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LABS4ME

Can an American Cocker still hunt?

34 posts in this topic

Many of you who follow this forum know that I've recently purchased an American Cocker Spaniel puppy bred down from some of the last 'true' field lines. Even though I researched my breeders and breedings and even personally met them and their dogs when I flew out to pick up 'Chaser', A bit of apprehension still stuck in the back of my mind. "What if he does not turn out to be a hunter?!". Am I relegated to having just a 'house dog' for the next dozen years. Though that is part of the reason in choosing the breed, an equal percentage of desire was being placed on his field abilities.

'Chaser' is now 4 months old and is showing great promise. So much so, that many of my apprehensions are quickly subsiding. His natural talent and abilities come out more each and everytime we train (if you can call it that).

You see, training of this breed is not the same as training the Labs or other sporting breeds of today... command /comply... command / comply... repeat. These little guys almost know what to do coming out of the gate and do so over and over when praised and quickly learn what it is you don't want them to do when corrected. Corrections are minimal and easy... I can honestly tell you that he is one of the calmest dogs I've ever had... and he is still a puppy. He truely desires to make you happy each moment he is around you.

He is beginning to learn to quarter in cover and use his nose to find game (dead training birds to date) and marks very well even in cover way over his head. He stays in an area and hunts it thoroughly until he comes up with the bird. Most times a direct line is taken and he immediatley picks up the bird without any hunt involved. He for the most part always brings it back to hand.

I can say without exageration that control will never be an issue when hunting and/or training. He constantly checks in with you as to loaction and distance when in cover and immediatley comes around when command 'here'. I was told by the breeders that he will be one of the easiest dogs to train that I have ever worked with... he's beginning to make me a beleiver!

If anyone is looking for a good house dog that will double as a hunting comapnion. Do not over look this breed. Puppies are hard to come by as there less than 10 breeders left in the country, but with research and diligence, you will be able to find one. I am a firm believer that as people see what an old time Cocker is, there will be more opportunities to find a puppy as there will be more people having litters in the future. As with all breedings, double check that the lines have been screened for inherited disorders and that they are truely bred from hunting lines. I e-mailed the breeder an update today and told him if he has a black pup in the next few years to put my name on it. I think I'm sold on this breed. I'll always have a Lab(s?) around and continue to use them and train them, but I've been quickly swayed to 'befriend' another breed! I can help those who are interested in the breed get in touch with some breeders. It may be a wait to get a pup, but I'm sure one which you may be O.K. with once ou begin working with your dog.

Below are some pics of 'Chaser' at 4 months of age. He has not recieved his 1st "field cut" yet, as i was waiting for a break in the cold weather (which he loves... along with the snow and the big dogs! grin.gif)

Good Luck!

Ken

"Chaser" at 4 months

Chaserpheasant005.jpg

Chaserpheasant003.jpg

Chaser retrieving bird

Chaserpheasant004.jpg

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A buddy of mine at his game farm uses Cockers to retrieve birds that people have missed or get out that come back to the pens. They do some good work. The stamina doesn't compare to most other hunting dogs. I would personnally take about 10 other breeds before buying one of them for hunting. Not to say at all that they can't and don't have the desire. But when you mostly hunt Public land you usually need to go where most hunters don't and we both know what that means "The Thick Stuff". If all you were was a weekend warrior (Hunters who hunt an hour or two on a weekend once a month) and had a bunch of private land with short grass by all means they would be a great dog. But I hunt Hard for 5 days straight some times and need a breed that can take the wear and tear that the thick stuff requires. P.S. Keep those dogs shaved up especially the ears. Those burs suck to pull out.

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Labs

You will have to get some John Conlee music now. The song you want to listen too is "Domestic Life"

Mix up that Johnny Cash a little!

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Slot,

I've trained and trialed Labs for 20 years... I know the breed very well and have relished many awards and titles and suffered through many of the heartaches of the breed... I've had the pleasure of owning and training over 20 of them and had my hand over many titled dogs. I've spent 1000's of hours in the field with them... and probably easily triple that training them... I know what is expected of a hard working dog... and if you think I'm a weekend warrior, you couldn't be further form the truth. Now that should qualify me...

