Looking for a good bird/duck dog


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By bmcgee19 - 2/4/2013 2:09:32 PM
Hello all,

I am new to duck hunting and I am in a struggle to find the best duck/bird dog I can for a relatively inexpensive price. 

I have gone back and forth and narrowed it down to lab/retriever and field bred english cocker spaniel. 

Any ideas? I really like the english cocker spaniel and I think they might be good to house train.

Does anyone use english cocker spaniels for ducks?

-Brendan
By chadandy12 - 2/4/2013 2:31:39 PM
I would say go with the tried and true which is a lab. You can find labs from anywhere in the range of 200-2,000 depending apon breeder and blood lines. I would recommend a lab because they are great learners most are not hard headed and personalities are tough to beat. But I am also bias because I love mine! Good luck
By bmcgee19 - 2/4/2013 2:55:10 PM
Thank you for the info! The more the better at this point!

I would love a lab, but I live in the Boston area too. Not sure if I can keep a dog inside all day in the city.
By Mallard Mugger - 2/4/2013 4:50:48 PM
What would be differnt about keeping a spaniel in the house?  Size?  Both need to get out and get plenty of excercise each day.

No matter which breed you go with, make sure you do background checks for health clearances, on either breed.  Good Luck with your search!

btw - I'm partial to labs  ;)
By bmcgee19 - 2/5/2013 12:18:14 PM
Yes I guess size would be the difference. 

Anyone ever have a field bred english cocker spaniel?
By Mallard Mugger - 2/5/2013 12:23:01 PM
bmcgee19 (2/5/2013)
Yes I guess size would be the difference. 

Anyone ever have a field bred english cocker spaniel?
I have not had one and I have not seen them in the duck marsh.  I'm not saying they are not out there and I'm not saying they can't do the work, I just have not seen one in the marsh.
By Swamper - 2/6/2013 4:31:48 PM
Mallard Mugger (2/5/2013)
bmcgee19 (2/5/2013)
Yes I guess size would be the difference. 

Anyone ever have a field bred english cocker spaniel?
I have not had one and I have not seen them in the duck marsh.  I'm not saying they are not out there and I'm not saying they can't do the work, I just have not seen one in the marsh.


and there would be a reason why we haven't seen cocker spaniels in the marsh.

dogs have been bread to suit the needs of it's human master.  cocker's weren't bred for the marsh. i too, have never seen one out there.
By BDhunter - 2/9/2013 10:53:17 AM
ive herd of it but never saw one myself.i under stand the size thing thow its hard to rent places when you have bigger dogs.i have 2 labs.one wife had befor we married and mine i got from a small farm breeder.my first dog to try to train she didnt turn out mostly my fault thow,but only paid 150.00 for her.
By BDhunter - 2/9/2013 10:57:57 AM
guy that used to work with me had a pitbull has his duck dog.he said worked great.i was invited to come hunt with him and see for myself,but the more we talked about hunting the more i fund out about him and his poaching.so i siad it wont work i dont hunt with law breakers.
By ducker - 2/9/2013 11:22:32 AM
Here in the northeast I don't know if I would put a spaniel in the water past mid november anyway but if you are set on getting a small spaniel type dog how about an American water spaniel. Watched one run a senior at an AKC hunt test this year and it did very well.

Unless you have an in with an English Cocker breeder and can get a great price I would think the price for either would be comparable.
By Swamper - 2/9/2013 12:51:38 PM
BDhunter (2/9/2013)
guy that used to work with me had a pitbull has his duck dog.he said worked great.i was invited to come hunt with him and see for myself,but the more we talked about hunting the more i fund out about him and his poaching.so i siad it wont work i dont hunt with law breakers.


law breakers, pit bulls......yes, i would say you made a wise decision to stay away from that.  my guess is that pit bull was worthless as a duck dog.
By Amish Amy - 2/10/2013 8:05:27 AM
I've seen sprinoth upland and ducks they arent huge just make sure you get a field bred one.   Probably going to spend more than on a lab.  There are smaller labs out there too.  Gotta be tough having a dog in the city especially a sporting dog.   Joe
By jcropsey - 2/10/2013 9:42:17 PM
Brother of one of my old hunting buddies had an English cocker for field and stream work.  Excellent dog:-)  First thing with any dog is to check the bloodlines.  However, specific to the cocker would be taking down a wounded goose;-(  Especially, the last one I shot at over 15#... Then, there's also the issue of burrs in the furr:pinch:  Dog was great with kids, too!
By bmcgee19 - 2/12/2013 2:42:36 PM
Thanks all, this is great. Anyone looking for a duck hunting friend in NH? I would love to learn from someone who has experience? Feel free to PM me. 
By chadandy12 - 2/13/2013 9:04:56 AM
As far as size goes, Labs can be anywhere from 55lbs to 100lbs depending but it you look at both the parents you should be able to get a rough guess of the size. We kind of ran into the same thing your speaking of. Wife and I live in a townhome and thought a lab would be to big so we searched for good bloodlines, health certs, and size. We found what we were looking for dam was about 60lbs and the stud was 58lbs and our dog came in there where we had hoped he is 60-65lbs. But now that we know his temperment I would say thats more important in the city then the size. Our Lab is mellow in the house and energy comes out when he I outside. Do your research as you seem to be doing and you will find what your looking for. We actually are thinking about getting another Lab and we were worried about having one at first LOL
By PirateJason - 2/28/2013 10:38:22 AM
Have you checked out the Boykin Spaniel?  Smaller size but huge heart and drive. 

