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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 8/19/2013 2:18:05 PM EST
I have been hunting for about ten years now, mostly large game but I have enjoyed bird hunting when I have had the opportunity. I have really wanted to get a dog that I could hunt with for pheasants and partridge.

I've done a little research, and the dog I am most interested in is the Brittany. They seem like a good hunting dog that also makes a good family companion, nice size and coat, and generally an all around good breed. Since I have never trained a dog for bird hunting before, I also want a dog that is good for a beginner.

Anyone have any feedback or suggestions for other breeds that might be a good fit? Thanks in advance for any advice.
Link Posted: 8/19/2013 7:09:02 PM EST
Get a male.

We've had 5 Brittany Spaniels. They are great dogs, but the 3 females were nuts (tended to be spazzes when not on a hunt). The males were much more laid back. Still, great dogs. Natural pointers, instinctive hunters. All have been family pets too. Very loyal, just want to please their master. Will fetch till they drop, long lifespans.
Link Posted: 8/19/2013 7:09:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/19/2013 7:12:59 PM EST by beardog30]
When you say partridge you mean Hungarian partridge or grouse...not trying to nit pick, need to know because they are different birds that would benefit from a different dog.

Are you mostly hunting on the east coast?

If yes I would say a Brittany would be wonderful for your needs. They are great cover diggers, seem to able to pen a nervous grouse with no problems and work a little closer which works out well for the NE cover you are likely to hunt. Brittanies make wonderful family dogs as well, they are very sweet dogs Like many hunting dogs they need constant attention and lots of structured physical activity or they will be naughty.

Since this is your first dog I would highly suggest you buy a started dog. A started dog will hold point until shot, be whoa broke, have had birds shot over the dog, and basic obedience. Force fetch is nice but will cost you another $500 and after a season or two will figure it out on it's own. You will spend around $2000-$3500 on a good started dog but will be worth every penny if you have never trained a dog. Also another nice thing about a started dog is you know it will hunt, not as common with Brittanies but every now and then you can get a dog that lacks prey drive or likes to cheerlead.

Something to think about, will you hunt waterfowl or travel out west and hunt Hungarian partridge, sharptail grouse, and chuckar? Your Brittany will still do a good job but may benefit from a more versatile dog breed like a German Short hair pointer or German Wire hair pointer. These dogs will be bigger runners and have more endurance in big open country and swimming.

Good luck to you, having a good gun dog while bird hunting is the most enjoyable form of hunting to me. If you would like some recommendations on breeders with started dogs, send me a IM, I know several good ones right there in NH, PA, and WV that have dogs that are used to hunting the type of birds and cover you will have in the NE.
Link Posted: 8/19/2013 8:59:36 PM EST
by partridge I mean grouse. in the northeast, no one calls a grouse a grouse. I will mostly be hunting right around where I live, walking distance actually. We've got great mixed forest and a large dairy farm that stocks pheasants just down the road.

I would love a started dog, but I don't think the wife will go for that kind of $$$. I will try to find a dog from good hunting lines and just try to do my best.

I used to have a goofy dog that I hunted with. She was a half german shepherd, half newfoundland. she looked like a border collie/flat coated retriever. didn't really know a thing about hunting, but she loved to run around on the farm and loved to play 'find the bird'. she actually managed to flush a few, even if accidently, and we had a lot of fun.

So I would like the fun and challenge of trying to train a dog that was bred to hunt. Thanks for the male versus female advice I would have said that I would like a female but I think I will reconsider.
Link Posted: 8/19/2013 10:17:26 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/19/2013 10:22:23 PM EST by beardog30]
Something to consider with the puppy is the cost of training birds can quickly become pricey, cost can come pretty close to a started dog. Think 10 quail a week @ $4-5 bird ~$40 a week for 4-5 months when you get your whoa training done, bird launchers $200 apiece, training videos, bumpers, check chord, and things you will need to build like whoa boards and whoa posts. 3-4 months of that many birds you will probably have yourself a good gun dog. So bird cost will run you ~$1600 plus another $400 for bird launchers. To save money you can get pigeons and a pigeon coop, the pigeons will return and you can reuse them but game birds will still need to be worked in. You can cut your bird cost by 80% with pigeons.
Link Posted: 8/20/2013 6:20:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/20/2013 6:28:54 AM EST by Birddogman]
This is not to say that the other breeds are bad, but I can say that Britttanys are great dogs in every respect – I’ve had them all my life.

