Pointers as an all round dog?

Sundowner

Member
I cannot get my head round some of the really poor comments on this thread about Pointers
I am going to make some broad statements, therefor I will explain my reasoning and experience first.
I have kept, trained and worked dogs for 60 years, Fell terriers to Afghan hounds, Golden Retrievers to GSPs and a lot in-between.
And I have seen a lot of working dogs all over the world.
Firstly ALL mammals are born with the ability of swimming in water, it is only if frightened or badly entered that any mammal fails and that includes humans, I have yet to see a dog that doesn't swim if entered correctly.
When it comes to Pointers, do people not find it strange that water work is a major part of continental dog tests? and until the working pointer test were cancelled in the UK it was the only dog test that contained water work as mandatory, there was a nice article about it the sporting press last year.
Hard mouth yes, some pointers are hard mouthed, but so are more than a few labs, just look in a game cart at the end of a day.
I take people out wild fowling most of the winter, on most days the wildfowlers take their own dogs, normally Labs or Chesapeake's, but when there's un retrieved ducks or geese, its my GSPs that do the finding and retrieving. Yet by the very nature of my work, they are not out in the field as much as the clients dogs, so it should be their dogs that work better.
When I'm out stalking they work at heel and point deer, fox and find lost large game.
When out on Driven shoots they both sit at the peg without a problem and retrieve when asked and I could go on, but you get the picture!, they are not some sort of magic dog, they are the product of hard work and training, the same as hundreds of other good dogs.
A GSP or GWP can be a perfect all round dog, but it takes a lot more effort and understanding then a Labrador retriever.
And this is the final clincher, MOST British dog men do not have the know how or patience to successfully train a pointer to a high standard and then they make the excusers about the dogs are useless etc.
Hear hear !! Well said !!
It takes a lot of patience and time to train a gwp. But it's well worth it!! Having said that, I have a wee problem at the peg with a dog who''s dying to get in there
Now trying to get him to follow scent trails and he's 7 in September
 

243 fallow

Well-Known Member
As with all things its down to personal choice, me personly i would stick to what you know and what works best. I also have a springador and its probably the best dog i have out of the labs and springers that we have at the moment. I have found over the years that the minority dog breed owners are always going on about the attributes of their all rounder dogs but unfortunatly ive yet to come across one that does what it says on the tin. My money would be spent on a quality springador. And my dogs are better than yours !!!! lol
 

Rasputin

Well-Known Member
Nothing to add about training as I don't know enough but buy the dog you want as your best mate and are willing to put the hours in and the rest will follow. I wanted a HWV ended up with a cracking cocker. He's only ; months old but already I take him everywhere and he scents deer well and watches shot birds. Don't let him go out and retrieve yet but I don't for see any problems given how well he fetches dummies and the young hen pheasant he pointed then brought back to me alive.

I doubt he will ever sit on a peg for 100 shots like a lab will but that's not what I wanted him for. So long as he is happy and content like you imo everyone is happy.
 

levigsp

Well-Known Member
Nothing to add about training as I don't know enough but buy the dog you want as your best mate and are willing to put the hours in and the rest will follow. I wanted a HWV ended up with a cracking cocker. He's only ; months old but already I take him everywhere and he scents deer well and watches shot birds. Don't let him go out and retrieve yet but I don't for see any problems given how well he fetches dummies and the young hen pheasant he pointed then brought back to me alive.

I doubt he will ever sit on a peg for 100 shots like a lab will but that's not what I wanted him for. So long as he is happy and content like you imo everyone is happy.
Reminds me of when her indoors sent me to buy her a terrier for a house pet,
simple instructions were" Rough or broken coated, bitch, Brown"
I came home with a pure white smooth coated dog that became the best fox dog I ever owned! but we were both happy!
 

