Whats The Best Dog For Rough Shooting?

Spaying Gundogs | Guns and Country

For most people who practice the fine and wonderful art of shooting, there can be nothing more exciting than being accompanied by their very own dog. It’s important to understand however that no matter what breed of gundog you choose, a gundog is only as good as the training it has been given in the first place. It can take many hours of training over a period of months to produce a gundog.

You’re probably already aware of it but more of than not, there is a growing heated debate over which breed of dog is best for rough shooting. There are several factors that need to be carefully considered when considering which dog is best for rough shooting.

Spaniels & Cockers

When most people think of a gundog, most will automatically think of a spaniel or a cocker. There’s good reasons as to why this is the case and we will talk about these here. If you’re planning on taking your new friend out duck shooting as well as game shooting, rough shooting and so forth, then a a springer spaniel may be the way forward. Small cocker spaniels are not the best when they’re constantly wet and cold. Whereas, if you’re going to be rough shooting through long grass then you won’t go far wrong with a cocker spaniel. You may also consider a Clumber Spaniel. The important thing to realise it that you should choose a gundog breed that best suits the type of shooting your going to be engaging in.

Pointers & Retrievers

There are many good dog breed that fit into this category but some that stand out to us are the German shorthaired or wirehaired pointers as well as the Hungarian vizsla, Weimaraners and the Italian spinone. These breeds can all make a great rough shooting gundog. Unlike our native pointers and so forth, these breeds will also retrieve much better than most which can be handy! They lean more towards large open spaces such as woodlands and hedgerows rather than thick growing crops however.


Despite what you may have heard, Retrievers such as the Golden Retriever and so forth can make a great rough shooting dog. Given the opportunity and careful training, they can hunt, sit and flush all in a days work with ease. As the name suggests, they are best at retrieving and will excel at doing this over any other breed we can think of.

It’s all about training…

As we said earlier on, it does not matter what breed you pick. The dog you choose will only work as good as they are taught to so it’s important to get a grip on training right from the start. To really get the best out of a rough shooting dog, it pays dividends to ensure your teaching him to work a consistent tight quartering pattern that is ideally withing your normal shotgun range. There’s no point having a great rough shooting dog that executes a perfect flush every time if they only ever flush birds out of your shotguns range so keep this in mind.

Teamwork is important and so you should try and teach your dog to understand this important element. Your dog should poses good listening skills if you are both to succeed.

When hunting hedgerows whilst rough shooting, it can be useful to work the dog downwind. This is because more often than not, your dog will appreciate a scent being blown in its face rather than the other way around.

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