WIth our golden pup being a little over 4 months in age, the verdict is still out on the handling in the field. But, from what I've seen so far, I think it is going to work out.
Here's an example of what I mean. Robins. Now that spring is here, there are tons of them hopping around. They call to the pup. They tease her. She can hear it. She doesn't like it and takes it personally when the things are in her backyard. She's quite good at getting rid of them. One time she was on a full speed backyard perimeter sweep. She had just forced one airborne and adjusted her arc and turned back toward me to to go after a second robin. As the bird took off, the pup was about 35 yards away. I said, "Sassy...SIT!" In that instant, she put her lil' fanny on the ground, turned and focused on me. Understand, this is my daughter's critter. She's been working on remote sit with marker training. That day, my daughter was at a school function. It was just me. I had no liver treats. The dog was not on a rope. She was in full pursuit of a bird when I decided to see what would happen. Pass.
Yes, these were robins and not pheasants. But, seeing this in a young pup is pretty good sign that she'll be pretty easy to work with in the field.
I've had both males and female hunting dogs. There are personality differences. This is our first golden. What I've noticed about this female golden pup is that she's well...calculating. That's the best way that I can describe it. She is absolutely independent and is able to figure out how independent she can be with each person. Once she knows that you know that she knows that she knows, then you're good. Easy, right? ;-)
The pup seems to become whatever each person wants her to be. She interacts with each member of the family differently. In the morning, she'll follow my daughter around like duckling imprinted on her mother. From her, the pup gets her food, water and toys and most of her training. In the morning when my son comes downstairs, the pup will give him what-for and bark, jump and play bark until he wrestles with her. He's the only one who gets this reaction. When our kids leave for school, the pup will quietly sit near my wife's feet as she prepares her lunch for work.
My preconceptions of the softness of the golden were absolutely wrong. I think it is funny that my big tough 85 pound drahthaar will pass at going a backyard to relieve himself with it is raining. Tonight, the golden pup wandered over to our back door and "told" us that she needed to go out. It was pouring down rain. Every single one of my pervious dogs would have changed its mind about going out. Every one. The golden pup calmly stepped outside, walked over to her usual spot and did what she needed to do. She then turned and walked slowly back to the door and I let her in. Softness my fanny!
We chose female because we have a male drahthaar. I am really happy with the choice. The independence is there. I love it!