Gun dogs, or gundogs, are a type of hunting dog that is used for flushing out and retrieving game. They are bred for their ability to work with hunters in the field, and they come in various shapes and sizes. So, the question remains: do gundogs make good pets?

Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. There are pros and cons to owning a gundog as a pet. In this blog post, we will look at both sides of the argument and let you decide for yourself. If you’re thinking about getting a gundog, there are a few things you should consider:

1. What are gundogs, and what do they do?

Gundogs, also sometimes called bird dogs, are a type of hunting dog that is specially trained to find and retrieve game. There are many different types of gundogs, each with their own unique skills and abilities. Some common examples include retrievers, pointers, and setters. Gundogs typically work in pairs, or teams, with a hunter, using their keen sense of smell to track down prey.

Once the animal has been located, the gundog can be used to flush it out of hiding and may retrieve it for the hunter. In addition to their usefulness in hunting, gundogs also make loyal and affectionate companions. As a result, they can be a delightful addition to any home with the right training.

2. The pros of owning a gundog as a pet

Owning a gundog has many advantages. One of the most obvious is that they make excellent walking companions, as they have lots of energy and love to be outdoors. Gundogs are also very intelligent, which means they can be trained to perform various tasks. For example, many gundog owners use their dogs to help with retrieving games when out on a shoot. Gundogs are also known for being loyal and affectionate companions.

There are many different gundog breeds, each with their own unique skills and abilities. Gundogs are prized for their keen sense of smell, stamina, and ability to work closely with humans. While they were originally bred for hunting, gundogs can and do make excellent pets.

Many gundogs will have a strong work ethic and be eager to please their owner, which makes training them relatively easy. In addition, gundogs can be dual purpose dogs.

Even if you never intend to use them for hunting, they can naturally adapt to other jobs such as scent work, agility, assistance and any other role where they work alongside humans.

I guess it depends on what one classes as “a pet”, do they/we intend on fulfilling the dogs needs or just our own.
I am a pet gundog owner, working lines and he joined our family with every intention of being a family pet and my first agility, scent etc dog. But, WOW what a journey we have been on and I often wonder how many have been rehomed as they were placed with families who never intended or even thought of training/fulfilling the gundogs needs. – Emma Wardle , LWDG Community Member


Gundogs are usually very healthy dogs with few health problems. This is partly because they have been bred for generations to work in the field. However please check your breed and find out more as no breed is without issues.

3. The cons of owning a gundog as a pet

While gundogs make loyal and obedient pets, there are a few things to consider.

First, gundogs were bred for hunting, and as a result, they have a strong prey drive. This means they may chase small animals, including cats and other dogs. Therefore, gundogs need to be trained early to prevent them from chasing wildlife or becoming overly excitable.

Gundogs make good pets, however, certain breeds I.e., Cockers, need to stop being portrayed and sold as the perfect family dog. They can be, but need a lot of work to get them there. People don’t realise the energy or attitude. Case and point, the amount of Spaniels under a year and up to 14 months who need rehoming through Spaniel Aid alone. – Amy, LWDG Community Member


Secondly, gun dogs are often bred to be very intelligent, quick thinking, independent and single-minded. This can result in them being stubborn and difficult if not trained regularly.

The Charity Spaniel Aid UK, along with other charities are overwhelmed with dogs. More about this problem can be heard on our podcast Keeping Working Dogs Out Of Rescue.

Gundogs require mental and physical exercise, and if they don’t get enough, they may become destructive. Finally, gundogs are bred to work with humans, and as a result, they may not do well if left alone for long periods of time.

4. In conclusion, should you own a gundog as a pet or not?

In conclusion, gundogs make great pets for active people who enjoy spending time outdoors or for people who want to spend time doing activities with their pet companion. They are loyal and affectionate companions, and their training means they are typically well-behaved.

However, it is important to remember that gundogs are working dogs, not simple lap dogs. Therefore, they require a significant amount of mental and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy.

Poll : Do gundogs make good pets?

We asked the ladies of our Facebook Open Community the question ‘Do gundogs make good pets?’ We closed poll once 600 ladies voted. This is the result:


98% said yes … BUT ONLY … if you take into consideration their needs as a working breed.

If you are prepared to meet their needs, a gundog can make a wonderful addition to your family. If you are not prepared to commit to their care, it is probably best to choose another type of dog.

Please do your research and speak to experienced gundog owners before deciding, and remember that every dog is an individual with their own needs and personality.

We hope this article has helped you decide whether a gundog is a right pet for you. If you have decided to join us as a gundog owner, join our Hot Mess handler – Gundog Basics and learn all you need to train your new dog. You can find out more here.

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