No matter how much you hunt (being retired, I hunt only on days that end in a “y” ) a bird dog will spend more time being a pet than actually hunting. To the extent that one can generalize (each dog is an individual just like people), they are gentle, loving and devoted companions and pets who will come to understand your every mood and feeling and who want to do whatever it is that you are doing each day. They are safe around children and not “sharp” with other critters (my neighbor has chickens and turkeys) unless you teach them to be (mine are trained to kill varmints like groundhogs).







They are intelligent and bidable – they live to please you. Those two characteristics are the most important ingredients of a good bird dog, IMO. I have had males and females and find no difference between them in terms of personality or hunting ability. Gently teach them commands for what you want them to do so they understand and then they will do whatever you want – even jump off a cliff if you just ask, so you must be responsible for them and careful what you ask.

I’ve never had a Brit without a strong prey drive. In the field they are tireless, smart hunters. If you let them learn how to hunt and don’t constantly hack them, they will do things like: wait quietly with you and help watch for incoming doves or ducks when you are pass shooting; quarter back and forth like windshield wipers in heavy cover; hunt from cover to cover where there are open areas; range a half mile out when in the vast high plains of the west and stick close in the tangled hell of the local ruffed grouse woods. They will break out of a thick row, run to the end and come back toward you to pin a running pheasant; carefully approach a jumpy prairie grouse on the back side of a hill like a cat stalking, etc, etc.













You will get stylish points:





They will honor one another’s points:





They are tenacious retrievers from land and water who simply won’t give up until they have tracked down that wounded running bird and laid it in your hand.





They will kill birds for you, east and west:





The only real downside (if you can call it that) of Brittanys is that they are not for sedentary or lazy owners. They are meant for an active outdooorsman. On each and every day when they are not hunting, they will want to run hard off lead for a goodly distance – this keeps them (and you) in shape both mentally and physically. You can’t (in the sense that it’s wrong for the dogs and for you) just feed them and ignore them like you can, say, with an out of shape Lab. They want and need attention, interaction with you and lots of exercise. They will repay you one hundred-fold.

I’m lucky in that I live way back in the woods in the middle of a decent chunk of my own land and I can run my dogs (or hunt) by just walking out my front door. There is water on the place to keep them cool in the summer. It sounds like you have a similar situation.





As to training, just join your local NAVHDA chapter and the folks there will happily train you how to train - it's not rocket science, but if you've never done it, it is helpful to have hands-on assistance from experienced people. Owning a bird dog isn't cheap in terms of time and money if you do right by the dog, but it's simply the best thing in the world. You'll wonder how you ever lived without one. I guarantee it!
Link Posted: 8/20/2013 8:04:38 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Birddogman:
This is not to say that the other breeds are bad, but I can say that Britttanys are great dogs in every respect – I’ve had them all my life.

No matter how much you hunt (being retired, I hunt only on days that end in a “y” ) a bird dog will spend more time being a pet than actually hunting. To the extent that one can generalize (each dog is an individual just like people), they are gentle, loving and devoted companions and pets who will come to understand your every mood and feeling and who want to do whatever it is that you are doing each day. They are safe around children and not “sharp” with other critters (my neighbor has chickens and turkeys) unless you teach them to be (mine are trained to kill varmints like groundhogs).

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Family%20Photos/2006-8-27-007-EmmaMaggieandChase.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Critters/RainyDayCritters-10-24-05-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/My%20Home%20Town%202010/1-27-10-HomeOffice.jpg

They are intelligent and bidable – they live to please you. Those two characteristics are the most important ingredients of a good bird dog, IMO. I have had males and females and find no difference between them in terms of personality or hunting ability. Gently teach them commands for what you want them to do so they understand and then they will do whatever you want – even jump off a cliff if you just ask, so you must be responsible for them and careful what you ask.

