The Labrador Retriever is a very powerful breed and as its name suggests its main task in life is retrieving. The breed has several colours, Black, Brown, Yellow and Fox red . The fox red is only recognised by the Kennel club as Yellow. The breed are true masters of the retrievers and have proved to be one of the most popular breeds. The breed can work in harsh temperatures retrieving wild fowl from the cold muddy banks of a river to retrieving in open stubble fields. This breed will work in cover but it is not best suited to this type of work.
The Springer Spaniel is what I feel is the most versatile breed of all the gun dog breeds. The breed ranges in size and colour and can be a great companion in the field. This is where I started off my life with gun dogs and I have trained and owned many. The breed are a very jolly and fast dog and if in the wrong hands you could end up with a racing car without brakes. The Springer Spaniel works hard in cover and has a great nose for finding game. It can be used as a peg dog but hunting is the main job for this breed. If you buy from a working line you are sure to have a versatile dog that will be able to work on the rivers, through rough cover and on open moors.
A little information on some of the more popular gundog breeds. When looking to expand your "gundog" family it is always sensible to research the breed first,to ensure the dog is right for you, and you are right for the dog !!!
The Cocker Spaniel has become more and more popular in the field today and is an amazing breed for its size. This dog is not best suited for wildfowling but nothing is impossible with this dog. The breed again ranges in size and colour. This little dog can work in heavy cover and produce game for the gun all day. It is also a great retriever if trained correctly. I have trained many breeds of gun dogs and this breed I see more training issues with, with the novice handler. If you decide to get this breed be sure you have done your homework on training a gun dog.
The Hunt, Point and Retrieve breeds. The jack of all trades but master of none. There are however exceptions as there are in all breeds. There are so many breeds within this group that you really need to know your stuff when deciding you would like an HPR. Many will say they are the best dog out there many will disagree. But again if you put the effort in you are sure to get a good dog. Very fast, agile and very good nose. For this breed large open moor lands are best but that said they can also work alongside you in a wood.
The Golden Retriever is a popular breed but to be fair the Labrador Retriever is seen far more in the field. This is a very capable dog and very agile for its size. Normally this breed is larger than the Labrador Retriever. I have seen these dogs find game in root crops where other breeds have failed. They are slower in growing up but can be an amazing companion in the field.
The Flat Coat Retriever, was once the most popular breed of dog for the field but the Labrador Retriever soon pushed it to one side because they developed faster and were trained a lot faster. That said, when trained, this breed of dog are great picking up dogs and the way they air scent game is second to none. This breed is still seen in the field but no where near as many as the Labrador Retriever. They are majestic when they run and are a pleasure to work with. I have trained this breed and find them great fun.