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Gun Dog: Are Appalachian Turkey Dogs Good Dogs for Family Pets?

By    |   Sunday, 08 Nov 2015 08:31 PM

Appalachian Turkey Dogs are a recent breed that can be traced largely to the breeding efforts of one gun dog breeder, John Byrne, of Virginia, who died in 2012 at the age of 87.

Seeking a dog that would range ahead of the hunter, barking and scattering wild turkeys out of hiding, Byrne bred setters, pointers and Plott hounds to get a floppy-eared, medium-sized dog with black-and-white markings that, according to Gerry Bethge in Outdoor Life, “remain the most highly regarded turkey dogs on the planet.”

But how are they as pets?

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Turkey hunters on the forum site TurkeyDog.org share stories of their Byrne-bred turkey dogs, and all say their dogs will be “house dogs.”

“Factor in the cost of travel and the hours of training time, the dogs age, their value as a companion, family pet, and watchdog, their awards, any special recognition they've received in the turkey hunting community, and you get an idea of how much value we put on our dog,” according to the introduction on the TurkeyDog.org page.

A turkey hunter from Youngstown, Ohio, wrote that “Annie,” his first hunting dog, will be a house dog, as is “Gage,” a Byrne dog belonging to a hunter in Limerick, Pennsylvania.

Petfinder, in its profile about “Peabody,” an Appalachian Turkey Dog for which it found a home, called the dog “very sweet and loving,” saying it “loves to be with his people as much as possible. He is also very playful and loves to go for walks.”

Specific information about the breed, other than as a hunter, is scarce online – the breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.

But looking at the breeds that went into the creation of the Appalachian Turkey Hound, it’s possible to get a good idea of what one might be like around the house.

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Of the Plott hound, AKC said they “are eager to please, loyal, intelligent, and alert in the home.” The Plott is gentle with people but “fearless, implacable, and bold at work.”

DogTime.com said pointers – which were bred to find and then “point” out a prey animal to hunters – are “energetic and fun-loving, (and) well-suited to active homes where he’ll be a member of the family.”

Of setters, DogBreedInfo.com said the English variety is “friendly and excellent with children, ... easy going, loving all the affection they can get. Exuberant and vivacious outdoors, but relatively inactive indoors. With meek owners they will become willful. Can be difficult to housebreak.”

The picture emerges of a typical bred-for-hunting dog: An energetic animal loyal and even affectionate toward its humans, but needing lots of active playtime and a firm hand to make sure it behaves.

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Appalachian Turkey Dogs are a recent breed that can be traced largely to the breeding efforts of one gun dog breeder, John Byrne, of Virginia, who died in 2012 at the age of 87.
gun dog, Appalachian Turkey Dog, pets
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2015-31-08
Sunday, 08 Nov 2015 08:31 PM
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