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Water dogs, once called Water Spaniels, are a type of gun dog and count among their number some of the oldest dog breeds. With the advent of kennel clubs many water spaniels were accepted under the names including the designation retriever rather than water spaniel. As the name implies, water dogs were bred to flush and retrieve game from water, often serving the waterfowl hunter. Strong swimming desire is a characteristic of these dogs.
The ancestors of modern water dogs originated in the Mediterranean and other parts of Europe over 2000 years ago.
Water dogs have curly, sometimes corded coats. Most water dog breeds are easy to train and are sociable.
Although there is some overlap with dogs considered to be retrievers, the following breeds are considered water dogs
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A pointing breed is a type of gundog typically used in finding game. Gundogs are traditionally divided into three classes: retrievers, flushing spaniels, and pointing breeds. The name pointer comes from the dog's instinct to point, by stopping and aiming its muzzle towards game. This demonstrates to the hunter the location of his or her quarry and allows him to move into gun range. Pointers were selectively bred for dogs who had abundant pointing and backing instinct. They typically start to acquire their hunting instincts at about 2 months of age. Many need further training to hold steadily at all appropriate times until released by the hunter.
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A Spaniel is a group of gun dog breeds. Spaniels are generally smaller dogs with longer coats and drop ears. The breed's main job is to assist with bird hunting. of intelligence, affection, and obedience, which qualities, combined with much beauty, make them highly prized as companions.
It is desirable that Spaniels always work within gun range, are steady to shot, are able to mark the fall and retrieve shot game to hand with a soft mouth. A good nose is highly valued, as it is in most gun dog breeds. They are versatile hunters traditionally being used for upland game birds, but are equally adept at hunting rabbit and waterfowl. Whether hunting in open fields, woodlands, farm lands - in briars, along fencerows or marshlands, a spaniel can get the job done.
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The Setter is a type of gundog used most often for hunting game such as quail, pheasant, and grouse. A setter silently searches for game by scent. When prey is encountered the dog's behavior defies nature, and the dog freezes rather than chases after the game. Setters get their name from their distinctive stance; a sort of crouch or "set" upon finding their quarry. Most setters are born with a natural proclivity to hunting. Dogs which show excitement and interest in birds are described as being "birdy", and trainers look for puppies that show this particular trait. Training is usually done with domesticated pigeons.
The ancestors of modern setters probably originated in Spain in the 1500s and evolved from spaniels. Later these dogs were exported to France and England where the breeds were developed into today's varieties.
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A retriever is a type of gun dog that retrieves game for a hunter. Generally gun-dogs are divided into three major classifications: retrievers, flushing spaniels, and pointing breeds. Retrievers were bred primarily to retrieve birds or other prey and return them to the hunter without damage. Although spaniels and some pointing breeds routinely retrieve game, and many retrievers are skilled in finding game, retrievers are distinguished in that non-slip retrieval is their primary function. As a result, retriever breeds are bred for soft mouths and a great willingness to please, learn, and obey. A soft mouth refers to the willingness of the dog to carry game without damaging it. "Hard mouth" is a serious fault in a hunting dog and is one that is very difficult to correct. A hard-mouthed dog renders game unpresentable or at worst inedible.
The retriever's willingness to please and trainability have made retrievers such as the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever popular as assistance dogs.