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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interested in getting a dog in the near future. Almost all of my hunting I don't need a dog as usually I am hunting flooded marsh that is hip-deep and I get my own birds, but been wanting a dog for some time now. My question, is what kind to get. I'm sure a majority will say Lab, but I also like to hunt quail and dove. I came across an article in gun-dog magazine, that listed the top 5 bird dogs for waterfowlers, and in that list was a German Shorthair. I've heard that thier kinda the jack of all trades, the only down-side is that they can't tolerate the colder weather like a lab. I've always been partial to the shorthairs, and had a neighbor when I was a kid that used to breed them and he used them for any and all hunting. Anyone have experience or suggestions??
 

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It depends on if you want a flushing or pointing dog when you are hunting quail. My GSP I take duck hunting unless it dips into the teens. I just got a GWP/DD for colder weather duck hunting and because I do hunt so much I needed a second dog for when the other is recovering. Your question is REALLY broad---narrow your search down and then go from there.
 

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It sounds like you have done some research and you know a little bit about the breeds you are looking at. It sounds to me like you are torn between a lab and shorthair. What you need to do is basically what mfetter said. Decide what you really want and pick what you want to gain or loose from the breed you choose.
Pointing/Flushing
Covers lots of ground in upland field/covers less ground
Less cold tolerant/cold water machines
The list of differences and pros and cons could go on.

Something that crosses my mind is that you say you hunt right now without a dog and don't really need one. If you have to leave the shorthair at home because the temps. are too low then it wouldn't be a big deal. If you enjoy hunting upland game, there is nothing like hunting over a pointer in my opinion. This is my position too. I don't really need a dog, but I'm going to love having mine with me this season. Just a thought.
 

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I hunt with my gsp for upland and waterfowl. He absolutely loves waterfowl hunting and water, but gets cold when he gets wet and its about 45 or under. I solved the cold temp problem with the 5mm dog vest Cabelas sells, then I dry him off with a towel and put a poncho over him if it's in the upper 30's or lower. If it's below freezing out there I don't take him out and get the birds myself. If you get a shorthair ask the breeder if his dogs retrieve waterfowl, because my other gsp can't handle cold wether and hates water.
 

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BOYKIN SPANIEL!!! To me and for my needs a boykin is the ideal dog. First off, do not let their size fool you. They can and will retrieve anything you down, including a goose. Are they the best dog for goose hunting, no, but they can and will. They do make excellent non slip waterfowl retrievers. Hunting from blinds or boats, they do not take up as much room as many of the larger breeds. You can pick dog duck and all up with one hand and put them in the boat. Being a spaniel, they are natural flushing dogs and quartering comes natural to them.
Being that you like to dove hunt and live in Texas, this is another strong suit for the dog. They are touted to be the best dog for southern dove hunting. I know many a hunter that have boykins and labs together and they will tell you that a boykin will by far outlast the other breeds when it comes to dealing with the heat.
Their temperment is absolutely wonderful, great with kids, and very easy to train. Do not go out and hire a pro trainer, it will be a waste of money. These dogs are just to eager to please making them a pleasure to train. Although, they are still a dog and they do have their moments in training just as any other breed does.
If you like to run the hunt tests, also not a problem. We are starting to have more and more boykins entering this event and just last year the first Boykin ever passed the Grand. My 10 month old pup just got her started title and we are working on her HR now.
For more information on Boykins, www.boykinspaniel.org. They can help you find a breeder near you. Be prepared, this is still considered a rare breed. You will not find pups on every street corner so be prepared for at least a 6 month wait. It will be worth it though.
If you want, there is also regional boykin retriever clubs. Covering the southern states is the Mid South Boykins Spaniel Retriever Club.
www.midsouthboykinspaniel.net
In June, we are having the first of six events that will culminate in Feb with awards going to the top dog in points for each class. The event on June 18 will be in Auburn Alabama. At every one of our events, we always have people come wanting to see these wonderful little brown dogs in action.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate all the input. The Boykin (sp?) looks great, I'm just not big on long-haired dogs, but the size is nice. Anyways, realy looking hard at the GSP, any good sites for them as a breed and hunting qualities??
 
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