Gundogs are one of the most popular dogs breed groups. The history of gun dog breeds is ancient. They were used by ancient people for hunting and protecting personal properties. Later the term ‘Gun Dog” came during World War-I. Both the world wars gun dogs were extensively used in war fields. German forces used more than 200,000 gun dogs on the battlefield.
Most Common Gun Dog Breeds
Gun dogs are amiable, intelligent, and obedient. They are so courageous that they can move to an unknown place without fear. They can be an excellent family dogs and protect your house and property. They can also be kept as companion animals and walking or tracking companions. There are several gun dog breeds, but all are not equally popular. In my article, I shall briefly describe the world’s most common gun dog breeds.
1. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever does not come from Labrador but from Newfoundland, Canada, where it was used to help anglers land their nets. The dogs are thought to have originated in Devon, England, and taken to North America by fishermen. The dog is a first-class gundog, and fine swimmer and idly combines the role of pet and sporting companion.
2. Golden Retriever
Some dog breeds owe their existence to the dedicated work of one individual, and such is the case with the Golden Retriever. Lord Tweedmouth, from the Scottish highlands, was responsible for developing the breed from retriever/spaniel stock in the 1850s. The dog perfectly combines the roles of sportsman’s companion and family pet, an excellent gundog, sound temperament, and gentle with children.
3. Curly-coated Retriever
Everything about the Curly-coated Retriever points to the Irish Water Spaniel or the Standard Poodle contributing to its ancestry. The Labrador Retriever also played some part in producing this fine breed. The dog has an excellent nose and good memory. It is a better guard than other retrievers, while a little anti-social with its canine colleagues in the shooting.
4. Flat-coated Retriever
Once known as the Wavy-coated Retriever, the breed has evolved from the Labrador Retriever and spaniels. Collie blood was likely introduced to produce the flat coat. The flat-coat is excellent at picking up the game, and it is an excellent wildfowler and water dog. It is loyal and affectionate, and although it can be kept as a pet, most flat-coats are maintained for the job for which the breed was initially bred, and they are happiest when doing this.
5. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The ancestry of the dog is less obscure than that of many breeds. Indeed, its origins can be pinpointed to 1807, when an English brig was shipwrecked off the coast of Maryland. Until fairly recently, the dog was kept strictly as a sporting dog. However, Chesapeake Bay Retriever is now finding its way into the family home and becoming a contender in the show ring. The dog is good-natured and does well in field trials.
6. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
The dog originated in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. It is believed to be of the Chesapeake Bay and Golden Retriever stock. They are quiet and easy to train. It needs regular grooming with a bristle brush and comb. Like many gundogs, it makes a good pet provided plenty of exercises.
7. Gun Dog Breeds: Clumber Spaniel
The Clumber is the heaviest spaniel dog, with the Basset and the now extinct Alpine Spaniel in its ancestry. It is a reliable show, but sure dog mainly confined to country areas where it excels in flushing game over rough ground and as a retriever. The dog is of good temperament and may be kept as a pet, but its ideal role is as a working gundog in the countryside.
8. American Cocker Spaniel
The name of the American Cocker Spaniel is derived from the propensity of the English Cockers for “cocking”, or hunting woodcock. It is a practical, all-purpose gundog that can flush out and retrieve. It has a much thicker coat than the English Cocker and elegant trousers. It is a famous show dog, makes a fine housepet, and is usually good with children.
9. English Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel is also called the Merry Cocker because of its wagging tail. English Cocker Spaniel originated in Spain, and it is a gentle and popular pet and a first-class gundog, which is able both to flush out and retrieve. They need careful brushing and combing every day, and immense care must be taken to dislodge any mud that may have become caked in its paws or its ears.
10. Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh Springer Spaniel, or its forerunner, is mentioned in the earliest records of the Laws of Wales, dating back to about 1300. This loyal and hard-working gundog is between the Eglish Cocker Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel in size. It is a good swimmer, has an excellent nose, and combines the role of the family dog and sportsman’s companion, provided the need for exercise is met.
11. English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer is one of the oldest of the British spaniels, except the Clumber. The dog is an intelligent, loyal, and popular gundog that makes a reliable housepet and is good with children. The breed needs plenty of exercises, daily brushing, and regular checks to ensure that mud does not become lodged in its paws or ears.
12. Irish Water Spaniel
Documentary evidence for water dogs traces back to AD 17, and water spaniels have been known in Ireland for more than a millennium. The dog is thought to have developed through crosses with Poodles and Curly-coated Retrievers. It is a brave, loving, and intelligent animal.
13. Sussex Spaniel
Once popular with farmers, Sussex Spaniels have been known in the county of Sussex in southern England for around two centuries. The breed was originated by a Mr. Fuller of Rosehill, Sussex, in 1795. The dog is a working Spaniel with an excellent nose and makes an ideal country dog.
