Types of gundog:

Gundogs were bred to help hunters by finding and retrieving game. They tend to be energetic, with a strong sense of smell. Their loyalty and friendly nature make them ideal family pets, although they can be strong-willed and require lots of regular exercise or they may develop behavioural problems. Their intelligence and love of human companionship means they are usually very trainable, and they can be taught to respond to a number of commands if they are trained from puppyhood.

gundog dog breeds

Cocker Spaniel

This is the most popular of the spaniel family. The Cocker spaniel is an active, happy small dog, who is very adaptable.

This breed is highly intelligent and affectionate, and is in its element foraging in hedgerows and fields. These retrieving instincts are often used around the house, and can often be found with a toy or a slipper in his mouth. He originated as the 'cocking spaniel' and his name is derived from flushing woodcock. Cocker spaniels are easily trained as his main aim in life is to please his owners, and as an energetic dog, he will need plenty of exercise as well as human company.

As with a number of gundog breeds there is a difference between those that are working dogs and those which are displayed in the show ring. The show Cocker is sturdier, than the version used as a working dog, and it is one of many spaniels that are divided by their size and usefulness. This breed was first recognised separately from Field and Springer spaniels around 1873.

Curly Coated Retriever

gundog dog breeds

Curly coated retrievers were originally bred from crosses of water spaniels and varieties of retrievers, even pointers.

Having existed for 200 years, the breed was very popular as a shooting dog during the latter part of the nineteenth century; many were exported to New Zealand and Australia.

This breed has a very distinctive feature - its coat. Curly coated retrievers are covered in tight, crisp curls over its body, tail and ears. What is even more amazing is that the coat is waterproof - after a swim and a few shakes, the coat is almost dry. Known for its excellent retrieving qualities, it also combines intelligence, endurance and strength. Curly coated retrievers are both friendly and can be used as a guard dog, however, they are outdoor dogs and will need plenty of exercise.

English Setter

gundog dog breeds

This has to be one of the most glamorous of breeds - a supermodel of the dog world.

The English setter is able to attract those who admire a stylish worker, but also those who like a dog that is a happy and friendly companion.

His coat is white overall with flecks of lemon, black or liver, occasionally intermingled with tan or a tri-colour. The flecking of the coat is often referred to by the cognoscenti as 'belton', thus the name lemon belton and orange belton.

This breed was developed around the mid 1800's and was first shown at the first dog show to be held in Newcastle in 1859.

English Springer Spaniel

gundog dog breeds

Just like his cousin, the Cocker spaniel, this dog possesses a cheerful, extrovert nature, making it an excellent, energetic family dog.

The name 'Springer' comes from the use of this breed of spaniel to startle game from its cover. It is a traditional dog for the rough-shooter, capable of working tirelessly all day, whether on land or in water.

These dogs have tough, weather resistant coats, however, special care will need to be paid to its ear flaps, ensuring no foreign bodies get inside the ear. The name of this breed became official in 1900, followed by their official breed status in 1902. Prior to 1900 the English springer spaniel was known as the Norfolk spaniel.

Flat Coated Retriever

gundog dog breeds

This breed manages to maintain his puppy-like qualities for many years, making him a slow maturing dog.

Flat Coated retrievers are always happy, extrovert and eager to please, with an incessantly wagging tail. He is a tireless worker and an excellent water dog making him a natural swimmer. This breed loves the company of people and certainly isn't a breed that enjoys being kept indoors. His Houdini-like characteristics make sure he will always be reunited with his owners.

They are in their element out in the country and were at one time known as the 'gamekeepers' dog, as they were widely used on large shooting estates. The breed was stablised by the founder of the Kennel Club, Mr Sewallis Evelyn Shirley between 1873 and 1899.

German Shorthaired Pointer

gundog dog breeds

Following the end of the Second World War in 1945 there has been an influx of breeds from Europe and introduced to the UK, including the German Short-haired pointer.

The introduction of this breed has seen it gain success in both the show rings and shooting circles, becoming a Dual Champion.

Originally this breed was known collectively as bird dogs. The basis of the breed is believed to have come from Prince Albrecht zu Somsbraneufels, who owned Schweisshunds - a breed of working hounds with excellent scent for finding game, which were crossed with traditional English pointers. German short-haired pointers come in either black or liver, or both can be spotted or ticked with white. As a result this dog has a coat that is easy to keep clean - even in the worst of weathers. This breed combines stamina, grace and energy combined with the ability to be easily trained.

