Best upland bird dog?

Dudders

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when you have narrowed down your choices try and go to watch some of the dogs in action ideally doing the same kind of hunting you will use them for see what floats your boat.
Ask about the negatives of the breed what people have struggled with during training, everyone wants to tell you how wonderful their breed is yet not many will give you the negatives and all breeds have them. If you want a working dog make sure you get it from a working line not a pet litter and stay away from show lines they all like to think there dogs can work. I don't know what the situation is with you in your country but try and make sure all the health test that should be done have you will invest a lot of time, money and heart ache into what ever dog you chose try to start from the best position you can.
IMG_20190524_153641.jpg
 

Ridgewalker

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Just an addition, but I have been belittled by English Pointer owners while hunting pheasants telling me my GSP at only 50-75 yards out needs to work further. Their EPs were 200 yards away on point. My GSP picked up birds before we got to the points. The pheasants were long gone the EPs were pointing.
Labs have been noted for great retrieves. I have watched my GSP doing 300+ yard retrieves numerous times. That’s far enough IMO.
My GSP taught himself how to hunt pheasants. Once the scent is strong enough he would law down on point. When I got 15-20 yards of him, he would back out and swing around pushing toward me. Sadly I had him neutered very early, or he would have been bred to a bitch that knew the same trick.
My little runt of the litter has served me well.
 

archer36

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My philosophy. If you hunt upland game, get some kind of pointer. If you hunt waterfowl, get a retriever. Even though each can do both, it's not the same. As far as what pointer, it will depend. Is it big open fields? Is it thick cover? Open fields you will do well with any pointer. If you hunt heavy cover, larger breeds cannot handle it well. Go with small breeds (like Brittany's) or even a Springer Spaniel. Dogs are like people. Great ones are born, not made. You have to be lucky to get a great one.
 

Jeffro

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Even though a recent poster belongs to my wildlife federation, I cannot agree with his comments about labs. My lab points, works birds back to me, astonishing me at every turn. On huns, sharpies, ruffies, and especially pheasants, he puts every other breed I have hunted with to shame. I mentioned this in my first post, but this is why my American buddies come to hunt with me in ND or MT so that when their GSPs, spaniels, weimaraners, etc. tire out, quit, get hurt, the lab keeps on going and gets more birds. On November ducks over water, the versatiles have nothing to offer you.

I had the misfortune four years ago to have been in a very serious accident in Montana. I was hospitalized for three weeks. One of the Wisconsin group kept my dog and every day he phoned to tell me how he loved that dog. He hunted him every day, twenty-one days in a row, after I had hunted him ten. He bragged the lab up like it had won him the lottery every day, and told me he had told the GSP and spaniel owners to leave their dogs in the motel room. Much as Ridgewalker pointed above, and I have experienced hundreds of times, the lab will get me my three roosters before I catch up the ones the pointers found, and which had long fled the danger. I do not to imply that Ridgewalker referred to labs; he didn't. But the much vaunted pointers seem to like the easy pin, often missing much in the process.

I would be happy to recommend some SK and AB breeders to you. Dogs range from 1000 to 1500 from highly decorated field trial/hunt trial animals. I will state one last time, I have been a serious (my ex would say fanatical) upland hunter for over forty years and came into hunting dogs without any biases. I have one now, after several labs, and after hunted over just about any other dog you could name. But, if your area doesn't require it, or you don't hunt hard, or you don't like cleaning up hair, others have their place too. But, the lab has been America's favourite dog for 29 years in a row, which says something for its family-dog qualities, too. Whatever you decide, YOU will make all the difference. The dog will perform pretty much to your level of expectation and training regime.
 
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Firebird

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Ridgewalker-have it in my head you are from Colorado. Last September I was helping a buddy hunting deer. We saw ptarmigan and went back to hunt them. My little pointing lab and his pure ugly wire hair were wonderful pointing and retrieving the very naive white tails. Hope you have experienced something similar on your home turf. (13000 ft still turf?)
 

