I have seen different breeds of bird dogs in action, primarily pointing breeds because that’s my preference, but I am especially partial to Brittanys. I share my home and my life with three of them.
Brittanys are medium-sized and very intelligent, agile, versatile, trainable hunting and house dogs. They are focused, fun-loving, hard-working, sometimes intense, happy animals. Brittanys can go directly from the show ring to the woods or vice versa. They can do any other dog sport offered to them.
But where you really see a Brittany shine is in the quest for game birds. I often see their hunting patterns as a form of canine ballet. They adeptly maneuver rock walls, fallen trees, thick brush and other obstacles in their quests for their feathered quarry.
My appreciation for the beauty of the graceful movement of a well-bred Brittany can stop me in my tracks. I say well-bred because careful breeding yields the structure bird dogs need to do their jobs well and with less risk of injury. A well-bred Brittany in good condition paces itself and can work hard for several hours with minimal rest stops. It has natural instinct and ability.
But even with the best breeding, dogs do get injured. There are many hazards, from porcupines, skunks, coyotes and bears to old dumps full of broken glass and rusty metal. There are also ticks that can carry deadly diseases and thorny bushes that can rip skin or injure eyes.
A dog first aid kit is a must for handlers and needs to include pliers. Did I mention porcupines?
As a longtime employee of Bangor Daily News, I have served many roles over the years, but I now have a dream job as Community Editor. I live in Hermon with my four Brittany dogs: Sassy, Bullet, Thistle...
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