Golden Retriever

gundog dog breeds

This is one the most popular breed of dogs found anywhere in the world.

Originally bred, as the name suggests to - retrieve game in the shooting field, over the years the breed has taken on a variety of roles, including guide dog, as well as a much-loved family pet.

These dogs are easy to train to basic obedience, or even higher and they fun-loving and energetic. Despite the thickness of their coat retrievers are reasonably easy to keep clean.

For a long period of time there was some confusion over the origin of the breed, however, it is accepted that the first Lord Tweedmouth who first began Golden Retrievers as a definite breed. 'Yellow retrievers' had already existed for many years in the Border country between England and Scotland. Initially Golden's were first registered as Flatcoats, only being defined by colour until 1913. The breed took its present name in 1920.

Gordan Setter

gundog dog breeds

Gordon Setter's only come in one colour pattern - black and tan - and he gives the impression that he is built to be a steady worker. One of the attractions of this breed is their ability to work hard and be a successful heavy-weight hunter.

This breed originates from the estates of the Dukes of Gordon, and has a long history of excellent trainability, as well as being both intelligent and energetic.

With its long, sleek coat, anyone who takes on a Gordon setter must be prepared to keep it in excellent condition with regular grooming. Its length also means when wet the coat will take time to dry

Irish Setter

gundog dog breeds

This is another supermodel of the dog and ranks alongside the glamorous English setter.

The Irish setter has become extremely popular and loves to be centre of attention. This breed is friendly, energetic and affectionate making him an excellent family pet always ready to play and have fun. As well as his fun-loving nature he also very hard working.

The popularity of the solid Reds has been increasing since the latter part of the 1800's when they became one the top-winning dogs. A club for the Irish (Red) setter was formed in 1882, which pushed the red and white into a decline, which is now being reversed.

Labrador Retriever

gundog dog breeds

This breed is one of the best all-round dogs found anywhere in the world.

As the name suggests they, like all retrievers, were used to retrieve game, but more than that this breed makes an excellent guide dog and sniffer dog. It is believed that the breed originated from the coast of Greenland where local fishermen used a dog, similar in appearance, to retrieve fish.

Labradors have excellent temperaments, a fun-loving nature and adore children. This dog prefers country living to city living, he loves the freedom of the great outdoors. He is also an excellent water dog.

The Labrador is not a very old breed, its breed club was only formed back in 1916, while the Yellow labrador club was formed in 1925. Its role in field training brought the breed fame, having been introduced to the UK during the 1800's by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury. The dog was called Malmesbury Tramp and it has been described as one of the roots of the modern labrador.


gundog dog breeds

It is believed the Pointer originated in Spain, however, it has become a very English breed over the last two centuries.

Pointer's have been used by shooting men in the traditional role of inidicating the presence and position of sitting game. The breed uses his sleekness to enable it to cover wide areas of ground at considerable bed.

This breed has a smooth, hard coat with a definite sheen and can be either lemon, orange, liver or black, all with white. The most distinguishing feature is the slight concavity on the top of his muzzle.

Pointer's have an even temperament, capable of fitting into a family, however, this is an outdoors dog who loves nothing better than exploring moorland. A good Pointer will have excellent scenting powers and be able to move quickly over ground. This was a vital quality in the days of the slow loading flintock weapons when having found the game, the Pointer had to hold on to it.


gundog dog breeds

This breed has its origin in Germany, in the court of Weimar.

Weimaraner has increased in popularity with the shooting fraternity, while also joining the companion animal realm.

A tall, rangy dog, larger than other members of his group, has a short sleek coat and distinctive amber into blue-grey eyes. Grooming for this breed is minimal, however, the longer-coated variety needs more care and attention.

Weimaraner-type dog featured in painting by Van Dyck dated in the early 1600s though the dog looks more hound-like. It has since become a much liked breed.

Welsh Springer Spaniel

gundog dog breeds

There is a distinct family likeness between the two breeds of springer spaniel, however, the Welsh springer is smaller than its English counterpart.

Over the years the popularity of this breed has continued to increase, becoming a favourite household pet, just like other members of the Spaniel family. The standardisation of the breed coincided with both that of the Cocker and the English Springer, both the English and the Welsh were recognised by the Kennel Club in 1902.

The dark red of the coat on a white background appears to have become more noticeable around the early 1900's. The role of this breed is to spring or 'start' game and fame as a worker spread from its homeland. The smaller build than his English counterpart help to make him easier to keep clean in wet weather