Good Bird Dog


August 10, 2007, 01:29 PM
What do you guys use for your bird dogs . I am looking into getting one for bird hunting , up land , and also some duck hunting . I would love a dog that would point . Don't laugh too hard but I was thinking about a standard poodle . Any thoughts .

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August 10, 2007, 01:35 PM
Don't laugh too hard but I was thinking about a standard poodle

Im laughing because my German Shepherd was a great bird dog. He liked loud noises, listened well, would not run off too far, and would fetch just about anything. Just goes to show that you can teach a GSD just about anything. Standard Poodles are extremely intelligent, so you may very well be able to teach it to be a bird dog. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but hey

August 10, 2007, 01:37 PM
Any of the dogs listed on this page have potential. This page has pictures and basic descriptions of the VHD breeds.

Sounds like you're looking for a Versatile Hunting Dog -- one that points and retrieves on land and in the water.

I think you'll have a hard time finding a field-bred poodle in the US, though some are still hunting dogs in Europe, AFAIK.

We have a Vizsla. Serious handful around the house, but a loving and fun family dog and a great versatile hunter. Not too expensive compared to a lot of the breeds on the NAVHDA list. (While I like the breeds, there's no need to scour the countryside and pay through the nose for a WHPG or a Bracco Italiano. More common dogs will work fine.:) )

HOWEVER... Don't just buy any dog. Buy from a breeder that breeds hunting/field trials dogs, not show or pet dogs! Otherwise, you're probably wasting a lot of money. Our puppy cost a grand, but his bloodline is filled with Field Champions, and every relative is OFA Good or better (no hip dysplasia). People often pay that or close to it for a gun-shy dog that's not certifiably anything but cute. We have another dog that's had about $10,000 of medical care over a few years (2 knee surgeries, among other things), so a Grand is CHEAP. Don't try to save a few hundred bucks; that's mistake.

NAVHDA is a great resource for selecting and training dogs.

August 10, 2007, 02:16 PM
Best sporting dog for multiple hunting scenarios, my father and i have had 6 of them so far, they've all done everything from pheasant duck and geese to black bear hunts, absolutely great dogs, very territorial,protect there owners to the death (literally, my last dog, god rest his soul saved my but from a 300lb, diseased, aggressive, black bear when I was 12) they're great security alarms, but they're usually very laid back and great with kids and will not bite the mail men. Of course it depends on up bringing and training, but imho these dogs are the best.They'll retrieve,point, track, or just about anything else you would want. They're tough as nails too, my fathers last dog got in a fight with two dobermans and a shepard down in Texas, it killed two of the three strays, got like 500+ stitches and still lived till he was 16. No joke. My father has had everything, setters, terriers, german short hairs, labs,gemran shepards, hounds, etc, and he's stuck with German Wire Haired pointers since his first in the 70's. My current pooch is a 7 year old wire hair from Germany. Named Zeke, got him about a year old. He's black and white vs the usual brown and white as it's more popular in Germany. He has been trained for field trials and everything else, absolutely great dog. They usually run about 85lbs or so, medium sized dog. My dog is a little beefier,large male, around 100lbs, solid muscle, but he's still very gentle when he needs to be. Absolutely great sporting dogs.

Also, agree with above post, don't skimp, get your dog from a reputable breeder who specializes in hunting and field trial dogs, My current dog cost me about $5000, I actually got a deal because I knew the breeder's friend here in the states. (keep in mind, real German dog, already trained, perfect blood lines, etc), worth every penny.

August 10, 2007, 02:28 PM
imho these dogs are the best

It's fun going to a NAVHDA meeting and hear the Vizsla/GSP debates. At the end everyone laughs and admits that the dogs are BOTH great, though of course all the other breeds suck.;)

The differences between the VHD breeds can be subtle, but might be VERY important to you. Want a quiet dog? Skip a Vizsla. Want a smaller dog? Skip a Weimaraner. Want a dog that will be really attentive and affectionate to people when not hunting? GSP might not be your best choice.

I really recommend going to a NAVHDA training day. People tend to be friendly and eager to discuss their dogs and breeds, and you can see them in action, too. Also, some dogs are easier to find in certain locales. We have several Vizsla and GSP breeders in the county, but few if any GWP's; in other places, Vizslas are rare dogs, but GWP's are relatively common.

I know a family who went to Colorado to get a Small Muensterlander, and they're not even serious bird dog people, though they are serious hunters. Great dog, but those of us on a budget can do the same things with a more common breed in our region! I also know someone who went to Italy several times to buy and train Bracco Italianos. Now she's been learning Italian. There's NO need to go that far...:D

People love their dogs and their breeds, though.

Anyway, to see a bunch of them in action, find your local NAVHDA chapter here:

Oh, and if you don't want everyone running up and wanting to pet your cute dog, don't get a GWP. Some people don't like the wirehaired look, but I love it.

