I’m writing in response to a subject that is very of interest to me. And I do understand some of your recommendations (I.e. Poodles are great family dogs and the standard size could be used for bird hunting, if field breed (but very hard to find), and I was especially impressed by your recommendation of the Airedale Terrier, Which one of the best all around breeds a century ago but sadly is used mostly for show these days. They are very intelligent and can be head strong when this circumstance may require bid ability.
My suggestion to L.P. in Utah would be to look into English Shepard’s and American Working Farm Collies, Both of which are all purpose, Land Race Breeds in North America. That watch over the kids, work the livestock and hunt small game. These are the dogs that built our country before the dog shows started standardizing and specializing the Breeds. There is an active community working to reestablish these breeds. And though not AKC (yet), there are serious, responsible breeders out there. And if you Google either breed you will find them. I truly believe that these would be the Ideal Homestead dog. And before you say it, True all of the hunting info that I’ve seen has been hunting small game (such as rabbits, raccoons and squirrels) and vermin. But I have distinct memories of my father talking about old farm collies out performing high priced modern retrievers bringing back ducks in North Dakota in the 1940s. If that’s true I’d bet that some of those genes are around still, If you look hard enough. There once was an all-around breed of dog and there can be again.
As a starting point I would suggest checking out the American Working Farm Collies web site to find out more about the breed and see what you think. And as I’m also very interested in the subject, I’d like to post the question to their form (with your permission of course) to see if any of their lines show any interest in “birding”, They do everything else. Thanks for your time. Sincerely, – D.A.