The Labrador Retriever is the pickup truck of American duck hunting — reliable, hard-working, durable and iconic. And they photograph well. But waterfowlers sometimes break with tradition in favor of utility, turning to a number of other breeds almost as photogenic and definitely as loyal and hard working as the noble Lab.

    American Water Spaniel
  Although a very rare breed, the American Water Spaniel has its own statewide fan club as the State Dog of Wisconsin. A truly dual-purpose dog, bred for companionship and top-notch retrieval ability, the AWS is active, muscular and medium in size. This breed’s unique coat can be solid liver, brown or dark chocolate and ranges from marcel (uniform waves) to closely curled.
    Boykins Spaniel
  The official State Dog of South Carolina, the Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized, all-around hunting dog with a cheerful, energetic personality. Possessing a rich, chocolate-brown coat and charm to spare, the Boykin is a favorite of hunters due to its willingness to work all day as well as its smaller size, which allows the hunter to lift both dog and duck into the boat at the same time.
    Welsh Springer Spaniel
  A compact dog built for hard work, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is a distinct breed, not a variety of the English Springer Spaniel. With his excellent nose and slightly webbed feet, the breed is a versatile hunter, water dog and retriever. Their trademark coat is a striking red and white in color.
    Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  Medium sized, powerful and compact, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of the retrievers. He developed in the early 19th century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. The playful action of the Toller retrieving a stick or ball along the shoreline arouses the curiosity of the ducks offshore. This lures them within gunshot range, and then the dog is sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds. Their water-repellant double coat is any shade of red, often with white markings.
    German Shorthaired Pointer
  A versatile hunter and all-purpose gun dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer possesses keen scenting power and high intelligence. The breed is proficient with many different types of game and sport, including trailing, retrieving, and pointing pheasant, quail, grouse, waterfowl, raccoons, possum, and even deer. A medium-sized breed, he has an aristocratic bearing and can be solid liver or liver and white in color.
    Portuguese Water Dog
  Known for centuries along Portugal’s coast and prized for its strength, spirit and soundness, the Portuguese Water Dog is a loyal worker and companion. Medium-sized and robust, the breed possesses a waterproof coat and the ability to swim all day. Its coat can be curly or wavy and is black, white, or brown, or combinations of black or brown with white.
    Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  Medium sized and bred to cover all terrain encountered by the walking hunter, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has been called the “4-wheel drive of hunting dogs” as he will enter briars or underbrush without hesitation. Griffs excel equally as pointers in the field and as retrievers in the water. Their coarse double coat protects them in rough cover and gives them an unkempt appearance. It can be a variety of colors, most often steel gray with brown markings.
    Standard Poodle
  An intelligent, athletic dog that excels at all canine activities, the Poodle has a long, proud history. The Poodle originated in Germany and the name is derived from the German word ‘pudel’ or ‘pudelin,’ meaning to splash in the water. Despite their glamorous looks, Poodles were originally bred to retrieve waterfowl and they retain characteristics such as webbed feet and a dense, water repellent coat that makes them suitable for that task today. But their superior intelligence and gregarious personalities make them more common as companions than hunting dogs.
    Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  Developed along the Chesapeake Bay and named the state dog of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a truly American sporting breed and the toughest water retriever. He is a strong, powerfully built medium-sized breed with yellowish or amber eyes and a distinctive coat — a short, harsh, wavy outercoat with a dense fine wooly undercoat. His color can be brown, sedge or deadgrass and must be as close to that of his working surroundings as possible.

Source: American Kennel Club