Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

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CDN_Cocker
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Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by CDN_Cocker » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:57 pm

My boy just turned 6 years old a week ago and it's got the itch starting to start researching my next dog. Jake, my FBECS, is my first bird dog and he's been one heck of a ride. His natural bird finding ability and keen retrieving is second to none. He's first and foremost a grouse dog but we hunt a variety of game together. He's always been a very high powered fire breathing dog in the field which is exciting. My biggest and only complaint is that never really turns off and to this day is not a good house dog. At 6 years old he's still well in his prime and he hunts hard during the season. Generally when we're out I'm hunting for 3-4 hours and for a cocker, he has no problem doing that and still has gas in the tank at the end. However he expends a ton of energy for very few bird contacts in our area so I know my next dog will be of the pointing variety.



This leads me to the point of my post. I have thought for a long time a setter would be his replacement as I just don't believe there is a dog more beautiful or more classically linked to grouse. As the time approaches to add a second bird dog (probably 2 years) I'm trying to consider all options and be open minded. As much as the looks and prestige appeal to me... I also do a lot of duck and goose hunting which isn't ideal for a setter... a lot of it is late season which also isn't ideal for Jake and although he does it enthusiastically I am not blind enough to not see his limitations and feel bad taking him and expecting him to break ice as he ages.



The 2 breeds that immediately draw my attention are drathaars and griffons. Both are versatile dogs so could also do waterfowl and the small amount of rabbit hunting I do that is currently a great job for my spaniel. The only thing i don't care for with the WPG is the longer coat. I prefer the look of a DD with shorter furnishings. That being said, while i will obviously be looking for a litter from parents who possess the important stuff like nose and biddability... my primary focus will be on dogs that also live in the house and are enjoyable the other 8-9 months of the year which my poor Jake is not.



So, to avoid making this post longer I will conclude with my question and key points. If you were in my position what would be your choice? Setter, DD or WPG?



Key points:

-Good house dog that is generally calm and doesn't need to be glued to your leg (will get regular exercise obviously)

-good with small kids

- great in the grouse woods

- double as a waterfowl dog and like water (Jake is part fish and I love it)

- possibility of hunting small game

- good cold weather tolerance

- generally quiet (this is a generalization). Most of my dogs have been quiet which i attribute to their upbringing. Whining in a duck blind is something that I'm thinking that i would not want. A bark when someone comes to the door isn't a big deal.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by averageguy » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:12 pm

The easy odds on favorite is the DD.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by Sharon » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:00 pm

X2

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by isonychia » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:12 pm

I was falling in the same boat as you. I just got another brittany pup last year and run an older britt. Love the heck out of those dogs but am curious to try something new in 2-3 years before I start thinking about serious trialing and hopefully one day breeding. I ended up deciding on the setter for the reasons you mentioned (I'm pretty stuck on the looks aspect, but also I started thinking about finding a brown dog in the cover I like to hunt). I "thought" about getting into waterfowl, did a ton of research there and thought about what I like about bird hunting and 90% of it is the moving bit. I'm not a waterfowl guy and there isn't a ton of public land opportunity around me for them at the end of the day. The reason I really was feeling out that path is because I wanted to extend my season, then I realized the stretch between the end of our short grouse season and the lakes freezing over I would have access to is about a month. So, in short, I have decided for now not to need a water dog. Setter is my decision. Sounds like you DO hunt waterfowl... don't think setter would play in to that nearly as well as the other options you mentioned. Go meet some DD's and some griffons. The griffs I met were awesome happy dogs that reminded me of labs, one of them would range out 300 yards in chukar terrain too. DD probably better on the "other small game" end of the spectrum and will likely be a fiercer hunting machine, which can be excellent or not so excellent I have heard, just depends on what you want. Given that toss up again, I would have to meet a few to really make the decision myself. Another plus to the versatiles vs setters is the wounded game tracking. The permit is too costly and the stipulations too much of a hassle for me to entertain that idea again in CO.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by Garrison » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:53 pm

Just get all three, Next! :lol:

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by CDN_Cocker » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:52 am

Garrison wrote:Just get all three, Next! :lol:
I would but I can't really afford a divorce lol

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by mnaj_springer » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:56 am

I'd hate to see you leave the spaniel world, but it sounds like you have your mind made up on a DD. And between the DD and WPG, I think you'd have more choice of breeders with DD's. I've always heard they are good water dogs, even in cold temps, but I hardly seen any for waterfowling around here. You could really muddy the waters and start considering a Chessie for your waterfowling and a setter for your grousing!

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by averageguy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:02 am

CDNC,

This is my GWP on a hunt from this time last season. Cold enough that all the water except the swift running sections of the river were iced up. Note the ice bergs all around as my dog zeros in on that diving greenhead.

