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A Guide To Buying a Gundog Puppy for working or pet

Looking for a Gundog Puppy for working or pet ? If yes then read the following to help you decide on the right puppy for you and your family.

Pick your breed:-

Working dogs are bred for temperament, intelligence and ability to train. They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours and although are bred to work make excellent active family pets.

There are lots of gundog breeds to choose from and your decision should be based on what job you require your dog to do.

Here is my ' opinion ' of the best breeds for different types of shooting. The most common are the Labrador and Springer Spaniel closely followed by the Working Cocker. These breeds are easier to train for the beginner.

Spaniels are the best all round rough shooting dogs but if you have a little experience then one of the hunt point retrieve breeds of good working pedigree might take your fancy. Wildfowling would preferably require a Retriever breed and Labradors are the easiest to train and do the job well, although the Chesapeake could be your choice if you have a little more experience. Labradors are the favoured breed for Pigeon shooting.

Speak to lots of other shooting people and ask their opinions on the different breeds.

Locating a suitable puppy:-

Search through the classified section or in other shooting press to locate suitable litters to view. Be very wary of establishments that have many litters of different breeds available most of the time. These are most probably what we call ' puppy farms ', and normally the puppy welfare is not a priority.

If you want a spaniel for working a docked puppy would be best so make sure you ask before going to see the puppies, to avoid confusion.

A Labrador should be purchased from hip scored and eye tested parents. The eye certificate should read ' unaffected ' and is a yearly test. The minimum hip score is 0 and the maximum is 106 (53 for each hip). The lower the score the less the degree of hip dysplasia present. An average (or mean) score is calculated for all breeds scored under the scheme and advice for breeders is to use only breeding stock with scores well below the breed mean score.

Once you have found a litter you like the sound of and arrange to go and see the pups here are a few pointers of things to look for and questions to ask.

Before you view the puppies ask to see all documentation:-

1. Kennel Club Registration

2. 3 to 5 Generation pedigree

3. Hip and eye certificates of both parents (Labrador)

You may

notice on the 5 generation pedigree some of the following terms:-

FTCH - Field Trial Champion

FTW - Field Trial Winner (not printed on KC paperwork)

FTAW - Field Trial Award Winner (not printed on KC paperwork)

SHCH - Show Champion

If you are looking for a pure working dog make sure you have FT in the pedigree not SH. Pedigree's will vary on how many of these champions are in them and some may have a few of each. All this is fine as long as you get the right type for what you require. If in doubt ask for advice.

If you are happy that what you were told over the phone by the breeder is correct then go and see the dam and sire if available. You should always make sure you see the dam, although generally the sire will not be available for viewing, this is quite normal. However, ask if they have a photo of him.

If you like the look of the dam and sire, then have a look at the pups and take your time don't be rushed. Once one has caught your eye ask to put the others back then have a look at what its like on its own.

Still like what you see then check the following:-

1. Legs are straight

2. No obvious umbilical hernias

3. Rear dew claws have been removed

4. Bite (top teeth should be slightly in front of the bottom)

All fine and happy overall then you can complete the sale and get ready to take the pup home.

Questions to ask about the puppy:-

1. When was the puppy last wormed?

2. When was the puppy last treated for flea's and what was used?

3. Has the puppy had any vaccinations?

4. What food to feed the puppy and how many times a day to feed?

Things to leave with:-

1. The puppy of course!

2. Kennel Club Registration (signed by the breeder)

3. 3 to 5 Generation pedigree

4. The breeder should give you some food

Travelling home:-

You should have a safe transport box ready in the car with news paper or a towel in it, most pups will be sick the first time they travel but don't worry this is common and will improve as the pup gets older and travels more. If you have someone to come with you to hold the puppy in the car this is probably best and will lessen the car sickness.

Now you have arrived home safely get ready to enjoy your new puppy and bond with him.

About the author:

Huw Jones, Ffynongain Gundogs. Visit for more training tips. Or find your new puppy in our classified section.

Written by: Huw Jones

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