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Thread: Requirements in a Stalking dog

  1. #1

    Requirements in a Stalking dog

    I have kept back a puppy from my litter of labs (picked by my wife originally for rough shooting) and I am toying with the idea of training her as a stalking companion. I have read a couple of books on the subject but before I start training just wondered what you guys that have dogs, require of the finished article.

    I may ask some more questions as the thread progresses but for now would appreciate your thoughts on how I shoud progress.

    Just had a thought - is the fact she's yellow a handicap?

  2. #2
    I expect a deer dog to have basic obedience, sit,stay,walk to heal.
    The dog needs to be able to track at a steady pace on a long lead a trail at least 24 hours old.
    A Lab size dog should be able to pull down a roe ,fallow doe, fallow fawn if its not possible to get a shot at the wounded deer.
    The colour of the dog is immaterial.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply, this is along the lines I was thinking.

    I meant would her colour make her too conspicuous? not that it would affect her ability

  4. #4
    They say a good dog is never the wrong colour!!


  5. #5
    The consensus for wildfowling dogs is that a yellow blends in far more than a black. Much less contrast with the surroundings. Look at an old photo of a stalking party...the guy in the soggy Barbour (almost black when wet) sticks out far more than the guy in the light coloured tweeds.

    I don't know if you're in the Highlands, but come here after the heather has finished and most of the countryside is the same colour as a yellow lab anyway!

  6. #6
    Not in the highlands but a fair bit of heather on my stalking ground. ok so colour no an issue

    Any more thoughts on the finished all round stalking dog?

  7. #7
    A good dog for deer stalking must be quiet no whinning and fidgeting. Patience is also a vital part of a deer dogs make up. You must have the basic sit, stay, in place before you go anywhere else.

    Colour does play a part as deer see in black and white so light coloured dogs are not the first choice for many people.

    Much depends on the dogs overall temperment. Most breeds of gundog will track deer and game. But only the right ones will become a good dog for deer stalking.

  8. #8
    Hi Stringer,

    There is a lot of rubbish spoken about colour and it comes up a lot when I train handlers. The truth is it doesn’t mater a damn what colour your dog is and I have never known it make a difference in thirty years of training deer dogs. The deer’s primary senses are smell and hearing, stay clear of these and you wont go far wrong, vision is primarily movement orientated. I did however have a guy many years ago lose all faith in his HPR over time because some ‘expert’ kept telling him that it had far too much white to ever be any use with deer. The dog ended up re-homed and not surprisingly with a new handler, not prone to wives tales , he excelled, which incidentally he was always going to do even if he had been pink and yellow stripes, Dave’s comment is so true..
    Funnily enough one thought that does relates to colour and I have mentioned it in other posts is the darker the pigment in the olfactory areas the more efficient the dog at scent discrimination.
    As for what is required of the dog every one else has it covered, steadiness and motivation to work. If a dog has these then no matter what the breed, it will track.


  9. #9
    Unfortunately colour does seem to make a difference in Labs, The Chocolate colour does not seem to have anywhere near the working ability of either Black or Yellow and some have persisted with Labs of this colour but still get a much higher failure rate.

  10. #10
    I think stringer was concerned about his dog being visible to the deer not about its working ability and in that sense colour dose not matter unless you want to get close enough to club them to death and even then having had our house buck waltz past me six foot away the other night when I was stood in my garden in an white tshirt I’m not to sure it even would then,(I‘ll stick some pics of him on the site soon).
    Many choc lab owners would argue that their dogs are equal to any other colour and if there is a difference it could be down to other factors such as breeding. Chocs are not most peoples first choice so dose the working ability get developed through selective breeding to the same extent as the popular colours? probably not, they haven’t developed in line with the modern working black or yellow lab lines. What ever the reason I am sure the colour has nothing to do with it, its just a pigment.

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