Top 10 Best Hunting Dog Breeds
Although most people enjoy dogs as pets, you can bet there is a good number that prefer them as hunting companions. If you are after a four-legged companion for your hunting trips, it’s vital to remember that not every dog breed can fully assist with the sport. Can you picture a Chihuahua chasing after a fox twice its size? Joke asides – various dog breeds make excellent hunting companions more than others, depending on the hunting nature. And no doubt, the best hunting dogs are usually very dependable; whether it’s a Labrador Retriever, an American Foxhound, a Spaniel, or a Chesapeake Bay Retriever; any of the breeds on our list below will offer exceptional hunting skills.
Although most of the time, a top hunting dog depends on the hunter’s choices, the particular dog’s talents, along with a high level of strength and resistance are also crucial for a dog to be determined as an expert hunter. Firstly, they must be a strong runner and secondly, they should show a good receptiveness to both the hunting practice and the owner. A well-behaved hound is a pleasure – regardless of breed.
Golden Retrievers are the ultimate hunting dogs when concerning the aforementioned requirements. They offer all these skills and more and are passionate, loyal, and highly trainable. They are one of the best hunting dogs for gun hunting and are great for tracking birds and other little prey. They can hunt their prey without crushing or damaging it, and their thick fur makes them perfect for harsher climates. Even better, they can make exceptional family partners and can get along with kids.
The purchase of a dog is an important decision for a family, and therefore all parties involved must agree on the obligations that “having a hunting dog” entails. That’s why you – and possibly your family – have to think carefully and make some specific decisions before your home becomes home to a new hunting dog. As your hunting dog will also be an integral part of the family, you must ensure they are both loyal and friendly. With the American Foxhound, your family will have nothing to worry about. This energetic dog breed confident, warm, industrious, and loyal.
No doubt, the American Foxhound remains as one of the most traditional gun dogs and when not on the hunt, they make outstanding companions and family pets and are one of the most famous dog breeds of our day.
A beagle is, by nature, a very sociable dog. They always react curiously and kindly to small and larger animals and – after a brief period of restraint – also to humans. In addition to their pronounced sense of smell which allows them to record even the finest traces, they are distinguished by an immense determination and perseverance. If they have something in mind, they will try by all means to achieve their goal. For a beagle, an irresistible challenge will always be undertaken in defiance of all orders of their master – although Beagles are very intelligent, this does not mean that they are obedient. As hunting dogs, they are shaped so that they act independently in the open field.
Since they have been bred for hunting in packs, Beagles are very social four-legged friends and when left alone, they do not react well. Therefore, these dogs are very suitable for families as they are also child-friendly, mostly cheerful and balanced in nature. Nevertheless, Beagles also tend to be stubborn and perhaps even exhibit excessive self-confidence.
English Springer Spaniel
In England, the English Springer Spaniel has long been one of the most popular breeds in the country and is proven to be one of the oldest known spaniel varieties. This dog breed can be traced back about 600 years. Its formation as an independent breed took place in England, where until recent times, the use value as a hunting dog was absolutely in the foreground.
The English Springer Spaniel enjoys moving freely in the field and forest as their original purpose was to find and scare the game when hunting. Today it is still used as a hunting companion to find the game and to retrieve after the shot. If you want to keep your Spaniel species-appropriate, you should not only give it a lot of exercises but also lots of tasks. What’s more, as Spaniel’s love water, they make a good choice for duck-hunting.
In terms of physique, the English Springer Spaniel has a very harmonious, well-proportioned physique. They are strong, yet elegant with a medium-sized skull that is relatively wide. They have a slightly rounded shape with dark brown almond-shaped eyes and a friendly expression. The long, hairy ears hang down the strong neck that has a slight bend. In terms of personality, the English Springer Spaniel is a happy, lively dog. They develop a very close bond with their caregivers and are very friendly with children. And although this intelligent dog breed learns fast, they do require consistent education. Their hunting instincts are also relatively strong.
Sufficient strength and athleticism are also vital for any hunt to be successful and when you mix the endless energy with the unshakable zest for life, the Labrador Retriever dog is what you get. This is a breed that is designed to always justify having close to you at all times and although their ancestors were “kennel dogs”, the present Labrador feels strongly inclined to be inside the house with their master and loved ones. In terms of activeness, thus is a dog breed that loves being assigned tasks – it can be something simple, like catching a ball or frisbee while out playing, or getting a beer out of the fridge.
