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Build my perfect dog!


HateHumminbird

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Alright, since I've been putting this off for too long, I thought i'd pose a question to the experts here.

My wife and I are looking for a good dog. Isn't everybody. Specifically, we're looking for a dog that

  • Is good with kids - our son is 11 months

  • Could hunt pheasants, though I didn't even get out this year
  • Is a good guard dog - so the wife feels comfortable at home without me there :-)

We live out in the country, and I can't have a blockhead that chases deer/turkey away from the place. I'm guessing it would be an inside dog however.

This is a wide-open question, and I'm looking for your opinions! So far, the wife is interested in golden retrievers, and possibly a lab. And I've heard the arguments of hunting dog vs. family dog, but I really need our first pet to be both, if not more of a good family dog. I guess I just would like some breed(s) that pull double-duty quite well. And maybe even advice on how to handle/treat such a dual-purpose dog.

Joel

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Geez Joel, would love to help you build that "perfect" dog, but I just sold the last of them! hehehehe grin.gif

I think either the Lab or Golden will suit you fine. Just do your homework and make sure they come from lines that are suitable to be companion dogs. If you stack up the field titles, you may be bargaining for more than you can handle.

If you want to go smaller, look into either a field bred English Cocker or even harder to find (But I will have one in the next 5 years) a field bred American Cocker. Don't confuse either with the fluffy "dust mops" you're use to seeing... these are a totally different bear. I have breeders of these lined up if you are interested, or if you need a Lab pup let me know, I can help there too.

Good Luck!

Ken

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I will say from my experience (limited) that I couldn’t have asked for a better hunter/companion than my Red Setter. She is only 12 months and is a wonderful member of the family. She thinks she is human. I have hunted her on pheasant and grouse (mostly grouse) but I train her on pheasants often. She is all business when it is time to hunt. This is not the Irish setter breed you see on the AKC dog shows. This is a breed that hunts. Hook me up with your email address and I can send you additional information about these dogs

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Joel,

The perfect dog is always up to you but from what you made for a description it sounds like you should get a lab.

The only dogs that I will ever own would be a great chocolate like my boy or a british lab which I know a few people that have them. They are both great with little kids, so gentle and great loyal companions. They are great in the house and travel well with ease. When you get them in the field they know that it is time for business and work very hard. What ever you do make sure the dog has good bloodlines that are clear of hip and eye disorders along with any other things. Just like labs for me said I would not get a pup that is from the top field champion bloodlines unless you intend doing that kind of work with him.

well thats my opinion.

Good Luck.

Matt

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The only problem with having a hunting dog that is also a gaurd dog is that whenever you go out of town hunting birds your gaurd dog comes with. First of all, are you looking for a flusher or pointer? Since I know nothing about flushers I will shoot you my opinion on pointers. Pretty much all breeds if socialized properly SHOULD be good with kids, wirehairs have a reputation for being "protective" of thier own families but thats about it. Most of the continental breeds will handle pheasants well ie: shorthairs, wirehairs, vizlas ect. Brittnay's are very nice dogs that are strong enough to get through the tall grass yet heavy enough coats for late season while not being 70 pounds. My advice is to get out and hunt behind as many dogs as you can and notice what you like/dislike about them. Good luck, you can hardly make a bad choice.

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I know very little about dogs but The best phesant dog I ever seen was a yellow lab a buddy of mine owned. It was incredible for flushing and retrieving It liked ducks but it loved phesants. He was also one of the best natured dog I've seen also, my buddy had a young daughter and the dog was great with her. As far as being a watch dog, he was big enough to scare most people if you didn't know him. And he had a very loud bark.

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Be careful with the guard dog deal, don't want one that is going to bite someone just about the time your little one gets attached to it! You know, the whole lawsuit deal. It sucks but something to keep in mind. But it is nice to have a dog that SEEMS like it's mean. I have two labs, when someone comes to the door or steps on the lawn, one barks and growls like it wants to kill them, while the other lab sits there like a dumb*ss. Both will lick their face off once in the door though. That is ideal for me. We have a little one that is 8 months old and they are as nice as can be to her. Hard to say how they will react once she is older to strangers, but time will tell. I have two labs that are totally different from one another, so even within the same breed you never know what kind of personality you will end up with for sure. Hunting breeds will always have a tendency to want to chase game, keep that in mind too if you don't want it running off all the deer and turkeys, or invisible fence would be another good deal.

Definately no expert, just throwing my 2 cents in.

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I would second what Labs says about the field bred english cockers.

They are small, about 20-30 lbs, but have all the drive and desire that a lab has. We have 2 of them, and we run a preserve and use them as guide dogs. They love living in the house and are very good with kids. They take up alot less space then a lab does. They will retreive ducks and geese too. Love those little dogs!

