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When Buying a Hunting Dog

Buying a Hunting Dog

hunting-dogHunting season is upon us once again. If you are a hunter, it’s always fun to have a trusty companion by your side. And I’m not talking about other hunters enjoying the sport with you. Oh no, I’m talking about a trusty hunting dog.

Do you know how to choose a hunting dog? We are going to share a list of questions and answers that will help you pick the perfect breed of hunting dog to have as a trusted companion.

You most likely have questions that need answered and we want to help. That’s why we have compiled this list to make it easy for you to choose the perfect breed.

Here it is…

This list of questions was developed to help you determine whether a puppy was bred to be a healthy and good-tempered companion, as well as determining whether it meets the goals you have set for your new family member!

1.) Are the parent dogs on the premises? Being able to see one or more parent dogs helps you to assess what the personality of your pup may turn out to be. There may be times when you are purchasing a puppy from out of state, and not be able to see the sire and dam, but the most desirable situation is to see them.

2.) Have both the sire and the dam been OFA’d , CERF’d or had any other veterinary screenings? OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals http://www.offa.org. OFA will certify the hips of dogs 2 years old or older as Excellent, Good, Fair, Mild, Moderate or Severe with respect to hip dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is present in most breeds, including German Shorthair Pointers. This is especially important in a dog you plan to take hunting. OFA will also certify elbows, to show no joint deformity. CERF: Canine Eye Registry Foundation http://www.vet.purdue.edu/~yshen/. CERF certifies that the eyes of the dog are clear. (No cataracts or other visible eye disease or deformations.) VWD neg: Von Willebrand’s Disease Negative means that the dog has been screened for this disease. This disease is similar to hemophilia.

3.) Have the puppies been temperament tested? Many temperament tests exist to determine the aptitude of puppies to obedience, hunting, etc. If the breeder has conducted any temperament test, ask them to share the results with you

4.) What will the breeder guarantee in the way of the health of the dog? Responsible breeders take every precaution to produce puppies that are free of genetic disease. If something unforeseen DOES surface, a responsible breeder will have a system in place to deal with your special circumstances. This may include replacing with another puppy, refunding part or all of your money, and/or taking the dog back. All of this needs to be discussed prior to buying the puppy

5.) Will the breeder buy/take back the dog if for any reason, at ANY time in the dog’s life, you are unable to care for it? Responsible breeders accept a lifelong commitment to the dogs they breed. No breeder wants to see one of their puppies end up in a shelter. The breeder should commit in writing to take the puppy back if you are unable to care for it, no matter what age the dog is. In return, they may ask YOU to commit in writing that you will not transfer ownership of the dog without contacting them first.

6.) Does the breeder hunt their dogs? If you want to hunt your dog, your safest bet is to buy from a breeder that hunts their dogs.

7.) Do the sire/dam hunt? If so, can you watch them hunt? Watching them hunt may give you a window on what kind of instinct you can expect from your puppy.

8.) What will YOUR responsibilities be as far as breeding the dog? Breeders will often place in a contract minimum age, health and title requirements that must be met before breeding. In addition, they may place a limit on how many times a bitch can be bred. The breeder may also want to CO-OWN a bitch or dog, which will give them certain breeding rights. Or, if they do not feel that the puppy is breeding quality (a bad bite, light eyes, etc) they may issue you a limited registration. This would still mean that your dog was AKC registered and you could show in performance events such as hunt tests and obedience trials, but you would not be able to register any puppies if you were to breed this dog. These issues must be carefully discussed and clearly spelled out to the satisfaction of both parties.

9.) What shots, worming, veterinary checkups, etc have been provided, and when will the next ones be due? Make sure you write down the dates of shots, worming, tail docking, dewclaws,etc, as well as the type of shots and worm medications used. If possible, get the name of the veterinarian.
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Hunting can be a fun and exciting sport. There’s no doubt about it. But does your hunting dog actually enjoy it is much as you do? That’s a question that some people have pondered, and you may be surprised with the answer.

In truth, hunting dogs definitely enjoy the sport just as much as their owners. As a matter of fact, they may enjoy it even more. But ultimately it’s good to know that they are having a great time while out on the hunt. It’s good to know that your pup loves hunting just as much as you do.

Here’s a nice story about this very topic…

Hunting Dogs Enjoy Sport as Much as Hunters

I recall vividly my first squirrel hunt. I was too small to carry a gun, but that didn’t matter.

I was introduced to Jip and it was love at first sight. She was a mixed breed hound that loved chasing squirrels up a tree and barking at them. I loved chasing her and was so excited when Jip treed that I would jump around and yell, “Squirrel” as I pointed to the older, slower hunters walking around the hill to the commotion. Jip and I were instant buddies.

A little later in life, I was introduced to a young Brittany pup who was in her early stages of becoming a gun dog. My hunting mentor had purchased her as a grouse hunting dog and I was invited to tag along on her early training sessions. We trained and learned together all summer awaiting the late grouse season when all the deer hunters go home leaving plenty of room for the bird hunters to roam the wild corners of the woods. I was present when she pointed her first grouse and also invited to the meal that followed shortly after her successful rookie season. I was her biggest fan.

And then I met Patch.

On a crisp autumn day, I accepted an invitation to join a few outdoors men on a fall turkey hunt. Being new to the sport, especially the use of dogs to locate and flush turkeys, I was curious and eager to see how things were going to play out. It didn’t take Patch long to introduce me to the game.

In a narrow beech tree hollow with a drain of a creek running through it, I placed my hands on a turkey and held it up for the world to see. When Patch circled back to the scene, it appeared that she was even more excited to see the turkey than I was. I patted her head and thanked her for her efforts. It would be the first of many times I gave her thanks.

On my first trip to Africa I was introduced to Nimrod, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. It was his job to assist you if and when you needed help.

Nimrod’s specialty was a tracking dog and his demeanor was what made him shine. He was as laid back as any hunting dog I have ever met and made a wonderful companion hunting the plains game of Africa. If a dangerous game animal needed bayed until the hunters had time to arrive, well, he seemed to enjoy that part of his job particularly well.

Nimrod made my trip to Africa even more special and I think of him often.

I have witnessed many working dogs over my career as an outdoors man who have been crucial to the hunt while providing pure entertainment when watching them work. Beagles chasing rabbits, Catahoula curs baying hogs, Blueticks bawling at the base of tree with a raccoon peering down at them, Labs watching the sky for falling ducks, English Setters locked stiff pointing quail.

All have added to the overall experience of spending a day afield.

Maybe the reason I like hunting dogs so much is for the simple fact that they seem to love the sport of hunting as much as I do. Then again, my wife may be right. I might just be the biggest kid you have ever met.     Read more here

How nice is that? It’s great to know that your hunting dogs truly enjoys the sport just as much is you. That’s a wonderful illustration that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that dogs love to hunt.

For some, it was never even a question. They knew their hunting dog loved every minute of it.

Do you have any great stories to share? Feel free to tell us your favorites in the comments today.


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