If you enjoy hunting, you probably know that participating in the sport is significantly more manageable (and more enjoyable) if you have a dog by your side. Dogs can usually do one of two things for their owners when they go out hunting. They can locate prey and retrieve it for their owners (gun dogs) or follow a scent and find the other animal (scent hounds). It was the scenting and preying skills that made humans and dogs bond in the first place! Therefore, as you might have guessed, there are many hunting dog breeds from which you can choose.
As time goes on, dogs are hunting less and less with their owners. Nowadays, they're part of the family. However, there are still excellent hunting companions, as evidenced by the following seven hunting dog breeds.
The Best of the Hunting Dog Breeds: Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever typically tops the list of good hunting dogs. These are gun dogs, meaning that they will go and pick up the prey (typically a bird) after you shoot it. Many people consider this breed to be the best for duck hunting.
When the hunting day has finished, Labs make for perfect family dogs. They're usually good with children and love to partake in family activities!
Like its Labrador cousin, Golden Retrievers are also one of the best hunting dog breeds. They are gun dogs, but they are a little more versatile than the Labrador Retriever, with most people saying that they are suitable for birds and small prey.
Golden Retrievers are exceptional with family members (who can forget the Air Bud series of movies?). They're intelligent, trainable, and fiercely loyal. Indeed, these are some of the best pets that you can find, and that's not even considering their unique hunting talents!
Unlike the previous two dogs on this list, the American Foxhound is a scent dog. It thrives on the thrill of the chase. As you may have guessed from the name, the Foxhound originally hunted foxes. They still do, but they can also hunt deer, assuming your jurisdiction allows it.
Despite this dog's powerful hunting capabilities, it makes for a fantastic pet. This breed even gets along well with children!
Another One of the Top Hunting Dog Breeds: Pointer
The pointer has one of the most robust prey drives of all the dogs on this list. This dog is lean, muscular, and has a passionate spirit. You'll find this to be one of the best bird dogs that you can have.
It is worth noting that this dog has a high tolerance for heat. If you live in a hot, humid climate and love to hunt in it, the Pointer might be your perfect dog!
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Like all the other retrievers, the Chesapeake Bay retriever is a formidable gun dog. It is an incredibly athletic dog that is fiercely loyal to its owner. These retrievers are also some of the most intelligent dogs around.
One thing to keep in mind is that these dogs are not quite as friendly as the Labs or the Goldens. Therefore, if you have people over or you like to go hunting with a group of friends, this dog breed might not be an ideal fit.
This dog is a gun dog that has powerful running, hunting, and pointing capabilities. They're particularly well-known for their hunting abilities with birds.
The English setter is a unique dog in that there are two categories from which people typically choose: field or conformation. Field dogs are hunting dogs. They're small hunting dogs that are agile and fast. By contrast, conformation dogs are pets because they are bigger and slower. If you're looking at hunting, you'll want a field dog.
While Beagles are now common pets to have at home, they got their origins as scent hounds. To this day, they are still good at picking up scents and leading their owners to various types of small games - including rabbits.
Beagles make for excellent family pets, so if you're looking at types of hunting dogs and you want one that will work all-around in your family, a Beagle could very well be that pup!
With These 7 Hunting Dog Breeds, You're Sure To Find One That Can Help You Hunt!
Dogs and humans first learned to socialize and communicate by hunting many thousands of years ago. When you take a dog with you to hunt, you're activating thousands of years of conditioning where you and your dog will work together to hunt game.
The above hunting dog breeds are some of the most commonly recommended ones, but the list is by no means exhaustive. There are other dog breeds, like the English springer spaniel, that are also fantastic choices for hunting. Many medium or large-sized dogs have some form of hunting instinct in them.
If you're planning on getting one of these dogs, please look in your local adoption shelter first. If you can adopt a dog with a history of hunting, you'll likely save yourself time and aggravation in terms of training. Plus, you'll give a well-deserving dog a new lease on life!