I’ve never had a Brit without a strong prey drive. In the field they are tireless, smart hunters. If you let them learn how to hunt and don’t constantly hack them, they will do things like: wait quietly with you and help watch for incoming doves or ducks when you are pass shooting; quarter back and forth like windshield wipers in heavy cover; hunt from cover to cover where there are open areas; range a half mile out when in the vast high plains of the west and stick close in the tangled hell of the local ruffed grouse woods. They will break out of a thick row, run to the end and come back toward you to pin a running pheasant; carefully approach a jumpy prairie grouse on the back side of a hill like a cat stalking, etc, etc.

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/9-5-12-Chasescanningtheskies.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/9-14-12-Maggielookingovermeadow.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/11-12-12-MaggieandChaseafield-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2013%20Hunting/3-29-13-LastHunt-Maggieatwork-3_zps2c6d5adc.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202008/6thDay-2008-Maggieworkingridge.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/12-12-12-Chaselookingoutoverthemountain.jpg

You will get stylish points:

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/1-3-12-ClassicpointbyChase.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202009/Dakota-2009-10-6-09-MaggiesPoint.jpg

They will honor one another’s points:

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/3-9-12-ChasepointMaggiehonor-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202009/Dakota-2009-10-6-09-MaggiePoint-Cha.jpg

They are tenacious retrievers from land and water who simply won’t give up until they have tracked down that wounded running bird and laid it in your hand.

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2013%20Hunting/3-27-13-ChaseRetrieve-Artsy_zps58a14820.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202009/Dakota-2009-10-6-09-ChasesRetrei-2.jpg

They will kill birds for you, east and west:

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202008/3rdDay-2008-HammergunChickens-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/10-24-12-Cockbirdonfence-2.jpg

The only real downside (if you can call it that) of Brittanys is that they are not for sedentary or lazy owners. They are meant for an active outdooorsman. On each and every day when they are not hunting, they will want to run hard off lead for a goodly distance – this keeps them (and you) in shape both mentally and physically. You can’t (in the sense that it’s wrong for the dogs and for you) just feed them and ignore them like you can, say, with an out of shape Lab. They want and need attention, interaction with you and lots of exercise. They will repay you one hundred-fold.

I’m lucky in that I live way back in the woods in the middle of a decent chunk of my own land and I can run my dogs (or hunt) by just walking out my front door. There is water on the place to keep them cool in the summer. It sounds like you have a similar situation.

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Dog%20Romps%202010%20-/7-6-13-Chaseswimmingwithball_zpsb4c03754.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Dog%20Romps%202010%20-/5-25-13-Maggieinthebrook_zps08aed06d.jpg

As to training, just join your local NAVHDA chapter and the folks there will happily train you how to train - it's not rocket science, but if you've never done it, it is helpful to have hands-on assistance from experienced people. Owning a bird dog isn't cheap in terms of time and money if you do right by the dog, but it's simply the best thing in the world. You'll wonder how you ever lived without one. I guarantee it!
View Quote


very nice, beautiful pictures. great looking dogs. thanks for all the great information!
Link Posted: 8/20/2013 7:01:01 PM EST
Don't have much to ad. Brittanies are great dogs. Never owned one myself, but a hunting partner did.

I did own 7 English Setters over the years, and now have my 2nd Choc Lab. Both are great breeds also. The only thing so far in this thread I'd disagree with is choice of gender. The 7 Setters I owned were 5 females and 2 males.... both Labs are females. 4 of those 5 female Setters were much better hunters than the males... unless you wanted to spend all day just hunting for your hunting dog. Males can be, and usually are, "big" runners. I've seen this in several other breeds that friends' owned. German Shorthairs are another breed where females were better choices than males when it came to taking readily to training.... and hunting in the same county as you.

