Dogs included in the Sporting Group were bred to be hunters that work closely with their human companions. This makes all of the dogs in this group acceptable for most families that want an affectionate and active pet.
These dogs vary in size and color so you surely will find one that meets your needs. Remember, however, these dogs were bred to be active so most of them will need plenty of exercise.
American Water Spaniel
The American Water Spaniel is a happy, eager spaniel who loves to hunt. Breeders have worked on its temperament and it is suitable for a family pet.
Height: 15-18 inches; Weight: 25-45 pounds;
Lifespan: 10-14 years; AKC rank: 166 of 197
Country: United States
The Barbet is a medium-sized French water dog whose name is French for “beard.” Its coat comes in several colors but most show dogs are black.
The Barbet could be the poster dog for a shaggy dog story. It is a loyal and affectionate dog that is easy to live with. It is a rare dog breed.
The Boykin Spaniel is the state dog of South Carolina where it was developed. It is medium size spaniel whose coats come in various shades of brown.
It was bred to be a hunting dog that will flush and retrieve game birds. The Boykin is a friendly, social dog that makes a good family pet.
The Brittany is a versatile hunting dog whose primary hunting was for hunting and retrieving birds. It is a tireless hunter and is easy to train.
Height: 17.5-20.5 inches; Weight: 30-40 pounds;
Lifespan: 12-14 years; AKC rank: 26 of 197
Country: Brittany, France
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were developed from two dogs that survived a shipwreck in Maryland area in 1807. It was a working hunting dog that retrieved waterfowl and pulled fishing nets for commercial hunters.
Chessies are medium to large size dogs that make great hunting companions.
The Clumber Spaniel, the largest of spaniels, was developed in the Nottinghamshire of the United Kingdom. Their coat is white with brown, lemon, or orange markings. It was one of the AKC’s charter breeds recognized in 1884.
They great with children and make sturdy playmates. They shed a lot and are known to have a loud snore.
The Cocker Spaniel was America’s favorite dog breed during the 1950s. One of the more famous Cockers was President Richard Nixon’s dog, Checkers (dog), who he mentioned in one of his speeches.
The Cocker Spaniel is an American variation of the English Cocker Spaniel. It is an all-around great and loveable family pet.
The Curly-Coated Retriever is the tallest of the retrievers and was bred to hunt birds and waterfowl. Its name comes for its coat of tight curls that cover its body.
Curlies are affectionate but a bit more independent. They are lively companion dogs and perhaps better watchdogs than some other retrievers.
English Cocker Spaniel
Cockers are friendly, easy-going dogs that make excellent family companion dogs. They tend to bond closely to one member of the family, usually the one who feeds it.
The English Setter is one of a group of setter dogs from England that were bred to hunt birds such as pheasant, grouse, and quail. They are medium-sized dogs with a speckled coat that can be lemon, orange, liver and other colors.
English Setters get along well with other dogs and people. They are a merry family companion dog.
English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel is a hunting dog that was trained to flush or “spring” game birds in the air for the hunter to shoot. They are medium size dogs who usually have a white coat with various color markings.
They are friendly, eager to please dogs that make great companions during the week, and ready to hunt when it is time to hunt.
The Field Spaniel was originally developed to be a show dog with a black coat. During the 20th century, breeders modified the breed so it also performed as a hunting dog.
Field Spaniels closely resemble Cocker Spaniels and they also make good family pets. They are friendly, playful, and very tolerant of children.
This is an active dog and should have lots of space to get the exercise it needs. Some owners swear that the Flat-Coated Retriever never grows up and retains its puppy attitude throughout its life.
German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is an all-around hunting dog that does well hunting on land or water. They are affectionate family dogs as well and rank in the top 10 AKC breed popularity.
The GSP is an excellent hunter and consistently ranks at or near the top in competitive hunting events.
German Wirehaired Pointer
The German Wirehaired Pointer has a griffon coat and is a mix of several German hunting dog breeds. Its coat is designed to protect the dog from all kinds of brush or water. This dog is the all-terrain version of hunting dogs.
The German Wirehaired Pointer is an amusing and affectionate family companion dog.
