The spurdog is a member of the shark family. It is also referred to as the common spiny dogfish.

It can be found living in shoals – that can migrate many miles in one day – all around the coastlines of Britain and Ireland.

During the summer months the western and north western regions of Scotland are a prime hotspot for spurdog.

They live on and near the seabed, preferring sand or mud, in depths of between 10m and 200m. Amazingly spurdog have been caught in depths of up to 950m.

They may swim very close to the surface during night hours.


They are a very small and slender shark that will grow to a maximum of around 1m.

The snout is quite pointed, they have large black/grey/blue eyes and an underslung mouth.

A key means to identify the spurdog is to take a close look at the two dorsal fins – you will find that they have sharp spines on the leading edge. They do not posses an anal fin, and there are white spots on the fish’s back and sides.

The colouration of the spurdog tends to be dark grey on the back and either light grey or a brown tinge to the flanks, merging to white underneath.


Spurdogs tend to feed upon bottom-dwelling creatures such as crabs, flatfish, codling and dragnonets, but they will also shoal together and attack schools of smaller fish like herring, sprats and pilchards.

To catch a spurdog your best baits will be strips of squid and crab, or a combination of both.


Like most sharks, spurdogs give birth to live young with will have gestated within the mother for a very long time – up to 22 months. Finally the mother will give birth to between three and 11 young.

The freshly borne spurdog will be between 18 and 22cm long.