Labrador bitch with gundog puppies

There are so many questions when it comes to choosing and buying gundog puppies.

For a start, which would be the right gundog breed for you? A lot depends on the sort of work you want the dog to do – for example, if you’re a wildfowler then you’re almost certainly going to choose a Labrador.

English springer puppy

Breeds like cocker spaniels and springers have their followers too. Then there are the hunt, point and retrieve breeds (HPR).

  • Even at a young age puppies will start to establish a ‘pecking’ order.
  • The independent puppy may feel intimidated by the over-excitement of his brothers and sisters, or he could be a puppy that watches and weighs things up before wading in with all fours – a thinker.
  • Puppies that don’t get involved with playtime do develop into clingy individuals when separated from the other puppies.
  • If you are looking for a puppy to compete with at a later stage, look for one that shows lots of natural ability such as hunting.
  • Try short retrieving exercises with a lightweight dummy or old sock, even at a young age.
  • Many gundog trainers like a puppy to be very bold and outgoing and in the thick of it at all times.

Finding a reputable gundog breeder and checking the puppy’s health and heritage are all part of the process.

puppy with ball

When should you start training your puppy? How young is too young? And when should it make its first foray out into the field? What can you expect?

If you’re considering breeding from your own dog we’ve plenty of advice on that subject at well.

Finally, we’ve a useful guide to gundog terminology here, so you’re familiar with all the right words.

breeding cocker spaniels puppies

Breeding cocker spaniels: here’s what’s really involved

The reality of breeding cocker spaniels My phone buzzed in my pocket with an incoming WhatsApp from my wife, Clare. Her message simply read “Deed is done”. The short missive was accompanied by two photos. In both, the low mist-shrouded fields of a Lincolnshire landscape filled the background. In the…

Feeding puppies

One of the most confusing issues when bringing home a new gundog puppy is what to feed and how often to feed the new arrival, but in truth to ensure a healthy strong pup proper feeding should have started weeks before the little ones even take their first breath. Energy…

crate training a puppy

Crate training a puppy – how to do it right

Q: We are due to get a new cocker pup and it will be living indoors. We have been advised that crate training a puppy is the right way to proceed. What do you think?  A: A crate is a good idea for any dog, but it should be introduced…

dog training with a whistle

Dog training with a whistle: some frequently asked questions

Dog training with a whistle means you don’t have to shout yourself hoarse when you’re teaching your hound how to behave. (Read how to teach reliable dog recall.) Having a whistle in your pocket is a useful tool and of course different blows on the whistle can mean all sorts…

gundog puppies

Socialising puppies – top tips from a vet

Q: I am a first time breeder and mindful of all the negative comments about the temperament of ‘Covid puppies’. How can I ensure my kennelled bitch will produce well socialised offspring? What can you advise me about socialising puppies? (Read how to use a slip lead correctly.)  Socialising puppies…

feeding puppies

Feeding puppies: top five tips for keeping them healthy

Feeding puppies and gundogs Taken from Charlie’s notebook, these are the top five tips from Skinner’s for keeping your gundog healthy: (Read more about feeding a dog here.) Feed a nutritionally complete diet. Regularly assess your dog’s weight, preferably by using weighing scales. For dogs working in the colder weather,…

gundog puppies

Dog theft to become criminal offence

A new law that imposes severe measures for those found guilty of stealing pets has been announced today, 3rd September. Pet abduction will become a new criminal offence as the Government follows the recommendations made by its Pet Theft Taskforce, which was formed in May 2021. The law will recognise…

black Labrador puppy

Worming working dogs – here’s what you need to know

Responsible gundog owners know that worming working dogs regularly is part of the routine. But what about puppies? I recently received this query from a gundog puppy owner. (Read our tips here on choosing a gundog puppy from a litter.) Q: I have heard of young puppies dying after they…

black Labrador puppy

Checking up on a pedigree

Q: I am doubtful of the pedigree details of some Labrador puppies I have been offered. Pedigrees are widely available online and provide information for those who can simply make up a pedigree — and often the buyer is none the wiser. So how can I verify what I think…

black Labrador puppy

Which gundog puppy will be pick of the litter?

Q: How do I going about choosing a puppy from the litter? I’m planning on breeding gundog puppies from my bitch this spring. She’s five years old and I only want to have one litter from her, but because she has been such a good shooting gundog I want to…

Puppy crate training

How to sell your gundog puppies responsibly and safely during a pandemic

Gundog puppies are always sought after as they come from popular breeds and tend to have sociable natures.  At the moment, demand is higher than ever. So how can you ensure that yours go to the right homes and that you are protecting yourself and the youngsters from the wrong…

gundog puppies

What’s the real cost of buying a dog?

If you're about to buy a dog, take a moment to consider the wider costs of ownership. Paul Rawlings does some basic sums to provide an idea of what it could cost in both time and money

black Labrador puppy

How to choose a gundog puppy

Which breed? First of all, you need to decide which gundog breed will suit your shooting needs and also your life. When choosing a gundog puppy breed remember that most gundogs are only out in the field for three or four months a year. So how are you going to…