And I assume you'll be keeping your dog in the house too. Females have their issues with being "in heat"... but a female will never lift it's leg on your sofa or pee on your wife's slippers.
Link Posted: 8/21/2013 3:12:00 PM EST
OP this may interest you. You can see a bunch of Brittanies work and talk to some great breeders/ trainers.

There is a Brittany grouse trial at Kilkenny (White Mt. Natl. Forest, NH), Sept. 28th and 29th.

http://clubs.akc.org/brit/Calendar/2013Fall.htm
Link Posted: 8/22/2013 5:22:25 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By beardog30:
OP this may interest you. You can see a bunch of Brittanies work and talk to some great breeders/ trainers.

There is a Brittany grouse trial at Kilkenny (White Mt. Natl. Forest, NH), Sept. 28th and 29th.

http://clubs.akc.org/brit/Calendar/2013Fall.htm
View Quote


nice! thanks
Link Posted: 8/27/2013 3:45:35 PM EST
i looked at the brits about 28 years ago. Many friends had them i just didn't like the long hair with brushing them out and ticks to hide in the hair.

I use GSP's great breed but need to be excised daily.
Link Posted: 9/3/2013 8:35:46 AM EST
Everything you heard has been close to my experience with brittanies. I have 2 females and they are very smart, friendly and will crash brush without blinking an eye. My oldest brit, 10, is my best bird dog but she is also independent and runs big when the terrain allows, she closes up real nice in the grouse woods though. My younger one, 4, works closer and retrives reliably whether its ducks from water or chasing down a wounded bird.

One comment i cant stress enough is allowing the dogs to work and figure things out on their own to build confidence and experience. Do not over handle, i still have to remind myself of this. I dont how many times my dogs have made a fool of me because i just knew that i killed a bird in a patch of grass only to have the dog run off 100 yards in a different direction and pin down a wounded rooster. :)
Link Posted: 9/3/2013 8:50:32 AM EST
As a setter owner, I'd like to stress one point. All of the bird dogs are the equivalent of doggie Olympic athletes. The exercise requirement is insane compared to other dog types.

That said, I love my setter.

BUT while brushing burrs out of his coat for 45 minutes this weekend I was wishing he were a Vizla....
Link Posted: 10/20/2013 10:18:01 PM EST
As always, fantastic photos!! I love looking through your threads. Thanks.
Link Posted: 11/1/2013 12:32:30 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By bankfraudguy:
BUT while brushing burrs out of his coat for 45 minutes this weekend I was wishing he were a Vizla....
View Quote



That right there is why I picked a pretty flat coated GWP. She is nearly maintenance free, no brushing or routine grooming seems to be needed. Burs come right out with a steel comb. A buddy has a brit and she is a fantastic bird dog, but damn he spends a lot of time after the hunt cleaning her up. Mine might get a quick bath if she got into something smelly, otherwise she is good to go.
Link Posted: 12/14/2013 8:34:55 AM EST


This one is just a pup but showing promise. Love setters just not the clean up.
Link Posted: 12/14/2013 9:31:49 AM EST
Lab/Flat Coated Retriever mix.. Mines 75/25 and needed no retriever training, or any real training of any kind..Slightly richer coat, lighter weight, good swimmer. 2.5 yrs old and has only chewed up one shoe when she was a pup.




Link Posted: 12/14/2013 9:56:23 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Birddogman:
This is not to say that the other breeds are bad, but I can say that Britttanys are great dogs in every respect – I’ve had them all my life.

No matter how much you hunt (being retired, I hunt only on days that end in a “y” ) a bird dog will spend more time being a pet than actually hunting. To the extent that one can generalize (each dog is an individual just like people), they are gentle, loving and devoted companions and pets who will come to understand your every mood and feeling and who want to do whatever it is that you are doing each day. They are safe around children and not “sharp” with other critters (my neighbor has chickens and turkeys) unless you teach them to be (mine are trained to kill varmints like groundhogs).

