Hunting dog breeds will captivate your heart, both for their prowess in hunting and nobility in your home. However, choosing which breed of dog is best for hunting is difficult, but we have compiled a list of some of the most studied hunting dog breeds below.
We hope this article gives you a better idea of hunting dog breeds that are available in the world and gives you a better idea of the benefits of each animal. So, use this hunting dog guide to select your next furry friend. Many of the dogs that make the list belong to the Retriever, Pointer, and Spaniel families. These dogs are highly skilled, have incredible instincts, and tremendous energy making them great companions in the field; which they have been doing for hundreds of years.
Without further ado, we present to you a list of some of the best and most popular hunting dogs around the world.
Most Popular Hunting Dogs
German Shorthaired Pointer: In order to successfully hunt birds, you need to be in good shape along with your furry friend. The pointing breed is just that and has an exceptional nose that aids in every aspect when it comes to hunting.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is extremely intelligent and possesses a very keen sense of smell that allows them to track animals from a long way away. Another characteristic that is just as important as their ability to sniff is their physical build that enables them to scale steep hills where their prey lives and withstand heat and brutal terrain that is encountered while hunting.
The German Shorthaired Point was officially recognized by the AKC in 1930. The German Shorthaired Pointer originated, not surprisingly, in Germany and was a combination of hunting dogs and bloodhounds. They are bird dog experts who target (and even retrieve) everything from quail to pheasant.
Boykin Spaniel: The Boykin Spaniel is a unique hunting dog, originally bred by South Carolina hunters. It was developed to hunt wild turkeys in the Wateree River swamp during the early 1900s. Boykin’s physique is perfect for this job. It moves effortlessly, with a balanced gait. These dogs never tire and are long-lasting hunting dogs. Their brown fur acts as camouflage in nature making them undetectable to their prey.
The Boykin Spaniel can hunt in the swamps of South Carolina, and can also be adapted to pigeon fields and duck swamps. In addition to his impressive hunting skills, the Boykin is a fiercely loyal companion.
Labrador Retriever: Hands down the best waterfowl hunting dog you can find is the Labrador Retriever. Labradors were bred to tag, retrieve, and deliver waterfowl. Even though it does very well in the water, it is not to be confused with a Water Dog.
Their physical characteristics make them a great breed of dog when it comes to hunting and immersion in cold water:
- Double layer coat for heat and water repellency
- Webbed feet
- Compact and muscular body
- Thick tail for balance and maneuverability in water
They are perfectly adapted to swimming and retrieval, what separates the Labrador from other retrieval breeds is their intelligence.
In particular, Labradors mature faster than other breeds, allowing them to learn at an earlier age and handle the learning curve, as well as the complex concepts involved in field testing. This dog can hunt in the field all day and then come home and play with kids; making them a great family pet.
Springer Spaniel: If you are looking to hunt pheasants you may be tempted to go hunting with a German Shorthaired Pointer as they are great dogs with tremendous stamina that allows them to cover a large area all day and a nose that allows them to sniff out birds. However, in the end, you may want to consider going with an English Springer Spaniel.
At the end of the 19th century, Spaniels from the same litter were divided into “Cockers” and “Springers”. The second were bigger dogs. The English Springer Spaniel came from these Springers and developed as a hunting companion.
This type of hunting dog breed participates in competitive field trials and continues to do so today. The movement of energy, endurance, intelligence, and power has made the English Springer Spaniel one of the most treasured hunting dogs. This breed is also known as friendly, playful, and obedient. With a good nose, an overall pleasant temperament, and a docile disposition, Springers are loyal, hard-working dogs.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever: The only retriever fully bred within the US, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever collected waterfowl shot by hunters. They were then tasked with protecting weapons, equipment, and boats on the docks while the hunters were away, a trait that is still preserved to this day.
Chesapeakes are very robust and have a thick, oily coat to help repel cold seawater, as well as webbed feet, which are very useful in this element. They love to swim and play in the icy water, and it makes them perfectly mentally fit for the tough task of hunting sea ducks, such as the Marginae.
