Which dog breed?

What breed for my first hunting dog?


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Dec 1, 2019
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Get a lab, But make sure you get one from a reputable hunting line. Lotta backyard lab breeders not doing the breed any justice. I got my Stanley out of Beaver Creek retrievers in Kansas. Great family dog, exceptional hunter. He does quail pheasants and sheds.
I really like the idea of being able to use on finding sheds as well. Something I have never done much of but think it would be a great time with a dog.
 
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If you don't like labs, don't get a lab. I know I would never own one.

But I do think they require WAY less time, energy, and training to achieve a basic level of competence over many of the other breed.

My GSP is neurotic so I'm a little bias against her. I have been around some really good ones, but I'm not sure why you'd want one to waterfowl with.
It's not that I want one for specifically one job. I am the kinda guy that wants to get the most from my dog, while also being able to give it the ability to shine in more areas than one.
 

Europe

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So I have always had herding dog breeds. I am currently without a dog and looking to get another this spring sometime. I am leaning towards a hunting dog breed as I begin to have more time to put into training and using for hunts. I am getting back into waterfowl and would like to do some upland hunting as well. I have never been a huge fan of labs but looking for honest opinions from fellow hunttalkers. I have researched wirehaired Vizsla's and they seem like they could be a very neat breed that is very adaptable to different needs. I have never been around one but would appreciate some input. Thanks in advance.

I wish I could get Panda Bear back on the forum, but to date I have been unsuccessful in doing so. She has and has had several different breeds of dogs and at this time------- for upland, waterfowl, as well as big game she likes the Boykin.

Her dog is very well trained and goes with her on all hunts. Some things I remember is --- they are smaller and she can lift it back into the canoe easier. they are quiet which works for her whether big game hunting or bird hunting. She knew they were good waterfowl dogs before she got them, but was pleasantly surprised at how well they do at upland hunting.

She does towel him off every time he gets out of the water because of the cold, but that would not be as much of a problem for you in your area as it is for her, ----------just a thought sir
 

cwitherow

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Oct 12, 2017
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It's not that I want one for specifically one job. I am the kinda guy that wants to get the most from my dog, while also being able to give it the ability to shine in more areas than one.
Look into the versatile breeds. Find one that fits your style of hunting, upland especially. If you hunt in colder conditions, keep that in mind when looking at coat (gsp vs gwp). Once i narrowed down the breed, I met/called a few breeders. It was nice to be able to ask questions and meet the dogs.
 

Frenchy

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Sep 12, 2011
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Bozeman, MT
I'm definitely partial to Golden's, but other breeds that interest me and would fit your description would be the DD or Griffon. And I have seen some good to great Boykins.

I have had a lab, and probably won't again. He was a good dog, but I get more out of my Golden's than I did out of the lab. The lab was a hunting "tool" where the Golden's are hunting partners. And I'm coming from Montana and Alaska, where the cold never bothered them a bit.
 

bayoublaster7527

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Aug 2, 2017
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Would recommend looking at the versatile breeds (DD, GWP, WPG), however they do require strong leadership from the owners. In my experience their versatility and hunting drive is incredible, just require a strong owner to control it properly.
 

Camdu7

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Sep 29, 2015
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Duluth, MN
Go with a versatile breed. My 8yo GSP hunts everything from timberdoodles to geese and track big game. Great in the house (when given exercise). And a shit load of personality.

After losing our 3yo GSP to a car in Sept we fell into a pudelpointer pup that a buddy had his name on but couldn't take. Excited to see how he turns put. Should be a cold weather ducking hunting machine.
 

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crock239

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Sep 18, 2012
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If you do decide on a Lab, I can send you a breeder recommendation located in NW Iowa that would be worth checking out. Mine came from "pointing Lab" lines and a line of hunters. She's a fantastic family and house dog that loves to hunt birds and retrieve...haven't got her in a duck blind yet but feel confident she could be good there too.

I will say I underestimated how much hair a Lab sheds....continuous and everywhere.
 
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I appreciate all of the opinions and info I have received from everyone so far. This forum never disappoints on being a wealth of first hand knowledge. I look forward to more input as I continue my search for a new companion and hunting partner. I am planning on bringing something home early this spring. It is very weird around the house to not have a 4 legged buddy to spend time with. Again thank you for all the great advice.
 

F250

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Dec 9, 2011
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Sorry to hear that OntarioHunter had a tough time with his firsthand experience training Chessies. I have trained them for over four decades. I have found them to be fiercely loyal, tough dogs who’ll hunt all day and beg for more. They are certainly multi purpose. One of the side benefits is that I never worry about leaving my wife alone at our rather remote home. These dogs would die before allowing harm to their people. I have found that after you earn their trust, and establish your position as pack leader, everything falls into place. While I have not trained other breeds, I expect those steps in training would apply to them also.
 

marshman

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I don't have a wide range of experience with different breeds, because I have had the pleasure of having 6 Labrador retrievers ion my lifetime. It seems like each new partner was the best ever. True because they all have been the best ever.
Here are the last two, boy I sure miss Junior. Two Buddies.jpg
 

Benjamins

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Aug 25, 2020
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I went with a golden because I have small children at home so he needed to be a family dog first and hunting dog second. Typically labs are super nice but occasionally you get a mean one. I don't think anyone has ever met a mean golden. Plus mine was so insanely easy to train. But Holy hell you have to stay away from cockleburs. You basically have to start shaving to get them out.
 

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