Retrievers are willing to swim icy waters, slog sloppy swamps, chase cripples across chiseled cornfields and expect no more than a pat on the head or an appreciative “Atta boy.” Just being close to their hunter will suffice for any retriever.

Whether you prefer Labs, goldens, Chessies, American water spaniels or whatever breed that’ll come back with a bird in its mouth, having a retriever along for the hunt is almost a prerequisite from a conservation standpoint.

Can’t get enough photos of man’s best friend? Head over to our reader photo gallery, Snapshots, for more hard-working dogs.

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