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February 2020

Gundogs as family pets

By | Alpha Feeds | No Comments

Good working gundog traits include a positive disposition, sharp intelligence, high energy, and trainability. Funnily enough, these factors translate perfectly into making gundogs fabulous family pets.

However, there are a few things to consider before bringing your working dog into the home, or vice versa. Here are our top tips for making the transition;

When does a working dog transition into becoming a family pet?

How many days a year does a dog have to work to be classified as a working dog? Is a dog who sleeps outside a working dog? If my dog works 50 days a year but naps in my bed and enjoys movies on the sofa; does that make her a pet? The questions are many, and the lines blurred!

The answer is simple; your working gundog CAN also moonlight as your family pet. As long as she qualifies in both disciplines, i.e., sporting and sofa training, she should live an incredibly happy life, living the best of two worlds.

Possible issues

Although gundog varieties are keen people-pleasers, many families can experience problems with their pet gundogs. These difficulties arise due to the breeds instinctual hunting drive, explosive energy and independence.

Another red flag is a lack of house-training and ‘pet-dog’ discipline, leading to destructiveness in the home. A lot of these unfavourable behaviours often come down to a lack of exercise, and confusion. The rules have suddenly changed, and your dog can’t make head nor tail of it, which results in a stressed animal.

If you’re choosing to bring a highly intelligent animal into your home, you need to honour her needs. A gundog breed kept as a family pet requires long walks, proper training and an active lifestyle. A dog who knows her place in the family and is mentally and physically content means a happy home, left in one piece!

Summary

Although the answer to the question of whether your gundog can be a family pet, is yes, the result isn’t always completely black and white. If, for example, your trained gundog, freshly introduced to the family home, becomes distressed – it’s best not to force your agenda. Alternatively, if your gundog is happy living the couch-potato family life, while working simultaneously, and seems glad to switch off its hunting instinct when necessary, it can comfortably double up as a pet.

For information on our range of working dog food, which offers a variety of feeds for when your dog is both busy working and when resting, speak to your local stockist, or get in touch with us through our website.

Spotlight on Lurchers

By | Alpha Feeds | No Comments

The Lurcher originated from bygone times where aristocrats dominated the field of hunting with hounds. Only the elite set was entitled to own greyhounds, deerhounds and whippets; and the punishment for a ‘commoner’ caught in possession of these breeds was death.

In time, the ordinary folk, in need of a hunting dog of this calibre, found a cunning way around the problem. By cross-breeding a sighthound with a pastoral working breed such as a Border Collie, or a terrier, the result was an exceptional hunting dog cleverly disguised as a pauper!

Fact file

  • Life Span: 10 to 15 years
  • Height: Ordinarily 27 to 30 inches at the shoulder but can be smaller
  • Weight: 35 to 100 pounds
  • Temperament: Affectionate, loyal, intelligent

Movement

The Lurcher was the first British designer, cross-breed. Quick as a flash, agile on the turn and gloriously elegant in motion – the Lurcher is a marvel to observe. Be thoughtful where you let your dog run free, a Lurcher at full sprint is best suited to open spaces, rather than woodland areas where collisions are a risk.

Exercise

Contrary to popular belief, the Lurcher doesn’t need masses of activity, although they require slightly more than Greyhounds. A couple of 40 minute runs a day is sufficient to keep your lovely Lurcher calm, happy and fulfilled.

Temperament

Like border Collies, Lurchers are incredibly intelligent; so much so that they worked as messenger dogs in both World Wars. Lurchers are loving, loyal and very affectionate. After an extended play and run, they like nothing more than to curl up on the sofa with their faithful person. They adore human company, and due to their super-smart nature, shouldn’t be left alone for long periods.

Cats

The simple fact is, no matter how many centuries pass, the prey drive instinct within lives on with a burning ferocity! If a lurcher pup grows up with cats, he or she may grow up to recognise they’re off-limits for hunting. Otherwise, unfortunately for kitty, she’s fair game.

For information on our range of working dog food, including our High Performance and Adult Maintenance feeds, speak to your local stockist, or get in touch with us through our website.