A reader asks: I go rabbit and pigeon shooting and now intend to get a gundog. Can you advise?
Spaniel or a labrador? Most of us have heard the expression: “A labrador is born half-trained and a spaniel dies half-trained.”
Things to consider
Will you use the dog for beating, picking up or shooting? Labradors and spaniels each have their own talents
Spaniel puppies are very lively. Do you have time to train and work your chosen breed? (Read did I make a mistake getting a cocker spaniel?)
The talents of spaniels
A working cocker spaniel from good working stock is an ideal choice for the one-dog roughshooter. (Read more on rough shooting here.) A spaniel can be trained as a competent shooting companion, to sit in a pigeon hide, flush game and retrieve from prickly, thick cover.
However they will need time and patience to train. (Read more on training a springer spaniel.)
Think about your own personality too. With a spaniel comes a lot of hustle and bustle. Would you like that? Training a spaniel is hard work for a novice.
The talents of labradors
Labradors also make good rough shooting dogs but some of the top strains can be fast and need expert handlers. A working cocker is…