howy308

Well-Known Member
I cannot get my head round some of the really poor comments on this thread about Pointers
I am going to make some broad statements, therefor I will explain my reasoning and experience first.
I have kept, trained and worked dogs for 60 years, Fell terriers to Afghan hounds, Golden Retrievers to GSPs and a lot in-between.
And I have seen a lot of working dogs all over the world.
Firstly ALL mammals are born with the ability of swimming in water, it is only if frightened or badly entered that any mammal fails and that includes humans, I have yet to see a dog that doesn't swim if entered correctly.
When it comes to Pointers, do people not find it strange that water work is a major part of continental dog tests? and until the working pointer test were cancelled in the UK it was the only dog test that contained water work as mandatory, there was a nice article about it the sporting press last year.
Hard mouth yes, some pointers are hard mouthed, but so are more than a few labs, just look in a game cart at the end of a day.
I take people out wild fowling most of the winter, on most days the wildfowlers take their own dogs, normally Labs or Chesapeake's, but when there's un retrieved ducks or geese, its my GSPs that do the finding and retrieving. Yet by the very nature of my work, they are not out in the field as much as the clients dogs, so it should be their dogs that work better.
When I'm out stalking they work at heel and point deer, fox and find lost large game.
When out on Driven shoots they both sit at the peg without a problem and retrieve when asked and I could go on, but you get the picture!, they are not some sort of magic dog, they are the product of hard work and training, the same as hundreds of other good dogs.
A GSP or GWP can be a perfect all round dog, but it takes a lot more effort and understanding then a Labrador retriever.
And this is the final clincher, MOST British dog men do not have the know how or patience to successfully train a pointer to a high standard and then they make the excusers about the dogs are useless etc.

Well put. I have shot all over the country on the pheasants, partridge and grouse. I have shot grouse over pointers which was excellent but I can honestly say I have yet to find a pointer in the same league as a Lab. You cannot find a better dog than a lab when it comes to water. There has to be a reason why the lab and spaniels have been the top go to gun dogs for many many years. You are a lucky owner to have a soft mouthed pointer!
 

Shabz

Well-Known Member
I think it depends on your ability as a trainer/handler. To give you an idea of my level of ability I'll say this;
I have a lab and a GWP, I'm no professional dog trainer but my dogs never disappoint me and I'd be quite confident of being able to train a decent lab pup to win a field trial if I wanted to put my mind to it. I would confidently buy a Labrador puppy to train up and sell on as a fully trained working dog and I would expect top money for it.

The GWP that I have has fantastic natural ability, her brother was made up to FTCH before he was 18 months old so I could not have started with a better prospect of a good hpr. She was the hardest work dog I've ever owned. Terribly slow to mature and far too clever for her own good. With hard work and persistence I've got her to a standard that I couldn't consider above average. She loves deer stalking and it's what she's best at. She sits silently below the highseat for as many hours as you want her to. She has all the aggression she needs, is hard mouthed when she needs to be (I watched her crush a foxes skull on Friday night) and soft mouthed when she needs to be. She is however mediocre at best when it comes to bird work. She's not really interested in retrieving, she will do it because it's what I'm asking her to do it but she really isn't that interested and doesn't have any enthusiasm for it. She hunts obsessively and covers hectares of ground per minute. She naturally works the wind and doesn't miss much. That said, this isn't the sort of bird work that I do. She's utterly useless on a pheasant shoot for example because she doesn't want to hunt in a beating line and isn't particularly interested in picking up. I wouldn't change her for any dog. When both of my dogs die, I'll replace them with a single GWP and that's what I'll have for the rest of my days.

Objectively, you should always just buy a Labrador. They'll do anything and everything that you want and never give you any hassle but If you want a rewarding dog then get a GWP.
 

Scotty99

Well-Known Member
+1 for the Wirehaired Vizsla, I have two pups in training at the moment and they are both shaping up well look up Roy Bebbington online and on facebook to see some in action.
 

wildfowler.250

Well-Known Member
Really interesting reading all the replies, thanks! I suspect it will go back to stick with what you know. Would love a pointer but as everyone here has highlited, labs are easy!
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
No one debating how good well trained HPR's can be doing wot they have been bred for.

I only scanned throu the clips but never seen any tests where an HPR was sitting inside a pigeon hide with a lot of shots going off and birds landing all over the place, or down a foreshore in freezing cold and then swimming against a strong tide. Even working in a beating line.
Even on a rough shoot i found FT trained hprs to be a nightmare (normal trained hpr's were fine thou) would be ranging all over the spot even on walked up going on point behind line, (if gun had no dog or bird missed but often a false point) or far to 1 side had to stop line while he walked over to his dog

I have seen/heard of well trained dogs doing all off the above but most are only off a lab standard and often some are a lot poorer.
Even before i got my hpr i was going to FT's and training things to watch the breeds and speak to breeders/trainers etc, by and large the standard is fairly poor, some of the dogs at training things were truely shocking and even in FT's the top 3-6 dogs would be excellent but bottom dogs very poor.
If u speak honestly to an hpr owner not many haven't got an E collar and i will guarrantee no lab trainer has ever needed a prong collar to get a dog to walk to heel, yet more common than u'd think with hpr's