14. Gun Dog Breeds: Field Spaniel
The Field Spaniel has the exact origin as the Cocker Spaniel, being, in effect, a larger version of it, and early litters sometimes contained both. The dog has an equable temperament and makes a good household pet and gundog. Like other spaniels, it thrives on plenty of exercises and needs to be brushed and combed every day, ensuring that its coat does not become matted.
15. English Setter
The English Setter admirably combines the role of family pet and sportsman’s dog. The dog is loyal and affectionate. It is good with children, can live as one of the family or outdoors, and needs only daily brushing with a stiff brush and a steel comb. Strategy hairs must be removed before the exhibition.
16. Gun Dog Breeds: Gordon Setter
The Gordon is a tireless worker, able to withstand the heat of grouse shooting in the height of summer better than other setters, and able to work without water for longer. It will combine the role of gundog admirably with that of a family pet, and it is a better watchdog than other setters.
17. Irish Setter
While undoubtedly having hunting ability, this breed is widely sought as a popular and loving family pet. Irish Terrier is good with children and other pets and has a particular affinity with horses. The Irish Setter has boundless energy and, therefore, needs plenty of exercises, as well as daily brushing.
18. Irish Red and White Setter
The Irish Red and White Setter evolved from spaniels, probably red and white spaniels, brought to Ireland from France and crossed with pointers, and by the 18th century, Red and White Setters were being bred to type. It is a happy, good-natured, and affectionate dog that admirably combines the role of sportsman’s dog and family pet.
19. Gun Dog Breeds: Brittany
The Brittany, formerly known as the Brittany Spaniel, is the only spaniel in the world that points to the game. The dog has high energy, intelligence, and great affection for its family. It is a fine woodcock dog and will also retrieve wildfowl.
20. Gun Dog Breeds: Pointer
The Pointer is a famous show dog and admirably combines the sportsman’s companion and family pet roles. The Pointer is famed for its classic stance, pointing with nose and tail in the game’s direction like the setters. Pointer dog is thought by many to have originated in Spain.
21. German Short-haired Pointer
The dog is of Spanish origin, probably derived by crossing the Spanish Pointer with a scenthound to produce a versatile gundog that would point and trail. It is a powerful, strong, and versatile hunting dog. German Short-haired Pointer is equally at home on land or in the water and excellent at working wildfowl and most game.
22. German Wire-haired Pointer
The dog is very similar to the German Short-haired Pointer, except in coat, and the latter had a hand in the Wire-haired’s make-up, as did the Wire-haired Pointing Griffon and the Stichelhaar, as well as the Airedale Terrier. Although it can adapt to the role of household pet, the Wire-haired has had certain aggressive qualities bred into it and is best kept purely as a hunting dog.
23. Gun Dog Breeds: Weimaraner
The Weimaraner, or Silver Ghost, bears a striking resemblance to a painting by Van Dyck circa 1631. The dog is good-natured and distinctive, with a metallic silver-gray coat and amber or blue-gray eyes. It excels in obedience and agility and makes a good pet, provided that it has an outlet for its keen intelligence.
24. Hungarian Vizsla
The Hungarian Vizsla is the national hunting dog of Hungary. This smooth-haired setter was bred on the central Hungarian plain, the habitat of a wide variety of game. The Vizsla is a versatile, easily trained gundog that makes a first-class pet and is good with children.
25. Gun Dog Breeds: Kooikerhondje
Kooikerhondje dog breed is also known as the Kooiker Dog or Duck-decoy Dog. It is a fairly old breed, native to the Netherlands, whose job was to draw ducks out of their cover by walking in and out of low reed fences by the banks of a dyke covered with netting. When the ducks were investigated, the dyke was closed. It is an intelligent companion dog that is lively but not over-excitable.
26. Italian Spinone
The Italian Spaniel is an ancient gundog breed. It needs plenty of vigorous exercises, is a fine swimmer, and is best suited to country life. It is affectionate, agreeable, and loyal; the Italian Spinone has a soft mouth and will both point and retrieve.
27. Gun Dog Breeds: Munsterlander
Munsterlanders combines the best qualities of the setter and spaniel, having the setter’s build and the spaniel’s head. They are energetic and so need plenty of exercise and daily brushing. They are loyal and trustworthy dogs that admirably fulfill the sportsman’s companion and family pet roles.
Final Talk on Gun Dog Breeds
Gun dog breeds are not only used on the battlefield but also for many other purposes. The dogs are used in police, security forces, herding, companion, tracking, and family dogs. The dogs are incredibly obedient and intelligent. They are becoming popular day by day.