Is my dog a gundog?

by admin on November 5, 2011

When people first contact us they are often unsure whether or not their dog is actually a gundog.  The only thing that defines a gundog, is the breed to which the dog belongs.  There are many different gun  dog breeds and if the breed your dog belongs to falls into the gundog group of dogs,  then he is a gundog.

Most popular gundogs

The nation’s most popular gundog and pet dog today is the Labrador Retriever.  If you own a Labrador, you own a gundog.  Some of the nation’s other most popular pet dogs are also gundogs.  These include the cocker spaniel,  the springer spaniel,  the golden retriever and the weimaraner.  

Will my dog make a good working gundog

Whether or not your gundog would make a good ‘working’ gundog depends partly on his breeding and partly on the experiences he has had in his life so far.  However,  members of almost all gun dog breeds, no matter what their parentage, benefit from gundog training

Gundog training is worthwhile

Even if your  gundog is not from working lines you can still participate in and benefit from  gundog training.  Find out about the benefits.

The gundog breeds

The following breeds are all gundogs.  See if you can find yours.  Gundogs are divided into four categories.  Retrievers, spaniels, HPR, pointers and setters.

These are the retrievers

  • Chesapeake Bay Ret
  • Curly coated retriever
  • Flatcoated Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

These are the spaniels

  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel

These are the HPRs

  • Bracco Italiano
  • Brittany
  • German Longhaired Pointer
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Hungarian Vizsla
  • Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla
  • Italian Spinone
  • Large Munsterlander
  • Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer
  • Small Munsterlander
  • Weimaraner

And these are the pointers and setters

  • English Setter
  • Gordon Setter
  • Irish Red Setter
  • Irish Red & White Setter
  • Pointer

If your dog belongs to any of these groups or is a cross-breed from these groups,  he is a gun dog breed, and you can take part in the Gundog Club’s Graded Training programme.   No pedigree papers are required and complete beginners are always welcome.



Stevie Allerton November 7, 2011 at 9:09 am

There is also another sub-group called the Utility Gundogs, which include the Spanish Water Dog, Italian Lagotto, Kooikerhondje. I have a couple of Spanish Water Dogs coming to training and have a bit of difficulty in knowing what tasks to train up for, as they seem to do everything including herding sheep! Until these breeds’ breed clubs actually set a working standard, then I think we trainers will continue to struggle. It’s difficult not knowing what the breeds’ natural tendencies & instincts are & helping the owners channel them correctly.

vince May 17, 2013 at 9:32 am

I have a Spanish water dog and have recently started gun dog training with him. He loves it. As you say they are an all round dog and are used for search and rescue, police dogs,guard dogs, herding and retrieving.

Pippa November 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Thanks for the information Stevie

Sheila Hemphill December 12, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I have an 18 month old Cocker Spaniel. He is very energetic and quite
intelligent. He needs a great deal of exerxise and I am sure he would benefit
gun dog training. I live in West Kingsdown, Kent and would be ob

admin December 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Hi Sheila,
Cockers benefit mentally and physically from gundog training. You can find some Kent Instructors here

Enjoy training your dog!

Annette January 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Hi we own a nearly 9 month old curly coat Retreiver his parents are show dogs but not sure if working dogs. We are very interested in some gun dog training for him, please could you let us know where in Somerset there may be a group, we live in Bridgwater. Also is he a bit young yet? Hoe you can help thx annette

admin January 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi Annette, your retriever is not too young to start gundog training. You can find a list of instructors here and here is a list of Field Trial Societies Have fun with your dog!

Joe January 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Hi I have a 1year old border terrier is it easy to try this breed of dog ?

admin January 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Hi Joe, border terriers belong to the terrier group of dogs and are not suitable for specialised gundog training. You can find information about Border Terriers on this part of the Kennel Club website: Border Terriers

Jake January 27, 2014 at 1:36 am

Admin I disagree with that I have seen several terriers who have been trained to the same standards as labradors and spaniels and work much better than them on the beating line sue to their size and workrate

Kim Prentice January 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I have a 3 year old black bitch lab. We did some initial Gundog training in her puppy months at South Norfolk’s Gundog Training group. I am now spending some time in South Leicestershire/North Northhamptonshire, and she has spent some time out with a local shoot doing beating and some ‘picking up’, (really enjoying it) Is there a local club I can get some further training in
from this Spring/Summer, as I would really like to re-inforce/reintroduce some of the more advanced work. I (and Tilly) would really appreciate it. Many thanks, Enjoyed looking at the website.

admin January 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hi Kim,
You can find a list of all the FT societies and clubs in the UK on the Kennel Club’s website. Some clubs train more often than others. You can also check out our accredited instructors, many of them hold group training courses throughout the summer months, as well as offering one-to-one tuition
Glad you enjoyed the website and good luck with your dog 🙂

tim February 1, 2012 at 11:15 am

Hi, I have a 3yr old 1st gen labradoodle and am interested in gundog training. As he is only half gundog is it likely that this sort of training would be suitable and would he be accepted on your courses?

admin February 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Hi Tim
Cross-bred dogs are very welcome to join in our courses. Your dog will need to have an interest in retrieving or carrying objects in his mouth. Labradoodles are often keen retrievers. If you contact your nearest instructor using the link in the menu bar at the top of the page, they will be able to advise you.

steve November 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I would like my 10month old working cocker spaniel, gundog training, is he too young. he is a bold pup. do you have any suggestions . Ilive in worsterpark surrey

admin November 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Hi Steve, your puppy is not too young. There are a range of articles here for people starting out with gundog training. Hope you find them helpful.

James September 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm

we have a 12 month old Springer/Border Collie cross (Sprollie) we picked up from a rescue center last month. He is definitely more spaniel than collie, am I right in thinking he would be suitable for gun dog training?

admin September 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Hi James, we have lots of crossbred dogs participating in the scheme. He will probably love it, but the only way to be sure is to have a go. 🙂

Peter stevenson April 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Our welsh springer is a year old, rather strong willed and very energetic, rather a handful in fact! Good at recall, and likes to carry sticks. We try to give her lots of running but think she may enjoy some more structured activity. Does she sound suitable age and temperament for a course? We live in NE Wales. Peter

Annie May 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Hi, I have a mongrel who is intelligent and seems to have a good prey drive and nose; what training opportunities are there for an unknown cross?

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