If you want a dog that’s alert, well-rounded, and beloved by all, a sporting dog is your best bet. The dogs in the sporting group are some of American’s favorite, including the pointers, retrievers, setters, and spaniels. They’re extremely well-rounded in their personality and what they love to do: some breeds in the sporting group love water just as much as they love solid ground. Many of the breeds were also bred to hunt or participate in field activities, so they require regular and mentally stimulating exercises.
Breeds in the Sporting Group were bred to assist hunters in the capture and retrieval of feathered game. For instance, retrievers, which are built for swimming, specialize on waterfowl, while setters, spaniels, and pointing breeds are kings of the grassland game.
Breeds you may know:
Sporting Dog Personalities
Not all sporting dogs are the same, but most are very friendly and quick to make new friends. That means they’re not the best guard dogs, but they are a wonderful family pet. They’re usually easy to train and very alert to their surroundings.
Depending on the dog, you may notice them pointing, flushing out, holding, or retrieving their “prey,” which is normally whatever toy caught their attention or another animal. This is a normal playtime behavior for them that comes from their natural hunter instincts.
This group is full of “water dogs” too that love to go swimming.
Sporting dogs are great for therapy or assistant dogs due to their friendliness and trainability.
They’re great pets for those who lead an active lifestyle, or need a good family dog.
How to Choose the Right Sporting Group Dog
When it comes to sporting dogs, it’s hard to go wrong. The first thing you’ll want to consider is your surroundings. If you have a pool or love to go to the lake, consider getting a water dog, like a retriever. If you don’t have access to water, you can still get a retriever and they will live a long and happy life.
Next, think of how you want the dog to play. Do you want one that loves to chase or one that prefers to point out what they want? Thankfully, their breed names are very accurate to how they hunt, so a good chaser and fetch dog would be a retriever, while a pointer will let you know exactly what’s on their mind.
Think of how active you can be with them too. Some breeds in this group are happier to sit with you on the couch, while others just want to play and run. Think of the size and fur too. This group is very diverse with the size of dogs and how much they shed. For example, golden retrievers are going to shed a lot more than German shorthaired pointers.
No matter what dog you choose though, sporting groups are fun-loving and affectionate companions.
Common Health Problems
Sporting dogs tend to live 12-15 years on average. They all have similar health risks, such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and torn cranial cruciate ligaments (CCLs).
Hip dysplasia is a heredity problem that becomes more noticeable with time. It’s the abnormal formation of the hip socket, so your dog’s leg doesn’t sit right. This can lead to lameness, arthritis, limping, and pain.
Because of how it affects your dog, it can be worsened by extensive activity, growth rate, and obesity. This means that your puppy may be zooming around the yard without any problems, but as they get bigger, they could slowly develop a noticeable limp.
Breeds prone to hip dysplasia:
- Clumber Spaniels
- St. Bernards
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
- Golden Setters
Every dog can tear their CCL, but larger dogs are more likely to tear the ligament in their knee due to their weight, growth rate, and energy levels.
In this case, you’ll find that preventive care is essential. Braces from Doggy Brace are designed just for that purpose — to protect your dog’s leg from injury. It works just like a compression sleeve or a knee brace you see on athletes. The braces discourage your pet from making too tight or too quick movements, which is the leading cause for torn CCLs.
Breeds prone to torn CCLs:
- St. Bernards