I have had Goldens, Black and Yellow Labs - the "little brown dog" has yet to come up short.  Boykins are one of the few dogs that can both be pets and hunted hard.

Imagine a Chesapeake that listens and obeys in a 30lb frame.  I once saw a Boykin drag a swan that outweighed him 2 to 1 back to the blind.

check them out - http://www.boykinspaniel.org/

Good Luck,
PJ
By Jeff - Mars - 3/25/2013 1:05:54 PM
Having a sport dog in the city, in the NE is not an issues at all.  I thought it would be being from the south and from the country right on the river.  You just have to do a little more research.  I had the same issues with getting the energy out of my Chessie due to my wife’s and I work schedule and the snow adds another aspect to it. When we did go on walks it was like we barely scrapped the surface of her energy.  We didn’t have the land to drive a four wheeler around and have her follow us so I looked for other alternatives and I found this -  Treadmill  training for dogs.  My thought was “What a yuppie idea!”  Well I talked to my kennel about it and they suggest I come by and take a look and see for myself.  I invested a couple of bucks into training my Chessie to walk on the treadmill and it has been worth every penny for us and she enjoys it.  I turn it on and she hops right on – amazing!  It has made training a lot easier as well.  Now Ginger starts her dock diving classes this month.   Go to some day cares that offers classes and you’ll meet people with land and water for training.  I ran into a gentleman one day when Ginger was playing that has an elk farm and he found out I had a smoker.  Now we head out there once a week to play and train with his dogs and I smoke up brisket once a month for him. 
By Jeff - Mars - 3/25/2013 1:36:51 PM
The very important training for city living is leash training.  This with a bike can get a lot of energy out in a short amount of time.  Ginger and I go on biking trails through Pitt to the store, she gets her energy out and I get the groceries home in time for dinner.   But I would strongly suggest staying away from city park dog parks.  I have seen to many bad things happen.  Go to an open play area at a kennel of training facility you’re around people training their dogs as well, better network, and shot records have to be up to date.
By flannel - 3/25/2013 3:09:51 PM
Wish I'd seen this post earlier! I've hunted with an English Springer Spaniel for the last 9 years, truly a dog that can do it all. Though often overlooked, Springers are more than capable of handling difficult, freezing conditions (use a vest when it's really cold) and are proficient with blind retrieves if trained properly. Springers will handle anything from doves to geese and are very methodical hunters. Downside: burs are a real bitch if their coat has any length to it, but if you keep it short, no problem.
By Swamper - 3/25/2013 8:28:37 PM
flannel (3/25/2013)
Wish I'd seen this post earlier! I've hunted with an English Springer Spaniel for the last 9 years, truly a dog that can do it all. Though often overlooked, Springers are more than capable of handling difficult, freezing conditions (use a vest when it's really cold) and are proficient with blind retrieves if trained properly. Springers will handle anything from doves to geese and are very methodical hunters. Downside: burs are a real bitch if their coat has any length to it, but if you keep it short, no problem.


interesting.

I wouldn't have figured a springer for a waterfowler.  but..........after more thought.......why not.

they love to retrieve, so I guess they don't care what they retrieve.  also didn't think they were hard core water dogs.

learn something every day.
By flannel - 3/27/2013 9:31:42 PM
To tell the truth, the hardest part of hunting with him is keeping him OUT of the water when he's not supposed to be in it! I've also seen Airedales handling geese quite well...another dog that you wouldn't think of as a hardcore waterfowler....keeps it interesting though!
By BACKH2O - 6/6/2013 10:44:47 PM
26 month old male out of FC Meet Joe Black, doe simple doubles, long singles, water or land, FF, obdiance trained, well put together dog with all the drive you will ever need. He is 75-85# and built like a lab male should be, bigblocky head. He is a great dog. shot 50 phaesant and more than 70 ducks over him this last fall. He is ready yo hunt. Housbroke andd gives paw too! 608-886-0866 Todd AKC paper in order
By Williamk8987 - 6/27/2013 4:31:40 PM
I'm not sure if you made a decision yet, but there is a guy in southern NH that just had a litter of German Shorthairs.  I got one from him last year and she does great in water and uplands.  PM or email me with any questions.  I can get his number and stuff.  

PS be careful with labs in the MA/NH area.  Most of them are need to be family dogs and alot of their hunting instincts have been bred out.