I hunted with the breeder's dogs and they go into cattails for hours straight. He hunts all over the entire nation from NoDak (Ducks, sharptails and pheasants) to Maine (grouse and woodcocks) to his homestate of Pennsylvania (ducks, pheasants and grouse). Oh and by the way, when he goes to NoDak, he is there for the entire 14 days of his license... he does this hunt every other year. These were the go-to dog for sportsman in the 20's - 30's and 40's, before their demise by pet breeders. Your statements show that you are one of the people who do not understand that these are not the Cockers you have been around the last 50-60 years. These dogs were only one line and one breeder away form becoming extinct 15 years ago. I can almost bet you that your buddy is using English Cockers which tend to be faster / smaller dogs... I have never in my whole life seen a true working American Cocker until this fall. I have never seen one in the midwest. They are 30-35 pounds and solid muscle full grown. About 3/4 the size of a Springer. Most people would never equate a springer as to being too small to handle all day hunting... The ones I had the pleasure of watching will not give up on any hunt!

So I guess to each their own... I have a passle of Lab die-hard friends who are dying to prove me wrong, but when they see this little dynamo go, their eye bows are raised... he is slowly educating them... time will tell.

By the way, what 10 breeds would you take? I truely am curious what 10 breeds you'd take over these? Are you going to mix pointers and flushers... cuz' as of right now I am only interested in a flusher... Are you talking pheasant only? How about grouse (most labs are marginal at best on grouse)? or a combination of many different birds? (maybe jump shooting some beaver ponds when grouse hunting) House dog? ease of training? calmness? (I don't want a hyper dog in the house). Put all those factors together and I truley would like to see that list. I'm not trying to be a jerk but I thought this out for years and this dog fit the bill. The older gentleman who taught me how to hunt had pics of Cockers they ran in the 30's and 40's with literally 'piles' of pheasants... he owned them until the 50's when they were getting hard to find. Tried one Springer and didn't like how 'active' he was in the house and never owned another hunting dog the rest of his life. I wish ol' George was around to see this little guy....

My guess is you are a lab owner and if you saw one of these dogs hunt, you too would understand what they are about. They really do remind me a lot of a lab.

On a side note, the breeder I bought my dog from enters a lot of hunting competitions... his dogs are entered in the open flushers and I can send you the results of many of them... he consistantly beats out fields of Labs and Springers... He even entered a 'true' open event where all breeds, pointers and flushers ran against each other and his dog came out on top...

He gets all kinds of ribbing, some of the better ones I heard were... as he was walking down to the field to one the hunting competition he was entered in and was waiting in the "blind' to be called. A guy (who is a big time lab breeder) walks up and sneers, "that dog hunts?", his answer was "He did yesterday, we'll see if he does so today"... well he took 1st place and the lab breeder came up to shake his hand and apologoized at the end of the day. Another good one was when he was in NoDak, he asked a guy if he could hunt his land... the guys said sure as long as he could go with him. Well he let his dogs out and the farmer said 'what the heck kind of hunting dogs are those?' He answered "Cockers... I made a deal with my wife that if she would just let me go hunting I'd take her dogs along for some walks when hunting". The farmer rolled his eyes and looked like 'oh great!, a wasted afternoon is coming up'. When they were all done he thanked him for the privledge of hunting behind his dogs. He thought that they were some of the best dogs he's ever saw hunt.

I am not bashing any other breed, but I guess I'm doing what I've been doing since I got him... qualifying them as a true hunting dog and giving the public a chance to consider owning a dog that they probably never even knew existed...! One that I feel truely fits many bills...

Good Luck!

Ken

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I in no mean think or were calling you a weekend warrior. The Cockers he has may not be the same as yours. The only waterfowl hunting I do is in Canada. I'm a die hard pheasant hunter. I have had 2 springers and then switched to GSP. I currently have 2 solid liver...1 female who is 5 and 1 male who is 1. The Dad of the female is direct from Germany. Not that that matters because Champion this and Champion that doesn't mean a dog can hunt. Or that it's pups will hunt. Does it make it easier to sell pups yes but to me it doesn't mean anything because I'm not in it for the money. All I care is that the dog has the instincts to hunt. I have hunted behind many dogs that could be champions whos owners don't have time to run all over the country to go to competitions they would rather be doing the real thing or many have family obligations. Please don't take that in a bad way either. If you can make a living at it by all means go for it. If I could make a living fishing I would. I personnally believe the best all-around dog is a Lab. But being I only pheasant hunt I'll take the pointer over a flusher any day. I would like to see a competition where you take dogs out in the middle of cattails all day lets say for 4 or 5 hours. Then have a competition. I watch those trials on TV and the best dogs are done within minutes. What does that prove. That a dog could find some planted birds? I also have never seen your dog so I would never say anything bad about it. To me the best dog gets birds up within range to shoot. I just know about the Cockers I have seen and they couldn't go for days in a row hunting the thick stuff. Stuff I can barely walk through. I also would bet this guy you are talking about has many dogs that he rotates throughout the day. On his 14 day hunt he probably brings 10 dogs and hunts 1 or 2 at each spot. If he is doing this early in the season I don't care what dog you have when its hot out they would die going all day. I know every dog I have ever had would rather die then quit. Now I just hunt with 2 dogs at all times. I never rotate. In the five days I'm out there we hunt from start to finish every day. We were hunting dried out creek bottoms last year just full of cattails. The older gentlemen with their labs were hunting the grass on the outside. Granted these Labs weren't in the best shape but they lasted all of the first day and only half of the next 2 and then they went home.

