As we learned in the first of this series, the sporting dog group was originally bred for hunting. Sporting dogs are naturally alert, very active, and incredibly lovable. The group of sporting dogs can be divided into four subcategories: pointers, setters, spaniels and retrievers. In this article, we'll take a closer look at each of these categories and talk about different dog breeds that fall within them.
Are you thinking about getting a sporting dog? Sporting dogs need a lot of exercise, so if you don't have a yard or don't like spending a lot of time outdoors, this isn't the right dog for you.
Pointers (also called “pointers”)
Where did pointer dogs get their name from? Well, pointing means your dog stops suddenly while following a trail. You may have seen this “pointing pose” before. Your dog will hold one paw in the air and point its tail up. In this position, your dog's nose is pointed at the track, so hunters, for example, know where to go next.
But to get away from the topic of hunting, let's now go into the nature of pointing dogs. Pointers are enthusiastic, intelligent and love to let off steam. However, their urge to move can also pose a challenge for some owners. If you live alone or spend a lot of time away from home, you need to be aware of choosing your pointer properly, as some breeds are very affectionate and prone to separation anxiety. In addition, pointing dogs are very affectionate, clean and usually get along very well with children or other dogs.
Pointing dogs have short, shiny coats and are usually quite large animals that can reach 40 kg in weight.
A few quick facts about pointers:
The German Shorthaired Pointer is considered to be the most popular and versatile breed
Considered one of the smallest pointers, the Brittany dog is often confused with the spaniel. The Brittany dog can reach a weight of around 18 kg and gets along well with children.
The Italian Pointer is the oldest known breed of pointer. Its roots go back to the 5th century. Italian Pointers are popular thanks to their reliable and calm demeanor.
The English pointer is considered to be the most ambitious pointer. It sounds strange at first, but English Pointers are very hardworking and do very well in all canine sports.
Probably the fluffiest pointing dog in our list: Spinone Italiano. Dogs of this breed have very thick fur, which is supposed to protect them from external dangers such as thorns.
And last but not least: The smartest pointer, the Weimeraner. Weimeraners want to be challenged both mentally and physically so they don't get bored-
The name of this group sounds strange at first, but has a very simple explanation: "Setting" means that dogs suddenly crouch when they have found their prey. It is a very prominent position originally intended to show the hunters that their prey is near. Just like pointers, setter dogs also point at prey. However, unlike pointer breeds, setters have very long, shiny coats that should be brushed daily.
Setters are very affectionate and get along well with children and other dogs. However, they also have a strong protective instinct when it comes to their "human" family and therefore do not always get along with strangers. If you have a setter dog, you should socialize them early on and introduce them to people and animals outside of your family.
A few quick facts about setter dogs
The Gordon Setter is one of the largest setter dogs. The breed, which originated in Great Britain, is built large and can reach a weight of up to 38 kg.
The setter with the most interesting coat might be the English setter. He's spotted like a Dalmatian, only his fur is very long. Its spots are usually black or reddish brown, and sometimes mixed.
The Irish Red & White Setter is one of the smallest setters. Although still a relatively large dog, he is the smallest of the Setter family, only weighing around 25kg.
The most popular setter is the Irish setter. In addition to his elegant, mahogany colored coat, he is best known for his hunting instincts and as a family dog.
Finally a simple name! Spaniel derives from the French word “espaigneul”, which means something like “Spanish dog”. Spaniels are divided into water dogs and land dogs. Some were experts at locating animals for hunters, while water spaniels retrieved shot birds from rivers and lakes. That's why spaniels are still little water rats today.
In addition, spaniels are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and affection. However, these characteristics vary from breed to breed. Most Spaniel breeds are very energetic and can develop behavior problems if not exercised. In other words, your spaniel's temperament might depend on how much exercise he gets on a daily basis.
A few quick facts about spaniels:
The smallest spaniel is the American Cocker Spaniel. He is not only the smallest spaniel, but also the smallest dog in the group of sporting dogs. Technically, the Papillon is the smallest spaniel, but it's more considered part of the Toy Group.
A little fun fact: the Boykin Spaniel is the official dog of South Carolina.
Most Popular Spaniel: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Famous for their sociable, fun-loving, easy-going and easy-going personalities.
Largest Spaniel - Clumber Spaniel. Clumber Spaniels are the largest breed of spaniels and can reach a weight of 40kg.
The cutest spaniel is (in my eyes at least) the English Cocker Spaniel. Not only do they have the cutest canine eyes, but they also love spending time with family.
Probably the calmest spaniel is the Welsh Springer Spaniel. If you want to get a spaniel despite a rather inactive lifestyle, you should get a Welsh Springer Spaniel.
In contrast to the Welsh Springer Spaniel, the English Springer Spaniel is probably the least quiet. English Springer Spaniels love to let off steam and spend lots of time outdoors.
The Smallest Spaniel: Papillon Spaniel belongs more to the Toy Group because it is really small and weighs no more than 5 kg. Its name derives from the word butterfly and it is best known for its pointed ears.
Last but not least- a group of dogs that make up two of the three largest dog breeds in the world. The name is self-explanatory, retrievers got their name because they literally picked up the animals (to retrieve). Many retrievers, like spaniels, were trained to retrieve animals from the water that had shot their owners. That's why retrievers love an environment where they can not only run around a lot, but also swim.
Retrievers are also known for their ability to work well with people. They are usually very intelligent, sweet, affectionate and loyal. Retrievers are attentive and obedient companions, and for this reason they are popular service dogs. If your retriever gets regular exercise, he'll be easy to work with.
Fast facts on retrievers:
The most popular retriever is the Labrador Retriever. In the US, it has been the most popular dog breed since 1991.
The best cuddler among retrievers is the Golden Retriever. The third most popular breed of dog is affectionate, gentle and very cuddly.
Fun Fact: Both Golden and Labrador Retrievers make the perfect dogs for first-time owners thanks to their gentle natures. The only (small) downside: Both breeds shed a lot of fur and therefore need to be brushed regularly.
The “Peter Pan” among retrievers: the flat-coated retriever. Dogs of this breed do not become adults until they are 3-5 years old.
The oldest known retriever breed: Curly-Coated Terrier. The first records of this breed date back to the 18th century.
The smallest retriever breed is Nova Scotia Duck Trolling (long name I know). He will only weigh up to 22 kg.
That's it again with the Sporting Group! If you want to learn more about dog breeds, read our blog posts about the hunting dog group or visit our homepage for all things canine.