Gundog breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Spaniels are some of the most popular in the world and an excellent breed choice for a working dog. Good working gundogs need to be intelligent, energetic, easy to train and have a good temperament, and these are all factors that can make gundogs great family pets. So, we are asking if your gundog can be your family pet and vice versa.
When Does a Working Dog Become Your Pet?
It often seems today that the majority of gundogs are rarely worked in a shooting field, becoming more of a family pet than a working dog. A gundog that only works in the field a few times a year can potentially be classed as a pet as opposed to a working dog, especially if they are not fully trained. However, some gundog owners will treat their dog as both a pet and working dog; sleeps in the house, plays with the children but also works 40 to 50 days in the shooting season.
Many people consider a dog that is kept in the home a pet, and if it is kept outside in a kennel, a working dog. Often the lines of working dog and pet dog are blurred, as the owner can enjoy going for walks with their working dog and the pet dog can be worked in the field.
Potential Issues of Gundogs as Pets
Although gundog breeds are co-operative in nature, keen to please and energetic, many families can experience issues with their pet gundogs. This is often due to their hunting instincts and independence. Another issue can be that a lack of training and discipline can lead the active dog to become destructive in the home. When you have a gundog breed as a family pet, the best solution to keep them happy is to keep them active with long walks every day and sufficient training.
Getting a Good Breed Line
Working gundogs have a natural instinct for hunting or retrieving, and this can be apparent in a long line of working gundogs. If you are choosing a gundog breed to have as a family pet, it is a good idea to look at their breed strain, as working dogs can be harder to manage as a pet than a strain where there have been fewer full-time working dogs. By not checking the parentage, you could end up with a spaniel that is too much to handle in a family home, rather than the perfect dog and companion.
Can My Gundog be My Family Pet?
The answer to whether your gundog can be a family pet is yes, though there are factors to consider; how much does your dog work, where do you let your dog sleep, does it have enough training to be treated as a pet? If your gundog is trained to be a gundog and becomes distressed when being in the family home, it is best to not force any pet ambitions you have on it. On the other hand, if your gundog is happy being in the home, playing with children and doesn’t follow its hunting instinct too much, it can easily double up as a pet.
If you want more information about gundogs, take a look at our other blog posts here. Also, why not treat your gundog – working, pet or both – to some new gundog accessories, with items ranging from training equipment, collars and leads to comfy dog beds!