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Some very good points. Identify what you want (Flusher or Pointer) by hunting over different dogs.

Something to think about when it comes to a dog guarding. The fact you have a dog is a big deterrent. I don’t know a dog that will not show some sign if they've heard someone at the door or trying to get into a house. I like my dogs to let me know. I have the ability (as does my significant other) to call 911 or protect my family if I know something is wrong.

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I will put a plug in for a lab, I am partial to them. First and foremost labs are big people pleasers. Typically any lab you get that stays healthy is the ideal family dog. Good temperment, friendly and easy to train.

Through training you could get the hunting dog you want too. Breaking them of chasing deer, if they develop that habit, is just a matter of getting an electronic collar and giving them a decent jolt when they take of after one.

I think any dog would be a good guard dog. Like some one else mentioned they will let you know if something out of the ordinary is going on.

I have two and wouldn't trade them for the world. One is a 90 lb male the other is a 60 lb female. The male we got from an animal rescue operation and the female we bought from a breeder in Grove City. If you are looking for a great breeder drop me an e-mail, [email protected] or there are a few guys on the forum that breed labs that might have what you are looking for.

Are you a U of M alumni?

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Be sure you research the breeds and the lines the dog would be coming from. It sounds like you want a pet first and a hunting dog second. Really most dogs are "pets" a majority of the year. From what I found when researching my pup purchase last year, there are certain breeds that are better suited as hunting dogs first. What I mean by this is that these breeds have natural high game drive and will be a better fit in a home where hunting is a big part of the dog's life. Granted lines within breeds do differ. So the line you pick is probably the most important. I have seen many goldens that make great pets and can hunt as well.

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I would have to say that you don't want a brittney or pointing breed in my opinion if you are going to have it be a house dog. My best buddy has a brittney and the thing is almost 8 and is still wound like a top. In the house it just paces and just wants to hunt no stop. They would be great if you were hunting them everyother day but if that is not the case i would go with a lab.

Also if you don't like paying alot of vet bills I would stay away from cocker spaniels, they tend to have numerous non-serious problems with ears and eyes that cost plenty to care for.

Matt

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Matt, do not generalize problems with Cockers. The "true" Cocker is really in essence a little lab. They do not look like, nor are they physically built like the little "dust mop", show dogs we've all seen. Most people have never even seen a true field bred Cocker.... English or especially American. Ther are only a handful of kennels still breeding a "true" American Cocker. Do some research and you'll be surprised what you will find. They have small eyes and tight set smaller ears, much less feathering of their coat also. The problems you encounter with these dogs should not be any greater than with any other properly bred sporting dog. Just clearing things up.

I too am obviously partial to Labs and promote them extensivley, I just like to give people another option for another breed that does the same work as a lab, but takes up less space as a house dog. Some people I've talked to are really against having a 60lb dog in the house. As I posted before, a cocker is in my forcast in the near future. while I'll always have a lab, I'm expanding my horizons and trying a new breed and getting a house dog in return... I too am one of those that doesn't want a "large" house pet.

Good Luck!

Ken

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I will also put in a plug for a lab. I have two of them and they are ideal for the situation you describe. First off labs are very versatile hunters and will generally do whatever it takes to please you. As far as being good citizens at home it is really up to how you raise them. You could get a blockhead that is set in its ways from 7 weeks, but 99% of labs will grow into what you teach them to be. We have a little niece that just turned two. She has over 20 pictures of our labs in her room and talks about them constantly. They are great around her and she loves them. They both hear and "sence" things way ahead of us. They will bark like Rottweilers when they see or hear something. Enough to make my wife feel safe alone because their sound would scare away most, but just like mentioned above I don't worry about them biting anyone at all.

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Ken,

Thanks for enlitening me on field bred cockers I have never seen one before. They sound interesting. I can under stand that people don't want a big dog around the house. The comment that I always get is "that is a lab, he is so small" (58 lbs) then I tell them that I will put him up agaist a big 80 pound lab and we will see who tires out first.

Matt

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Are you basing all your pointing dog knowledge of your one buddies hyper Brittnay? I have seen plenty of out of control labs in my day. Does that mean that they are all that way? It all comes down to training and excersize. If a dog knows it limits in the house and has suffecient outlets for its natural energy you shouldn't have any problems with a pointing dog in the house. If you can't commit to regular excersize for you dog, you shouldn't have one in the first place. In my experiences with dogs, 90% of dogs problems are user error. Dogs are actually pretty simple creatures, and when trained properly from the start can be wonderful pets as well as hunting companions.

