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Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Hunting

Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Hunting

Hunting dog breeds are especially sought out by people who like to hunt for sport. These types of dogs have the keen hunting instincts of their canine ancestors.  While hunting dogs also make excellent family pets, they can also prove useful companions hunting in the wild. These canines are capable of locating, flushing out, or retrieving, making it easy for a hunter to catch the game.


In choosing the best hunting dog breed, it’s useful to understand various hunting that, dogs differ from each other and which type of hunt they’re intended for.  Hunting dogs are classified into two basic types:


·         Gun dogs. Gun dogs are primarily used for hunting birds and other smaller game like rabbits. With their keen senses and athleticism, gun dogs can chase and locate game and flush it out. They can also retrieve the quarry for their master.

·         Scent hounds. Scent hounds help locate prey with their keen sense of smell. When properly trained, they can be extremely helpful to hunters who can keep track of the hunt simply by following the dog’s calls. Some scent hounds are trained to chase prey up trees and keep them trapped there until their master arrives to catch it.

Hunting dogs possess different strengths, but all of them have skills that make them excellent hunting companions—strong prey drive, endurance, athleticism, and stamina. They are also smart and should be easier to train. Let’s take a look at what are considered to be top hunting dog breeds today.


1.   English Pointer

Average size: 23-33 kg

Life expectancy: 11-14 years

Specialty: Pointing, gun dog

The English pointer is a gun dog distinguished among hunters for its exceptional prey drive, agility, and determination in finding and retrieving for pheasants, quail, and upland game birds. The body of a pointer can withstand hot and humid weather, making it an ideal choice as a hunting companion in the southern United States.


2.   Labrador Retriever

Average size: 25-35 kg

Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Specialty: Retrieving water game

The Labrador retriever is known for its gentle temperament and fierce loyalty. And while it makes a terrific family dog, the Labrador retriever is actually considered one of the best gun dog breeds for duck hunting. Labrador retrievers are very good swimmers and can last long in cold temperatures. They also make excellent helpers for hunting for any type of small game.


3.   Golden Retriever

Average size: 25-35 kg

Life expectancy: 10-23 years

Specialty: All-around retrieving

Just like their Labrador “cousins,” Golden Retrievers are also a popular dog breed for small-game hunting. This breed is known for being energetic and tirelessness in tracking down waterfowl and small game. Golden retrievers are very intelligent and easy to train, which is also why the breed is a widely popular choice for a family dog.



4.   Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Average size: 20-25 kg

Life expectancy: 12-14 Years

Specialty: Gun dog, flushing out game

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is exclusively bred in the United States. The breed almost always certainly comes up whenever the best gun dog breed is discussed. Just like the Labrador and Golden retrievers, this breed is tireless, energetic, and possesses the coat and physique that enables it to last a long time in cold water. Chesapeake Bay retrievers also make great companion dogs at home.


5.   Beagle

Average size: 8-14 kg

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Specialty: Tracking and hunting rabbit and hare

Beagles are easily among the best scent hounds in the entire world. Characterized by their powerful snout, this breed of hunting dogs are vigorous hunters who can track, flush out, and chase rabbits with ease and efficiency. Beagles on the hunt would bark and bay incessantly so the hunter never loses track of his position.



6.   American Foxhound

Average size: 25-33 kg

Life expectancy: 11-13 years

Specialty: Hunting large game

The American foxhound is a highly popular hunting dog breed, primarily because it’s known to have been the dog of choice by the late George Washington himself. Characterized by their good sense of smell, energy, and stamina, the American foxhound was originally bred for hunting foxes. However, they are known to track and chase deer and other types of large game during hunts.


7.   Bluetick Coonhound

Average size: 24-35 kg

Life expectancy: 11-12 Years

Specialty: Large game

The Bluetick Coonhound is considered by many as the best hunting dog breed because it is known to be able to stand against the most dangerous hunting game, including mountain lions and cougars. The Bluetick Coonhound can pick up any scent with accuracy and precision.


8.   English Setter

Average size: 24-32 kg

Life expectancy: 11-15 years

Specialty: Gun dog, working dog

English Setters are popular for their versatility and efficiency as hunting dogs. Given the right amount of training, these so-called “bird dogs” will point and retrieve game with considerable efficiency. English Setters are classified under two types: conformation dogs (household pets and show dogs) and field dogs. The field dog Setter is the one you want to take with you on your next hunting trip.



9.   Irish Setter

Average size: 24-32 kg

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Specialty: Tracking game, waterfowl

Irish Setters are known for their beautiful, luxurious coats, and regarded by many as the best duck hunting dog breed. Dogs of this breed are highly popular for their impressive agility and grace when tracking birds and other game. Just like the English setter, Irish setters are also ideal family pets for their gentle temperament and devotion.



10.   English Springer Spaniel

Average size: 20-25 kg

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Specialty: Flushing and retrieving bird game

Spaniels are generally regarded among the best hunting dog breeds, and the English springer spaniel is an easy favorite by many hunters. Despite its relatively smaller size, dogs of this breed can be heavily relied on when it comes to upland hunting of birds and pheasants. It possesses retrieving skills that could match that of Labradors and its size offers an advantage in smaller spaces.


Dogs have been helping people hunt for hundreds of years. And while hunting these days is mostly done for sport, the prey and hunting instincts in some dog breeds is something every hunter could definitely use for a truly successful hunting trip. Over the years, several breeds have been developed to raise dogs specifically for the purpose of hunting. When choosing the best dog breed for hunting, look at the specific skills and specialties of each breed and find the best hunting companion.

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