Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Need Input - Family Planning


Well, it finally happened. The kids are asking about getting a dog. I have mixed feelings about it for reasons I won't go into, but I'm not dead-set against it or anything. So, I'd like to open this topic up for discussion ...

...based on the following requirements, which breed would you all recommend:

1. the pooch would be a 95% house dog, 4% waterfowl dog, 1% duties as assigned
2. we have a tiny backyard
3. we live in the developed burbs

A Labba-dabba is an obvious choice, but wondered if other sporting breeds might offer a calmer house presence. Or is calmness in a Lab something I can look for in its lineage?

If I could clone Fiona, I would.

23 comments:

Jim Tantillo said...

I've got a 2+ year old lab that is just about done with his chewing phase, which is a good thing to not have to go through. He's as calm as can be and would be wonderful with kids (he IS wonderful with kids). He can easily handle the 95% house dog part of your requirements, he may still be salvageable for the 4% duck dog part of it (no guarantees, although he does retrieve and knows basic obedience(rumor has it he's gun shy)), and he is intelligent enough to write your USFWS propaganda for you on your days off (the other 1%). Answers to the name of Aldo.

Free to a good home. I'll be in Maryland next weekend.

Think about it.

Anonymous said...

lab x standard poodle cross. Who knows, could meet your criteria and maybe shed less? Go for it, be a pioneer, Pilgrim.
- PW

Jim Tantillo said...

actually, if I were being serious about breeds and giving breed advice...given your criteria, I'd really have to say an English cocker spaniel.

the word that comes to mind is "merry".

Ernie said...

I have had many dogs over the uears and there are 2 that stand out. The black lab I currently have is a great house dog, watch dog, but at 12 years old is just starting to come out of the puppy stage and is definatly, and always will be, gun shy. The other was a Golden retriever which was the best dog to have around the kids. She was also a good watch dog, good house dog (other than the shedding which all dogs do) and she hunted well for ducks. Down side was she, like a lot of other goldens, had health problems that caused her early departure from the hunting world.

KGT said...

I vote for the Brittany. Yes, you want a waterfowler, but why not go a litle more versatile? But, not so versatile as a GSP (great dog, not for houses. If you search the web for Brittanys & waterfowl, there is quite a bit of reading.

The Breton peasant's hunting dog, known since the mid-19th century in the French province Brittany, this breed is thought to represent a cross between the English Setter and small French land spaniels. Square in outline, the Brittany is the smallest of the versatile gun dogs. Quick, agile dogs, the breed can point and retrieve game and works equally well in open country or dense cover. When not enjoying the sporting life, the Brittany can be content at home as a family pet and watchdog. The Brittany is a dog without extremes. The coat is lightly fringed, flat or wavy, in orange or liver and white. Grooming presents no problem because, unlike other spaniel breeds, the Brit is not heavily feathered, requiring only weekly brushing to keep its coat in condition. The breed is either born tailless, or the tail is docked to prevent injury from briars when in the field. Brittanys are 17.5 to 20.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 35 and 45 pounds; females are proportionately smaller. A fine dog for the weekend sportsman, the Brit has a high energy level and needs regular daily exercise. That said, this is a dog that can adapt to apartment or home living. The Brittany responds well to training and is a quick learner.

Superior Shooter said...

I loved the hunting line of goldens, but they are hard to find these days. Without that option I'd go with the English Springer and buy it some swim fins and a snorkel for late season ducks.

Superior Shooter said...

BTW - I still think Xs (aka mutts) are the best for smarts....

Superior Shooter said...

I loved the hunting line of goldens, but they are hard to find these days. Without that option I'd go with the English Springer and buy it some swim fins and a snorkel for late season ducks.

KGT said...

Changed my mind.... it's a Boykin Spaniel you want.

http://www.akc.org/breeds/boykin_spaniel/history.cfm

Also, nice feature about Boykin's in this month's Gundog mag.


Of course, I have never owned either of these recommendations...so your mileage may vary, as the Wizard is known to say.

Vassili Zaitsev said...

the springer is not likely to be the calmest house dog--plus, the number one breed incarcerated in animal shelters today, nationwide? it's not the pit bull, not rottweilers, not dobermans... it's the springer spaniel. Do a google on two year old springers and "springer rage." I'd wait until your kids are teenagers for that one....

Anonymous said...