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No I am not I know 5 or 6 people with pointers not just brittneys. Don't take offence to my experinces with them so far, I am not saying that they are not good dogs because they are. Most people don't have the time to use up the energy they have and they are suited better to be outside for most. I don't any experince with setters so I may be wrong with alot of my statements. Generally putting it "in my experiences" they tend to be more restless and high strung but again like you said alot of times this is due to the lack of quality training givin to the dog.

Matt

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Joel,

Five years ago I was in your same boat. I wanted a hunting dog but due to neighborhood restrictions and whatnot I didn't want a kenneled outside dog. Since this was going to be our first "big" dog, I was also concerned about throwing a "long-tail" (my definition would be labs or goldens for the most part)into the house due to the typical dusting of tables and knick knacks off tables with the power tail! Like I said, first time and I didn't want it to be the last inside hunting dog.

I ended up researching it pretty hard and landed on selecting a GSP. Love her inside and she is definitely part of the family, albeit a depressed one right now due to a new basset hound puppy joining the circus and no more hunting season. Only caution on GSP's and a number of the other pointers as inside dogs is that they need their exercise and some time to burn off that excess energy. Of course that could be stated for probably any hunting dog, but it may be more pronounced from what I read on the pointers.

Now that I've supported the pointers in general, I can also tell you that I'm likely headed towards a lab as my next dog. I've pretty much proven to my better half that a well trained dog regardless of tail length can hunt well and still be a family pet. This is not due to any problems with my GSP but more on where and when I'm doing the majority of my pheasant hunting and I just think that the lab will perform in that environment at a higher level.

As far as the guard piece, my GSP hears something outside and all I hear is a deep growl and she heads straight for the door or where the sound came from. I doubt that she would ever do anything since she usually is looking for a little love once the visitor enters the house but she definitely serves as a warning.

Irv

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Your perfect dog can be found in any sporting breed as long as you do your research and take your time looking for the right breeding. There are good and bad in each breed and believe me I have seen plenty of both in a number of breeds. You need to make some decisions up front. If retrieving and water work mean a lot to you then you may want a lab or springer or other non-pointing breed. If you absolutely have to have your upland birds pointed then obviously a pointer is where you need to start your search. The guard dog stuff is ambiguous to me. If you just want a dog to bark when someone/something is in the yard then any of the sporting breeds could fill that need. If you want more than that I can't help you. For what you are looking for I might look at parents who are a bit laid back but have some decent hunting qualities. Also make sure to get your canine health guarantees in writing. Count on your son being knocked over now and then. It will happen. Puppies just don't know any better. Also any dog with any amount of prey drive will likely chase a deer or a turkey if given a chance. You probably will want to somehow confine your dog to the yard to avoid that problem. Good luck.

gspman

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Guys:

Thanks so much. Specifically, Irv, Setterguy, and GSPman. There's quite a bit of quality information here, from alot of different angles. I appreciate that.

I have to ponder this for awhile longer, but these are good things to think about. About the kid being knocked over, it'll toughen him up hopefully. Maybe make him less of a mama's boy? grin.gif

Will let you know when I decide!

Joel

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I think your on the right track by asking questions, continue to do your research and as mentioned start contacting some breeders of the type of dogs you may be intersted in and go take a look for yourself. Thats the only way to know for "YOURSELF" if its the dog you want.

I recently picked up a GSP in December, I can honestly say I researched constantly for about 8months, looked at dogs, hunted over dogs, everything etc.... My dog is in the house, and with proper training and tons of exercise( we run just about everyday) he knows when to turn it on and off especially when in the house. He was exposed to little kids the day he was brought home and does great for a family pet. I have brought him everywhere with me, friends, family, get togethers, and he was exposed to just about anything and everything from day one, and he has done great. He is only 4mos old right now and I guess time will only tell, but no regrets yet. Just wish pheasant season was coming soon..... lol

Good luck with your search, be sure to do your homework, and let the fun begin.

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Hey Joel,

Is that Todd's gobbler or one you shot?

If you are doing your due diligence, a couple of breeds you should research are the WP Griffons, and the Large Munsterlander. I've got two Griffs, great with my three little ones, great in the field or water, and all the watchdog you want...they're all talk, no walk in that department.

Give me a call, nice to catch up with you since I moved off Prior Lake to Duluth. cool.gif

Maybe we can get you and Todd up here to fish for some Loopers this spring?

Drex

218-310-7156

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It's one of mine from two years ago. Funny how Todd's turkey hunting success is referred to in the singluar sense, rarely if ever plural. grin.gif

I thought you had Griffons. Todd always said how much you loved them. I'll have to check it out. Did you check out the pic of my old man? Classic.

http://www.fishingminnesota.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=UBB30&Number=727539&page=1&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1

I'll give you a ring soon.

