Labrador Retriever Dog

Sporting Dogs

Sporting Dogs: Sporting Dogs is the term and classification used by kennel clubs and dog breeders to specify the group of dogs that were originally bred to work with hunters based on the type of work they were bred to perform i.e. retrieving, pointing and flushing game. Before the introduction of firearms a hunter would work with his dog  who helped them by locating and chasing game. Sporting Dogs hunt by air scent, as opposed to hunting by ground scent used by the slower dogs categorised as being in the Hound Dog category. The use of guns changed hunting methods.

Hunters wanted faster, more agile dogs that could keep up with the rapid style of downing birds with guns, often just for sport, leading to the emergence of the 'Sporting dogs'. The Sporting Dogs originated in the United Kingdom where their quarry was primarily game birds, such as pheasant, duck, quail, woodcock pigeons, grouse, geese and partridge. As bird shooting became popular the Sporting Dogs were exported to the United States and other new sporting breeds were developed which generally, and fondly, referred to as Bird Dogs

Hunting Styles of Sporting Dogs: Sporting Dog breeds include Retrievers, Pointers, Setters and Spaniels. The methods performed by the 'Retrievers' was to find and return killed game to the hunter. The Spaniels flushed out birds. The hunting method of the 'Pointers'  was to stand rigidly still in front of their quarry directing (or pointing) the hunter to the bird or waterfowl. The hunting method of the 'Setter' was to set down, or crouch, in front of their quarry, preventing their escape.

The Advent of Sporting Dogs and the Introduction of the Gun: The history of the hunting changed with the introduction of the gun. Old hunting methods involving falconry, old weapons and the use of nets fell into rapid decline.  In the 1770 new, faster loading firearms such as rifles and shotguns were introduced. Firearms improved and 'wing shooting' became a popular sport in the estates of the gentry (In wing shooting, game birds were shot, whilst they were in flight). The Sporting dogs needed to be quick to keep up with speed of the sportsmen and needed the agility to cover broader grounds to find the scattered birds.

List of Sporting Dog Breeds: The role of the Sporting dogs included flushing or startling birds from their cover, locating and pointing to quarry and retrieving waterfowl and game birds that had been shot. The breeds that successfully adapted to the role and have been designated as Sporting Dogs by the American Kennel Club (AKC) include the  American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Setter,  Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Lagotto Romagnolo, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Pointer, Spinone Italiano, Sussex Spaniel, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and the Wirehaired Vizsla. 

Sporting Dogs - American Water Spaniel: The medium size, eager, responsive American Water Spaniel is used to flush birds, small game and waterfowl.

Sporting Dogs - Boykin Spaniel: The medium size, eager, Boykin Spaniel is one of the Sporting Dogs used as a Retriever in hunts for bird such as quail, grouse, pheasant or quail.

Sporting Dogs - Brittany: The medium size, nimble, adaptable Brittany Spaniel is used as both a Pointer and Retriever,

Sporting Dogs - Chesapeake Bay Retriever: The protective, resilient Chesapeake Bay Retriever is used as a water retriever.

Sporting Dogs - Clumber Spaniel: The big, faithful Clumber Spaniel belongs is used as a Bird Flusher and retriever.

Sporting Dogs - Cocker Spaniel: The medium size, intelligent, Cocker Spaniel (English) is a one of the Sporting Dogs used to hunt bird and small game.

Sporting Dogs - Curly Coated Retriever: The big, lively, independent Curly Coated Retriever is used as a Retriever, Watchdog and Gundog.

Sporting Dogs - English Setter: The big,  sociable, sweet-tempered, sporting English Setter is used as a Bird setter and retriever.

Sporting Dogs - English Springer Spaniel: The medium size, eager, sweet-tempered English Springer Spaniel is used as a Bird flusher, retriever and Gundog.

Sporting Dogs - Field Spaniel: The medium size, docile, adaptable Field Spaniel is is a one of the Sporting Dogs and used as a Bird Flusher, retriever and Gundog.

Sporting Dogs - Flat Coated Retriever: The self-assured Flat Coated Retriever belongs to the Sporting Group (AKC:1909) and used as a water retriever.

Sporting Dogs - German Shorthaired Pointer: The medium to large size, lively, bold German Shorthaired Pointer belongs to the Working Dog Group and used as a pointer for bird and small animals.

Sporting Dogs - German Wirehaired Pointer: The medium size, active, responsive, sporting German Wirehaired Pointer is used as a pointer for birds and small animals.

Sporting Dogs - Golden Retriever: The medium to large size, trustworthy, self-assured Golden Retriever is used as a Retriever and Gun Dog for small animals.

Sporting Dogs - Gordon Setter: The big, eager, fearless, sporting Gordon Setter is used as a Gun Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Irish Setter: The big, eager, independent Irish Setter is used as a Gun Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Irish Water Spaniel: The medium size, inquisitive, active Irish Water Spaniel is is a one of the Sporting Dogs used as a Gun Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Labrador Retriever: The medium size, friendly,  out-going Labrador Retriever is used as a Gun and Bird Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Lagotto Romagnolo: The medium size, eager, active Lagotto Romagnolo is used as a Truffle Hunter.

Sporting Dogs - Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever: The medium size, eager Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is one of the Sporting Dogs used as a water retriever.

Sporting Dogs - Pointer: The medium size, active, sporting Pointer is used as a Gun and Bird Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Spinone Italiano: The medium size, patient Spinone Italiano is used as a Gun Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Sussex Spaniel: The medium size, sociable, calm Sussex Spaniel belongs to the Sporting Group  and used as a Bird Flusher and retriever.

Sporting Dogs - Vizsla: The medium size, eager, protective Vizsla is a one of the Sporting Dogs and used as a Gun and Bird Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Weimaraner: The medium to big size, eager Weimaraner is used as a Gun Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Welsh Springer Spaniel: The medium size, playful, active, sporting Welsh Springer Spaniel is used as a Gun and Bird Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Wirehaired Pointing Griffon: The medium size, vigilant,  faithful Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is used as a Gun Dog.

Sporting Dogs - Wirehaired Vizsla: The big, exuberant Wirehaired Vizsla is used as a Pointer and Retriever.

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