Joshuaba,
there ARE some calm labs out there. I know a good that belongs to a forester I sometimes work with. The dog is fairly small (50-60 lbs I'd guess), quite smart, and calm. And hunts. Of course, she gets alot of exercise. I could look into her line if you like.
Seems like the British-type dogs are a little less wired (although I don't think this one's from a British line).
Hmmm, how about a lab x springer...
- PW

Fiona Queen of Canoga said...

Thank you Josh.

Superior Shooter said...

I was not aware of that issue with the Springers - all those I have ever seen were great dogs -boy this blog thing sure is enlightening! If the Springers are that way and we've just been lucky thus far, my final recomendation is to spend the $3500 on a good golden with field trial champion blood in it.

Joshua said...

Good stuff gentlemen, thanks for the input!

While there's no decision yet if a dog is actually in the cards for us, we ARE doing some serious research into Brittanys.

Although Fall turkey hunting with a Boykin sure is a neat thought ...

Jim Tantillo said...

If you're seriously thinking about a Brittany, definitely talk to Eric Nuse, who not too long ago (February) was thinking about breeding his Remy. Don't know if he did or not, but he's got great dogges at any rate. I think I'll be seeing him in MD next weekend and I'll ask him the line, breeding, etc.

Jim Tantillo said...

what are the reasons you won't go into for your reluctance about getting a dog? if you don't mind my asking. enquiring minds want to know.

Joshua said...

Jim,

My reluctance in getting a dog is related to my nervousness of training a dog wrong. I feel I need a bit more time with my kids and try out a few different training approaches with them before I risk doing something wrong with a dog.

Boykins and Brittanys are the front runners now (although I haven't committed to any dog yet!).

Any thoughts from the peanut gallery comparing the two?

I'll talk with Nuse and another colleague who has Brittanys.

Safari Jim said...

I actually thought CB was trying to play a cruel joke when he suggested a brittany. Based on the scenerio you described, a brittany wouldn't come close to making my list. While brittanys are smaller hunting dogs, I consider a brittany generally too hyper for your situation and not as easily trainable as you might want. I think if you do some digging you can find a quality golden retriever to suit your needs, but it will take some digging. One of the wildlife profs at Idaho while I was there had several outstanding hunting goldens. He hunted everything with them. And goldens are known for being easily trainable and family friendly. Downside is all that hair, but it's worth putting up with if you get they dog the fits your needs.

SJ

Jim Tantillo said...

you know, I'm kind of glad Jim said this. I agree with him about the hyperness factor of almost all these breeds compared with the golden.

Bill Provencher in Wisconsin has two goldens that he hunts with, and he goes after grouse, pheasants, and ducks with them. Beautiful dogs. We could find out what line he's tapped into.... But I agree with Safari Jim about goldens, that's the ticket.

Anonymous said...

Given where you live, the kids factor, and the game you'd be hunting most (1 ducks, 2 upland)I'd also go with a retriever from calm stock. I've known some calm, gentle individuals of both goldens and labs -- so I wouldn't rule out either. Just stay clear of the field trial dogges. I know nothing of Boykins -- could be a winner as well.
- Path Walker

Safari Jim said...

I concur with PW on labs as well. Should be able to find a quality lab that meets your needs. I think I heard yellow labs are mellower than the others, but that might just be BS. You'll probably have a greater chance of finding a lab that meets your criteria within a reasonable geographic vacinity of where you live, so that you can actually go and see the parents, play with the litter, etc., then you will with a golden. But I've had success buying dogges sight unseen until you pick them up at the airport. Just takes time to do some digging and background checks. Find a retriever hunt test in your area and go and check it out.

Safari Jim said...

Did a quick search on AKC's hunt test page and the Tidewater Retriever Club (http://www.tidewaterretrieverclub.org/) is having a HT in Chesterfield, VA on Sept. 30, and the Back Bay/Knotts Island Retriever Club (no URL) is having a HT on Oct 13 & 14 in Tappahannock , VA. These were the only retriever hunt tests listed for Virginia within the next 4 months. I have no clue how close these locations are to where you are, but they might be worth the drive.

SJ

Joshua said...

Safari Jim,

Good input. I checked the AKC pages and found VERY close tests occuring over the next couple months for retrievers.

I'm getting info from a few Boykin breeders (in SC and IN) but unfortunately I haven't found any local kennels.