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I'm new here and this is my first post but I need some help deciding what my new hunting dog is going to be and figured this would be the place to ask. After losing my pup a few weeks back I feel like it's time to get a new dog and this time I want it to be my hunting dog as well as a pet for my girls. My dog I lost was about a 30lb dog which is why I wanted a smaller frame dog, the Boykin. But I just still keep looking at labs. We already have a 75lb lab that is a great family pet but scared to death of loud noises. If I did get a lab I would want a smaller frame 55ish lbs or less. Help me decide! Thanks
 

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I have a Boykin and she's the best dog I've ever had. She weighs right at 31 pounds. I know all dogs a different but here's what I can say about mine:
She's a pretty smart dog and catches on pretty quick. She's extremely calm most of the time which is not the case as other Boykins I've been around. She's kind of skiddish around people she doesn't know. As far as hunting she does great where I hunt which is timber, fields, and small back water areas. I would be scared to hunt her over big water or small streams with current. She loves to hunt. Goes absolutely nuts when I get a bumper/gun out. This was my first dog to train and I did it by myself with the help of a couple books, videos, YouTube, and forums like this. She can hold a full size mallard in her mouth. This will be her first year in a field. I imagine she will be dragging a goose more than carrying it which I am fine with. When I introduced a shotgun to her I started out more than 100 yards away and progressed closer over the next couple days. Force fetching was difficult due to her small mouth but probably more due to my first time to do it. If I was hunting big water for geese I'd get a lab but for the places I hunt she's perfect and I will get another one when she gets too old to hunt.

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You can find smallish labs 45 to 50 lbs. usually females. The thing about a lab in your case is that they are excellent family dogs. It's hard to beat a lab as far as family dogs. I don't have experience with Boykins so I can't comment on them.
 

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Don't get me wrong , that little brown dog is a great dog . But it's alot easier to find a well bred Lab at a cheaper price than a Boykin . Just saying . With that said , get what you want . Just do you're homework and don't rush it . Take your time and get the most bang out of your money . Good luck :thumbsup:
 

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Rick Hall said:
Or in cocklebur country.
Other than a good eye flush after upland hunting...put the Lab in the box for an hour or so ride home and they just come out clean. It's an amazing thing.

I took the anklebiters out to the farm last year and they barely got off the mowed lane. After 5 minutes they were a mess. Thought I was gonna have to shave 'em.
 

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Easy answer: American Water Spaniel

They aren't for everyone, but if your'e looking at a Boykin then look at an AWS. AWS' were bred into Boykin lines. They're little dynamos with different personalities than a Lab. Don't get me wrong, Labs are great dogs, but an AWS may be what you're looking for. They have a double coat, webbed feet, and were bred by market hunters of the midwest to fetch ducks from the Lake Winnebago system of Wisconsin from small skiffs. Think about the motor necessary to retrieve HUNDREDS of ducks in a day. That's what they're bringing from the factory.

If you're a non-conformist, as I am, then an AWS will meet that interest. When everyone else is loading up they're Labs at the boat landing, it's fun to see the looks as everyone glimpses my 40-pound thick-chested hunting machine. Yes, his big floppy ears and curly coat gets a few comments about my Labradoodle, but I view that as more of a demonstration on how uninformed they are. Personally, I think those that recognize the breed is an indication of how knowledgeable they are on ducks, dogs, and duck hunting. What's better is when an old timer asks, "Is that an American Brown Spaniel?" That means he's been around the flyway for a while.

Pedigrees? Not much to worry about with an AWS. There is no split between show lines and field lines. None. Younger dogs will have hunt test titles, but there won't be many titles on dogs that were around about pre-2005. AWS' were unclassified according to AKC, so they couldn't run in spaniel or retriever games. Now, they're classified as spaniels, but due to a rule change by AKC, they can be run in retriever games, too.
 

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Where do you usually hunt? I have an aws. She has all the weather resistance and spunk you might want, but she definitely has a tougher time than a lab in big water. I hunt small marshes and rivers in a small boat so she's perfect for me, but not everyone. There's a reason labs are popular.

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Easy answer: American Water Spaniel

They aren't for everyone, but if your'e looking at a Boykin then look at an AWS. AWS' were bred into Boykin lines. They're little dynamos with different personalities than a Lab. Don't get me wrong, Labs are great dogs, but an AWS may be what you're looking for. They have a double coat, webbed feet, and were bred by market hunters of the midwest to fetch ducks from the Lake Winnebago system of Wisconsin from small skiffs. Think about the motor necessary to retrieve HUNDREDS of ducks in a day. That's what they're bringing from the factory.

If you're a non-conformist, as I am, then an AWS will meet that interest. When everyone else is loading up they're Labs at the boat landing, it's fun to see the looks as everyone glimpses my 40-pound thick-chested hunting machine. Yes, his big floppy ears and curly coat gets a few comments about my Labradoodle, but I view that as more of a demonstration on how uninformed they are. Personally, I think those that recognize the breed is an indication of how knowledgeable they are on ducks, dogs, and duck hunting. What's better is when an old timer asks, "Is that an American Brown Spaniel?" That means he's been around the flyway for a while.

Pedigrees? Not much to worry about with an AWS. There is no split between show lines and field lines. None. Younger dogs will have hunt test titles, but there won't be many titles on dogs that were around about pre-2005. AWS' were unclassified according to AKC, so they couldn't run in spaniel or retriever games. Now, they're classified as spaniels, but due to a rule change by AKC, they can be run in retriever games, too.
You expect that AWS would be comfortable if they got stuck living down in Boykin country? I understand the breeding origin in general,, have family up on Winnebago, and intend to hunt and canoe MN and Wi an further north quite a bit with the next dog… but having foolishly transferred south, may not have a spouse willing to head north with retirement so dog and I would have to reverse snowbird it To chase ducks, upland birds, and fish in cooler country. Had labs for 25 of last 27 years, pondering life with a smaller canine traveling friend going forward. AWS, Boykins, Springers, small labs have all come to mind - thoughts?
 
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