Dogs I would rather have then a Cocker. Not sure on all the spelling and not necessarly in this order. Shorthair, Visla, Lab, Springer, English Pointer, Setter, Chessepeek, warmeriener, brit. But I would perfer any pointer over a flusher just because of the hunting I do.

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He has 2 dogs... a 6 year old female and a 2 year old male... hunts thick stuff and thin stuff, where ever they're at. I looked through his photos... the backrounds are your typical NoDak CRP. Usually hunts them together... only rotates them when decoy hunting for ducks when out there.

I hunted cattails the last 3 days of the SoDak season solid. I've never been in so much pain myself personally (old bones), my dog went all 3 days no problem and came out looking for more.

I knew a list of 10 dogs would probably include the majority of the ones you typed... all are great dogs. But when you add the further criteria into them, many need to be removed. As I've said, I wasn't looking at any pointing breed, been there, done that... just not my cup of tea. Almost nothing in this world is prettier than a good dog on point... but I in no way am a pointing dog trainer. My hunting is more geared towards flushers and retrievers and my buddies ALL run flushers. I wanted an all around dog like my lab that is smaller and very calm in the house... I think I found it.

No money is made from most hunting competitions... just bragging rights... some do have a payout, but many are just a plaque and maybe a prize... oh and he sells his pups for an unbelievably low price... he just interviews the buyers and makes sure he hand picks the homes they go to. He's not in it for the money, but to promote the breed... And if I tried to make a living on my dogs, I'd be eating stone soup! hehehe grin.gif

Good luck with your pooches! I hope they bring you many more years of pleasure in the field!!! Sounds like they're dandies! My 1st hunting dog was a liver and white shorthair... boy did I screw him up! grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

Good Luck!

Ken

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I hope the hunting goes great with your dogs. Not being a dog trainer, just my own. I have had 4 dogs 2 flushers and 2 pointers. I'm not really sure I see the difference in training. I'm sure they are all dogs are different but the methods for me were the same. I taught my dogs to sit, stay, come, lay down,fetch,and to stay close to me. I never taught them 1 thing about hunting. I can see for duck hunting and those competitions why hand signals would be important but for pheasant hunting it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. I just get my dogs attention and take one step the way I want her to go and she goes, but I never taught any of my dogs signals. Both of my pointers were pointing by 8 wks. When I picked them out I brought a live chucker. I grabbed the solid liver pups and held them back while I turned the bird loose. The first time 3 out of the 4 went straight for the bird and then on point. The 1 just as soon chase his tail then a bird. In the second bunch with my male he was the same way. On point. I'm sure you'll agree good hunting dogs are born not taught. Maybe I just got lucky with the dogs I picked. So how did you screw up your pointer? If your Cocker is as good as you say and has the stamina for days of hunting I could see one like it hunting for me. It would have to point though. Now if it was going to be in the house. I def. would choose a smaller dog. How is the shedding?

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Nice report labs. I was wondering how that pup of yours was doing.

I don't know if you remember discussing cockers with me on this forum in the past but I have a few more questions now if you don't mind.

I was wondering about the shedding also. Do you clip it's hair or not? I have a dumbified american cocker currently and we have to have her clipped every few months so that the hair does not get out of hand in the house. I also like the way she looks when clipped.

You may have even answered this next one before but I don't remember the answer. What made you go the route of the American cocker VS. just findind a field bred english cocker? I take it from this post that size of the dog may have been one factor. Possibly behavior in the house was another?

Would you be willing to tell me where you got your pup from? I am having a hard time finding too many breeders of field bred american cockers.

Thats all for now but I am sure I will have many more questions for you in the future if you don't mind.

Thanks,

Dave

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Dave,

So far shedding has been less than the times I've had Labs in the house. He needs to get a cut soon! His hair is getting long... I left it that way due to the cold spell we recently had and him still being so young.

