Sporting Dog Breeds
The sporting group comprises some of the most popular breeds, including pointers, setters, retrievers and spaniels. Both routinely in the top five breeds, the Labrador retriever and the golden retriever together account for nearly one-quarter of the more than 1 million dogs registered with the AKC every year. Alert, active and intelligent, sporting dogs have historically been used by hunters to locate, flush or retrieve game from land or water. Many sporting dogs are still used as hunting companions today, although their gentle natures and high level of trainability have also earned them the reputation of being among the best family dogs. These same traits often lead to some of these animals being recruited into service positions, either as helper dogs for the disabled or as bomb and drug sniffers for law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, the sheer popularity of some of the sporting breeds, most notably cocker spaniels but also Labrador and golden retrievers, has led to a rise in health and behavioral problems. Some indiscriminate breeders have inflamed congenital problems by careless overbreeding, and have created unstable temperaments through simple neglect. Be especially careful in finding a reputable breeder of these dogs.