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American Water Spaniel

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The American Water Spaniel, this sporty four-legged friend from the American Midwest, is not only rarely found in Europe, but also in its homeland. He is a reliable and versatile companion for hunters with a family connection.

Medium spaniel

The American Water Spaniel also has floppy ears, a watchful gaze, and a strong but by no means ponderous stature, which is typical of a spaniel. His physique is slightly longer than he is tall and, with a shoulder height of up to 46 cm, he weighs around 20 kilograms. Bitches are slightly smaller and lighter. The coat ranges from wavy – dog experts call this “undulating” – to tightly curled and brown, with shades of brown varying from liver to chocolate brown. Small white markings on paws and chest are allowed. The undercoat of the American Water Spaniel protects it from the elements and when used in water. It is remarkable that the breed has not changed visually since its origin in the 19th century.

Versatile hunter

You can see his roots in this American: He is probably descended from British Spaniels such as the Irish Water Spaniel, the Field Spaniel or the Old English Water Spaniel. Images of the dog existed as early as the mid-19th century, but official breeding began in 1940 when the breed was registered as a distinct breed. This is largely due to the efforts of dog lover Doctor Fred J. Pfeifer, who had bred the American Water Spaniel since the 1920s and worked out the standard. From the beginning, the breed was used as a hunting companion – especially when hunting ducks or other waterfowl. She combines the characteristics of spaniels and retrievers. The American Water Spaniel’s medium build makes it easy to get on a boat from which to retrieve. But as ducks dwindled, people turned to other hunts and with them other dogs, resulting in the American Water Spaniel being a rare find. Although it is also suitable for hunting on land, it encounters highly specialized four-legged competition here. As the state dog of the American state of Wisconsin, he is at least better known than his distribution would suggest. The breed is hard to find outside of America: Although a few specimens came to Europe in the 1990s, the American Water Spaniel has not spread significantly here. In Germany, for example, there are no active breeders.

Pleasant companion

The American Water Spaniel is people-friendly and an avid hunter, but remains easy to control when properly trained. The breed is well suited as a family dog and is considered to be fond of children and playful. It does not necessarily have to be a hunter’s household if its owners can otherwise offer them a lot of time in the great outdoors. The attentive dog likes to bark a lot and is reserved for strangers. He requires a high level of activities and ventures with his two-legged pack to keep busy. Otherwise, the hunter will quickly get bored and will look for his own entertainment – usually not to the delight of his owners. A busy American Water Spaniel also enjoys the quiet moments at home. If he has been used to them since he was a puppy, he will get along with other dogs and other pets such as cats if they belong to his own pack.

Education of the American Water Spaniel

His great will to please makes him easy to handle and willing to learn, which means that upbringing can be successful without obstacles – provided you are consistent and knowledgeable. Variety and sensitive leadership without harshness are the way to success with the American Water Spaniel. He is not the fastest learner, but once he has internalized it, he retains it. Puppy playtime and dog school are well suited to letting the spaniel make friends with other dogs and to learn basic commands under expert guidance. Of course, the original hunting dog is also in good hands in a hunting dog training course – this in turn has a positive effect on control in the woods and fields and is a prerequisite anyway if you want to hunt with your four-legged companion. Another focus of training is to control barking, otherwise, the American Water Spaniel can tend to bark.

Health and diseases typical of the breed

A reputable breeder lays the foundation for a healthy dog life. With this breed it is also important to avoid high inbreeding values, as there are only a few dogs in total. There is a genetic predisposition to eye diseases such as cataracts – cataracts – as well as to progressive retinatrophy, which almost always leads to blindness due to the death of the retina. In addition, hypothyroidism, diabetes and epilepsy have appeared in some lines. Hip dysplasia does not occur more frequently in American Water Spaniels, but with this breed, as with all athletic dogs of a certain size, it is particularly important to ensure that puppies move gently. Do not overstrain your four-legged friend and always keep the adult dog in an exercise adapted to his training level – this way your companion stays fit into old age. A healthy body weight is also part of hip dysplasia prophylaxis. The American Water Spaniel is otherwise considered to be robust and can live up to 14 years with good care.

