Some people love hunting sport. If you’re also one of them, you need to bring a hunting dog because it can benefit you in many ways. If we talk about history, humans and dogs have been hunting together long before the age of agriculture. But the question is can all dog breeds be suitable for hunting? The answer is NO because hunting dog breeds must have essential skills like endurance, receptiveness to training, a strong prey drive, and athleticism. So, if you want to know the best dogs for hunting, you’re at the right place.
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Hunting Dog Breed Characteristics
Before discussing the dogs for hunting, it’s essential to know the characteristics of hunting dogs. Hunting dogs are gun dogs or scent hounds. Therefore, it’s important to choose the dog breed wisely. Let’s discuss both of them briefly.
- Gun Dogs
These dogs are often called bird dogs because their primary prey is birds. Moreover, they also hunt smaller animals like rabbits. These dogs locate the prey and make it easy for the hunter to shoot. Gun dogs retrieve the quarry for hunters.
- Scent Hounds
As the name indicates, these dogs use their nose to follow prey trails. Moreover, they make lots of noise when they run after the prey. Sometimes dogs get out of sight, but their noise enables hunters to follow the trail. Some scent hounds are treeing dogs that allow prey to climb the tree and wait at the base for the hunter to arrive.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss the 10 best dog breeds for hunting.
10 Best Dogs for Hunting
The following 10 dog breeds are excellent for hunting.
1. Labrador Retriever
It’s one of the most popular gun dogs. Labrador retriever is known for loyalty, enthusiasm, and energy. Moreover, they have an athletic build, powerful jaw, and water-resistant coats. More importantly, they can withstand cold temperatures. They are good swimmers and can swim through cold water.
If you want to hunt ducks, then Labrador is the best option. But the good news about labs is they are good family companions because of their willingness to please and friendliness.
2. Golden Retriever
Like Labrador, they’re also gun dogs. They have a muscular build and a broadhead. You can use a Golden retriever to hunt small prey like birds. They’re easily trainable, loyal, and enthusiastic.
Moreover, they’re known as family dogs because they get along well with the children. But keeping them fit is a challenge because their exercise needs are pretty high.
Beagles lie in the scent hound category because they have excellent noses and make loud noises. If you want to hunt small prey like rabbits, Beagles are ideal dogs for hunting. More importantly, when you don’t want to use them for hunting, they can serve as household pets because they’re friendly with kids. They have a reputation for being quite loving dogs.
4. American Foxhound
These dogs are also scent hounds, but the American foxhound is full of determination. These dogs love to chase their prey. Initially, they were bred to hunt foxes. Moreover, hunters have used them for deer hunting as well.
American foxhounds can also be loving companions like the dog breeds mentioned above. But before bringing them home, one thing should be in your mind: their endurance and energy levels are high, so you need to provide them with lots of exercise.
5. Irish Setter
They’re known for their graceful agility and beautiful red coat. These dogs are divided into field dogs and show-quality. The Irish setter is hard-working, rugged, and always up to pursue birds. Due to their gentle and affectionate nature, they’re suitable for all kinds of families. If you want to keep them happy and fit, you need to provide them with plenty of exercise.
6. English Setter
These dogs are gun dogs and are known for their hunting, pointing, and running skills. They’re excellent at bird hunting because you can train them to retrieve birds. When their popularity increased, they were divided into two categories such as field dogs and conformation dogs.
Fields dogs are best for hunting because of their small and light feathers. On the other hand, conformation dogs are best for show dogs because they have large frames and long feathers. But both of them can be good family companions.
7. Bluetick Coonhound
They’re scent hounds and can pursue any creature they find. This hunting dog breed is known for chasing mountain lions and cougars. They have excellent noses, and their energy is always high. Moreover, they can be pretty vocal even when you don’t ask them to pursue prey. They’re suitable for active households but never recommended for people living in apartments.
8. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
In our list of 10 best dogs for hunting, the next dog breed is the Chesapeake Bay retriever. These dogs are determined and athletic. They’re devoted to their owner and known for their intelligence. They’re good for hunting prey in the water because their coats are water-resistant. Somehow, they’re similar to lab dogs, but they’re not like Labradors when it comes to friendliness.
They’re known as bird dogs because of their determined spirit and high prey drive. They love to pursue prey like pheasants and quail with vigor. You can use this dog breed for hunting in warmer climates because this hunting dog breeds is heat-tolerant. Pointers are loyal companions whether they’re on the hunt or the couch with their owner.
10. English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer spaniel is the last one on our list of 10 best dogs for hunting. They’re excellent bird dogs and love to chase pheasants. Their retrieving skills are similar to Labrador and Golden retrievers. Moreover, they have a small size that helps them hunt prey in smaller spaces. Like most dogs mentioned above, they’re also excellent family dogs.
So, these are the 10 best dogs for hunting. If you love hunting, then bring any of these hunting dog breeds.
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