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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a long talk with a friend about buying dogs. His comments stated that field trial blood lines dont mean you get a good grouse hunting dog. Infact he said most "trial bred dogs" are way to much dog for the average hunter.

My question is with out Trials what would you base your purchase on?

There are no hunting ribbons (aside from grouse in hand this depends on the shooter more than the dog). I have never met a bird dog breeder that didnt think they had great dogs. A grouse dog has to have a good nose so does a trial dog. A grouse dog needs to have smarts.. so does a trial dog. Isnt the real difference training? Both endurence and handling?

ben mckean
 

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#1. A pedigree full of Field Trial and/or Hunt Test titles signify a proven track record of performance. Personally, Hunt Test titles hold more weight with me in that many AKC field trial formats are rather unreal when it comes to the typical hunting situation.

#2. Many of those who scoff at titles as meaningless when it comes to "real hunting dogs" are speaking out of ignorance. They have never seen top dogs in action. Years ago I was one of them. I had Beagles with a mishmash of bloodlines. They were VERY GOOD hare dogs. The best in my mind. I also scoffed at field trial dogs. Until I met fellas who trialed their hounds and had several AKC Field Champions. These were Large Pack & Small Pack Option dogs. Not the slow Brace format shufflers. When we went hunting together their FC hounds blew the doors off of mine in every aspect of the game; line control, checks, steadiness, etc.......My attitude then changed and I have been mindfull of proven bloodlines since.

Merimac said:
His comments stated that field trial blood lines dont mean you get a good grouse hunting dog.
Maybe so, but I believe that you considerably increase your odds of having a good grouse dog with a pup out of proven lines.

Merimac said:
Infact he said most "trial bred dogs" are way to much dog for the average hunter.
Could very well be. In this case the owner/trainer needs to up his game. That's what field trial and hunt test clubs are for. You learn how to handle these dogs from those who do.

Merimac said:
Isnt the real difference training? Both endurence and handling?
Absolutely. And breeding.
 

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I would base my purchase on them being black or yellow......:D Sorry, I just had to.
 

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Merimac said:
My question is with out Trials what would you base your purchase on?
I talk to guys that kill birds.
I poke and prod and ask any number of questions trying to get a feel for what these guys, that I consider the better hunters out there, are looking for in their dogs.
Then I like to see them(the dogs) in person. I want to see if they have any brains, any bird sense. Trialing to me shows you that the dog is trainable, it's up to me to put a steering wheel on the engine.
 

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Ben, I'm not sure as my experience is in a different area than bird dogs. However, I have been with champions, grand champions, world champions and just John Doe's dogs. What I prefer in a hunting dog (remember we are talking squirrel dogs here) happens to be the kind of dog that has a style that is conducive to being good competition (aka field trial) dogs. However, on the other side, some of the champions etc that I have been with would not eat my feed. And I have been with a couple no name dogs that if I had deep enough pockets would never leave my kennel...they were that good!

I think the average hunter would be best served by asking "What style of a hunters are the parents and grandparents of the pups". I believe sometimes we get so hung up over ribbons etc that we forget what impresses judges, owners, and other observers may not be what suits my needs best. Just my humble opinion.

Mike

Edited to add. I almost forgot that a real good idea is to actually hunt with the parents and previous offspring of the parents. Something to be said for actually seeing the dogs in action. Personally if a breeder is unwilling to show me the dogs in the woods (or field in your case) then I'm not going to buy a pup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And pointers? Your point with the steering wheel is perfect. Did trial blood lines drive your lines choice of dog though? Would you have purchased a pointer from a non trialer? Or at least a breeder very concerned about trialing... A good example Bob Kluger in Indiana... Not a big trialer... But is very concerned about breeding dogs for trialing. Dogs he breeds to are all top trial dogs.


2ESRGR8 said:
I talk to guys that kill birds.
I poke and prod and ask any number of questions trying to get a feel for what these guys, that I consider the better hunters out there, are looking for in their dogs.
Then I like to see them(the dogs) in person. I want to see if they have any brains, any bird sense. Trialing to me shows you that the dog is trainable, it's up to me to put a steering wheel on the engine.
 

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You are on the right track to finding a dog that fits your style. You might find that you like the big running dogs that cover a lot of ground. Then again maybe not. I suggest you hook up with someone and go watch a trial,ask questions then go watch some hunt tests. However, that won't tell you the whole story behind the line. Just because a dog is being run in hunt tests does not mean it doesn't come out of field trial bred lines. The trialers can and do well in tests, vise vice is also true. Once you decide if you want a closer working dog or a big running dog, no matter the breed find a breeder that will likely provide you with a dog that you will be happy with. IT STILL TAKES A TON OF WORK
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
English said:
Ben, I'm not sure as my experience is in a different area than bird dogs. However, I have been with champions, grand champions, world champions and just John Doe's dogs. What I prefer in a hunting dog (remember we are talking squirrel dogs here) happens to be the kind of dog that has a style that is conducive to being good competition (aka field trial) dogs. However, on the other side, some of the champions etc that I have been with would not eat my feed. And I have been with a couple no name dogs that if I had deep enough pockets would never leave my kennel...they were that good!