A slow maturing dog. These animals can be difficult to train; you can’t use the same tactics you would use with a Labrador, for example. Training need to be more in tune with this dog, and you must know that they tend to be stubborn and sometimes reject the hunter’s orders out of confusion. It will perform all the tasks required of a waterfowl hunting retriever, and it will do so in the harshest conditions. It is also one of the few retrievers that fully maintain its hunting heritage, unlike other species such as the Buzzard.
Pointer: The obsessive, fast, and bird-obsessed “English” Pointer will not stop on its endless hunt for game. Their thin coat keeps them cool in the heat of the summer. Due to their innate characteristics, they are perfectly suitable for hunting quail.
They have a coat that is white with spots of brown. They work hard, fast, and possess a style rivaled only by Setters. A well-trained Pointer who stands firm, with his head and tail held high, is a sight any dog lover can appreciate, and this ability is a testament to both the breed’s drive and training.
It is a versatile hunter and an all-purpose hunting dog. The breed was developed in the late 1800s to suit multiple tasks such as aiming, retrieving, playing games, and hunting. As a result, the Pointer can perform almost any type of activity and is a very skilled hunter.
They are also known for being friendly, intelligent, and willing to please. These dogs make excellent companions but need exercise to satisfy their high level of activity and sporting roots.
English setter: There is no dog more majestic than the English Setter. The English Setter breed of dogs is characterized by its practice of waiting crouched when it finds birds so that the hunter can throw their nets on them. It is a medium breed. After the development of firearms, the dog was raised to remain in the more traditional Pointer style. The English Setter is still used as a hunting dog today, as well as a family companion.
Argentine Dogo: Hunting dogs typically find and chase large game animals like pigs, until they decide to turn around and fight. That’s when the trapping dogs come in and attack the fanged beasts, biting the ears or any other appendage they can sink their teeth into, and holding on until the hunters arrive.
Pitbulls are a popular choice for capture dogs, but the Dogo Argentino is even better. They are larger and even more powerful and athletic than the Pitbull. Native to South America, they were bred to hunt wild pumas and pigs. These dogs have well-muscled bodies, slim white coats, and the stamina to go head-to-head with an angry boar.
As intimidating as they look, and as fierce as they are on the hunt, Argentine Dogos are just as friendly and loyal in the home. Selective breeding for hunting is what prevents this breed from showing aggressiveness towards people and other dogs. The function of running with pursuing dogs and hunting in a cooperative group was the main driver of its development.
American Foxhound: It was the dog of choice for George Washington, and he is often credited as the father of the breed. Developed in Maryland and Virginia (Washington’s pioneer territory) for hunting foxes, these dogs are perhaps the best breed for hunting deer.
For this type of big game, you need a tall, lean, energetic dog with plenty of stamina, a good nose, and a passion for hunting. That is the essence of the American Foxhound. They allow for dealing with other dogs and can put reluctant deer on their feet, and keep them moving better than many other popular breeds, such as the shorter-legged Beagle. Unlike other hounds, these hunting dogs are “runners” and love the chase much more than the end result of the hunt.
Plott Hound: This hound is a dog dedicated from its origin to hunting big boar and bears. When chasing black bears in their own habitat, you will need a dog that is smart, strong, gritty, and capable of finding old scents and tracking them.
The Plott Dog is the perfect dog to do that. They are muscular, athletic, and tenacious. Their short, agitated barks when chasing allow the hunter to follow their direction but without affecting their ability to pursue. These hunting dogs are animals that can find smelly bear tracks and track them up wooded hills.
They will fight and herd a black bear in a pack or even alone (although it is not advisable to do this). They are descendants of large German dogs that were brought to the New World in 1750 and used for hunting wild boar. Plotts were developed in the United States, in North Carolina, by the Plott family, who still live in the area and breed dogs to this day.
Plotts only received recognition from the American Kennel Club in 2006, despite their long and well-documented ancestry. But for hunting dog breeds and big game hunters, recognition from a “board of directors” is less important than performance in the field, as it should be.