Nursery Rhymes

Sporting Dogs

It is said that Sporting Dogs (Gun dogs) are perhaps the most intelligent of the breeds, resulting in their wide variety of uses and their ease of training.

These dogs like to be around people and are active and alert and require regular, invigorating exercise and lots of attention.

Picture of a Spaniel Sporting Dog

General Information about Sporting Dogs and Gun Dogs

All of the dogs listed below belong to the collection of dogs referred to as Sporting Dogs. Dogs in the Sporting group, which are referred to in England as Gundogs can be divided into three main categories - Retrievers, Pointers and Setters.

These dogs were bred primarily to work with people to hunt game birds. Some of these dogs work in water whilst other dogs are more suited to  work on land and many of the dogs in the Sporting dog category are comfortable and capable of working in either land or water environments.

Sporting dogs (Gundogs) are normally particularly suited to most of the wood and field activities.

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Sporting Dogs (Gun Dogs) Breed Information
The Retriever, Pointer and Setter dogs and their main functionalities are as follows: 

  • The Retriever dog - Retriever dogs find and return killed game to the hunter. Some Retrievers are especially equipped, for instance with a water-repellent coat and webbed feet, for retrieving downed waterfowl.
  • The Pointer dog - Pointer dogs stand in front of their quarry, with their nose and body rigidly still , thus directing (or pointing) the hunter to its location.
  • The Setter dog - Setter dogs were originally trained to set, or crouch, in front of game preventing the escape of the quarry. The hunter would make the capture with a net.


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Information about Sporting Dogs (Gundogs) characteristics
Sporting Dogs (Gundogs) hunt by air scent, as opposed to ground scent used by the dogs categorised as being in the Hound category. Characteristics and features of Sporting Dogs (Gundogs) have been introduced and strengthened by breeding with animals who already demonstrated the desired traits. Breeding for appearance was only introduced in the 19th Century. Before this time dogs and puppies were bred to increase useful abilities and traits helpful for the duties they were intended for. Thus, the various Sporting breeds, or Gundogs were initially introduced to help man according to his specific requirements such as:

  • Hunting game birds
  • Hunting waterfowl
  • Retrieving game that had been shot and wounded
  • Pointing to game to allow the hunter to catch or shoot the quarry
  • Startling, or flushing, birds from their cover

Information about Sporting Dogs (Gun Dogs)
To discover more about specific breeds of Sporting Dogs (Gundogs), their origins, history, temperaments and characteristics please follow one of the following links:

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

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