Five Bird Dogs for Today's Suburbs

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.

American Brittany
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.

Boykin Spaniel
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.

Labrador Retriever

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.

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6 Responses to Five Bird Dogs for Today's Suburbs

April wrote:
September 21, 2011

Is there a org. That would help a disabled hunter train a Brittany ?

Jane Simi wrote:
July 20, 2011

What about the French Brittany????

Kyle Wintersteen wrote:
May 11, 2011

@Kristin The "honorable mentions" list would certainly include the French brit.

Kristin Iverson wrote:
May 10, 2011

I would have liked to see Brittany as a whole rather than picking out the American Brittany. I own a French Brittany and he is an amazing companion as well as amazing hunting dog. He has many accomplishments at from field trials, but his greatest accomplishment was being potty trained in 2 days :)

Kyle Wintersteen wrote:
April 28, 2011

@Don That's a great choice. In fact, the springer is my favorite overall breed, and I share my D.C.-area apartment with one. However, I wanted to limit the list to five dogs and I didn't feel there was room for more than two spaniels. I went with the ECS (a much more viable pick than it was just 10 years ago thanks to the importation of quality stock and efforts by American breeders) and Boykin for their smaller statures.

Don Keirn wrote:
April 28, 2011

Believe the Springer Spaniel should be here somewhere.Brittanys and GSP's (I have one of each!) can get pretty boistrous for close quarters. I have always felt the Springer to be an ideal hunting dog for folks with limited space.