Ridgewalker

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Ridgewalker-have it in my head you are from Colorado. Last September I was helping a buddy hunting deer. We saw ptarmigan and went back to hunt them. My little pointing lab and his pure ugly wire hair were wonderful pointing and retrieving the very naive white tails. Hope you have experienced something similar on your home turf. (13000 ft still turf?)
Yes sir Colorado has been home since 1976.
Ptarmigan hunting here in Colorado you need to carry oxygen unlike in Alaska where you find them at sea level!:ROFLMAO:
 

Ridgewalker

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Skinnersblade, we have decided for you what you need! One pointer and one retriever!:LOL::ROFLMAO::whistle:
 

PARA45

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I've had only one upland bird dog, and it was a Yellow Lab named Savannah. She was one of the most wonderful and smartest dog I've ever had. I say I trained her (which BTW I don't have any experience, but read some books and stayed at the Holiday Inn :LOL:), but in reality it was all her instinct. Once the light bulb lit up, and knew that is what was required of her, she was hair on fire all day. She would get into the thickest cat tails, and flush birds from places we couldn't get in. She had a fantastic nose, and a soft mouth. I have several pheasants mounted that she retrieved, and they received more damaged from the shot than from her mouth. After the season was over, she was a great companion, and excellent couch potato. LOL. If she saw me pick up a gun or her collar, she would turn into a completely different dog, ready for business. I think she had dual personalities. LOL.

Most of the guys who hunted with us, had Labs. We had one Britney, she was a great pointer, and great retriever. However, she was an arrogant little b*tch. She'd pick a fight with all the other dogs, and would rip and steal the retrieved birds from the other dogs. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: She was great with people, which I believe she was not socialized with other dogs, and that is why she behaved the way she did.

Here she is Savannah in her younger days.

Savannah.jpg
 

K-man

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My favorite dog is the one I get to "rent" from my son. A yellow lab that is an APLA 4XGrand master which means he hunts and points upland as well as retrieve water. I have seen him on European pheasant hunt where he has retrieved over 60 birds (pheasant) and then hunted the escapees for 2 hours and never quit. He found live birds my quail buddies GSP ran past. I agree the dog needs to fit your personality and hunting style. If you can, go watch an APLA certification field trial and see what I mean.
 

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I may have to look into importing a lab from out of province, Im friends with several of the lab breeders in ns that are serious sea duckers but the bloodlines are starting to run pretty close and it's lead to a lot of hip displasia in the area in young dogs. I'm not looking for a dog to sea duck just one to flush in our mowing fields in the fall and retrieve the odd puddle duck early in the fall.

The original reason I shyed away from another lab was I'm not interested in one with fairly high odds of health issues. And don't want to offend some friends buy doing buisness else where.

The majority of the time I invest into bird hunting is before deer season so pheasant and partridge would be the priority. Ducking overlaps with deer season and bear season. And late season is already claimed by my beagle.

My friends that duck hunt are fanatical about it, some take the entire month of October off work.
 

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I may have to look into importing a lab from out of province, Im friends with several of the lab breeders in ns that are serious sea duckers but the bloodlines are starting to run pretty close and it's lead to a lot of hip displasia in the area in young dogs. I'm not looking for a dog to sea duck just one to flush in our mowing fields in the fall and retrieve the odd puddle duck early in the fall.

The original reason I shyed away from another lab was I'm not interested in one with fairly high odds of health issues. And don't want to offend some friends buy doing buisness else where.

The majority of the time I invest into bird hunting is before deer season so pheasant and partridge would be the priority. Ducking overlaps with deer season and bear season. And late season is already claimed by my beagle.

