Hmmm If I wanted a dog that I knew was going to cut it hunting, I'd go for a started dog over a puppy. With a started dog you know what your getting, you know they can do the job and have the instinct. Also if you like that bench-y look, you know your getting it if you look into a started dog, that has that look. With a puppy you never know what your going to get, could be a maniac hunter, might be a really nice couch potato. It could be a show looker, might be wiry little runt. With a started dog I can take it home and be hunting tomorrow, with a puppy you'll have to put in a year or so of puppy work before that will be possible, that's if the pup turns out. Yes with a good breeding you can hedge your bet, but you still have a bunch of unknowns. A started dog will usually cost you less in the long run, as the training is already there, and as they are older you can get a good idea of structure and health, sometimes they even have pre-lim hips, elbows etc. clearances already in place. Unless I knew of a special breeding, with parents that I'd been watching, and really liked. For a hunting companion, I'd go for a started dog, a whole lot less guessing and work for me.