Boykin Spaniel

Which Dogs Belong To The Sporting Group Of Dogs? (Part 1) 14


More important than the appearance of the Boykin Spaniel, however, is its character. As a hunting dog, value is placed above all on its skills and hunting qualities. So the dogs have an excellent nose with which they track down their prey. They are also very intelligent, making them pleasant companion dogs that can also act independently. Also appreciated is their passion for the water, which makes the dogs enthusiastic retrievers, suited to both land and water hunting. The dogs have a lot of energy and therefore need a lot of exercise.

When dealing with people, the Boykin Spaniel is friendly and adaptable, which also makes training them not too difficult. Nevertheless, of course, he needs an owner who shows him his limits from the start. The dogs are usually contact-seeking. They feel comfortable in the company of humans and are also compatible with children and other dogs.


The Boykin Spaniel is the official state dog of the American state of South Carolina. It was created there at the beginning of the 20th century by crossing a retriever-like male with a spaniel-like female. This happened under Lemuel Whitaker Boykin, who is considered the first breeder and namesake of the breed. However, other dog breeds have been crossed over the course of time in order to improve the temperament and hunting abilities of the dogs. A Boykin Spaniel stud book has existed since 1960.

The dog breed has not yet been recognized by the FCI, but is recognized by the AKC.


The Boykin Spaniel is an agile hunting dog with a compact build. The height at the withers is between 36 and 42 cm in females. The weight is 11 to 16 kg. Male animals are 39 to 46 cm tall and weigh 13 to 18 kg. The physique of the dogs is slightly rectangular overall, the animals are not quite as high as they are long.

The coat is of medium length and has a short undercoat, making the coat weatherproof and waterproof. The hair structure is curly or wavy, dogs with smooth fur are much less common. The coat colors are various shades of brown or liver. In addition, a small white spot in the chest area is allowed.

On average, Boykin Spaniels live to be very old, often exceeding 14 years.

Posture requirements

The Boykin Spaniel is a hunting dog that impresses with its good nose and swimming skills. A suitable hunting and retriever dog is therefore particularly suitable for water hunting. However, it is also used for hunting on land.

Breed diseases

Boykin spaniels are prone to various diseases. Hip dysplasia is common. It is not uncommon for animals to suffer from skin, heart, and eye problems. In addition, dogs tend to get ear infections quickly.


Which Dogs Belong To The Sporting Group Of Dogs? (Part 1) 15

The Epagneul Breton is a medium-sized pointing dog from France. The breed is still little known outside of France. Within the country, they are not only used for hunting, but also as a loyal companion dog. Despite being unknown, the Epagneul Breton has an FCI breed standard. There he is in the FCI Group 7 Pointers Section 1.2 Continental Pointers. With work test. With the standard number 95. Although also kept as a family pet, he is a born hunter and should not be underestimated.

Origin and breed history

The Epagneul Breton is an old breed of dog that was used by hunters in the Middle Ages on so-called falconry hunts and tracked down their prey together with falcons. In France, the breeding of the dogs was further pursued by breeding hunting dogs and pointers from England over the years, including above all the setter and various representatives of the spaniels. The current form of the Epagneul Breton has emerged from these crossings.

As with all French pointing breeds, the name Epagneul Breton was derived from the origin of the dogs. The first dogs of this type came from Brittany, France. In the Middle Ages, dogs were particularly valued by the French nobility and even at the royal court for their pointing abilities. Many of the rich and nobles had their dogs depicted in paintings, as the noble animals were also a status symbol and thus there are very early images of the ancestors of the Epagneul Breton. Crossbreeding of the English pointers and hounds took place at the end of the 19th century, giving the dogs more elegance while still retaining their robust nature.

The first club for the Epagneul Breton breed was founded in 1907 by Arthur Enaud. In the same year, the breed standard was set and at that time the bobtail was still included as a breed characteristic. This has now been removed and the animals are allowed to show a normal tail again.

