Sporting Dogs are hunting dogs that are renowned for working closely with hunters and other dogs in the field. Some of the best-known are the Labrador Retriever, Pointer, Spaniel, and Setter.

Sporting dogs are popularly called gun dogs. Hunting dog training, backed by years of breeding was used to produce a prize bird dog, and other types gamedogs. The popular Pointer, Spaniel, Retriever, and the Setter are just some of the results. Gun dogs have strong water and nature instincts and they excel in field activities.

This group of dogs are known to make exceptional pets. Bred to work closely with people and dogs they are loyal and friendly. As a general rule, they love playing with their family and tend to be affectionate and gentle with children. They are also lively and very energetic and enjoy physical activity, either on land or in the water.

Sporting Dog Backgrounds – Gun Dogs

   The importance of the dogs in service to man can not be underestimated. The bond between man and dog has spanned all peoples throughout history. Various dogs were developed through selective breeding and hunting dog training, to assist in hunting birds and other game. Some of these early dogs were the ancestors of the pointer, retriever, setter and spaniel of today.

   Another type of hunting dog is the Hound Dog. Sporting dog breeds differ from hound dogs because they hunt by scent carried in the air, while the hound dog breeds are ground scenters. Today’s Sporting dogs have remarkable instincts and excel in hunting in both water and on land.

Sporting Dog Breed Information

   A good bird dog, hunting dog, or other types of gamedogs are popular for hunting, especially bird hunting. They are used for pointing, flushing, or retrieving game. The quarry of the Sporting breeds is primarily game birds. Each type of Sporting dog was developed with a unique set of skills.

Pointer:    The Pointer, when it spots its quarry, it will stand rigidly in front of it ‘pointing’ to direct the hunter to its location.

Setter:    Setters were also trained to point, especially as bird hunting became popular, but their original training was to set or crouch in front of the quarry, allowing the hunter to capture the prey with a net.

Retriever:    The primary training of the retriever, as its name suggests, is to find killed game and return it to the hunter.

Spaniel:    There are two types of Spaniels, the Water Spaniels and the Land Spaniels. Land Spaniels specialize in flushing birds by springing towards them. This startles the bird out of cover and into flight.

   Water Spaniels, as well as many Retrievers, have a specialized water-repellent coat and webbed feet. They are used for retrieving downed water fowl.

Popular Sporting Dogs

   Many Sporting dogs can make excellent pets, and they are a favorite type of dog. Some of the most popular in this group are:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Weimaraner
  • Brittany
  • Vizsla
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Irish Setter

   But these are by no means the only Sporting breeds that are highly favored. Others include:

  • Pointer
  • English Setter
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Field Spaniel
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Gordon Setter
  • American Water Spaniel
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Dog Care Tips for Sporting Dogs

   The Sporting Dog breeds are epitomized by the Labrador Retriever. They have predictable temperaments and are quite friendly with people, children, and other dogs. These dogs are considered to make some of the best family pets. They are trustworthy companions that love being with their family and playing. With their boundless energy, they also make great companions for hikers.

   Despite their great personalities, some Sporting dog breeds, are not the best choice for everyone. Most get along well with other pets, but there are a few that can’t be trusted around small pets.

   They all need a great deal of exercise, and for some breeds the spunky puppy behavior may not diminish with age. Many can be notorious for getting away. If they get a chance they may unthinkingly take off if the opportunity presents itself, especially when young. They also bark, but are not usually aggressive to strangers.

Featured Image Credit: Dmitry Veryovkin, Shutterstock