My 6th grade son wrote this article as part of a school project. I thought it would be great to publish his effort and a good way to kick off our journey of life with a hunting dog. I did do a bit of editing and added some additional content, but we worked together on it and I’m proud to see his research and writing come together.
The Case for a Versatile Hunting Dog
By Jonah Wymer
There are many types of hunting dogs, and many styles of bird hunting. Having a specific dog for each style of hunting is expensive and time consuming, and best suited for the hardcore hunter. For bird hunting this issue is most separated between upland birds and waterfowl. There are three main types of dogs for hunting birds. Waterfowl dogs, upland dogs (these are specific focused) and versatile hunting dogs; dogs trained to both retrieve waterfowl and flush, or point, upland birds.
This article is going to show why I believe a multipurpose / Versatile hunting dog is the best type of hunting dog. Vance (2002) states that “A “versatile” hunting dog, as defined by the National Versatile Hunting Dog Association, is “a dog that is bred and trained to dependably hunt and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water.” Bob Farris (2018) further states “some of the versatile breeds come with so much affection that the family can manage these dogs easier as the affections helps create more obedience in a form of bid ability and a calmness, specially for the children’s benefit.”
The first reason to point out is the cost. A good hunting dog can cost as much as $2,500! Feeding and vet bills make up the next largest cost of owning a dog. This cost increases per each dog owned. Dog beds, kennels, leashes, training supplies, etc. also have a high cost associated with them. Having one dog, that can hunt multiple species, saves on the purchase, and maintenance price. A serious bird hunter could have both a Labrador retriever and a Pointer to allow hunting both upland and waterfowl, requiring two dogs. As these dogs age hardcore hunters will typically add a younger dog to the pack. This could result in as many 4 dogs in household. Versatile dogs, on the other hand, are bred to hunt upland and waterfowl as well as a be a home companion.
The next reason is space. Hunting dogs are typically medium to large breed dogs. Having a house with several medium to large dogs in it can be a chaotic place. Multiple kennels, water bowls, food storage containers, and other accessories can take up a lot space. One dog is easier to manage, and requires less space and care.
The last reason is versatility. In fact, Versatile Hunting Dogs, are becoming more and more popular with hunters because they give a hunter mores options. This versatility allows a hunter to hunt more species and hunt more seasons increasing the ability to spend time in the field. A Versatile dog is great dog for a hunter. However, they do require a wider range of training than a specific purpose dog.
Based on these reasons I believe that the best hunting dog for today’s bird hunter is a Versatile Hunting Dog. It saves the hunter money, allowing them to spend more on trips and adventures. It also takes up less space and resources in the home. Lastly it allows a hunter additional hunting opportunities and the ability to hunt different species of birds.
If you are looking for a bird hunting dog then should be sure to research versatile hunting dog breeds and pick the best one for you.
Joel Vance, The Do Everything Dog, mdc.mov.gov.comag, Missouri Conservationist Magazine, Sep 02, 2002, accessed January 11, 2018. Vance, Joel https://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2002/09/do-everything-dog
Bob Farris, Breeding & Training Versatile Hunting Dogs Paperback, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (February 25, 2018)
Some links for additional reading and research:
An online community and discussion form
A list of recognized Versatile Hunting Dog Breeds
If you are interested in hunting a versatile dog, The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Associate (NAVHDA) is the place to start.