My friends that duck hunt are fanatical about it, some take the entire month of October off work.
Sounds like a good idea. Most breeders around here are giving guarantees on hip check and eye check with full refunds if they don't pass.
 

wesheltonj

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I now deceased Judge friend of mine who lived in South Texas, raised and hunted with Brittany Spaniels. He was quite the bird hunter, he always had several copies of Double Gun Journal with him to read while waiting on the lawyer to take care of their business. As I recall they were very expensive dogs.
 

Skinnersblade

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“Ace” pointing mearns quail in southern Arizona. He didn’t tolerate cold very well and I eventually sold him but if I had lived in Arizona, I would have another gsp for sure!

View attachment 349668

Is that common among gsps ? If so one would not be well suited to my environment.
 

Skinnersblade

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I have been fortunate enough to hunt with and over many pointing breeds and all of them have their good and less great qualities. The story about EP being super fast is only true if they have not run against a hard running GSP, I own a bitch that runs just as hard as a EP and we still shoot more birds for her than the EP.
If you want a true all round dog that can be trained and handled without you losing your mind you will have to do homework, the single most important trait in any dog is not speed or will to hunt, it is the ability to be trained to do it in the way the handler wants it done. We have many GSP's that work in the snow after Ptarmigan and Capricalle, cold is not such a great issue with them. I have had my dog break ice to fetch a few ducks and they manage well. I have had GSP's in SA and I have seen both lines from the US and Europe work, the European lines are better all round dogs. There is just one species of bird I have not shot over my dogs here in Scandinavia, but it's not that common here anymore. Pheasants, Partridge, Ptarmigan, Capricalle, Grouse, Woodcock, Snipe and then Hare, Fox, Rabbits, Ducks and Geese on point too. I am fortunate in that I get too see and train many breeds of pointing dogs each year, last year I ran with around 160 other dogs and I won't trade my GSP's for any other. There are better runners, there are better retrieves and there are better trackers, but there is no better dog to do it all in every biotope in any weather any day of the year.

View attachment 349690

It wouldn't be legal to dog that fox here. I envy you for that I've always wanted to experience a fox hunt. I've trapped a few but it's not the same.
 

Skinnersblade

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I should have looked at your location. The lab is the dog for you. The only other dog that can take cold water, and very cold conditions as well is the chessie. Both were bred to be cold weather dogs.

Father had a Chesapeake when I was little, he also owned a donkey both ow which still had there nuts. I would come down to a coin toss for me on which had the thicker head. The Chesapeake would regularly swim the marsh and go home while duck hunting.
 

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Is that common among gsps ? If so one would not be well suited to my environment.
I have an acquaintance whose son lives in Norway. He “skijoring” I believe it’s called. His GSP pulls him on his skis until the game is located. Apparently they do OK in cold. They also use them there for pulling dog sleds he told me.
My old dog has hunted in 20 mph winds in blowing snow and 90 degree heat as long as he gets plenty of water.
 

Skinnersblade

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I have an acquaintance whose son lives in Norway. He “skijoring” I believe it’s called. His GSP pulls him on his skis until the game is located. Apparently they

I have a hard enough time not crossing my snowshoes and falling on my face that I don't believe I'd be cut out for that style of hunting. Sounds like it would be exceedingly interesting to watch though.
 

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Llewelyn setter for me in Montana on grouse and Hungarian partridge. If I hunted more pheasant then flushing dog like lab would be my choice. My setters are great house dogs and great nose hunting pointers
 

dan donnelly

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I didn't read the whole thread but if ducks in NS is your thing I dont think you can go wrong with a Lab. Setters are my dogs I live for them . I have had Gordons and English setters all my life , their job is to find birds. Ptarmigan on the open barrens and grouse in the woods in my case. Many here use a local breed called a Cape shore water dog here (Newfoundland) for Eiders. I wouldn't use a versatile dog other than a Lab in ice cold waters but thats just my opinion.
My setters job is to find the birds and mine to shoot em and probably pick em up, they are not great retrievers. They will pick up in a fashion but after the shot they mostly want to find more birds and they generally do
 

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