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Family%20Photos/2006-8-27-007-EmmaMaggieandChase.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Critters/RainyDayCritters-10-24-05-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/My%20Home%20Town%202010/1-27-10-HomeOffice.jpg

They are intelligent and bidable – they live to please you. Those two characteristics are the most important ingredients of a good bird dog, IMO. I have had males and females and find no difference between them in terms of personality or hunting ability. Gently teach them commands for what you want them to do so they understand and then they will do whatever you want – even jump off a cliff if you just ask, so you must be responsible for them and careful what you ask.

I’ve never had a Brit without a strong prey drive. In the field they are tireless, smart hunters. If you let them learn how to hunt and don’t constantly hack them, they will do things like: wait quietly with you and help watch for incoming doves or ducks when you are pass shooting; quarter back and forth like windshield wipers in heavy cover; hunt from cover to cover where there are open areas; range a half mile out when in the vast high plains of the west and stick close in the tangled hell of the local ruffed grouse woods. They will break out of a thick row, run to the end and come back toward you to pin a running pheasant; carefully approach a jumpy prairie grouse on the back side of a hill like a cat stalking, etc, etc.

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/9-5-12-Chasescanningtheskies.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/9-14-12-Maggielookingovermeadow.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/11-12-12-MaggieandChaseafield-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2013%20Hunting/3-29-13-LastHunt-Maggieatwork-3_zps2c6d5adc.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202008/6thDay-2008-Maggieworkingridge.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/12-12-12-Chaselookingoutoverthemountain.jpg

You will get stylish points:

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/1-3-12-ClassicpointbyChase.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202009/Dakota-2009-10-6-09-MaggiesPoint.jpg

They will honor one another’s points:

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/3-9-12-ChasepointMaggiehonor-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202009/Dakota-2009-10-6-09-MaggiePoint-Cha.jpg

They are tenacious retrievers from land and water who simply won’t give up until they have tracked down that wounded running bird and laid it in your hand.

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2013%20Hunting/3-27-13-ChaseRetrieve-Artsy_zps58a14820.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202009/Dakota-2009-10-6-09-ChasesRetrei-2.jpg

They will kill birds for you, east and west:

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/South%20Dakota%202008/3rdDay-2008-HammergunChickens-2.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/1-2012%20Hunting/10-24-12-Cockbirdonfence-2.jpg

The only real downside (if you can call it that) of Brittanys is that they are not for sedentary or lazy owners. They are meant for an active outdooorsman. On each and every day when they are not hunting, they will want to run hard off lead for a goodly distance – this keeps them (and you) in shape both mentally and physically. You can’t (in the sense that it’s wrong for the dogs and for you) just feed them and ignore them like you can, say, with an out of shape Lab. They want and need attention, interaction with you and lots of exercise. They will repay you one hundred-fold.

I’m lucky in that I live way back in the woods in the middle of a decent chunk of my own land and I can run my dogs (or hunt) by just walking out my front door. There is water on the place to keep them cool in the summer. It sounds like you have a similar situation.

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Dog%20Romps%202010%20-/7-6-13-Chaseswimmingwithball_zpsb4c03754.jpg

http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/Birddogman_photos/Dog%20Romps%202010%20-/5-25-13-Maggieinthebrook_zps08aed06d.jpg

As to training, just join your local NAVHDA chapter and the folks there will happily train you how to train - it's not rocket science, but if you've never done it, it is helpful to have hands-on assistance from experienced people. Owning a bird dog isn't cheap in terms of time and money if you do right by the dog, but it's simply the best thing in the world. You'll wonder how you ever lived without one. I guarantee it!
View Quote



Beautiful dogs! Are you out in Chester County? You look like you're in my back yard... I'm a Lab guy but can't argue Brittany for birds... I'm thinking of adding a German Shorthair to the crew shortly. To the OP Labs make great bird dogs as do German's...
Link Posted: 3/27/2015 3:44:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/27/2015 3:46:27 PM EST by JohnKimble]
This dog can do anything but not shed. Unquestionably a top 5 smartest dog breed. Specifically bred as a bird dog, exceptional in water and the best friendly family dog of all time.
I like the males because they tend to listen better as they age.
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