Part of the reason to get an American was nostalgia (as I posted about George above), part of it was the size (they tend to be larger than the English), part of it was tempermant, part of it was I just really like the looks of a field bred American Cocker.

I looked at the English and twice almost pulled the trigger (one would've been a direct import from Scotland... 2 friends were there for the National retriever championships and were going to bring one back for me), but I held out hoping I can get an American...

Email me and I can get you some contact info on 3 other breeders than the one you found in California, (though she is a great resource to get litter information from... she seems to always know who has a litter on the ground). Ken(at)wincolandscape.com

Good Luck!

Ken

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Labs,

I just want to comment on your comments. By no means do I have the depth of experience that you describe, but I guarantee that I have more retriever experience than just about everyone else in this forum. I wonder if we have crossed paths? You give great advice and are always willing to help others. I think you and I have have discussed it in other threads, but everyone with a dog has different standards. What one person accepts as "good" may not cut it in another person's kennel. I have seen this scenario played out many times. People who criticize trial dogs don't understand the amount of training that goes into these dogs.

I am very interested in your adventure with your American Cocker. My grandfather would talk about the one he had when he was young. He always would say that it was a great dog. I personally would be very interested in trying this breed when my current lab passes on. One thing I am curious about is if you are adjusting your training methods due to the change in breed, or are you training him like a lab? Force fetch? Is he softer than a lab? I personally think that over the last 10 years, many of the lab lines have changed and many of the dogs are different to train. I know pros who agree with that statement. Please continue to give updates as you train and hunt him.

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JDM,

We may have crossed paths if you ran trials and / or hunt tests in the 80's through mid 90's. I 'hung up my whistles' in 1996. I started a company in 1995 and by the fall of '96 I realized I wouldn't have the time that I used too. I judged through the spring of '97 and gave that up also. I was mainly doing hunt tests at the end of my stint. I have started another dog I have now to potentially run in Derbies, but I just don't think she has it. Great style and a good marker... her training attitude has a lot to be desired. The fun things in training she does well, things she doesn't want to learn she fights you tooth and nail. My hunting dogs are always finished to the point of what I am using them for... my pheasant dogs quarter within range and I rarely have to use a voice or whistle command once they are finished... my waterfowl dog will always be trained to handle and mark multiple birds and be totally steady. They all deliver to hand! I guess what I would consider a finished dog would minimally be in the neighborhood of a Senior Hunter. My retiring duck dog is QAA and has derby points... Before him I had a Master Hunter and also another dog I ran in some traditional stuff and was my 'test dog' for the events I was judging. Most of my dogs are gone now and I have 2 that are very old... By next year I will probably be down to just the one that is 15 months old now. She is a really nice pheasant dog right now and is fairly steady... we have to start working on handling. You're right the amount of time it takes to get these dogs trial ready or finished is unbelievable... (one of the reasons I no longer compete).

As for the Cocker... my training method with him has been a drastic change from my labs. He really is a natural. I'm sure I won't be forcing him... the breeders I talked to have never forced their dogs and said that there was not a need to do so. He is MUCH softer than a lab... and I've had some awefully soft labs over the years. I highly doubt if he will be CC'd. I have yet to hear of anyone running one with a collar.

Your last statement is interesting... one I have discussed wioth some different breeders over the years and one of the reasons I am trying a new breed... and I hope I don't offend all my Lab brethren... but I am becoming a little dismayed with the breed as a whole. Many of the dogs we are producing are no longer the Labs we all want. 20 years ago it was rare to see a hyper Lab. They all had a calmness and tractibility that was a benchmark of the breed. With that said, the dogs of today can 'run circles' around the dogs of yesterday, but the bar keeps being raised to produce faster, smaller, flashier dogs that are not nessacarily the natural retrievers we desire (this is where force and CC come into play) and without the physical attributes of what made a lab "a lab". My 1st (2) labs ran trials and tests successfully with out the aid of collars or force fetching... I do not beleive you can achieve any measure of success without these in todays trial world (and to an extent in todays hunting world). Trials have changed, but the hunts haven't... but the dogs have. We are conforming our dogs to the hunt, when they should be adapt to it already. I think that a lot of the problems we are seeing in the breed stem from 2 decades of line breeding. Money is a big factor in how puppies are produced and that determines what breedings will take place and with what dogs. For the most part , the average hunter is left with 2 choices, either a "Hot Shot" trial dog as his companion or is left to the wolves looking at pups from breeders who do not screen for inherited disorders and can not prove their dog's abilities. While there are some breeders in that middle ground, there are just not enough of these middle ground breeders producing these dogs to appease the masses. The demise of many breeds takes place when they move to the top of the AKC ranking of popularity... The Cocker I am writing about is proof of that. I hope in the end that the old style LAB that I cheerish remains with us for my and my childrens lives...

