Five Bird Dogs for Today's Suburbs
April 18, 2011
Did you know legendary wingshooting author and field-trial judge Nash Buckingham spent most of his life in a Memphis apartment? If you are among the increasing number of hunters living in heavily populated suburban areas, here are some small- to medium-sized breeds that offer calm temperaments, versatility and other traits suited to suburbia.
Averaging 30-45 pounds, the Brittany is a trainable animal well-suited to the weekend warrior. One of the best retrieving pointing breeds, it has French origins and tends to be calmer than some German versatile breeds.
South Carolinians bred Boykins for two seemingly divergent tasks: fetching ducks from rivers and breaking up flocks of turkeys during fall seasons. The Boykin has since proven a competent upland hunter and weighs just 20-35 pounds.
German Shorthaired Pointer
Weighing 55-70 pounds, shorthairs push the limits of acceptable size, but they can make charming house pets. Just beware of any hyperactivity--shorthairs may not require as much exercise as English setters or pointers, but probably need more than any dog on this list.
If Labs weren’t suited to a variety of living conditions, they wouldn’t be owned by millions of Americans. While many weigh 80 pounds, certain bloodlines produce smaller, slimmer Labs (they’re abhorred by traditionalists but worth considering by suburbanites). The Lab has a well-earned reputation as an all-around hunter (especially in the duck blind) and an easy-going family pet.
English Cocker Spaniel
English cockers excel on upland game, especially woodcock and grouse, and do well as duck dogs in the early and mid-season. These small flushing dogs weigh around 30 pounds.