Joel

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quote:

I would second what Labs says about the field bred english cockers.

They are small, about 20-30 lbs, but have all the drive and desire that a lab has. We have 2 of them, and we run a preserve and use them as guide dogs. They love living in the house and are very good with kids. They take up alot less space then a lab does. They will retreive ducks and geese too. Love those little dogs!


Just curious what it is you like about them vs. a springer or Brittany or other smaller hunting breed?

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Quote:

Matt, do not generalize problems with Cockers. The "true" Cocker is really in essence a little lab. They do not look like, nor are they physically built like the little "dust mop", show dogs we've all seen. Most people have never even seen a true field bred Cocker.... English or especially American. Ther are only a handful of kennels still breeding a "true" American Cocker. Do some research and you'll be surprised what you will find. They have small eyes and tight set smaller ears, much less feathering of their coat also. The problems you encounter with these dogs should not be any greater than with any other properly bred sporting dog. Just clearing things up.

I too am obviously partial to Labs and promote them extensivley, I just like to give people another option for another breed that does the same work as a lab, but takes up less space as a house dog. Some people I've talked to are really against having a 60lb dog in the house. As I posted before, a cocker is in my forcast in the near future. while I'll always have a lab, I'm expanding my horizons and trying a new breed and getting a house dog in return... I too am one of those that doesn't want a "large" house pet.

Good Luck!

Ken


I will ask you the same question as above if you don't mind. What is it that you see in a field bred english or american cocker that you like more than a springer or brittany or other smaller hunting breed that I may not be thinking of?

The reason I am asking this is because I now have a regular cocker that is very old and will probably not be with us much longer. She has been a very good dog and I have long wondered what an English field bred cocker would be like.

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When the time comes and the right litter form one of the two breeders of American Cockers that I've talked to comes up, I will be purchasing one. They are truely amazing little guys. They are close working flushers, (I would like to get back into a little grouse hunting and these guys do an amazing job with grouse), pheasants pose no problems, are admirable duck retrievers (they even learn how to handle blinds with hand signals much as a lab)... I know how to train retrievers and so this should be fairly seamless for me to train a Cocker as opposed to a brittany. I did the pointing dog thing once and it wasn't a fit for me... There are plenty of nice Springers out there and I'm sure with a little research you would end up with a heck of a dog, just that if I'm going to something other than a Lab I'm getting a sporting dog that will handle what I throw at it, but will have a compact house dog to boot.

Overall it would take a lot of typing to try and offer up "why". The best way to know if it is what you are looking for is to watch one.

One of my best friends used to go to Scotland to watch the British National Field retriever trials. At that time I had told him my desire to get a Cocker in the near future. He was (is) a lab guy through and through, much like me and gave me a ton of crap for even considering buying one. Well long story short, he befriended a Gameskeeper over there and he had a passle of Cockers, Mike watched those dogs and how they intereacted with him and basically the word always used to describe them how "merry" they were... he got it! He even gave me his blessing! hehehe grin.gif

Do some research and when you're ready let me know if you are looking into an American Cocker, I can probably point you in the right direction or check with GundogLily about English Cockers... he sounds like he does some preserve shooting with his so I'm sure he'd be happy to show you what his can do.

Good Luck!

Ken

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's a good pic, like the hat...what is that a Hesston?

Hey, I may have another litter this year and than hold off next year...going to have three total litters in all. This would be it until the last litter in the spring of 08' or 09'.

I'll keep you posted.

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Hey jnelson,

If your interested in seeing one of Double Griffs pups. I will be testing the pick of the litter Griff on May 13-14 in Milaca at the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test.

Otherwise we start our NAVHDA Spring training out at Major Avenue Gun Club in Glencoe,MN on Thursday nights after 5pm till dark starting in April. There you would be able to see a good majority of all the pointing breeds.

Double Griffs pups are great with kids,good temperment, great drive in the feild,& excellent genetics.

Good luck in your search,

Chris

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jnelson,

Another Griffon owner here and I see you are from SE MN. I could get you in contact with the southern MN NAVHDA group if you would like to see a variety of versatile breeds. I have not had the time to make it to their training sessions, but did test my pup last August in the NA test with that group. They are a great group - very friendly.

My Griffon is now 15 months old and has been great with my kids (3 and 2). He has been a great pet and a great hunting partner. I am interested to see how he does in his second season.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chris,

Hope all is well!

Just a heads up..."Oreo", now Jake, will also be at that weekends session in Milaca. Not sure what day, Sat. or Sun., do you know what day your test is on?

Good luck and let me know how it turns out, was planning on attending, but have opener plans to catch some "eyes."

Mark

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