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I am interested in getting a hunting dog/best friend. However, I've never had the chance to hunt over a dog before, or own a hu

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  • I am interested in getting a hunting dog/best friend. However, I've never had the chance to hunt over a dog before, or own a hu

    I am interested in getting a hunting dog/best friend. However, I've never had the chance to hunt over a dog before, or own a hunting dog. I'm interested in knowing what your suggestions are for the type of dog I should get. I travel a lot for work, and will take him with me to my next job overseas, where there is supposed to be very good upland bird hunting (ptarmigan), though ideally I'd like to be able to train him/have him trained for waterfowling. I know that sounds like a tall order, but does anyone have any suggestions? He should be somewhat independent, as I live alone. Any ideas?

  • #2
    Lab

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    • #3
      I'd get a Lab or a Lab.

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      • #4
        Hi Bubba!
        Dual-purpose dogs aren't that tall of an order, there are many breeds that can fulfill your desires! You should ask yourself if upland or waterfowl hunting weighs in as a bigger option, opportunity or desire.
        Also, what's the climate like where you'll be moving to overseas? If it gets extremely cold, you'll need a dog that can handle that during waterfowling, even if you only go plan to go a few times. If you get a thin-skinned upland dog and he takes the plunge into icy water once, he might not like it and want to do it again; then your waterfowling days are compromised.
        Also, since you're moving overseas, be sure to check out any breed restrictions or import laws. Sometimes there's a quarantine period or specific breeds aren't allowed. None of the gun dog breeds are probably on any type of list, but it's something to consider and look into.
        That said, as mesarich and cgull pointed out, the Lab is probably one of the top dual-purpose dogs aruond. It can handle both fields very well. If your upland game is extremely spooky and/or found in extremely thick cover, however, a pointing breed might work better for you; it could give you a little more time to ready a shot, etc, where as a Lab could flush it before you're clear. Labs are very good however, mature quickly and are eager to please.
        Other candidates are springer spaniels (smaller, so if you're living in an apartment that might be better?), which can perform better in the uplands than a Lab but not quite as well in the waterfowling world. They can definitely get it done but big or extremely cold water might be a challenge for them.
        Versatile breeds like the German wirehair pointer are another option. Pointing instinct with a desire to retrieve and get in the water...and even go after fur (big game!). Again, it will depend on the waterfowling side of things.
        Here is a blog I wrote on the topic awhile back. Give it a read and then scroll to the bottom (past all the spam...) and check out some of the great comments from the OL users!
        Good luck, let us know what you decide and keep us informed of how things progress once you do get a pup! Thanks for posting!
        http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-dogs/2010/02/best-dual-purpose-dogs

        Brian

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        • #5
          Brian, CGull and Mesarich,

          Thanks for the advice - Brian, that was an interesting blog. I'm currently living in VA, but will be moving to a country with a cold weather climate for a couple of years, so I need a dog that can really handle the cold. I like the looks and abilities of the GWP and the Pointing Griffon, but I live in an apt. I read on one of the breeding sites that neither of those breeds does well in an apt, and would guess the same is true of Labs. I will have the chance to do more upland than waterfowling, though both are available where I'll be living. I'll definitely take a look at the spaniels, but the cold where I'm heading can get down to -40 F in winter (not that I'd be keeping my dog outside, but a really thin-coated dog would probably hate that kind of cold). Any advice on finding a breeder/trainer?

          Thanks,

          BubbaK

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          • #6
            Hey Bubba,

            If you're moving to a place that cold, you need a dog with a double coat. I'd definitely consider a Lab or a Chessie; they were bred for cold water and both can do upland work. If you're living in an apartment, I'd look at a smaller Lab -- one that goes 50-65 pounds would be nice. I have a 65 pounder and currently live in a apartment. As long as you can give them daily exercise, they're fine. There are lots of breeders out there and lots of different lines of dogs; look for a puppy from a pair that exhibits what you want: that smaller size but make sure it's from hunting lines, one that can "turn it on and off" (vs. high drive and "going" at all times; training/exercise helps relieve this, however). Like produces like, so make sure sire and dam exhibit what you would like to see.
            Also, you might want to do a little research about the country you're moving to and what kind of dogs they use...always good to follow the lead of the locals!
            Best of luck!

            B

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