The Epagneul Breton is now known throughout France and is also valued as a family dog with special requirements. Outside of France, the dog is still relatively unknown, with the exception of the United States. The Epagneul Breton is also a very popular dog there, which is bred as an independent American line and has its own breed standard.

Essence & character of the Epagneul Breton

The Epagneul Breton has the nature of a real pointing dog. He is a focused and conscientious companion who obeys his owner’s commands accurately and very quickly. He needs a good upbringing and early and comprehensive socialization in order to get along well in the stressful everyday life of us humans.

The owner should not forget that the Epagneul Breton is a very active dog that needs a lot of exercise and activity. If he isn’t kept busy enough, he will look for things to occupy himself with, and most often these are things that the owner will not like. He may even get so frustrated that he barks and engages in bullying behavior. This hunting dog is only a good companion if it is sufficiently busy and exercised. His bond with the owner is very close and he needs this contact because he is very people-oriented and is only slightly interested in other dogs.

Highly alert and prone to barking at intruders on its territory, the Epagneul Breton has a gentle and even playful demeanor. His intelligence makes him a very obedient dog when the bond between dog and owner is intact. With positive reinforcement training, the Epagneul Breton learns very quickly and is even considered easy to train, but the dog’s hunting instinct must always be taken into account. It is advisable to visit a dog school that specializes in hunting dogs in order to deal with the drive that is innate in the dog.

Upbringing & husbandry of the Epagneul Breton – this is important to note

When training the Epagneul Breton, positive reinforcement should always be used and an eye should be kept on the dog’s hunting instincts. It makes sense to complete a certain amount of hunting training with the dog even if it is not used for hunting, so that the owner has full control over the dog’s hunting instinct at all times. Otherwise, it is easy to train the clever dog, because the Epagneul Breton has a high drive to please its owner and therefore tries to learn and implement commands quickly. In the case of an alleged disobedience, there is usually a misunderstanding and the command should be repeated. Since the Epagneul Breton pays a lot of attention to the body language of the owner, clear expression is important for communication to work.

In order for training to be successful, the dog needs a good workload and sufficient activity. Otherwise, the Epagneul Breton is too restless for a good workout. In order to make full use of its hunting instinct, dummy training can be carried out with a hunting substitute prey. Most dogs have great fun with this dog sport and perform it with great precision and enormous ambition. Spotting games and tracking are also great ways to encourage intelligent hounds. Agility, cycling and obedience also keep active dogs busy.

When keeping the Epagneul Breton, it is important that the dog can attach itself to a sovereign owner. He needs that close contact and there is no way he can be kept in a kennel. In a family, he feels very comfortable and becomes a cheerful and playful partner for the children. With early training, he can also stay alone for a few hours, but he prefers to accompany his people everywhere. He gets along well with the everyday stress and hustle and bustle of a city.

Due to Epagneul Breton’s high enthusiasm for hunting, the dog breed is not suitable for beginners. The dog is best kept even in the hands of hunters. Non-hunters have to learn a lot about hunting and keep their dog busy with lots of sports and activities. Knowledge of dog behavior is therefore essential.

Is Epagneul Breton right for me?

The Epagneul Breton is still best housed with a hunting family. If a private person wants to get the dog, they should have dog experience and ideally have already owned other hunting dogs. The willingness to practice at least one dog sport must also be there as the time to walk the dog for several hours every day. Therefore, he is not a dog for beginners and even seniors would be overwhelmed with this breed.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Which Dogs Belong To The Sporting Group Of Dogs? (Part 1) 16

Essence and character

Unlike many other retriever breeds, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever has fully retained its excellent qualities as a hunting dog. In addition to its distinctive visual appearance, the breeding goals of this breed are primarily aimed at its innate resilience and endurance, and this retriever also impresses with its intelligence and pronounced willingness to learn. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever needs plenty of exercises and loves water, ice, and snow equally. As a family dog, he is affectionate and loyal, and he particularly enjoys being close to his people.

