Choosing a Breed

Ideal Hunting Dog Breeds

There are several ideal hunting dog breeds available, and your choice will depend on what you need the dog to do. Literally hundreds, if not thousands, of breeds of dogs exist in the world today, and each one of them was bred for specific jobs — small dogs for smaller jobs, while bigger, sturdier dogs were bred for heavier duty and loads.

Specifically, there were also breeds that were bred to be more ideal for hunting and performing in the wilderness. However, it still depends on what you want to hunt for when choosing the right breed to take with you.

Ideal Hunting Dog Breeds

Hounds are the most commonly used dogs for hunting. They are usually classified into two categories: the sighthound, also called gazehound (expert in seeing things) and the scent hound (expert in smelling). Therefore, not all hounds are good at both; usually just one or the other.

  • Sighthounds are more accurate and gifted in their vision. They can see prey from a far distance and they have an effective hunting method known as coursing. They also have great agility and speed, moving very quickly towards their target. Having long and flexible legs is an addition to their magnificent sight. Good examples of sighthounds: Whippet, Saluki, Afghan Hound, Greyhound, Italian Greyhound, Scottish Deerhound, Borzoi, Chart Polski, Azawakh, and many others.
  • Scent hounds, on the other hand, have more sensitive noses. This type of hounds work in packs, and pick up smell from the ground made by their prey and trace it. Majority of scent hounds have drooping ears, which are said to be a helpful trait in the sense that it collects scent from the air towards the dog’s nose. Not only that, they also have larger nasal cavities that enable their powerful smelling abilities. Good examples of scent hounds: Coonhound, Basset Hound, Beagle, Bloodhound, American foxhound, Polish Hound, Serbian Hound, Schweizer Laufhund, and many others.

On the other hand, there is also a dog hunting classification known as gun dogs. They are often used by short range hunters who use shotguns for hunting. They are mostly used in game hunting and retrieving them. Here are the sub-classifications:

  • Retrievers are good at finding the shot game and retrieving it for their master, hence the name. Whenever a hunter shoots and kills a duck or a bird, the dog is able to retrieve it.  Examples of retrievers: Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Standard Poodle, American Water Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Barbet and many others.
  • Pointers are dogs that can help hunters in finding hidden prey. They “point out” where the target is, hence they were called pointers. Examples of pointers: Irish setter, English setter, Gordon setter, and many others.
  • Flushing Spaniels are used to locate the prey. They usually flush the game out and stick to their masters at all times. Examples of this breed: American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Brittany Spaniel, and many others.
  • Water dogs flush and retrieve game from the water. They are usually dogs used by waterfowl hunters. Examples of this breed: Standard Poodle, Golden Retriever, Wetterhoun, Flat-Coated Retriever, Cantabrian Water Dog and many others.

Again, depending on the type of prey you want to hunt, you may choose a specific breed that adapts well to your specific needs. With the wide variety of ideal hunting dog breeds available, do your “due diligence” and you should be able to find the breed just right for you.

Are you a hunter? Please share below what breed you have found best for your type of hunting.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Lynda Demsher

    Dec 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are the best hunting and family dogs. Excellent pointers and retrievers, they are hard-working yet teddy-bears with the kids. Being big, brown, hairy and bearlike, they are probably not pretty enough to go the way of the Irish setter or Golden retriever, neither of which is considered much of a hunting breed anymore. A combination of European hunting breeds with a poodle base, the Griff could be the original labradoodle with hunting skills.

  2. Fireside Brittanys

    Jul 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Brittanys are pointers NOT spaniels. They do NOT flush game, the point birds and retrieve downed game.

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