BASC strongly recommends that anyone who goes shooting should be accompanied by a trained and competent gundog. Using a well-trained gundog aids the humane recovery of the quarry and shows a responsible attitude. Furthermore, the ownership and delight in working a well-trained gundog is an enjoyable pastime in itself.
High standards underpin public and political support for shooting, now and in the future.
The code provides advice at two levels:
Advice that must be followed in order to deliver sustainable shooting – unless otherwise stated the term ‘must’ only applies to meeting the standards set by this Code of Practice and does not refer to a legal obligation.
Advice that should be followed in order to achieve Best Practice, any deviation from which would need justification.
The following Golden Rules apply:
1. The health, welfare and security of your dog is paramount.
2. Never leave any dog, no matter how confident you are about its temperament, unattended with a young child.
3. Dog owners should consider other people and dog owners when in public places.
4. Always ensure that you comply with your legal obligations as a dog owner.
Dogs at home
• Never leave any dog unattended with a young child, no matter how confident you are about its temperament.
• There are criminals who will steal valuable working dogs, so always consider the safekeeping and security of your dog.
• Ensure that a new puppy is vaccinated to protect it against diseases such as distemper, parvo virus and leptospirosis (as advised by your vet).
• Ensure that your dog receives an annual booster for these diseases as advised by your vet.
• Ensure that your dog is microchipped in line with legal requirements.
• Ensure that your dog is wormed and regularly treated (follow medication manufacturer’s advice) to control roundworms, tapeworms and other parasites. This is particularly important if young children are around.
• If an infestation of lice, fleas, ticks or ear mites occurs ensure it is treated promptly. Remember to treat bedding, carpets and furniture used by the dog at the same time.
• Provide your dog with living quarters that are warm, dry and draught free.
• Ensure that your dog has clean drinking water available at all times.
• Feed good quality food appropriate to the dog’s age and working regime.
Dogs in the car
• Do not leave your dog unattended in a car unless absolutely unavoidable. If you have to do so, park in the shade, ensure adequate ventilation and security and leave the dog for the minimum amount of time possible.
• Never leave a dog unattended in a car on a hot or sunny day. Even with the windows open, a car can quickly become an oven.
• When travelling with a dog in a vehicle, make sure that water is available.
Dogs in the field
• Always treat game with respect.
• Be confident that your dog is under control before you take it out in the field. An untrained dog can be a danger to livestock, other dogs and people.
• Ensure that your dog will be welcome before taking it onto a shoot to which you have been invited.
• Never take a bitch in season (oestrus) onto a shoot where there will be other dogs.
• Ensure that your dog is under control when not working, particularly near roads and around cars and livestock.
• Remove your dog’s collar before going into the field to prevent the dog from being caught on fences, branches etc.
• Know where your dog and others are when walking up cover.
• Know where your dog is when loading and closing guns, particularly in confined spaces such as pigeon or duck hides.
• Check with the keeper/shoot organiser where and when you may work your dog, and do not let your dog disturb ground which is still to be shot.
• Never tie a dog to yourself or your equipment. Use a proper dog anchor if necessary.
Dogs on the foreshore
• Try to make your dog comfortable and make sure he has a dry seat.
• Send your dog to retrieve birds as they are shot.
• Dogging the tide line will often recover lost birds.
When retrieving from running water, try to get downstream from the dog during the retrieve to avoid it having to return against the current. The handler should also assess where the dog can get out of the water before sending it to retrieve.
During and after the Shoot
Remember the health and welfare of your dog is paramount.
• Check your dog regularly for cuts or thorns and treat them promptly.
• Always have a first aid kit available for your dog.
• If you have to leave the shoot to get veterinary attention for your dog always remember to tell someone you are leaving.
• Seed heads can get into dogs’ eyes, ears and toes and long-haired breeds can become tangled with burrs. These should be removed.
• Make sure that your dog has regular access to water, especially on warm days.
• Always attend to your dog before yourself; ensure it is warm and dry before travelling. If you have a long journey home, your dog may need food and a drink before you leave.
Make sure that training sessions are enjoyable for both you and your dog. Formal training will not begin until a puppy is several months old but good manners can be taught from the beginning. Mixing with other dogs will help steady and ‘socialise’ a young dog. Gundog training and obedience classes at local clubs can help you and your dog.
4. THE LAW
Basic points of law
If you own or are responsible for a dog, even on a temporary basis, you have a legal obligation under animal welfare legislation to care for it properly.
• In public places all dogs (including gundogs) must wear a collar with the owner’s name and address, except where the dog is being used for sporting purposes at the time. Sporting purposes include shooting, beating, picking up and training.
• Dogs must be kept on a lead when on a designated road, except where the dog is being used for sporting purposes at the time.
• It is an offence to have any dog dangerously out of control.
• Gundogs must not be sent to retrieve game that has fallen beyond a shoot boundary without the prior consent of the adjoining landowner or occupier; to do so constitutes civil trespass.
• It is a legal requirement for all dogs over eight weeks old to be microchipped.
The control of dogs
Owners and handlers of dogs commit an offence if their dogs worry livestock on agricultural land.
• Landowners and occupiers (or their servant) have a defence in law for shooting a dog that is not under the close control of its owner on agricultural land, if it is, or has been worrying livestock, and there is no other reasonable means of preventing the worrying.
• If a dog kills or injures livestock, the keeper (owner or person in possession) is liable for damages to the livestock owner.
Transport of animals
Be aware that if you are transporting your dog in connection with an economic activity you may be subject to rules and regulations governing the transport. Recreational shooting, beating and picking up are not normally considered to be an economic activity.
Membership of BASC provides third party liability insurance and cover for you and your dog while it is working or participating in a related activity such as training.
It is advisable to consider additional insurance for your dog. Included in BASC dog insurance policies are:
• A choice of either up to £6,500 or £12,500 veterinary fees’ cover each year.
• A choice of excesses to help members tailor their premium to their budget.
• Travel and accommodation costs if a dog needs to be referred to a specialist.
• Advertising and reward costs to help a member find a lost, stray or stolen dog.
• Multi-pet discount for members insuring more than one pet.
• Half price for the first two months.
• Free access to the Pet Health Helpline – providing advice from qualified veterinary staff, 24 hours a day.
• Free ‘Pet 24’ lost and found service.
• Other optional cover and benefits.
For more details contact the BASC marketing department on 01244 573 012 or see the BASC website.
6. FURTHER INFORMATION
For further help and advice call the BASC gundog helpline on 01244 573 019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of the BASC gundog (non-shooting) membership pack can be obtained from the marketing department on
01244 573 012.
BASC is the largest representative body for sporting shooting.
BASC Marford Mill Rossett Wrexham LL12 0HL
Tel: 01244 573 000 Fax: 01244 573 001
Email the Gundog team
For BASC gundog membership: 01244 573 030
Updated July 2016