Choosing the Right Dog
There is no bigger investment for a hunter in terms of time, money, and experience than his or her dog. The quality of the animal that you choose is of utmost importance. If your dog is not genetically suitable to the work you are asking it to do, no amount of proper training or equipment can turn a sub-standard dog into one that will perfectly fit your needs. Listed here are tips for choosing the right dog.
Research Dog Breeds
No matter your hunting needs, there are many different breeds genetically predisposed to performing your required task. It is important to spend time doing your research to determine which dog is the best fit for you and your needs. For instance, if you are purchasing a pointer, one popular option is the German Shorthaired Pointer. However, not everyone is equipped for this breed’s high energy and vigorous exercise requirements. Instead, an Italian Spinone may be better suited for you, as this breed also excels at pointing but is less active.
After determining which breed is best for you, the next step is to research breeders. Look for a breeder that has produced dogs that are both healthy and excel in the field. Ask your hunting buddies for recommendations (or breeders to avoid), and inquire with your local breed association, such as the Hunting Retriever Club works as well.
Look for Titles
The parent dogs of the litter you choose should be well-titled. Look for titles such as Hunting Retriever Champion and Grand Hunting Retriever Champion to find the best stock for your puppy.
See Health Certifications
The parent dogs should be guaranteed to be free of genetic abnormalities and of sound conformation. Ask to see Orthopedic Foundation for Animals hip and elbow scores if the breed you are purchasing is prone to hip or elbow dysplasia. In addition, ask about eye health (and see certification from Canine Eye Registry Foundation, if applicable) and other common congenital disorders that affect the breed.
Watch the Parents Work
One of the best indicators as to the quality of dog you will receive is to watch the parents work. If the parents can perform the skills that you want to instill in your puppy, chances are that you are choosing the right breeder.
Take Your Time
Do not make a hasty decision when choosing the right dog for your needs. Consider the amount of time, money, and energy that goes into developing the perfect hunting dog before committing to a breeder. If there are any red flags throughout the process, weigh them heavily lest you want to gamble with the resources you will be devoting to your dog.
Joe Scarpy – Owner / Trainer
Author Bio: Joe is the founder of HuntEmUp.com, The Worldwide Sporting Dog Superstore / Sporting Dog Blog and Owner of Bull Valley Retrievers, Northern Illinois Retriever Training, specializing in all-breed obedience and Retriever Field and Gun Dog work. Joe brings to the table years of training and hunting experience as well as knowledge of the latest hunting and training products on the market, to help you make your hunt and dog the best he can be.
At HuntEmUp.com, we know sporting dogs. From the time they’re a puppy, through their senior years, we’ll keep you informed on the latest news and information. For more information on Training, Preparing and Caring for your Dogs, read our Hunting and Sporting Dog blog.
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