If you’ve been thinking about getting a new dog then you’re not alone – Kennel Club figures show that the number of people looking for puppies surged in the last couple of years.
But with 221 different breeds of pedigree dog to choose from, there’s plenty of thinking to do before you select your family’s latest four-legged addition – whether you want a large dog, family-friendly dog, or crossbreed.
There’s even academic guidance to seek out, with Psychologist Stanley Coren’s book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ ranking breeds by instincts, obedience, and the ability to adapt.
Gun dogs were initially bred to help hunt game birds with guns, but they have become one of the favourite types of dog to have as a pet.
And it’s no secret why – from Labradors to Spaniels, these are some of the most loving and friendly companions you could wish for. They come in three traditional categories – retrievers, flushers, and pointers – and are hard-wired to be active and work in all weathers.
Their friendly and sociable nature means they are considered a perfect family dog, as long as they get the amount of exercise and stimulation their hardworking nature requires.
These are 10 of the most popular breeds of gun dog, according to The Kennel Club.
1. Labrador Retriever
Perhaps not surprisingly, Labradors take the top spot. These exceptionally, loyal, loving and friendly dogs have earned their place as one of the nation's favourite breeds. Their intelligence, patience and gentle nature has made them a perfect guide dog and service dog as well as family pet. Labradors love water, companionship, and food - they are the most likely dog to be obese. So it's best to keep them active and well exercised. Photo: Getty Images
2. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are known as the "merry cocker" for their ever-wagging tail and happy temperament. A hugely-popular family pet, in recent years they have been bred with poodles to make the adorable cockapoo - but a cocker on its own is just as good. They are obedient, loyal and loving, but don't like being alone. Photo: Getty Images
3. Hungarian Vizsla
The Hungarian Vizsla stands out with its striking rusty gold coat and characteristically large ears. This is a dog which is gentle mannered, affectionate and loyal, forming close bonds with their humans. With a name deriving from the Hungarian term for "searcher", their original job was to point out birds and upland game. So they need plenty of exercise to keep them entertained. Photo: Getty Images
4. German Shorthaired pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a handsome breed, described as a "hunting machine" due to their versatility in the field. As a pet, they are intelligent, enthusiastic and affectionate - and sometimes a little boisterous. They love interaction with humans and other animals, and need a decent amount of exercise and training. Photo: Getty Images