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Discussion Starter #1
So my husband has expressed interest in getting a hunting dog. This is something that probably won't happen for 2-3 more years, but good hunting dogs from reputable breeders are claimed before they're even a twinkle in their breeder's eye, so I suggested that SO start researching now and deciding what it is he wants.

So, a little info!

1. My husband hunts mostly anything that flies, so geese, ducks, pheasants, grouse. An all around, Upland and Water Fowl hunting dog.

2. Biddable, a fairly easy dog. My husband has never trained a dog before, although he's spent lots of time with Ralphie, so he's not completely unaccustomed to dogs. I would, of course, help, but the dog should be most bonded to him. A dog that is fairly easy to train and forgiving of mistakes would be preferred.

3. Generally friendly with people (of all ages) and dogs. This dog would probably have to get along with strange people and strange dogs on a regular basis. A dog that can take such things in stride, and even enjoy it, would be preferred.

4. Grooming: Not really an issue. We would do it ourselves or take it to a pro, no issues. A super-shedding dog is not really what I want, but I can deal if that's what ends up being best.

5. Currently, we own our house. We will probably have upgraded by the time husband wants a dog, but we don't plan on renting. We hopefully will have a place out of town with some acreage.

6. He wants a medium-large dog, but probably not more than 60 lbs.

7. When it's not hunting season, the dog would probably get 1-1.5 hour of dedicated exercise/training time (once, you know, a fully trained hunting dog, because before that he'll probably need more time) just like Ralphie. Again, we will hopefully have land for fun off-leash runs. After that, it would be expected to chill out or hang with us working outside.

8. Must be able to handle a very cold, northern climate. Most dogs seem to adapt, but nothing that becomes a wilting flower in the cold!

One more tidbit, neither of us are particularly fond of Labs. Don't know why, we're just not! We like them well enough just visiting, but I don't know if we could live with one.
 

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Golden. Chesapeake Bay retriever (this is not the 'super friendly' type, though, and can be pretty danged aloof and guardy), Standard Poodle, Portugese Water Dog, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (though potentially small). Spaniels. Setters. Pointers -

Honestly, though, you've just described a lab. Maybe pinpoint what it is you don't like about them so you have a better idea of what the problem there is and have better success narrowing your options down.

And also figure out how he wants this dog to help him hunting - retrieving, flushing, pointing, pointing and flushing, pointing and flushing and retrieving - There are a lot of ways you use a dog to hunt birds.
 

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Irish setter are great bird dogs and good family dog I grew up with one she was never trained to hunt and she would point out birds all the time
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Golden. Chesapeake Bay retriever (this is not the 'super friendly' type, though, and can be pretty danged aloof and guardy), Standard Poodle, Portugese Water Dog, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (though potentially small). Spaniels. Setters. Pointers -

Honestly, though, you've just described a lab. Maybe pinpoint what it is you don't like about them so you have a better idea of what the problem there is and have better success narrowing your options down.

And also figure out how he wants this dog to help him hunting - retrieving, flushing, pointing, pointing and flushing, pointing and flushing and retrieving - There are a lot of ways you use a dog to hunt birds.
Yes, I know I described a Lab! I really don't know. Perhaps its the way they feel? I don't really like their coat type, honestly, and they shed so horribly. And some are so oily. My husband...I don't really know, he probably doesn't like the shedding, either, he just won't admit it! I like their personality, for the most part.

Retrieving and flushing is what he wants.

And OMG I would LOVE a poodle, but I think my husband associates them with everything that is not hunting. If I could find someone who uses a poodle to hunt, perhaps I could convince him!

Goldens and Spaniels (Springer, Cocker, and I think Brittany are the ones that come to mind) are very popular around here, and I think those would be good choices for him because he's familiar with them and has met some of his friends' dogs of those breeds.
 

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Any of the setters (English, Irish, Irish red & White, Gordon). Brittany. Springer Spaniel. Standard Poodle. Some lines of Labradors point. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (aka Korthals Griffon). German Wirehaired Pointer. Pudelpointer.
 

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And OMG I would LOVE a poodle, but I think my husband associates them with everything that is not hunting. If I could find someone who uses a poodle to hunt, perhaps I could convince him!
Google "hunting Poodle". There are quite a few people who hunt with them. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I was talking to my husband last night, and he actually thinks a poodle would be fine. Mostly because they don't shed and wouldn't get his truck too hairy, LOL. "As long as they don't have that froo-froo haircut" Oh, man.

A friend of his also has a Springer Spaniel, but he says he's not too keen on them because they're kind of really high-drive, he thinks they may be too much for him. Personally, I haven't met that many Springers other than that friend's hunting dog (and she does put Ralphie to shame energy-wise). He LIKES her, he's just not sure he would want to LIVE with her. (I think he would probably be fine, but it would be his dog, so it's his choice!)