Good Luck!

Ken

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I just re-read my post I sound like I am really down on Labs, and nothing is further form the truth... "LOVE "EM"! But I see a continual erosion in the breed as a whole and am passionate about them enough to point it out. I know fully well that there are still many, many beautiful Labs out there and many that are qualified to be in the category I write about... It's just that for everyone that fits the bill, there is another that doesn't and it might be bred! I hope I didn't offend anyone with what was written, I guess I wrote it from the gut... I love the breed and I love my dogs and I will continue to own and run them for as long as I can see into the future!

Good Luck!

Ken

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O.K. I got the little video clip to load... just click on it. He is 4 1/2 months old and this was his second retrieve of a bird in cover... everything else was wings in the house. He brought it back to hand 90% of the time. We worked with birds over the 2 days before the snow hit.

[image]th_Chaserpheasant.jpg[/image]

Good Luck!

Ken

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Labs,

I undertand where you are coming from and I agree with what you are saying. I also hung up my trial whistle in '95, when I realized I just didn't have the resources or time to compete with the pro's. While I had a marginal trial dog, she was a tremendous hunter. I didn't try the hunt tests, but she would have easily earned a SH and I think she would have gave a serious run at a MH. I wish I could have cloned that dog. I worked with several pro's and still maintain a friendship with a couple of them. It is interesting to get their perspectives on how the lab breed has changed - and the consensus is that it has changed. My current dog, from a VERY reputable breeder is a nice dog, but is a touch on the hyper side. He was very soft in training, but has a lot of desire and drive. He is a great pheasant dog because he doesn't have to think about what he is doing and he is very athletic with a great nose. He is a marginal duck dog because he does have to think about what he is doing, he can't sit still, and he is always nervous. I know they are all different (even from the same litter), as I have trained or helped train at least 50 different dogs.

I admit I would be hard pressed to go away from a lab, mostly due to the fact that I have small children and the breed is so rarely aggressive and generally make good family dogs while also suitable my hunting needs. I don't hunt waterfowl nearly as much as I used to and primarily hunt pheasants and grouse, which had made me think that I should look at a Springer for my next dog. I have seen some really great Springers. Your stories and comments on your American Cocker, however, has made me think that that breed will get some serious consideration. You didn't offend me because I know you know what you are talking about. Please continue to give updates on how your pup does during training and in the field this Fall.

Thanks,

JDM

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Labs, that is a very nice show dog you got there!!! grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

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Labs, as I was reading your previous posts, I was wondering why would a lab lover be going to a different dog breed??! Now reading this post about labs and how they've changed, you shed some light on your reasoning!!

I love my labs but as I get older those hardcharging lab pups are getting less and less appealing - but I hate to venture into the unknown - another breed of dog, especially when its a 10+ year commitment!

I chuckled at some of the posts questioning the ability of a small dog to go thru cattails. Its not size, its heart and desire that will determine how hard they hit the cattails.

Good luck! Keep us updated on your cocker!!

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It's not how hard they hit the cattails it's how long. I had the heart and desire to be a professional baseball player when i was younger. But it comes a time to admit that I just wasn't going to make it. Just like it comes a time to admit that some dogs have more stamina for hard hunting just like some people have what it takes to do certain jobs. I can admit my dog will never be a duck dog. He doesn't have the coat to handle cold water. I'm also sure that he will still have the same heart and desire at age 10 but will probabbly not be able to handle the cattails like he did in his youger days. Now put a foot of snow on the ground (not a factor in recent years) and dogs that are lower to the ground will even have a tougher time

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My last two dogs were field bred English Cockers. The last, a male I got from Tom Ness in North Dakota was a leggier 40 pounder. Stamina never seemed to be an issue. When we would hunt the cattails he would tunnel through while my hunting partners with Labs would go over the top. Going over the top seemed to use alot more energy.

I had originally chose the Cocker after reading about them in Pheasants Forever. All my friends had Labs and I tend to try to be different. After loosing my last Cocker October of 2005 while hunting my wife finally gave in and bought me a Yellow Lab for Christmas. At first I was unsure, but after having her for 4 months I am sure she will work out fine. (Questioning it after reading Labs comments)

I am planning to do more waterfowl hunting with the Lab. My last Cocker was not a strong fowl dog, but we sure had alot of fun with the pheasants.

