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Original Issue


Pictured on these pages in the poses characteristic of their performances in the field are the 22 most popular sporting dogs in America today. Each is an expert in his particular phase of hunting, but, like any expert, each must be trained to use his instinctive abilities with maximum efficiency. In this issue Sports Illustrated begins a four-part series that will teach you how to train your dog to hunt in the field

The pointing dogs

One of the most dramatic experiences for a hunter in the field is the sight of a dog on point, his body tense and rigid, his nose extended in the direction of game. Once the pointing dog is frozen in this attitude, he will remain for a minute or an hour, if need be, while the hunter moves up to flush the bird. For the pointer's job is to work out ahead of the hunter and when he smells game literally to point it out to the man who follows him. This desire to point is instinctive and exists to a limited degree in all dogs. In the pointing breeds, however, it has been specifically developed and intensified over the years. These dogs have further been bred for speed and physical stamina to enable them to hunt quickly and skillfully over vast areas of game cover. For the upland bird shooter, particularly the quail hunter, whether he seeks his game on horseback or on foot, a pointing dog is certainly his most valuable companion.

German shorthair
Brittany spaniel
English setter
Gordon setter
Irish setter

The retrievers

Where the pointer's work ends, the retriever's begins. Easily the most rugged of all the sporting dogs, retrievers are specially equipped, both physically and temperamentally, for their strenuous job. Once a bird has been downed, the retriever is expected to locate it regardless of where it has fallen and deliver it back to the waiting hunter. Fine eyesight and a steady, determined disposition help the retriever do his job, but his most important equipment is his dense waterproof coat, heavy muscular structure and superior swimming ability which enable him to work under the most adverse outdoor conditions. Retrievers can survive, and indeed often seem to enjoy, freezing temperatures, icy winds and storm-tossed seas. For the duck and goose hunter, especially the northern hunter who shoots over water, a good retriever can mean the difference between a full game bag at the end of the day or a series of unrecovered cripples.

Curly-coated retriever
Chesapeake Bay retriever
Labrador retriever
Irish water spaniel
Golden retriever

The trailing hounds

Whether he is a bloodhound on the scent of a lost child, a black-and-tan after coon, a beagle or a basset after rabbit or a dachshund after badger, the trailing hound is a plodding and determined tracker. His amenable, relaxed, almost lazy disposition, however, has made him so adaptable as a family pet that in recent years he has spent more and more of his time indoors and much too little of it in the field. Yet these very characteristics which have induced families to bring him indoors as a pet, coupled with a superior nose and surprising physical endurance, qualify the hound as a steadfast hunting expert. And the deep resonant bay with which many of the hound breeds mark their progress on the trail lends a particular and unforgettable excitement to the chase.

Black and tan coonhound
Basset hound

The flushing spaniels

Perhaps the most versatile of all the sporting breeds, the flushing spaniel performs a triple job in the field. Not only will he find game, he will also flush it to the gun and retrieve it. Smaller than the pointers, the flushing spaniel seeks his game close to the hunter and within shotgun range. This characteristic, combined with a natural retrieving instinct, makes him a particular favorite of the pheasant and grouse shooter who likes to hunt his birds on foot and at a reasonable pace. Because of the spaniel's versatility and his growing popularity, the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED have chosen to begin this four-part series on field training with Stanley MacQueen's expert instruction on how to train the flushing spaniels (opposite).

American cocker spaniel
English springer spaniel
English cocker spaniel
Welsh springer spaniel