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By Koycroft

There are the breeds of dogs, if the toy varieties are excepted, that are not useful in some degree in connection with sport. The natural instinct of the hunter has not been entirely eradicated, even among those dogs which are confined to the show bench and the house. If given the opportunity, this hunting instinct soon develops itself, and there have been cases of pampered pets being used as gun dogs. Of course, the recognized breeds for hunting purposes are retrievers, spaniels, pointers, setters, beagles, fox hounds, etc.

Pointers and setters have not suffered from exhibition breeding to the extent that some of the other breeds have, the reason for this being that the breed has been in the hands of fanciers who have placed good working qualities ahead of show points. Pointers are kennel dogs in every sense of the word, and have been made companions of in the same way as have setters and spaniels. The natural result of this is that they have been bred for work, and for work alone. Setters are perhaps more of a household favorite, and there arc few types of dogs that make more beautiful or more charming companions than a red Irish setter.

However, the introduction of sporting dogs, all varieties, as pets tends towards the deterioration of the breed's working proclivities, unless a fixed rule is maintained that no dog may become a favorite until he has proven his worth in the field. When dogs are kept and bred for field work only, then only the best are kept, and the indifferent workers are weeded out. If, however, one becomes the pet of the household he will remain there until the end of his days, no matter whether he is a good, bad or indifferent worker. There is a great diversity of opinion as to the relative merits of the pointer and the setter. There have been fliers in both breeds, and it is a difficult matter to point out just which is the better worker in the field. Both have their admirers.

The field spaniel of the present day can be brought to a high pitch of perfection, and there is no prettier sight than a well trained team of spaniels working well together under perfect command, with one of the leaders allowed to retrieve the fallen game. All working breeds can thus be trained, but constant work is required, and a free range over broken ground, well stocked with game. The Clumber, Cocker, Sussex and black field spaniels can be brought to the same perfection as the pointer and setter, and they would prove equally serviceable to the one-day sportsman, and will range, drop to shoot, walk or sit at heel and retrieve, according to requirements.

It is a matter of great regret that well trained spaniels are rarely seen. If fanciers would take the trouble with this type that they take with the setter and pointer they would soon be developed, for it can be said that there is no breed more intelligent and none repay the pains taken with them when young, at such a high rate of interest.

Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.

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