So, can anybody recommend a more laid-back gun dog breed? Goldens do come to mind for me, but that's all I can think of! Can't say I've met a poodle bred for hunting, but the companion poodles I've met have been awesome!
 

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Groomers aren't as big around here so it's not uncommon to run into poodles who have "mom/dad" haircuts. We went to class with one sweetheart of a red standard who was shaved down to about 1/4 inch from nose to tail-tip all over! Floof of any kind is absolutely optional. And all three of the poodles in that class did decently when we did a tracking day in the woods, even though none of them were hunting bred. Admittedly, the Welsh springer spaniel, golden, and Lagotto blew them out of the water, but those are all more actively bred to do hunting/nosework. What I'm saying is none of them were bad or completely uninterested in the work, and you could probably find a poodle that'll work for you if that's what your heart's set on!

Gordon setters are really, really big here, and a lot of them are "weekend warrior" birddogs who are mainly family pets. They're not very bright, in my experience, but they're definitely less intense than the spaniels I've known!
 

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Too bad you don't like labs! They fit your bill to a T. And I know an English lab breeder in Montana (ie, not too far from you!) who I would recommend :D I've had a number of the breeder's pups come through my classes and the dogs have all been quintessential labs, well built, stellar temperaments, health tested, and they sell to many bird hunters too.

I think a golden or poodle would be the next best choice, both popular enough that you can find a dog that suits your needs. In my experience some of the spaniels and setters and pointers (Brittanies and GSPs especially come to mind) are very zany and not... a 'hard' dog persay, but definitely more all over the place, NEEDS structure and exercise, and most that I've met seem like working dogs in terms of temperament. I think labs and goldens are wonderful because they can sometimes be equally content to just be with the family and chill, and are versatile enough to do anything you throw at them. Versus the brittanies I've met (like, every single one of them), are content to chill after they've done a significant amount of exercise or training.
 

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I've met more Brits lately - a couple of pups Kiran's age, and a handful of adults. They're mostly flyball dogs, some do agility, one does obedience.

They're super sweet, super social, and while I'm not sure I'd necessary say they have higher energy than a high drive herder, they have... How can I say this? Butterfly brains? Easily distracted even at 6+ year old adults, short attention span, and just not a lot of focus. Okay, almost no focus. Like getting excited and distracted while engaged in an activity. Some of the SWEETEST dogs ever, and people are successful with them, but I, uh, mind turn them into a rug.
 

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I adore them and if I had to choose a spaniel it would be a Brittany :D

But they aren't easy dogs, from my observations. Low margin for error. And it doesn't mean the dog is going to turn and bite you if you 'mess up'. But definitely gonna give you the finger and frolic in the fields without a second thought if you don't work with what motivates them and set clear boundaries... All things I like.
 

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If I own any sporting dog it will be a ECS or a Brit.

But after being exposed to those two puppies on a play date with Kiran, I am increasingly sure I'd rather be skinned alive than live with one. I am very fond of some of the things that come pre-installed in my herding dogs.

I love them. I'd not do well with them in my life full time.
 

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My boyfriend is actually getting a wirehaired pointing griffon puppy in about 3 weeks!

My BF was initially set on an English lab, but ultimately figured this is a better fit for him. After doing A LOT of research, he opted for the griffon for a few reasons, one being that those he talked to with griffons said they were a bit more mellow (not low energy by any means, which both the BF and I understand) than a lot of the hunting breeds. Another reason was that he really wanted a dog that could do waterfowl and upload bird hunting, and griffons were pointed to for being fairly well suited to either.

Additionally, they seem to be very people focused, soft, and trainable dogs. And they are medium sized with minimal shedding.

I'm not a wealth of knowledge on them because this is totally my BF's dog and as long as we figured it would mesh well with Quill, I was happy to support any dog he wanted. But the above are the reasons he wanted a griffon and I'm sure I could pick him for more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think my husband would be okay with "Butterfly Brain" as long as the dog found his bird eventually! But I'm not sure. I feel like he needs something more biddable and focused because he hasn't done a lot of training and hasn't trained himself to train a dog!

Okay, so Goldens and Poodles would most definitely be on the list. Lots of Golden breeders nearby. I actually found a hunting Poodle breeder in MN, so not too far from me. I haven't had time to check it out and see what they're all about, but here's the link if anyone is interested (I just think it's cool, I had no idea people still used Poodles to hunt!):http://www.rosepointkennels.com/STANDARD-POODLES.html They appear to breed a couple different breeds, which is kind of a red flag to me. Do hunting dog breeders tend to do that, because I'm seeing lots of them who breed Labs/GSP/other gun dogs (not mixes, just that they have all of those)? They appear to trial their dogs, and get them health tested, which is great!

English Cocker Spaniels are also very popular, and of interest to us. We used to have one when I was just a bitty kid. Good dog, kind of sassy, but good. Anybody have experience with them? They seem a bit more mellow in general than other spaniels!
 

