Whatís the best breed of birddog? Great question. The answer is quite simple. It is the one you want to hunt with. Every breed has something different to offer. No breed is best. Just like cars, everybody wants something different. And all will get you from point A to point B.
 
Jessie is my "best breed" of dog. I grew up with a lab. Loved Ďem all my life. I am the kind of guy who wants his dog in the home, on my furniture and on my bed. I want to share a lot of my life with them. My wife, Laurel, is worse than I am. She and Jessie are joined at the hip most of the time. Every evening Jessie literally lies on Laurel. At night they snuggle up together and Jessie often lays her head across Laurelís neck when we are asleep.
 

 
I have friends who keep several dogs in a kennel. The dogs never come in the house. They live a different life, but it is right for them. However, I admit to having a prejudice against keeping one dog solo, all by itself, outside in a kennel. They are social animals, they want and need company.
 
Back to Jessie. She is a British Lab from British Labradors dot com. Her dad is the beautiful dog, Jason, you see in their magazine ads. British labs have a quiet, well-mannered temperament. They excel at bird finding and are very easy to train. They are not well-suited to American type field trials. Electric collars are not necessary. The collar I use with Jessie simply vibrates like a cell phone and that is usually enough to get her attention.
 
On our television show, Bird Dogs Forever, Jessie was my co-host. She appeared in each episode to provide a basis of comparison among the various breeds we hunted over.
 
How good is Jessie? Pretty darn good. Great nose and very adaptable. She has the pointing gene, but I have never emphasized it. So, she often simply flushes a bird and at other times she staunchly points for me. She is not steady to wing and shot and at her age (ten) I have been advised by a professional trainer not to undertake the training. I donít hunt ducks and so handling her for long retrieves is not part of the package and so I did not train her to do that either..
 
Labs tend to eat too much and can be overweight without careful supervision and exercise. Jessie simply does not know when to stop eating. We monitor her food intake very carefully. We also exercise her vigorously at least four times a week. That way she doesnít poop out after an hour in the field. She does not have the stamina of a pointer and she canít go all day long like some German Shorthairs I have met. But thatís okay with me. She hunts more slowly as the day progresses but she still is in the game for the whole day. Being black, she overheats easily and I really watch for signs of overheating when hunting in the early season. In the summer, her vigorous exercise mainly consists of swimming.
 
I can state without reservation that I love Jessie. She is a very important part of our family.