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Sporting Dog Breeds: The Top Ten Dogs In This Group
The sporting group includes pointers, setters, retrievers and many spaniels. This group of quite active dogs consists of a wide variety of breeds, which were developed to help hunters find, clean and retrieve game. All members of this group need a fair amount of exercise, but you don’t have to be a hunter to own one of these dogs. Many breeds in this group tend to be very good with children and include the: English Setter; Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Welsh Springer Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel and Flat Coated Retriever. Dogs in this group range in size from small dog breeds such as the American Cocker Spaniel to medium and large dog breeds, with Setters (English, Irish and Gordon) and the Weimaraner being the largest. The two most popular family dogs in the world are the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever. The ten most popular sporting dogs in the US are as follows.
1. Labrador retriever
Labrador Retrievers are the #1 most popular dog in the US and one of the best family dogs in the world. The Lab is friendly, loyal, intelligent and extremely trustworthy with children. These large retrievers are not apartment dogs, but they can adapt well to city life if given enough exercise. The Labrador is good-natured and eager to learn and can be easily trained to do everything from competitive obedience and field trials to becoming a “watching” dog for the blind.
2. Golden retriever
This retriever is a good hunting dog, watchdog, obedience and agility competitor and an exceptional family dog. The extremely popular (#2) Golden is a friendly, confident and loyal dog who is cheerful, reliable and responsive to training. This breed is a wonderful family dog that is friendly with everyone, both humans and other animals. This large sized retriever is great with children, but small children should always be supervised as young untrained dogs can be too exuberant.
3. Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is smaller than its English cousin, the English Cocker Spaniel. This beautiful spaniel has a luxurious thick silky coat with pant legs. This small to medium sized gun dog can be used for hunting and retrieving, but is very popular (#15) as a companion and show dog. Cockers are great with children and strangers and can adapt to apartment life if they are exercised twice a day.
4. German Shorthair Pointer
The German Shorthair is a very athletic gun dog that doesn’t belong in the city. This large dog is loyal, intelligent and eager to learn and can be trained for field, agility and obedience competitions. This breed is extremely popular (#20), but it needs to be challenged both mentally and physically. The breed makes a good family dog, but can be too exuberant for toddlers and young children
5. English Springer Spaniel
The cheerful, medium-sized English Springer Spaniel is the progenitor of English hunting spaniels and the largest of the spaniel dog breeds. These popular (#28) Spaniels are excellent hunters and good family dogs who get along well with children. Some Springer bloodlines have shown some aggression and dominance, so early socialization and obedience training for males should be a priority.
The popular (#30) Weimaraner is a large hunting dog breed. This high-energy dog needs an athletic family that can meet his demanding exercise requirements. The Weimaraner needs an experienced owner who can manage and control this headstrong breed and provide early socialization and ongoing obedience training. This dog does not do well with children unless raised with them. The Weims need to live indoors and spend a lot of time with their families. Well-trained Weimaraners are a delight, but poorly trained dogs can be destructive, rambunctious, have a strong prey drive and try to dominate other dogs.
The Brittany Spaniel is an active, intelligent, loyal and easy to train medium sized dog. It makes a great hunting dog or family pet and requires very little care and gets along great with all children. This popular breed (#30) needs a lot of exercise and makes a pretty good guard dog.
The short-haired Vizsla is a popular breed (#44) of medium to large hunting dogs with an elegant bearing and a strong, muscular appearance. The Vizsla is lively, sweet, affectionate and a bit sensitive. This athletic, sporty and agile breed needs a lot of exercise and a lot of human companionship. Vizlas must be socialized and trained early to build confidence and prevent neurotic behavior. This is not a city dog and needs to live with a very active family.
9. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chessie is the strongest and most powerful of the sporting dogs. This large dog loves to hunt, but is also a great family dog and gets along well with all children. This intelligent breed is quite popular (#49) and somewhat wary of strangers and makes a good guard dog. Chesapeakes are not city dogs and need plenty of regular exercise and love to go swimming.
10. Irish Setter
The popular Irish (#67) is an exuberant, happy, goofy, friendly, charming and intelligent dog. This breed is non-aggressive and welcomes everyone. These Setters can be a bit independent and easily distracted, but they are intelligent and eager to learn and therefore can be trained quite easily. The Irishman is an excellent hunting dog and needs plenty of exercise with challenging field and recovery exercises. If these dogs are given early obedience training, they adapt very well to older children. However, this breed is so lively and impulsive when young that it could knock over small children.
Check out individual dog breeds at http://www.dog-breed-facts.com for more information on each breed.
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