Sounds like the American Cocker will also hunt fine.

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I think it's actually a combination of both stamina and hitting it hard. I'd rather watch paint dry than hunt behind a slow dog with no style that will go through cattails all day. I'll take a snappy dog over a plodder any day. I'm certain that Lab's cocker will be fun to watch and will hunt more than long enough to get Labs a few birds even out of the cattails. Besides there's alot more to pheasant hunting than just cattails. Watching that cocker buzz around in the grass and especially in ditches would be a riot.

That little cocker will do just fine. Instead of plowing through the cattails, it'll snake it's way through them which is easier on the dog and more efficient. If there's a ton of snow on the ground then Labs will have his labs to fall back on. Or he could stay home and spoil that pint sized pheasant finder. wink.gif

gspman

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Quote:

Or he could stay home and spoil that pint sized pheasant finder.
wink.gif

gspman


As if that hasn't already happened!!! This is the 1st 'house' dog we've had. All my labs are house trained when young so they have manners if we go to a motel, but they all evenetually move out to the kennel... My wife and son have him more than spoiled... but he seems to take it in stride. We'll see how he does this fall... it should be a fun ride. He will be used a lot for grouse too! That was a prime consideration in buying him... no cattails in the grouse woods! grin.gif

Good Luck!

Ken

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Chaser looks to me like he will make a fine hunting buddy. I have been tossing around the idea of getting a field bred cocker also, and I can tell you that I have already taken more than my share of ribbing. You will probably open some eyes real wide when guys actually get a chance to see that little dinamo in action. I don't understand why anyone would question your decision, seems like a no-brainer to me. Wife and kids want a house dog, you might as well make it a usefull one. Besides if its more stamina you are after, you could get 3 of those little cockers and they wouldn't take up as much room as one lab, or eat or poop as much! smile.gif

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Labs,

I think it is great that you are sharing this information about field breed cockers. Reading the information you have provided, I am intrigued. They sound like a great dual purpose dog (house and hunt). I have a 2 year old Griffon that has now become mainly an outdoor dog. We had intended to have him as a house dog, but my wife grew leary as he continued to grow. At 65 pounds, she does not see him as a house dog anymore. A field breed cocker could have been a perfect fit for what we wanted, she wanted a house dog and I wanted a dog that had a purpose (hunting). If I did not have a pointer, I would be giving this breed serious consideration in a year or two. It may have to wait 10+ years until I would consider a field breed cocker. I do not regret going with a Griffon, I like the breed. However, with my wifes expectations for a house dog - he does not fit the bill.

One thing is for certain, I like the idea of owning a breed that is not common and probably will do so for the remainder of my life.

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Gills, hows that Griff doing? I know I have also discussed griffs with you just as I have discussed cockers with Labs.

I pretty much have my choice of dog narrowed down between these 2 breeds. To be perfectly honest with ya I am leaning more towards the cocker. I already have a cocker and would know pretty much exactly what I am getting into. Also I think the size is going to be a big issue at our house too. I just can't see having a dog much bigger than the one I have now. Also when it is getting close to the first dog's retirement age I could see myself getting another one and having 2 around the house but could never see us having 2 dogs the size of a griff.

And stamina will not be as big of an issue as it is with some of you more "diehard" hunters out there. I am the one who has the stamina problem. Most of my bird hunting has shifted to grouse anyway. I love those suckers, they scare the crap out of me when I'm not expecting a flush!

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My griffon is doing well. I should qualify some of the things that I said about griffons and being house dogs. Most griffon owners will tell you that griffons should be house dogs because they need that close connection to their owner and family. I believe that all the other griffons I know are house dogs. Griffons can also function as a kennel dog if they get lots of attention each day. They are not a breed you can let out for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. Do griffons make good house dogs, by all means. In my case it is a personal preference or should I say a wife preference. She keeps a spotless home and the hair would drive her crazy. Truthfully, I am not sure she could handle any house dog. She loves our griffon, but likes him outside most the time. He comes in the mud room, but that is it at this time. I am gradually working towards a dog bed in the family room though. My work requires fairly frequent travel and having a outdoor dog just fits our life better.

However, I would probably be able to convince the wife that a cocker could be a house dog.

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She keeps a spotless home and the hair would drive her crazy


I was under the impression that a griffon does not shed much?

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