Hunting Dogs photo

Recently I read that Tennessee may open a sandhill crane season, and I briefly imagined sending Pritch out to retrieve one of these behemoths. Thirty-five pound dog attempts to bring back a four-foot bird–a bird known to peck at the retriever’s eyes if not fully dispatched. Nope. No crane hunting for Pritch. I’d need another dog.


All of which got me thinking: If I had unlimited money, space, and no job, what would make up my dream kennel of dogs? My list got real long real quick, so I decided to limit myself to three choices.

Boykin spaniel: I started with a Boykin spaniel because (besides the fact that I’m biased) I love the compact nature of this breed. They’re perfect for small boats, wood duck swamps, and dove fields. In short, the Boykin’s strengths match my own most common hunting/recreation situations.

Yellow Labrador: My next choice would be a Lab. I know, nothing too surprising here, but I decided on a Lab for a couple of reasons. I like that I could hunt the dog in extreme cold conditions and open water the Boykin couldn’t handle. And the dog would be great around the house. Why not a Chessie? Well, if you’ve read this blog long enough you know I’m an amateur trainer with basic skills. And I fear I wouldn’t bring the best out of a Chessie.

Brittany: I don’t own quail land, but I do sometimes get a few invites to hunt the birds. In place of a GSP or Pointer I went with a Brittany. I love the nature and look of these dogs, and the fact that they hunt well in the close quarters of the Lowcountry.

So those are my personal choices for the perfect trio of dogs. (If it was up to my wife we’d have three Boykins.) I’d love to hear your choices. I know some of you may say, Labrador, Labrador, Larbrador. And a few of you might even go with some hounds. Either way, let’s hear it.