I think the average hunter would be best served by asking "What style of a hunters are the parents and grandparents of the pups". I believe sometimes we get so hung up over ribbons etc that we forget what impresses judges, owners, and other observers may not be what suits my needs best. Just my humble opinion.

Mike

Edited to add. I almost forgot that a real good idea is to actually hunt with the parents and previous offspring of the parents. Something to be said for actually seeing the dogs in action. Personally if a breeder is unwilling to show me the dogs in the woods (or field in your case) then I'm not going to buy a pup.

Absolutely right. In most cases you wouldnt know where to look for this dog though... Right?
 

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Merimac said:
And pointers? Your point with the steering wheel is perfect. Did trial blood lines drive your lines choice of dog though? Would you have purchased a pointer from a non trialer?
I am buying the dog not the titles or ribbons.
I want a female pup and I believe you had better like momma dog if that's what you want so I went looking for a female Pointer that I felt I could hunt over while giving me the ground speed and style I want.
It came down to two bitches, one was a trial dog and the other a hunting dog, I chose the trial dog bitch because I had better access to seeing her on the ground many times. So yes, I would have bought a non trialed dog if it came to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think you and I agree on the point we are just running in circles. You cant buy ribbons. Maybe you can. But the point is. You buy blood lines. The quickest way to track blood is through trials. You bought a prooven blood line. You didnt know the real history of a hunting dog so you bought a trial dog. As did I. I have done a lot of research on bird dogs. I believe I know even less now than I did before I started. My best guess is with out trials or ribbons or competitions you wouldnt know who your breeder was or the other unknown bird dog.

I didnt choose my dog because it had ribbons.. It wasnt born yet. I bought the dog because the chances were high it would be a great bird dog and I talked to atleast 20 people that said L.G. Nixon was the most mellow dog on the planet until you put him into the field. I wanted a house dog with great bird skills. I sorta got it::rolleyes: But the point is chances are in my book that if the dog is a good trialer you can make it a good hunter.
 

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2ESRGR8 said:
In a perfect world March '08 but I bet its earlier.
I sure hope it's not earlier than March....Jim wants to keep two out of our Trixee x Stone Tavern Matrix...(she just came into heat, so her next heat cycle will be mid-December...) plus that skinhead pup he wants....PLUS another setter out of a frozen semen breeding scheduled to take place in the spring....:dizzy:
 

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When buying any type of gun dog you are really buying is potential. The best way to lessen the risk of buying a dud is to pay for that potential through blood lines.
 

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Shotgun Kennel said:
When buying any type of gun dog you are really buying is potential. The best way to lessen the risk of buying a dud is to pay for that potential through blood lines.
And if you want to speed things up, pay a trainer to expose your dog to lots of birds at a young age. Even a middle of the road dog looks good if trained by a pro.
 

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Shotgun Kennel said:
When buying any type of gun dog you are really buying is potential. The best way to lessen the risk of buying a dud is to pay for that potential through blood lines.

Great point!I would only add that a ,good dog, is a good dog,no matter the breed or where it comes from.Like forest gumb said "A dog is like a box of ........ well you know the rest.
 

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Merimac said:
Absolutely right. In most cases you wouldnt know where to look for this dog though... Right?
Honestly when I purchased the main female in my kennel I looked at many lines of dogs and contacted breeders all over the U.S. I looked at field trial results but I didn't pay much attention to the top dogs in each hunt. What I've learned to watch for is the dogs that consistantly win their casts. With this information in hand I called breeders and owners of these dogs. Plus I called people who had competed against or just hunted with these dogs. While the end decision came down to a gut feeling that "this was the one I'm looking for" it certainly wasn't a shot in the dark.

When I purchased my house dog (now a UKC Squirrel champion) I did so because I'd hunted with 2 dogs from that line and they were both the type of dog you'd be proud to own. Neither one of them had been in a field trial to my knowledge. I just had the opportunity to hunt with some men that had that line of dogs.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are different ways to do your homework. The key is decide what you want in a dog and then do your best to find a pup out of a line of dogs...or better yet a specific cross that is proven to produce that kind of dogs.

As to training a dog to hunt the way you want...well you can do it that way but I prefer to allow my dogs to hunt the way they are "wired" to hunt. Much easier to start with a dog that naturally has tendencies to do what you want than to enforce your will on the dog and change it's "wiring". For example there are enough variables in training a good dog that I see no reason to start with a wide hunting dog if what I'd really prefer is a close hunting dog.

Hope this rambling makes some sense!

Mike
 

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Small world, I just spent the last two days with some real grouse dog experts and some of the same questions were discussed. One of them started trialing back in the sixties and has won just about all you can win with a woods dog. I just sorry I can't seem to explain things here with out sending most here on a bashing spree! It was a real eye opener for me dogs that I have heard that were great(lots of Ch. in their papers)haven't or didn't pass it on to their off springs. So from just this weekend my answer has changed. Ch. on papers don't up your chances of a great grouse dog unless you know how those Ch. titles were won. Funny how 10 or 15 guys standing around with a beer in their hand chatting (even though we didn't all own the same breed) all pretty much agreed what made a great grouse dog. Merimac next time your up to Gladwin we should set and chat grouse dogs!
 
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