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Sporting Dogs Group

Sporting Dogs Group -the Labrador Retriever has had the top spot in popularity of registered breeds in the US since 1990Members of the sporting dogs group generally have outgoing personalities and are happiest getting a good amount of exercise to keep them fit. They are medium to large sized dogs, and have been bred to be good hunting companions; pointing to, flushing out and retrieving downed fowl.

Retrievers, Spaniels, Setters and Pointers are all dog types that are found in the sporting dogs group. In addition, the Visla, Brittany, Spinone Italiano, Weimeraner and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon can all be found in this group.

The Most Popular Dog Breed

One of the members of the sporting dogs group holds a special honor. Labrador Retrievers have consistently held the number one most popular dog breed spot since 1990 in the United States, according to American Kennel Club registration records. Not far behind them is the well-loved family dog, the Golden Retriever.

Show-Bred vs. Field-Bred

Sporting dogs group -   hunting Retriever with duckSome sub-groups of the sporting dogs group offer both show-bred lines and field-bred lines. For instance, English Springer Spaniels have both field-bred and show-bred varieties.

Show bred dogs are easier to train and are primarily bred for their appearance and their ability to meet the American Kennel Club’s standards for breed characteristics. These traits tend to make them more easily adaptable to most families.

Because of their breeding, field-bred sporting breeds need more exercise and are a bit more intense personality-wise than their show-bred counterparts. Field-bred dogs do better with hunting and field-trial exercises than the show-bred types. If you select a field-bred variety, be sure you can give them rigorous exercise regularly and allow their brains to be challenged by offering them agility training or having them hunt with you.

Retrievers in the Sporting Dogs Group

sporting-dogs-group-labrador-puppyRetrievers were bred to work as companion dogs to the hunter, using their soft, gentle mouth to pick up, retrieve and return downed birds to their master without damaging them.

They are quite strong and should be taught while they are young to walk properly on the lead, or they will pull you and your children incessantly when you are out for a walk. This can be dangerous to both your safety and your dog’s as well. If you have trouble keeping your dog under control, there are many good halters and collars designed to keep your dog on track without hurting him. Pinch, shock and choke collars are no longer neccessary! Many good alternatives now exist.

Sporting Group Spaniels

Happy English Springer Spaniel lying down in a grassy yard with bluebells in the background

Cocker Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels can also make wonderful family additions because of their ever-happy outlook on life. They are sweet and eager to please members of the sporting group, but be aware that some inbreeding issues over the years by negligent breeders has contributed to certain spaniels being more aggressive, so check out your breeder carefully first. Make sure you always select your dog from a reputable breeder who breeds for temperament, or do a lot of research. Be sure to research and have frequent exposure to the animal you are considering to adopt or purchase for the best results with any breed. Clumber Spaniels are another spaniel breed that have wonderful temperaments and make excellent family dogs. Though they are not as common as other spaniels, they are worth checking into if you are a spaniel lover.

German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer photocourtesy of geraintandkim on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Another subgroup of the Sporting Dogs Group contains the Pointers. Of the pointers, the German Shorthaired Pointer is the most popular pointer breed according to American Kennel Club registration records. German Shorthaired Pointer puppies have seemingly boundless amounts of energy. After all, they mature into a breed that even as an adult dog requires vigorous exercise to keep up with their natural sporting characteristics.

Pointers get into a pointing stance, where the body stiffens, the nose pushes forward, one of their legs bends and their tail stiffens and points as an extension of their body when they become aware of what they consider prey in either field or water situation. Originally bred to assist the hunter, the pointer’s job is to alert the hunter to areas that maybe productive, but they are well-rounded and also have good tracking and retriever skills. They are alert and eager to please.

In addition to the German Shorthaired Pointer, both the Pointer and the German Wirehaired Pointer are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Setter Dogs

Gordon Setter Dog - one of the dogs from the American Kennel Club's Sporting Dogs Group.

Gordon Setter photo courtesy of richkidsunite on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Setter dogs make up the final subgroup of the Sporting Dogs Group. Setters recognized in the Sporting Group by the American Kennel Club are the English Setter, the Gordon Setter, the Irish Red and White Setter and the Irish Setter.

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