLOWING A RECENT column when I wrote about problems with working spaniels’ ears, I had a charming letter from Edwina Le May, founder and director of the company that markets Camrosa Ointment. It is aimed specifically at treating animals with skin problems, especially those caused by mites. Though I was aware of Camrosa, I’d never tried it, but when I mentioned…

Spaniel or Labrador

Should I choose a spaniel or a Labrador?

I go rabbit and pigeon shooting, and now intend to get a gundog. I am not sure which breed to go for. A friend says Labradors are born half-trained and spaniels die half-trained! I ideally want a dog to flush game and to retrieve it. Any advice, please?

Labradors and spaniels

There are big differences between Labradors and spaniels …

As the shooting season draws to a close it is time for us to reflect on what has gone well with our gundogs, but more importantly what has gone wrong and will need working on during the spring and summer months. For a few of us the search for a new shooting companion will start in earnest and the…

Working sprocker spaniel

A day in the life of a working sprocker

Every Monday starts full of excitement and anticipation. I watch as the curtains are opened, praying for good weather. Sometimes we’re blessed, sometimes we’re not. Today fog fills the valley and as we travel out of the village the mist slowly disappears. Slowly the sun’s rays break through and by…

Gundog ears

Gundog ears badly designed

All our gundog breeds have floppy ears though, of course, some are a great deal floppier than others. Labrador ears may turn downwards, but they are functional and only covered in short hair, which might explain why ears are one of the areas of least concern with the breed (don’t mention hips or elbows). It is the…

Gundogs out in the field

My gundog embarrasses me in front of other Guns

A: You probably allowed him to hunt quite freely on his first big day as he was so well behaved, but hunting game is far more exciting than walking at heel. He got to enjoy meeting other beaters, who probably greeted him in a friendly way. Dogs quickly learn to do things when they gain pleasure from…

Frog dog posture

Frog dog posture – readers report back

I recently wrote about dogs that stretch out with their hind legs behind them – in the “frog dog” pose. Dave Seaborn from Abenhall Gundogs was one of several people who suggested dogs do this to chill out. Stretching out on a hard surface such as concrete after exercise “allows them to cool off as quickly as…

Grouse counts

Grouse counts with cocker and springer spaniels

There I was stretched out on a sun-kissed beach drinking cold rum and cokes when all of a sudden I could hear a high pitched shrieking – it was my alarm. As I slowly opened my eyes I realised it was 4.30am and I was “back up north” to help out on a couple of days’ grouse counting.…