Image

Image

Same day same GWP as the only pickup dog.

Image

Which is to assure you that the DD breed you are considering is extremely capable in all the areas you indicate - upland, waterfowl and fur. They are not a casual dog in the field, while at the same time most have an excellent off switch in the house.

The oversight of the VDD in their testing/breeding certifications makes a DD a far less risky Breed than the WPG as far as ensuring the puppy you acquire can be easily developed to perform the hunting duties you pursue. Their coats are on average much better as well. Finding a WPG with both a good coat and excellent NA is not easy. I see a very few while seeing many more that are deficient in one or both areas.

What is common and easy to acquire within the DD breed is not common or easy to acquire in the WPG breed.
Last edited by averageguy on Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by JONOV » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:24 am

Although, I think OP, living in Canada, is pretty close to a couple really good Griff breeders. I'd have to look.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by Featherfinder » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:19 pm

I think it goes without saying that the setter is out based on waterfowling, rabbit hunting, etc. - not that a setter can't learn to do these tasks but it's coat won't support late season waterfowling. So, if it's a DD or a WPG, I suggest the DD. That said, a good WPG is better than a rotten DD and vice versa. Do your research carefully.
Typically, DDs were bred to have a "sharpness" dynamic. This type of dog can be a challenge for some owners. Ask to see the parents...for sure!

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by gundogguy » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:21 am

JONOV wrote:Although, I think OP, living in Canada, is pretty close to a couple really good Griff breeders. I'd have to look.

Cass we have known each other for about 5 1/2yrs now. I personally think a Griff would fit with you and your lifestyle. Just my opinion from afar.
Best of luck in your quest for the dog.
Hal

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by Steve007 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:55 am

I'd take a look at the "GWP breeder suggestions" thread in this section. Good information and leads there.

You might also consider whether you (and the wife) find a WPG to be attractive. Nothing at all wrong with them-- I've hunted with some--, but as with women, good looks are a factor. Opinions do vary, of course. Still ..

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by DonF » Wed May 01, 2019 8:45 am

I must have missed something. All I saw that the OP hunt's is grouse, where does the water foul come in? If grouse is all he hunt's, a setter would work fine. DD's are versatile as can be but from what I understand about them, keep your cat's away from them! They were bred for sharpness but I think a bunch of that has been bred out here in this country. One good thing about DD's is I believe that can take training really well and don't hold grudges for handler mistakes. Don't know much about griffon's but the cutest dog's I think I ever saw were Griffon's. One about a year and a half the other an 8 week old puppy. That puppy get's my vote for the cutest pup of all time! Now setter's, there's several different type's. Generally when people say setter's they usually mean English. Relatively soft dog's and you can just about bet a heavy handed mistake by the trainer is gonna back you up several month's. Don't know a lot about Gordon's but have seen very nice Gordon's at field trials. The field type is what to look for though. The one's I've seen are smaller and not as hairy as the show type, pretty much same could be said for English. Then there's the Red Setter. I had never considered a Red Setter as I'd always related to the AKC Irish Setter and I would not have one. Then went and judged a shooting dog stake in Washington several years ago and saw my first Red's, had no clue what I was looking at! Well after the stake, I got in an order for a Red pup and the rest is history. Mine take's training as well as a shorthair, doesn't hold a grudge if you mess up, very willing and easy training, very smart dog. Smaller by a long shot than AKC Irish, smaller heads and no where near the coat! Excellent retriever. I'm coming up on my last dog very soon. I had always though it would be a shorthair but it's a Red! A shorthair is one you should give though to also. For myself one of the best breed's to have. Start early, take training in stride and very willing to please. Stick with the field bred dogs. You might also look at Britt's. For dual purpose dog's, hunting and show, I don't think they can be touched by any other breed. Around the house my experience with them say's they are not the high energy dog's the other breeds are. I would not rule them out.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by CDN_Cocker » Thu May 02, 2019 5:51 am

I split my time pretty much 50/50 between the uplands and waterfowl. Although grouse and woodcock are my true passion. I hunt with a lot of lab guys so if I went with a more traditional bird dog it wouldn't be the end of the world. Biggest thing is a dog that finds birds, is handsome, and will be good in the house and with my kids. My cocker checks the first few boxes but is a hazard in the house. At this point I know he'll never be a good house dog even though I do not plan on having him any other way.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by Steve007 » Thu May 02, 2019 2:48 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 5:51 am
I split my time pretty much 50/50 between the uplands and waterfowl. Although grouse and woodcock are my true passion. I hunt with a lot of lab guys so if I went with a more traditional bird dog it wouldn't be the end of the world. Biggest thing is a dog that finds birds, is handsome, and will be good in the house and with my kids. My cocker checks the first few boxes but is a hazard in the house. At this point I know he'll never be a good house dog even though I do not plan on having him any other way.
Gee whiz. You would think a cute little working English Cocker (I assume) would be a terrific house dog. Do you have an atypical dog? How old is he? I have some good obedience skills and work with my dog every day, but there's no denying that some dogs are more difficult in the house than others. Seems strange, though. But I never knew one personally, so perhaps my perception is wrong.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by averageguy » Thu May 02, 2019 7:29 pm

