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When you and your family are deciding to purchase a new dog, there are a few things that you need to consider.  You need to decide what you want from the new member of the family. Are you wanting a beating dog or a picking up dog or both?  If you are looking for a beating dog, you are better looking at the spaniel breed and for a picking up dog a retriever breed.  Most common breeds are the English springer or Cocker spaniel for beating or the Labrador for picking up. That said there is no reason either dog can’t swap roles and perform adequately in the field.  There are many more breeds, but these breeds previously mentioned are the current most popular breeds.  There are many things to consider and here a few key factors to help in making your mind up. 

What health testing must be included? What breed? Do we have time? Where will we train it? Who is going to train it? Where will it live? Will it be a dog or a bitch? Can we afford a dog?

A big ongoing cost is dog insurance, remember you must ensure the dog as a working dog because if you don’t your insurance company may not pay out in the event of an accident.

Regarding choosing a dog or a bitch, I find either of them are easy to train and although many have other opinions, I believe that no matter what sex the dog is, if trained correctly, it will serve you well in any application in the shooting field.  The only one thing that may stop you getting a bitch would be that they come into season, and this can be an issue if you only have one dog when she comes into season during the shooting season.  The dog would also be a little bit stronger than a bitch, but this should not be any detriment to anyone’s requirements.


We then need to look at finding the right pup.  Looking in the local press or selling websites would not be the first place I would go.  I would look to your local gundog trainer for his advice, and he may also possibly know of some pups or up and coming litters.  Once you have found a litter you are happy with, you then must go and look at them.  One thing to remember, you will fall in love with them straight away and want to leave with one.  Don’t fall into the trap of your heart and wait until it is the right time.  I personally like to let the breeder keep them for as long as they can.  This ensures it has been socialized correctly with its mum and other dogs; taking a pup away to soon can have an impact on its total upbringing. Most breeders agree the optimum age to let them go to their new home is between 8 to 10 weeks. 

When you arrive at the property where the pups are held make sure it is a clean environment and everything is kept in good condition.  You would not buy a car from a man in a shed so don’t buy a pup from a similar place.  Never buy a pup without seeing the dam.  The dam should be in good condition as well as the pups.  All the pups should be nice and chunky and be active, lots of play fighting and jumping around.  Some people would advise you against choosing the little pup sitting in the corner because it is the quiet one.  I don’t agree totally with this statement as the pup in the corner could be the one that has just eaten all the food had a play fight with all its siblings and is taking time out.  The best thing to do is spend as much time with the pups as you can and see what they are all doing.  You may spot one that you like straight away but just watch them play and then decide.  If the breeding is right and all the appropriate testing is in place with sire and dam you will normally be fine with any from the litter.  Once you have agreed the pup you are having, leave a deposit and keep in touch with the breeder.  Agree a date of collection and stick to it. When collecting the pup be prepared and make sure you have everything you need to cope with the pup and its first journey.  This journey could be issue free or not, for the pup it will be quite a scary experience as this has never happened before. There may be lots of mess for you to clear up and if it is a long journey take provisions to clear up.  There is nothing worse than having your head out of the car window because you can’t stand the smell.  So, lots of wet wipes, paper kitchen roll and bags to put the waste in.  Being prepared for every eventuality will pay off I promise you.

When you get home ensure you have the correct items in place for your pup.  It will require a bed of some kind and a cage.  Putting it straight in a kennel with other dogs will not be a good move.  Don’t forget that every new thing the pup meets is a new challenge in its life so gently introduce it to your other pets.  This also includes children and other people.  Give the pup space and time to settle in. What you do have to understand is you have now made a different pack, adding another dog into your home can be quite unbalancing for your current dogs and family and for the pup to accept its new pack.


Inoculations should be done at the correct time and advice from your vet to another person’s vet may vary but it is around 8 weeks when the first inoculation is administered and two weeks on from that a second one; two weeks later they should be allowed out to the big wide world.  As previously stated, vets’ advice can differ but please ensure that you follow their advice. 



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