Over the past few months, I’ve been reading a lot about bird dogs and field trials. One my favorite books has been Pointing Dogs: Their Training and Handling by Earl C. Crangle.
Earl Crangle was one of the most gifted field trailers and trainers of the last 50 years. He worked and trained hundreds and hundreds of dogs, including
some of the most successful English Pointers and English Setters ever. It’s safe to say that Earl Crangle knew what he wanted in a dog.
So what was his dream dog? What did Earl Crangle consider perfect? From his book:
“The following is my ideal: I would want him (or her) to have an unquenchable desire to find birds, to show strong determination under all condition, to have a keen nose to detect the presence of game plus the ability to locate it accurately and quickly by body scent.
He should adjust intelligently to terrain and cover, going from one birdy objective to the next with a pleasing gait, running with speed, independence and endurance while carrying a high and merry tail.
He should approach birdy objectives by going into the wind with his head held high, searching the air currents with his nose. His range should be to the front or either side, never behind. He should point his birds with high head and tail, being staunch and intense, displaying exact location.
The dog is to be steady to wind and shot. He should back a brace mate on sight, hunt dead and retrieve promptly and tenderly when called upon to do so. He should come when called and whoa, heel and sit on command. He should show good manners at all times and a deep desire to please the handler.”
There you have it. It doesn’t sound like too much to ask, does it? Well, before you start looking for a dog that can do all this, read what Mr. Crangle said about finding perfection:
“I have never seen the perfect bird dog and I know of no one who has.”
This book was published by Androscoggin Publishing, Inc. They’re part of Field Trail magazine, a must read if you’re interested in the sport of field trialing.