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Will a Versatile retrieve in cold water?

Dear Steve ,
I have a German Shorthair and want to know if they can retrieve ducks in cold water. I hunt in Missouri and the weather is generally 30-50 degrees. Can the Shorthair stand this cold for 8 hours in a wade and shoot area or should I stick with early season Teal? She weighs about 55 lbs, female, neutered. Thanks, Fran

The main reason why so many duck hunters (the die hard or hard core types) generally use Labs or other types of retrievers because of the body fat the dog has. They are build heavier in general than a Shorthair and tend to have more body fat which keeps them warm for longer periods. But even the hardiest Labs need protection from cold waters at times. The thing to do would be to get a neoprene vest for the dog and have a platform or poke boat to keep the dog out of the water. Any dog can develop problems by sitting in cold water for more than 20 minutes at a time, just like people can in shorter periods of time. If you can keep the dog out of water,use a neoprene vest and the dog has a good build that is more fatty vs. muscular it shouldn't be too much of a problem. My Shorhair has a poor coat, has a muscular type build and is very lean but duck hunts for 4-5 hours with us where the air temperatures were around 35 degrees. But we were on dry land until we shot a bird and sent him for the retrieves. I always put a vest on my dog when the air temps drop below 40 degrees when I go duck hunting.

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