The dogs in this group were bred to aid men in hunting fowl (wild birds). Conditioned by nature to retrieve, these dogs can be trained to gather birds from the field of water or can simply stay at home and make excellent companions, fetching tennis balls, slippers, and the morning paper. There are four types of dogs in the Sporting group: pointers, retrievers, spaniels, and setters.
All pointers belong in the Sporting group. Tall, leggy dogs, bred to spend entire days running the fields looking for land fowl, these dogs are competitive, attentive, and very energetic. Without sufficient exercise, the pointing breeds have an abundance of nervous energy, which may result in destructive chewing, digging, jumping, and excessive barking. Given lots of exercises, however, you’ll find them friendly, involved, and accepting of children. The pointers love an active lifestyle!
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
The German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Wirehaired Pointer
Also in the Sporting group, retrievers were bred to stay close to their masters and retrieve waterfowl (or nets in the case of the Portuguese version!). Well-built, large dogs, they’re a bright, loyal, and active lot. Happy souls, love to be involved in all family activities, take to training very well, and generally view all strangers as potential friends. Easy-going, retrievers make excellent family pets, but prolonged isolation upsets them. They may develop Hyper Isolation Anxiety, resulting in destructive chewing, digging, barking, and jumping.
Dogs left alone for an excessive number of hours develop Hyper Isolation Anxiety. When finally reunited, their tension is so high that they run around grabbing anything that’ll fit into their mouths and jumping on furniture, counters, and people!
The low-riders of the Sporting group, spaniels were bred to find and flush birds. Trusting and friendly, spaniels fit in well with active families. Loyal, spaniels love family excursions and children but don’t like being left alone. If isolated or untrained, spaniels may become timid, whine a lot, or guard their food and other objects. As with all breeds, buy spaniels from experienced breeders only.
Irish Water Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniel
Welsh Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel
Majestic setters, bred to run the fields and point and flush fowl, also fall under the Sporting group. Highly intelligent, they are loyal, non-protective dogs who thrive on family interaction. As an added bonus, you’ll look terrifically aristocratic as you stroll through town with a setter at the end of a leash. Exercise is a requirement for these large fellows; without it, they get high-strung and nervous.
The Irish Setter
Bet You Didn’t Know:
At first glance, the Brittany might look like a spaniel. In fact, this breed was once called the Brittany Spaniel, but the Spaniel was dropped because this dog hunts more like a setter.