Interesting information about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Origin & History

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever developed in the 19th century on the Chesapeake Bay of the same name in the eastern United States, where the breed was used for water hunting. The dogs were able to withstand even adverse weather conditions and could be used even in ice and low temperatures. The breed is believed to have originated from crosses between two Newfoundlands imported from England and local gundog breeds that had been used in the eastern United States for several centuries. In addition to the Irish Water Spaniel, these also included the Flat Coated Retriever and the Curly Coated Retriever. The breed standard for the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was established in 1885.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed characteristics

In the classification of the largest cynological umbrella organization “Fédération Cynologique Internationale”, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is listed in Group 8 “Retriever dogs, search dogs and water dogs” and in Section 1 “Retriever dogs”. It reaches a size of 58-66 cm for males and 53-61 cm for females. Males weigh 29-37 kg and females 25-32 kg. The color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever should ensure optimal adaptation to the environment – brown, rush and straw colors with all shades are permissible. Single white markings are acceptable, although solid colors are preferred. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a short, harsh top coat that is wavy and interspersed with a dense undercoat. He is powerfully built and of medium height – he shows a powerful yet agile demeanor.

The skull is broad and round with a medium stop. The muzzle is about the same length as the skull and tapers slightly towards the nose. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has small, loosely hanging ears that are set high. His eyes are strikingly bright and show a yellowish or amber-like color. They are far apart. The neck is muscular and of medium length, tapering towards the shoulder. Its body is also of medium length and has well raised flanks. The upper profile line runs slightly upwards from the shoulder to the hindquarters. The back appears short and compact, the chest is deep and broad with rounded ribs.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a moderately long tail that can be straight or slightly curved. The legs are powerful and well muscled. They appear straight when viewed from the front and rear. The shoulders are powerful and sloping, the knees well bent. His hocks are at a medium height. The gait appears free, powerful, and expansive.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Nature & Character

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a bright and cheerful dog who is as enthusiastic about his work as he is about his intelligence. He is lovable and loyal to his people, but he needs a constant family connection. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever forms a particularly close bond with a specific person and only recognizes this person as master. He is equally open to all familiar people and animals, but tends to be reserved towards strangers.

Able to respond appropriately to any situation, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever exhibits a protective demeanor toward its human. However, this innate protective instinct hardly ever occurs in a busy and well-socialized animal and is never accompanied by aggressive behavior.

This breed has an innate love of water and is equally fond of ice and snow. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is resilient, persistent, and able to act independently. At the same time, he also likes to work with people if he is properly trained. Both in training and in daily training, this retriever is always willing to learn. It is easy to care for when it comes to keeping it, but it has to be exercised extensively every day, and also mentally challenged.

Use of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a classic hunting dog and is still used today, especially for water hunting. Compared to his ancestors, however, he has developed further and is no longer just a retriever, but a versatile hunting dog that can be used for bush hunting, rummaging, and lost searches as well as for welding work.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is also well suited as a family dog, as it enjoys being close to people and builds a close bond with its family. However, he needs a lot of exercise and employment. If the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is not used for hunting, similarly demanding activities such as fetch or dummy training can serve as a substitute. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is also suitable for training as a rescue or tracking dog.

Curly-Coated Retriever

Which Dogs Belong To The Sporting Group Of Dogs? (Part 1) 17

The Curly Coated Retriever is one of the oldest retriever breeds. This English hound is recognized by the FCI (Standard No. 110, Group 8 – Retrievers, Searchers, Water Dogs, Section 1 – Retrievers).

Origin and breed history

Experts are certain that the foundations for today’s Curly Coated Retriever were already in place in the 17th century. Above all, the popular English Waterdog provided the main characteristics. His love of water, retrieving behavior, his intelligence and endurance are important characteristics for the Curly Coated Retriever. In addition, the frizzy hair also speaks for this theory. Another popular dog in the 17th century was the St. John’s Newfoundland (Greenland dog). The breed is said to have been crossed over later. This thesis is also considered to be secure. The subsequent breeding steps are controversial. What is most believable is that, over the course of evolution, the setter and pointer contributed to the creation of today’s Curly Coated Retriever. It is unclear to what extent the poodle and the Irish Water Spaniel were involved.

Artistic representations from the 18th-century document the typical appearance of this retriever species even back then. Over the centuries, this type of dog has not changed.