If you properly channel the high energy and intelligence of the Lab by training, then you have a great dog that will give you a lot of pleasure. It’s no surprise that Labradors are the leading therapy and rescue dogs. As for its personality, because of its natural beauty and charm, it will not like an owner that is never around. Like most hunting dogs, Labradors enjoy human company especially indoors.
The Coonhound was bred according to its use and descend from the French hound Bleu de Gascogne and the English Foxhound. No doubt, this interbreeding gives them a very pronounced hunting instinct. They require a lot of freedom of movement, which enables them to live out their active urge and temperament. They also have a very good sense of smell just like all hunting dogs.
In general, the Coonhound is known to be self-confident and, with good social skills and shows no nervousness. They simply know what they are doing. Their bark is unique and more like a howl – this way, you can always distinguish your four-legged friend quickly from other dogs. They do require a lot of exercises, preferably on fenced areas, for example, a large garden or courtyard. But if they prefer the indoor activities, your dog will feel at ease when it comes to inviting them to smell or sniff out things. Like all dogs, they do not like to be alone for longer periods.
The Irish Setter was born as a hunting dog breed in their native Ireland, although their popularity soon spread beyond the boundaries of the island and, thanks to the virtues of their character, the became over time, a fantastic companion dog. They are very much appreciated for their noble stamp, their contagious enthusiasm and the beauty of their mahogany coat – a physical feature that makes them also known by the name of Red Setter. But above all, they are friendly and sharp dogs that are endowed with inexhaustible energy; great fun loving, playful and affectionate, they are always ready to have a fun time which makes them very good for sports and other activities. They are also extroverted dogs who enjoy the company of humans. Although not really a guard dog, they do not hesitate to intervene and protect when necessary or they intuit some kind of danger.
The English Setter is a very friendly and balanced dog, which can be educated well. Their great social skills and loyalty characterize them. However, one should not underestimate their pronounced hunting instinct as well as their need for activity.
They not only have great stamina while playing, romping and racing, but also have tremendous speed and extremely good off-road capability. In principle, they are the ideal family dog which can subordinate well, but only after being properly trained by an experienced dog connoisseur. Also, it is by no means the right dog for a city apartment, where only short daily walks are offered.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a hunting dog originally used for geese and duck hunting. In addition to the hunting drive, their innate protection and alertness are added. These dogs are true workhorses that love the water and act very self-confident. They are extremely resilient in terms of weather and stress and work very well independently. However, they are often labeled as stubborn, as they can sometimes ignore the command of their owners. Furthermore, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever can be said to have courage, stamina and a tremendous amount of intelligence, although they can also be described as lively, always in a good mood and alert.
Typical of the breed is their preference for water, which makes them ideal for hunting waterfowl. These affectionate dogs, which have a natural protective instinct, are not for people with little time, as the vivacious Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a “workhorse” that wants and needs to be challenged and encouraged. They are also very smart and come with a natural born talent for springing. They are both a determined and athletic hound and just like the Labrador, the Chessie is also a suitable scent dog. They can hunt in just about any weather, catching the prey with a gentle grip, without damaging it.
Like most other hunting dogs, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever can also resist cold water and freezing temperatures but unlike most of the other dogs, this breed is not as friendly to outsiders which is the main reason they are usually used specifically for hunting. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t make great companions for households. A Chessie is faithful to the family and is great for active households.
The English Pointer dates back to 300 years of English history and was first used to trap rabbits and birds. They appear very athletic and elegant and the main distinguishing characteristics of this breed are the head, feet, and tail. The immediate impression of this dog breed is a driven compact hunting dog, that is always alert and “ready to let go.” This is a bird hunter dog with a high prey drive and a determined mind. The Pointer will vigorously pursue prey such as quails and pheasants and is also very heat tolerant and therefore suitable for the hot, humid weather. Whether on the hunt or on the couch, a pointer is an excellent companion.
The general temperament of Pointers are fair, nice dogs, and despite their large size, they make good pets, as long as they get enough exercise due to their extremely high levels of energy. The Pointers are intelligent, affectionate, clean and very loyal. Their level of aggression is very low or nonexistent and they are usually happy to live with other dogs and cats.
In the choice of the type of dog, it’s vital to remember that the land where you hunt and the dominant hunting species influence which dog breed to opt for. Although most dogs seek adventure, not all are blessed with hunting instincts. They must be a strong runner and be obedient to you as the owner.
Now that you are aware of how all these hunting dogs behave and what environments they are better for, hopefully, you are well on your way to making the best of a hunting dog according to your hobby.