Jesse Jaymes wrote:I should probably refrain from comment. My experience is nearly zero....but-
I own an 8 month old DD male. He has a health issue at this time. Never been behind a gun yet.
It's not even November and we were kicking holes in ice Tuesday morning to hunt ducks. Ice was at least 1/4". Took forever for the sun to come up with any heating BTUs.
We've had gloves and calls freezing stiff inside our layout blinds since Opener on Oct 12.
I think I chose the wrong breed. My pup has a bare belly and arm pits. His coat is not as wiry as it should be either. I fully expected him to blow a puppy coat and get a tight hard coat. Never happened.
Duckdon posts here. He has waaay more experience than I do, has a pair of DD and lives/hunts AK. He could give a more accurate side. I reside in WA/ID/BC corner. I am sure it's much colder other places and its already pretty crisp here.
Sorry for hijacking this thread...but what's the health problem? Why haven't you had the dog around a gun yet at 8 months? Maybe I'm misreading...
OP. I have a 6 month old DD. My experience is limited to that, but I have read about every book, watched about every DVD and asked on countless forums pretty much all the questions you already have.
This is from various sources that I have directly asked people: You aren't going to have a dog that does all of this stuff "the best". You'll have an english pointer that will point with style better, a chessie will probably do better in the most absolute conditions, a walker will tree coons better. But a DD with proper exposure and training will do all of the things you asked well though. My dog at 6 months has found shed antlers, tracked rabbits and blood trails of deer, pointed planted birds, etc. All of what is touted by breeders as standard for the breed. All my friends who have labs always stand in disbelief as I tell them what they are required to do in the testing, and then say there is no way a dog will differentiate from tracking a deer to pointing birds. They do. That's a fact. But not without exposure and training.
As far as cold is concerned, I don't think a springer is going to be in the realm that a DD, lab or chessie will. This is strictly from internet reading. I know the three labs I've hunted with all require vests, and even at that whine and dislike cold. They will eventually shut down from cold. I live in the snowbelt of Ohio. Nothing like the extremes of Canada/Alaska/MN. I just asked a group of DD owners on a forum about cold weather conditioning. My DD lives inside, and I asked if it was necessary to start keeping her outside for periods of time to condition her coat to the cold weather. She is let out for a few hours each day to play in the fenced in backyard, but I was curious as to whether I needed to kennel her in the unheated garage while I was at work. It was unanimous in that discussion from people that have their dogs live inside, that their dogs have no problems in the cold. No whimpering or discomfort. Some said they use a vest, some don't. Most said just use common sense and keep the dog out of the water for extended periods.
Hope this helps, there are plenty of people with more experience with the breed from me, but I can relate since I was recently in your situation.
Just stating as well, there a bunch of other topics going on here, especially force fetching. I'd leave that out of your head until you decide on a breed. It's not breed specific, and relates to training rather than deciding on what kind of dog you want. There have been plenty of other threads started on it, and it's a hot topic guaranteed to derail this thread. JMO