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So I was talking to my husband last night, and he actually thinks a poodle would be fine. Mostly because they don't shed and wouldn't get his truck too hairy, LOL. "As long as they don't have that froo-froo haircut" Oh, man.
Just remind him that those "froo-froo haircuts" are the modern, stylized versions of traditional hunting clips. When you look back at older pictures of Poodles, you can pretty much tell when electric clippers and forced air dryers came into use. :) Dogs in the show ring in the 1950s... OMG, the COAT. A lot of Poodles used for hunting these days are in a kennel clip these days, but a historically correct Continental or English Saddle clip can be stunning.
 

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I LOVE Field-bred English Cockers. My Chisum is a rescue and came from a bad, bad background (hoarder) so he does unfortunately have anxiety issues that a well-bred WCS wouldn't have. But man, when he's not anxious/upset about something he is just the coolest dog. Very, very smart. Funny. Easily trained but can have a "what's in it for me?" type of attitude - it's good to set boundaries because he seems to learn quickly when he can push the envelope and when he can't. He's got pretty high prey drive and there are times I wish I was a hunter because I think he'd enjoy it. We're doing nosework instead :)

I know sometimes Cockers can be a little...grouchy...but I don't think that's as much a problem with WCS as it is the show lines. My boy is reactive to strangers, but he doesn't have a mean bone in his body - he's just very insecure. He's never been a biter and, even though I don't put him in those situations, I'm not really worried about it happening. When he is with people he trusts, he is so, so, so sweet and incredibly tolerant. Just a love bug.

He's the first gun dog I've had personally as previously I've had herders and one mystery mutt. I'd say he's definitely less biddable than the herders, who are willing to do pretty much whatever you ask for. He's also very sensitive but doesn't come across that way, if that makes sense. Our Aussies are very obviously sensitive; Chisum seems very hard-headed even though he's not. Some of that probably has to do with his anxiety as well.

I can say with pretty good certainty that my next dog will be a (well-bred) WCS. They can be a lot of dog, but they really are just so cool.

If I remember correctly, there are some WCS breeders in North Dakota that also run hunts - maybe he could go there, meet the dogs, and see if that's what he's looking for?

I gotta say, though, Poodles are also really awesome dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I LOVE Field-bred English Cockers. My Chisum is a rescue and came from a bad, bad background (hoarder) so he does unfortunately have anxiety issues that a well-bred WCS wouldn't have. But man, when he's not anxious/upset about something he is just the coolest dog. Very, very smart. Funny. Easily trained but can have a "what's in it for me?" type of attitude - it's good to set boundaries because he seems to learn quickly when he can push the envelope and when he can't. He's got pretty high prey drive and there are times I wish I was a hunter because I think he'd enjoy it. We're doing nosework instead :)

I know sometimes Cockers can be a little...grouchy...but I don't think that's as much a problem with WCS as it is the show lines. My boy is reactive to strangers, but he doesn't have a mean bone in his body - he's just very insecure. He's never been a biter and, even though I don't put him in those situations, I'm not really worried about it happening. When he is with people he trusts, he is so, so, so sweet and incredibly tolerant. Just a love bug.

He's the first gun dog I've had personally as previously I've had herders and one mystery mutt. I'd say he's definitely less biddable than the herders, who are willing to do pretty much whatever you ask for. He's also very sensitive but doesn't come across that way, if that makes sense. Our Aussies are very obviously sensitive; Chisum seems very hard-headed even though he's not. Some of that probably has to do with his anxiety as well.

I can say with pretty good certainty that my next dog will be a (well-bred) WCS. They can be a lot of dog, but they really are just so cool.

If I remember correctly, there are some WCS breeders in North Dakota that also run hunts - maybe he could go there, meet the dogs, and see if that's what he's looking for?

I gotta say, though, Poodles are also really awesome dogs.
Yes, there seem to be quite a few Cocker breeders around here (some aren't great, but many are excellent dogs) so when he narrows down what he wants we will probably go and try to meet some. There is also a Retriever club nearby in MN that his friend is a part of, so we may have an opportunity to meet some dogs there.

Our childhood Cocker could be grouchy, too, especially when my dad told him to get out of the pickup, but it was mostly for show, lol! Otherwise, I've heard they're very sweet.
 

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Just remind him that those "froo-froo haircuts" are the modern, stylized versions of traditional hunting clips. When you look back at older pictures of Poodles, you can pretty much tell when electric clippers and forced air dryers came into use. :) Dogs in the show ring in the 1950s... OMG, the COAT. A lot of Poodles used for hunting these days are in a kennel clip these days, but a historically correct Continental or English Saddle clip can be stunning.
I know, they really don't look that "froo-froo" in the kennel clip. I'm surprised they're not a more popular hunting dog. So smart, and they seem more handler oriented and biddable than many other gun dogs.
 

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