Don F, reread the second paragraph of the OP.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by CDN_Cocker » Fri May 03, 2019 6:22 am

Steve007 wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 2:48 pm
CDN_Cocker wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 5:51 am
I split my time pretty much 50/50 between the uplands and waterfowl. Although grouse and woodcock are my true passion. I hunt with a lot of lab guys so if I went with a more traditional bird dog it wouldn't be the end of the world. Biggest thing is a dog that finds birds, is handsome, and will be good in the house and with my kids. My cocker checks the first few boxes but is a hazard in the house. At this point I know he'll never be a good house dog even though I do not plan on having him any other way.
Gee whiz. You would think a cute little working English Cocker (I assume) would be a terrific house dog. Do you have an atypical dog? How old is he? I have some good obedience skills and work with my dog every day, but there's no denying that some dogs are more difficult in the house than others. Seems strange, though. But I never knew one personally, so perhaps my perception is wrong.
I think people assume that somehow because a dog is smaller it has less horsepower. My dog would run himself to death if I let him. He has no bottom and no sense of pacing himself. We do obedience and drills daily but it is of no use. He just has no off switch. He has 2 things on his mind - running and birds. He is 6.5 years old so it's not just puppy energy. I always believed that having a dog be a good citizen in the house was just down to training and boundaries. Until I met this fire breathing thing. My biggest fear is that I won't own another dog with the same drive and style. His borderline neurotic behavior and being on the edge of control is what makes him so exciting to hunt behind. But being a good pet is also very important to me and something he lacks.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by DonF » Fri May 03, 2019 8:37 am

averageguy wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:29 pm
Don F, reread the second paragraph of the OP.
Missed that! Got old eye's and and don't see so gud anymore, duh! :roll:

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by fishvik » Fri May 03, 2019 9:31 am

Have you considered a Boykin?

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by CDN_Cocker » Fri May 03, 2019 12:04 pm

fishvik wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 9:31 am
Have you considered a Boykin?
Nope. 1 spaniel is more than enough for my mental health lol. And no offense to those that love boykins but I don't think they can match an ECS or ESS in the uplands. They are bred for a different skill set.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by fishvik » Sat May 04, 2019 1:29 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 12:04 pm
fishvik wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 9:31 am
Have you considered a Boykin?
Nope. 1 spaniel is more than enough for my mental health lol. And no offense to those that love boykins but I don't think they can match an ECS or ESS in the uplands. They are bred for a different skill set.
Well then I'd go with the wirehair. I have a 9 yo GWP x Lab cross that is a great upland and waterfowl dog and the mellowest house dog I've ever owned.

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by crackerd » Thu May 09, 2019 9:37 am

gundogguy wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:21 am
JONOV wrote:Although, I think OP, living in Canada, is pretty close to a couple really good Griff breeders. I'd have to look.

Cass we have known each other for about 5 1/2yrs now. I personally think a Griff would fit with you and your lifestyle. Just my opinion from afar.
Best of luck in your quest for the dog.
Hal
gundogguy, you've now known Cass for about 6 years (as months have passed since your January post above), and I'm hoping you'll recapitulate and defer to my personal thinking that nothing but a Lagotto Romagnolo should be considered by the upwardly mobile and woke Cassidy household.

MG

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Re: Investigating... DD, setters and griffons

Post by gundogguy » Fri May 10, 2019 4:33 am

crackerd wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:37 am
gundogguy wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:21 am
JONOV wrote:Although, I think OP, living in Canada, is pretty close to a couple really good Griff breeders. I'd have to look.

Cass we have known each other for about 5 1/2yrs now. I personally think a Griff would fit with you and your lifestyle. Just my opinion from afar.
Best of luck in your quest for the dog.
Hal
gundogguy, you've now known Cass for about 6 years (as months have passed since your January post above), and I'm hoping you'll recapitulate and defer to my personal thinking that nothing but a Lagotto Romagnolo should be considered by the upwardly mobile and woke Cassidy household.

MG
There is an old German proverb concerning people and dogs. " In the end we all get the dog we deserve!"

Hal

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