Sporting dog breeds, the top ten dogs in this group

The Sporting Group includes pointers, setters, retrievers and many spaniels. This group of fairly active dogs is composed of a wide variety of breeds, which were developed to aid hunters by finding, flushing out and retrieving game. Members of this group all need a fair amount of exercise but you don’t have to be a hunter to own one of these dogs. Many breeds in this group are usually very good with children and include the: English Setter; Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Welsh Springer Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, and Flat Coated Retriever. Dogs in this group range in size from small dog breeds like the American Cocker Spaniel up to medium to large dog breeds with the setters (English, Irish and Gordon) and the Weimaraner being the largest The two most popular family dogs in the world are the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever. The top ten most popular sporting dogs in the US are the following.

1.Labrador RetrieverLabrador Retrievers are the most popular dog in the US (#1) and one of the best family dogs in the world. The Lab is gentle, loyal, intelligent and extremely reliable with children. These large-sized Retrievers are not apartment dogs but can adapt well to city living if they are given sufficient exercise. The Labrador is good natured and eager to learn and can be easily trained to do everything from competitive obedience and field trials to becoming a “seeing-eye” dog for the blind.

2.Golden RetrieverThis Retriever is a good hunting dog, seeing-eye dog, obedience and agility competitor, and outstanding family dog. The extremely popular (#2) Golden is a gentle, confident and loyal dog that is cheerful, trustworthy and responsive to training. This breed makes a wonderful family dog that is friendly with everyone – both human and other animals. This large-sized Retriever does very well with children but toddlers should always be supervised as young untrained dogs can be over exuberant.

3.Cocker SpanielThe American Cocker Spaniel is smaller than its English cousin – the English Cocker Spaniel. This beautiful spaniel has a luxurious thick and silky coat with trousered legs. This small- to medium- sized gun dog can be used for hunting and retrieving but is extremely popular (#15) as a companion and show dog. Cockers get along extremely well with children and strangers and can adapt to apartment living if exercised twice daily.

4.German Shorthaired PointerThe German Shorthaired is a very athletic gun-dog that doesn’t belong in the city. This large-sized dog is loyal, intelligent and eager to learn and can be trained for field, agility and obedience competitions. This breed is extremely popular (#20) but needs to be challenged both mentally and physically. The breed makes a good family dog but may be too exuberant for toddlers and small children

5.English Springer SpanielThe cheerful medium-sized English Springer Spaniel is the progenitor of the English hunting spaniels and the largest of the spaniel dog breeds. These popular (#28) Spaniels make both excellent hunting retrievers and good family dogs that get along well with children. Some Springer bloodlines have shown some aggression and dominance so early socialization and obedience training for males should be a priority.

6.WeimaranerThe popular (#30) Weimaraner is a large-sized hunting dog breed. This high-energy dog needs an athletic family that can satisfy his demanding exercise requirements. The Weimaraner needs an experienced owner who can manage and control this headstrong breed and provide early socialization and on-going obedience training. This dog doesn’t do well with children unless it is raised with them. Weims need to live indoors and spend a lot of time with their families. Well trained Weimaraners are a delight but poorly trained dogs can be destructive, rambunctious, have a high prey drive and try to dominate other dogs.

7.BrittanyThe Brittany Spaniel is an active medium-sized dog that is intelligent, loyal and easy to train. It makes a terrific hunting dog or family pet and requires very little grooming and does very well with all children. This popular breed (#30) needs lots of exercise and makes a fairly good watchdog.

8.VizslaThe Short-haired Vizsla is a popular (#44) medium- to large-sized hunting dog breed with an elegant bearing and strong and muscular appearance. The Vizsla is lively, sweet, affectionate and somewhat sensitive. This athletic, sporty and agile breed needs lots of exercise and lots of human companionship. Vizlas must be socialized and trained early to build confidence and prevent neurotic behaviour. This is not a city dog and it needs to live with a very active family.

9.Chesapeake Bay RetrieverThe Chessie is the strongest and most powerful of the sporting dogs. This large dog loves hunting but also is a great family dog and gets along well with all children. This intelligent breed is quite popular (#49) and somewhat distrustful of strangers and makes a good watchdog. Chesapeakes are not city dogs and need a lot of regular exercise and love to go swimming.

10.Irish SetterThe popular (#67) Irish is an exuberant, happy-go-lucky, goofy, kind, charming and intelligent dog. This breed has no aggression and welcomes everybody. These Setters can be somewhat independent and easily distracted but are intelligent and eager to learn and therefore can be trained fairly easily. The Irish is a superb hunting dog and must have lots of exercise with challenging field and retrieval exercises. If these dogs are given early obedience training, they adapt very well to older children. However this breed is so lively and impulsive when it is young that it could knock toddlers over.

See for more information on each individual dog breed.