If you're on the hunt for a duck dog to sit alongside you in the blind, you might want to consider these breeds first. According to a recent survey, these are the five most popular breeds among dog-owning Ducks Unlimited members.

Labrador Retriever

The epitome of a multifunctional retriever, it's no wonder the Labrador Retriever is the No. 1 breed among dog-owning DU members - in fact, three out of four responders own a Lab - and the most popular breed in the United States for 25 consecutive years according to the American Kennel Club. The intelligent, graceful and stylish Lab combines the finesse of a waterfowl hunter with the friendly nature of an eager-to-please companion. While black Labs dominate the field, yellows and chocolates also are popular varieties. With his short, dense, water-resistant coat, webbed toes and otter tail, the Lab is well-suited for swimming, and his balanced, athletic conformation makes him a force from the blind.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever boasts equal parts beauty, brains and brawn. This handsome-yet-rugged, athletic, all-purpose dog has a keen nose and is an excellent swimmer. With a water-resistant double coat, the limber and powerful Golden can plow through the muddy marshes. Eager to please in the blind or at home, the practical, versatile Golden is an admirable family companion with a sound temperament, kind expression, and affectionate attitude.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Projecting great strength and stamina, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a determined and intelligent waterfowl retriever distinguished by his dark, wavy, weather-resistant double coat. The Chessie has an innate birdiness with an exceptional nose. Webbed toes, a powerful build, and explosive movement make the Chessie an excellent swimmer. This protective, devoted companion is capable of persevering the harshest of conditions. His loyal, eager-to-please attitude makes him a good watchdog and buddy to have by your side in the blind.

German Shorthaired Pointer

A dynamic, versatile breed on land and in water, the highly energetic German Shorthaired Pointer has a superior nose, supreme stamina and strong prey drive. The GSP is a balanced, all-purpose gun dog of medium size that naturally and enthusiastically retrieves, points and tracks with little training. Mud and duckweeds won't cling to his short, taut coat. A hard, lean, well-muscled dog with an alert expression, the GSP is a willing-to-please companion that exudes nobility and grace.

Boykin Spaniel

The state dog of South Carolina, where the breed was developed, the Boykin Spaniel is a well-balanced, all-around dog that can easily flip the switch between assertive hunter and loving, devoted companion. This little brown dog is easily recognized by his wavy textured coat and highly energetic spirit. Versatile and compact, he is an exceptional swimmer and intelligent waterfowl retriever. Weighing less than 40 pounds, the Boykin's medium build makes him ideal for hunting on varying terrain in all conditions.

Before you buy

Before buying a pup, remember to first do your homework. Choose a breed that best fits your lifestyle in terms of the dog's size, coat length, shedding frequency, and energy level. Seek out dogs from proven hunting lines and study pedigrees from reputable breeders.

Regardless of the breed you choose, it's important to provide your new pup with complete and balanced nutrition. The Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Puppy nutritional platform is designed to meet the nutrient requirements of growing puppies.

As your duck dog becomes more active during training, you can sustain his energy needs and keep him properly conditioned by transitioning to a high-performance dog food made for all life stages, such as Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula. This complete and balanced formula is the foundation of optimal performance and recovery for days spent in the marshes come fall.