In 1854, this breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in England. During a show in Birmingham (1860) two “Curlys” won the first two places. At this time, different retriever species were still evaluated together. From 1863 mixed retriever classes were no longer held at dog shows. The Curly Coated Retriever was assessed separately.

While this dog breed was officially established in England, its triumphal march also began in Australia. A club for this pedigree dog was founded there in 1890. He set breed standards. These specifications (apart from height and weight) are still valid today.

The hunting behavior of the English changed. Big battues came into fashion. This required a different type of dog and consequently the popularity of the Curly fell. It’s different in Australia: this dog is still used there today for duck hunting, driving cattle and protecting houses and yards. He also has similar tasks in New Zealand. In America and in many parts of Europe, this breed of dog is little or not at all known. In Scandinavia, this type of retriever has loyal followers.

When looking for puppies for adoption, help should be sought from the country’s breed association. Within Europe, the popularity and number of canine specimens varies.

Nature & Character of the Curly Coated Retriever

Two hearts beat in this pedigree dog. On the one hand, this intelligent and spirited dog needs a species-appropriate activity. This activity is carried out with a lot of energy and joy at work. This retriever masters his tasks with courage and self-confidence.

On the other hand, he is very friendly and good-natured. A busy Curly is an ideal family dog. Then he brings out his other side. He loves to play with children and do the clown. He enjoys walks with his family. His loyalty to his people or to his family is unbroken. He always keeps his independent nature. Submissiveness is alien to him. He is skeptical and reserved towards strangers.

Aussehen des Curly Coated Retriever

This large dog is muscular and agile. The height at the withers varies from 69 cm (males) to 63 cm (females). The weight is adjusted according to gender. The smaller bitches can weigh up to 32 kg. The male representatives are about 41 kg.

His strong body is well-proportioned. The head with its triangular floppy ears and square snout is rounded off by its large eyes. The slightly slanted eyes look friendly and alert. The eye color is brown. The brown tones of the eyes vary depending on the color of the fur. The end is the rod. It reaches to the ankle.

The coat of hair is striking. Its coat consists of short, small, and dense curls (curly) distributed all over the body. Some parts of the body have a short, straight coat. This includes the front of the head and parts of the legs. The coat color is either black or brown.

Education & keeping of the Curly Coated Retriever – This is important to note

This large and active dog does not belong in an apartment. A sufficiently large garden must be available. Although this does not replace the important walks, it can be used as an additional “playground”.

Another thing to keep in mind when keeping them is that this breed of retriever should not be left alone for hours at a time. This under-demanding does not have a negative impact on his behavior (growling, biting or the like). He could look for permanent employment outside of the garden.

Sufficient utilization is the second important point. Especially with this breed, daily activity is a must. The existing hereditary factors can be steered in the right direction from puppyhood. The areas of husbandry and upbringing are inseparable. It is important to patiently introduce the young and intelligent Curly to use as a family dog or as a working dog.

The Curly is not suitable for an inexperienced beginner, because this dog breed is self-confident and independent. He needs a firm hand for education from an early age. A beginner is not the same as a beginner. A sporty person with years of experience in dog sitting with large dogs can do justice to their first own Curly Coated Retriever with the help of a dog trainer. In any case, attending a good dog school is important.

Curly Coated Retriever Activities and Training

The Curly is a very active and lively dog. Above all, he is a hunting dog through and through, because he was bred for this centuries ago. The simplest utilization is therefore to lead him hunting. There are two options: either as a professional hunter (working dog) or as a hobby hunter. In Germany, both humans and dogs have to complete hunting training with an examination.

If this activity is not possible, there are some alternative training courses in dog sports. Nose work (tracking), fetching or dummy training are a few ways to keep the dog occupied in a species-appropriate manner. This retriever can live out numerous skills in dog sports. The properties as a “water rat” can also be used for the occupation.

He is also reliable as a rescue dog. Here he can show his positive qualities on land as well as on water. He does not have to carry out this activity full-time. There are rescue dog squadrons in every federal state, where the dogs are trained for the missions.