Seen some pretty good shooting hpr's thou over the years but it tends to depend on the indvidual dog, 2 very steady gwp's were 1st time gundogs and both crackers and almost trained themselves, but there next dogs were the oppisate and really hard work


I'm think i am relatively open minded about dogs and don't really have a favourite breed and try and judge dogs/breeds as i find them.
Pigeon hide work or wildfowling are not strong points of any hpr breed, yes u could train some dogs to do it to an average standard but they will take an extra year to mature and will take far more training to get them there.
Got a mate that now trains a few dogs for folk as a hobby now he's retired and fairly good at it too, he's had a couple of hpr's in over the years but flat refuses them now, just too much work

I think u have made the sensible decision, i've no doubt if u picked a steadier indivdual hpr u would get it to do wot u want, but if u pickd a livlier/'hotter' litter mate u woud probably really struggle

But good trainer do always tend to have good dogs no matter wot breed u have, but i think with tan hpr u need to be a bit luckier picking the pup.
 

sinbad

Well-Known Member
I think it depends on your ability as a trainer/handler. To give you an idea of my level of ability I'll say this;
I have a lab and a GWP, I'm no professional dog trainer but my dogs never disappoint me and I'd be quite confident of being able to train a decent lab pup to win a field trial if I wanted to put my mind to it. I would confidently buy a Labrador puppy to train up and sell on as a fully trained working dog and I would expect top money for it.

The GWP that I have has fantastic natural ability, her brother was made up to FTCH before he was 18 months old so I could not have started with a better prospect of a good hpr. She was the hardest work dog I've ever owned. Terribly slow to mature and far too clever for her own good. With hard work and persistence I've got her to a standard that I couldn't consider above average. She loves deer stalking and it's what she's best at. She sits silently below the highseat for as many hours as you want her to. She has all the aggression she needs, is hard mouthed when she needs to be (I watched her crush a foxes skull on Friday night) and soft mouthed when she needs to be. She is however mediocre at best when it comes to bird work. She's not really interested in retrieving, she will do it because it's what I'm asking her to do it but she really isn't that interested and doesn't have any enthusiasm for it. She hunts obsessively and covers hectares of ground per minute. She naturally works the wind and doesn't miss much. That said, this isn't the sort of bird work that I do. She's utterly useless on a pheasant shoot for example because she doesn't want to hunt in a beating line and isn't particularly interested in picking up. I wouldn't change her for any dog. When both of my dogs die, I'll replace them with a single GWP and that's what I'll have for the rest of my days.

Objectively, you should always just buy a Labrador. They'll do anything and everything that you want and never give you any hassle but If you want a rewarding dog then get a GWP.
well said Shabz
My GWP is 6yrs old now, and ive got to say he was a joy to train, i was lucky in the fact that his natural ability made training relatively easy, he is used for pretty much everything shooting, Deer, duck, pheasant, fox, and has been known to assist the terriers when ratting around the pens.
he still collects duck eggs off the river without breaking any during the spring, so is selective how hard he bites down. he will retrieve 1 or 2 pigeons from a hide but hates the feathers, he also points woodcock but has decided he doesnt like retrieving them as of last year.
he is not perfect by any means, but he is the perfect companion for me.
 

stubear

Well-Known Member
Some really interesting comments here!

I'm looking to get a dog at some point, both as a deer dog and as a retriever for wildfowling/rough shooting - Does anyone have any experience with springadors?

I do like labs a lot, but a mate has a springador and he is a lovely dog which has definitely made me look at them.
 

jimmy milnes

Well-Known Member
Like any x breed if you get the best traits of both breeds all well and good
If you get the worst traits of both breeds oh dear me, !!! You've some grief to come.
 

howy308

Well-Known Member
I do like labs a lot, but a mate has a springador and he is a lovely dog which has definitely made me look at them.[/QUOTE]


It has taken a hundred years to perfect breeds and then they start mixing them what is all that about. All of the mixed breeds are just fads and are just mongrels with an expensive price tag. If you are after a working dog read up on the breeds and purchase the one that you may think suits you and your lifestyle. Not a fan of the mixed breeds.
 

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