Harley Quinn
August 10, 2007, 02:35 PM
I had a real good German short hair back in the 60's. She was really a great hunter and would never get to far out.

The bigger heavier dogs are not what I would want. A good one around 55 lbs, is where I'd be, nothing heavier imho...


August 10, 2007, 03:22 PM
There are pointing Labs around. My Maggie's mother pointed, but I never tried to draw that trait out of Mags, however she occasionally locks-up on a bird on her own. She turned into a great duck/goose dog & is an outstanding upland dog.

August 10, 2007, 03:27 PM
Labradors, though wonderful dogs, are a breed that has been bred indiscrimately as pets, not as hunters, around here. Sad thing, really.

If you get one, make sure you know what you're paying for. A good Lab is a GREAT dog...if you can find one.

(One of our dogs is not a hunting dog. She's a rescue and a wonderful companion and "best friend" dog. I'm all for having pet dogs. But you can get wonderful pets at the pound or on-line through rescue organizations. I am not in favor of supporting lousy "breeders" who don't breed great working dogs but do charge too much money for their poorly-bred pups. There are plenty of loving pets that need homes, available for free or a small amount at the local shelter, if you don't care about having a working dog.)

Also, people here recommended Richard Wolters' books. I've got a couple, and they have good info about SELECTING a dog before you ever buy it. Good stuff. Get one or more books on hunting dog training BEFORE you get your dog, and you will have a better idea of what you're looking for.:)

August 10, 2007, 10:13 PM
One does need to do one's homework when purchasing ANY breed for hunting, for the reason Bear posted, to avoid getting a "big running" field trial dog, etc. Seems as if I invested as much time researching before I was blessed with discovering Maggie's breeder as I did training her (not really, but checking things out in advance is important). +1 on Wolter's guidance . . .

August 11, 2007, 12:12 AM
I have heard that standard poodles were bred to be hunting dogs but what dog hasn't? ;)

I had a lab/german shorthaired mix. He was a great dog with people and a good retriever. I never hunted with him.

After he passed we got a Vizsla. He was pretty calm for a Vizsla and started off as a great dog and was a good hunter. We had to put him down at about 7 due to his temperment toward the kids that started getting bad at about 6. An issue that would have probably been solved by having him neutered at an early age.

We picked up another GSP this week. She is 15 weeks old:

August 11, 2007, 12:55 AM
What a great-looking dog!

August 11, 2007, 01:53 AM
I have a Brittany. She points, runs nicely, and fits in the car for long trips -- she's pretty small compared to these other dogs.

August 11, 2007, 02:58 AM
Nice-looking dog -- congrats! Friend back home in MT has one the same color.

August 12, 2007, 10:33 PM
One does need to do one's homework when purchasing ANY breed for hunting, for the reason Bear posted, to avoid getting a "big running" field trial dog, etc.

If one is planning on hunting upland birds (exclusively or primarily), the mistake would be NOT getting the big running dog. A boot licker has no place when chasing quail, huns, sharptails, chukars, etc. A close working dog is going to find the birds you would have found yourself, just walking along. The dog should be finding all those birds you never would have come across on your own.


August 12, 2007, 10:48 PM
Not in this country . . . I hunt pheasants, sage grouse, & waterfowl primarily, so a closer hunter works just fine for me. I've seen too many big runners in this neck of the woods that couldn't/wouldn't hold birds, but that could be a training issue as much as breeding background. I'll admit that I've never owned a pointing breed and agree they are an excellent choice for some applications, but I'll stick with Labs. I prefer flushing dogs, myself.

August 13, 2007, 11:43 AM
I'm with TaxPhd, especially here in open country. The guy who bred our Vizsla trains his dogs to zig-zag way across fields and open spaces. A dog can cover a LOT more of that kind of that kind of ground than a human, even a human in top physical condition. I don't need a dog to find, flush or retrieve the birds that would pop out in front of me anyway. Only time a close-in bird has ever been an issue was when I stuffed a shell into my 1100 magazine upside-down and wounded a quail with my first -- and for a time only -- shot. A shell belt so I can load by feel more easily is cheaper and easier to deal with than a hyperactive hunting dog.:D

HOWEVER, this illustrates the need to figure out what you really want, and take the time to educate yourself and find it.

I can't say enough good things about our local NAVHDA chapter and the people in it. I think I'll do that in a separate thread.

Harley Quinn
August 13, 2007, 12:55 PM
Your far roaming dogs are good if that is what you want. All can be trained to do what you want them to do. If you have one that is looking for sign once in awhile and you are in command that is the one you want.

English Pointers are great also, but they are real hunters to the max and most are not independant thinkers I have read. I would go for a GSP myself.

The link explains the pointer use with a retriver in game getting. The GSP is both in one I have found.

The best thing is the breeder, you have to find a breeder and see the lineage they produce and go from there IMHO...

The wire haired is one only a true admirer is going to go for I am afraid LOL...

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