tasks. They may be responsible for bringing items for a disabled person, picking up items that have been dropped, even
hitting a special phone attachment to call for help when needed. It has been reported widely that these dogs can be of aid to people with
seizure disorders as the dog will alert the person just before a seizure begins. It is not understood how the dog knows of an impending
seizure before the person realizes there is a problem, but it has been observed and documented time and time again.
The Sporting Dog group is prone to hip dysplasia as are other larger breeds. The other common ailment seen is digestive problems which is thought
to be caused by the extended expenditure of energy and the stress of the hunt itself. This theory came about because the same breeds do not
show a high incidence of digestive problems when kept as pets. Dogs used for hunting should be groomed often to check skin for parasites or
scrapes that can occur in heavy brush and woods and in some bodies of water.
For years, many hunters have resisted neutering sporting dogs in fear of removing their drive or ambition, fear of weight gain, etc.
Thankfully, that old wives tale is being left behind more and more in recent years. A neutered animal is just as responsive to training and
is a healthier animal. Neutering totally eliminates many health problems that unaltered mature dogs suffer.
Neutering is especially important for sporting dog breeds that are family pets. These dogs should not be bred unless the dog is so perfect
for its breed that passing on its genes is important to the breed. The suitability of a dog for breeding is not apparent even to breeders
until the dogs are almost two years old. Indiscriminately breeding a Labrador or a Golden Retriever dilutes the breed
characteristics. Altered dogs are calmer and, in the case of females, much cleaner to have in a home; neutered males do not display the
occasional aggressive tendencies of their unaltered brothers.
The American Kennel Society recognizes the breeds below as comprising the Sporting Group of dogs:
American Water Spaniel
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Curly Coated Retriever
English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer
Irish Water Spaniel
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Welsh Springer Spaniel
Wirehaired Pointing Griffin