The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. It consistently ranks in the top 3 dog breeds in popularity. It is a beautiful dog whose loyal loving temperament makes it the perfect family companion dog.
The weather and terrain in Scotland can be harsh, and dogs developed there are rugged and weather-resistant. The Gordon Setter is one of those dogs and is also very friendly and affectionate.
Irish Red and White Setter
The Irish Red and White Setter has a very distinctive white coat with red patches. They are devoted and affectionate dogs that make great all-around family pets.
The breed almost became extinct near the end of the 19th century, but dedicated breeders restored the dog’s number so that it is no longer a threatened dog breed.
If you own an Irish Setter you will probably describe it as one of the beautiful dogs in the world. It has a very attractive solid color coat of red, chestnut, or mahogany. As a hunting dog, it is part of the setter family of gundogs.
The Irish Setter is a good family dog that gets along well with children and other family pets.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the oldest spaniel breeds and one of the largest. It has a liver color curly coat which makes it an easy breed to recognize.
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United States and in many other countries around the world. It was developed in the United Kingdom from dogs imported from Canada (Labrador is a part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador).
You don’t get to number one unless you are a great family dog. The Labrador may be the most friendly, amiable, and affectionate dog breed in the world.
The Lagotto Romagnolo (“water dog“) is a small to medium size water retriever from Italy. There is no longer a need for a dog that retrieves from water, so this breed is now used to hunt truffles.
The Lagotto’s great sense of smell makes it one of world’s best dogs at finding truffles. It has a very curly coat that resembles human hair more than dog fur.
The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (koy-ker-hun-juh) (“small cager dog“) was bred to chase or lure ducks into a duck decoy (structure) in its native Netherlands. It is a spaniel type dog with flashy orange and white coat.
The Kooikerhondje is becoming more popular in the United States and Canada where it previously was a rare breed. It is an active, good-natured dog that is sometimes wary of strangers.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
The long name of this dog breed tells where it comes from and what it was used for. Tolling is to lure waterfowl to approach within shooting distance of the hunter. It is the provincial dog of Nova Scotia.
The Toller is often confused with the Golden Retriever. It has a very attractive red coat that ranges from dark red to copper with white markings.
The Pointer (sometimes referred to as English Pointer) is a medium-size gundog that “points” towards the game that it has detected. They can also act as retrievers if properly trained.
The Pointer is an active dog that may be reserved with strangers but is loyal and affectionate with its family.
The Spinone Italiano is a shaggy hunting dog that can point and retrieve game. It was used during World War II to track the enemy and to carry food.
The Spinone is docile, sometimes stubborn, but always a pleasant dog to have around.
The Sussex Spaniel come from southern England bred to be bird dogs. They are relatively short in stature and tend to never be in a hurry.
The Sussex Spaniel’s coat is described as a golden liver color. The breed has been around for long time and it was one of the first 10 dog breeds recognized by the AKC in 1884.
The Vizsla is a hunting dog from Hungary. It is a medium size dog that has an excellent sense of smell. They make great family pets which is its most common job today.
The Vizsla bonds tightly with its family and hates to be left alone. They are very intelligent and easy to train.
The Weimaraner has a very distinctive silver-gray coat that makes it easy to recognize. It is a large dog originally used to hunt big game but changed to hunting smaller game when big game animals became scarce in Germany.
They are excellent with children and want nothing more than to be a full-fledged member of the family.
Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh Springer Spaniel comes from Wales and is a happy medium size gundog. Their coat has only one color combination, white and red.
Welchies are loyal and affectionate and become very attached to their family. They may be stubborn at times but overall are very easy to train.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a medium-sized hunting dog that was first recognized by the AKC in 1887. It is used to hunt game birds and waterfowl.
This breed is an excellent swimmer and retriever. They have a harsh coat that does not need a lot of fussy grooming.
The Wirehaired Vizsla is a versatile hunting dog whose calm personality also makes it suitable as an affectionate family pet. They come from Hungary where it is now a relatively rare breed.
The Wirehaired is very similar to the Vizsla but is a distinct breed. They both have red coats but the Wirehaired coat is much harsher.
Wirehaired Vizsla Club of America