The Curly Coated Retriever requires a consistent hand in training. The inexperienced person should either stay away from this breed or have professional help. No pressure should be exerted during training. Patience and a touch of humor are more important.

English Setter

Which Dogs Belong To The Sporting Group Of Dogs? (Part 1) 18

The English Setter is an elegant-looking pointing dog and was once used by the British nobility to hunt feathered game. As the name suggests, he comes from England. Not only in his homeland but also in France, the Scandinavian countries and in the USA he is a popular companion dog today.

This breed is a four-legged friend with a strong urge to move, whose grooming requires a little more effort. The term “setter” is derived from the English verb “to set”, which means something like “to sit down” or “to lie down”. This means that the dog, when scenting the wildes sits down or lies down in a slightly crouched posture in the direction of the track they have picked up.

History and Origin of the English Setter

The dog was already known in the 16th century as a descendant of the “Perdigueros” from Spain and the long-haired spaniel.

Proper breeding of today’s English Setter, however, did not occur until the early 1800’s when a man named Edward Laverack spent more than 20 years selecting the finest of the breed for his Setter breed in order to breed his ideal dog.

Edward Laverack exhibited the first puppies under the name “English Setter” in 1860. Even today, the dogs are still used to hunt games such as pheasants, quail, and grouse.

While the English Setter was very popular in Britain until the 1980’s, it has since been classified as an endangered breed by the British Kennel Club.

The appearance of the English Setter

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognized the English Setter as a pedigree dog in 1963 and gave it the standard number 2. Here it belongs to Group 7 – Pointers – and to Section 2 – British and Irish Pointers – with subsection 2.2, the Setters.

According to the breed standard, the height at the withers may reach between 65 to 68 cm for males and 61 to 65 cm for females. The unspecified weight ranges from 20 to 36 kilograms, depending on gender. English Setters reach an average age of 11-12 years.

Its long, silky, slightly wavy fur is allowed in the colors black and white, orange and white, brown and white, or even three colors. Tri-colored English Setters also have tan markings on their head, paws, and chest.

The dog wears so-called “trousers” on the hind legs and the feathering is also pronounced on the front legs. Only at the age of one and a half to two years are these dogs colored.

With its straight back, broad loins, and an oval head with a clear stop, the English Setter exudes power and elegance. The close-fitting ears are of medium length and set low. The tail reaches to the hock and is carried slightly curved.

It is typical of it that it lifts its nose when scenting game and runs its body almost flat against the ground. One paw is usually raised slightly and the nose shows the hunter the direction of the game. The English Setter is the ideal dog to command the hunter, to do his work in the water and reeds, and to fetch.

Nature, character, and training of the English Setter

The English Setter is a very friendly, balanced, child-loving, and gentle, sometimes even cuddly dog, which can be trained quite well with sufficient consistency and love. Sometimes his nature is also mischievous.

He is characterized by a high level of social compatibility and great loyalty. However, one should not underestimate his strong hunting instinct and his need for a lot of activity.

In addition, he not only has great endurance when playing, romping, and running, but also has enormous speed and extremely good off-road mobility.

In principle, he is the ideal family dog that can subordinate himself well, but only if he enjoys the right training from an experienced dog expert and is challenged according to his urge to move and his hunting instinct.

Exercise, care, and husbandry of the English Setter

Owners should be weatherproof and sporty because he loves long walks and hikes. He is just as happy to run in the forest as in the high mountains or in river meadows, where he also likes to plunge into the cool water. He is also well-suited as a companion dog when jogging or cycling. He is by no means the right dog for a city apartment where he is only offered short daily walks around the block.

You should always keep an eye on his enormous hunting instinct, as he likes to set off alone at high speed when he has scented something.

English Setters can develop HD, ED, and various allergies throughout their lives. According to a 2010 study, 12.4% of dogs suffer from congenital deafness. Cancer is the leading cause of death in English Setters.

Grooming is very time-consuming, as the four-legged friend has to be brushed every day to keep the coat’s silky shine. The longer hair on the paws and on the ear canal must also be trimmed at certain intervals to prevent inflammation.