One of the oldest sports in the world is not the Olympics but hunting. The bond between the hunting dog breed and the hunter is a noble one. On a hunt, it’s the coordination, training, and the utmost discipline of the hunter and his dog that makes hunting a success. The medium-sized hunting dogs have been the center of attention since the mid-1900s but with time hunters are even going for small hunting dog breeds because they are smarter, quicker and light on their steps.
Usually, the best hunting dogs fall under two major categories.
1. The Bird Dog Breeds
They are also known as the “gun dog breeds”. They hunt down the small animals or birds that are shot, so they retrieve the hunt once it’s killed.
2. The Scent Hounds
These hunting dogs are high-powered sniffers. They can track, locate and engage the prey. They often help the hunter to trap the prey.
Combined with their natural sense of smell and instincts, training and communication any dog can become a hunting dog. But still, you need to make the right decision. You can’t choose a rat dog to do the job of a hound and vice versa.
10 Best Hunting Dogs
So keeping certain qualities and characteristics in mind there are some hunting dog breeds that outrun other dogs.
1. Labrador Retriever
One of the phenomenal large-sized dogs, Labrador retrievers is also the choice for the best duck hunting dog breed. Retrievers are friendly, and good looking breeds, and people often mistook them as house dog only.
Their ability to withstand the harsh weather conditions, loyalty, and enthusiastic behavior makes them an ideal choice for hunting ducks and other birds. Kids love to have them around too. Once trained properly they develop the swimming ability too, thus another reason why they are the best hunting dog for birds.
2. Golden Retriever
Similar to its cousin, (labs) the golden retrievers are full of surprises. This golden pawed beauty can track down ducks and other birds as good as a hound, maybe even better! They are easy to train at a young age and also makes up for the phenomenal medium size pet for kids too.
Being the gun dogs, they catch the prey once they are shot, helping the hunter to trap the prey in a corner too. The most prominent physical attributes of a golden retriever are that they are sturdy, muscular, medium-sized hunting dogs, intelligent and friendly.
3. American Foxhound
If you want a scent hound then an American foxhound can be the optimum choice. This dog breed is full of determination and thrives on the chasing experience which is why they make up for the best deer hunting dog breeds for a long time now. The breed was first used to hunt foxes for their fur but later on hunters improvised their use and seeing foxhound’s enthusiasm for the chase, deer became the better option.
They can easily weigh from 60-70 pounds and are one of the best large hunting breed dogs to ever exist. So don’t be fooled by the droopy ears or big heads and have an uncanny resemblance to a Beagle.
A small sized hunting dog can work in your favor that can tiptoe and run lighter on their paws. Known to be the best hare hunting dogs, Beagles are savvy sniffers, can find the drove (a group of hares) with their highly sensitive nose!
Besides American foxhounds, they are the second-best choice for scent hounds. Similar to the foxhounds, they also have droopy ears, a voluminous bark and can easily catch the prey through a bush too.
5. Irish Setter
Do you look at the shiny, silky, deep chestnut red or mahogany coloring coat on the dog’s body? It’s hard not to recognize an Irish Setter even in the woods hunting for animals with its owner.
Despite the utter sheen and grace, Irish Setters are remarkable hunting dogs. They are tougher than their physical looks and are specifically trained to become hard-working and determined as gun dogs. Besides they are totally adorable for their friendly and affectionate nature towards their caretakers.
They are light on their legs, with a slender build but powerful legs they weigh from 35-70 pounds.
As the name suggests, bloodhounds are the large hunting dogs that are known to hunt the larger prey. They may look slow or somewhat tired but their personality will fool you easily. They are the most popular fearless trackers in the U.S and with a strong snout they can dig out the cave full of bears too!
Since they are around 35-50 kg they are considered to be a larger hunting dog breed. They are the best trackers in the world, and surely will save time when hunting in thicker woods.
7. Treeing Walker Coonhound
Oh, the sleek tan body of these hunting dogs is packed with powerful and light legs that support them to run at a high speed. A Treeing Walker Coonhounds are best for hunting raccoons to hares and also included as the gun dog breeds.
This hunting breed dog is highly intelligible as they use their voice to signal that they have tracked the prey. They love the chase (even more so than other dogs), mostly used by hunters who love the small hunting games.
8. English Springer Spaniel
A small hunting dog may be your first choice for an ideal house dog but did you know the English spaniel is a weapon in the hunting game?
A classical bird dog breed, English Springer Spaniels can penetrate the areas which a medium or large size dogs cannot. Mostly seen in the countryside, they also keep the cattle straight and let’s not forget how much a beautiful breed these spaniels are!
There’s a reason why these hunting dog breeds are called Pointers. These are some of the special hunting dog breeds that can catch the prey unsuspectingly. Pointers are highly trained dogs that have natural hunting skills. They love the hunts but love the owners even more so. They are quite friendly in nature and love to spend time outdoors as much as possible.
So if you are looking for a throw and fetch partner then a pointer is your choice for the day.
10. Boykin Spaniel
If you want a solid choice for a hunting dog, choose the Boykin Spaniel. They are experts in flushing and retrieving and belong to a higher upgrade list of hunting dogs too.
Their uncompromising nature makes them a hunting asset for the hunter. Their training must start from a younger age, polish their hunting skills, and let them become ideal hunting dogs for shooting waterfowl or even duck.
Because of their long fur, they need regular maintenance but other than that their diet must contain heavily infused with the right assortment of nutrition too.
Choose the Best for your Hunt
Depending on the type of hunt you can choose the hunting dog that will help you assist to sniff out the prey. When you set bigger targets choose the larger breed or the one that is light on their legs despite their size. Let the hunting games begin!