Print Posted 12/03/2016 in Hunting

Top 10 Best Hunting Dogs

Top 10 Best Hunting Dogs

Humans and hunting dogs have a long history together, with some of the first domestic dogs being bred to assist humans in hunting wild animals. Today hunting dogs still assist their humans in hunting game birds, wild hogs, deer, bears, and mountain lions just to name a few.

With the enormous variety of hunting dogs to choose from, it can be hard to narrow it down to what type of hunting dog is best for you. One thing to keep in mind is that all hunting dogs are high energy and need regular exercise daily, otherwise, they may release their energy on other less desirable activities. This article is going to discuss the top 10 best hunting dogs and their qualities.

10. Beagle

The beagle is a classic hunting dog that was originally bred over 2,500 years ago, as a scent hound to hunt hares and rabbits. The beagle ranks in the top three best hunting dog breeds for sense of smell, and it is for this reason, that they are also used as detection dogs for prohibited foodstuff and agricultural imports around the world.

With their small size, friendliness, easy to groom hair, and easy going temperament, the beagle that was originally bred as a hunting dog has become a popular family pet. However, don’t let these qualities fool you. Beagles still have hunting dog instincts; they will follow their nose wherever it leads them and are known to be accomplished climbers and diggers.

With its characteristic howl, intelligence, boundless stamina, persistence, and playfulness the beagle makes one of the best family and small game hunting dogs.

9. Bloodhound 

Bloodhounds are large scent hounds that are believed to have descended from the St. Hubert hound kept by monks in Belgium around 1000 AD. This hunting dog was originally bred for hunting deer and wild boars. Starting in the Middle Ages the bloodhound became the ideal scent hound for law enforcement to track fugitives and find missing people. Due to its tenacious tracking instinct and keen sense of smell, the bloodhound is considered one of the best hunting dogs.

Today, the bloodhound is still used as a hunting dog, mainly for hunting wild boars. Like most hounds, the bloodhound is gentle and easy going with lots of energy. If you want a dog that is big, gentle, easy going, can hunt large game, and loves the outdoors this is the hunting dog for you.

8. Irish Setter

The Irish setter was originally bred as a gundog for hunting and family. Irish setters are considered among one of the best hunting dogs for hunting game birds, locating and setting them up for the hunter.  When choosing an Irish setter, look for a reputable breeder who breeds them specifically for hunting. The Irish setter has become a popular show dog, and while they are bred to be big and have long beautiful coats, these characteristics have nothing to do with hunting, and can actually get in the way. People who breed the Irish setter for hunting will choose dogs with shorter coats and body stature.

Irish setters not only make one of the best hunting dogs for game birds with their ability to track, point, and retrieve, but they also make an excellent family dog. They are good watch dogs, love children, and are very loyal. If are looking for a large dog that will be great with the family and has the energy, stamina, and intelligence to hunt game birds, then Irish setter is the best hunting dog for you and your family.

7. Fox Terrier

Fox terriers where first bred in the British Iles during the 19th century specifically to flush fox out of their dens. The fox terrier has an insatiable curiosity, is very active, playful, independent, scrappy, fearless, and loves the outdoors.

The fox terrier is generally stubborn and requires a patient owner that can put up with its shenanigans. If you lead an active lifestyle and are looking for a small game hunting dog that is intelligent, quick, and has endless energy, then the fox terrier may be the best hunting dog for you.

6. Karelian Bear Dog

The Karelian Bear Dog is a Finnish dog and is considered a national treasure in its home country. This hunting dog was originally bred to hunt fur-bearing animals such as squirrels and martins, but with its naturally aggressive behavior towards other animals and dogs, it soon became prized for hunting lynx, moose, wolf, and as its name suggests bears.

The Karelian bear dog is a very territorial and social hunting dog, which requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation. The Karelian is courageous, alert, independent, loyal, and intelligent. If you are looking for these qualities in a dog that will hunt aggressive game and protect you and your property, then this is the best hunting dog for you.

5. Bluetick Coonhound

The Bluetick Coonhound originated in the United States for hunting raccoons, but is a good all-around small game hunting dog, treeing nearly any animal that is smaller than them. Because they are sensitive, loving, loyal, and intelligent they also make a good family dog and companion.

If you are looking for a loyal and loving dog that can be used for small game hunting, then the Bluetick Coonhound is the best hunting dog for you.

4. English Springer Spaniel

The English springer spaniel is considered one of the best hunting dogs for flushing out and retrieving game birds and waterfowl. This hunting dog is eager to please, intelligent, loyal, quick to learn, friendly, and tend to enjoy the company of children and other dogs, making them an excellent family or companion pet.

If you are looking for a medium size dog that will make a good small game hunting dog as well as a good family pet, then this is the best hunting dog for you. 

3. Brittany

Brittanys are a type of spaniel that is happy, elegant, smart, sensitive, and friendly. They also tend to have more energy than other spaniels, being seen as hyperactive at times. The Brittany is a trustworthy bird dog that can point and retrieve with the best of the bird dogs.

With their quick to please manner, bountiful energy, and love of kids, the Brittany is one of the best hunting dogs for game birds and companionship. So if you’re looking for a game bird hunting dog, that will be good with the kids, then this may be the best hunting dog for you.

2. German Short Hair Pointer

Like the Brittany, the German short hair pointer is one of the best hunting dogs out there for game-birds. Being easy to train for any gun dog activity and prized for duck hunting. With their bold, eccentric, boisterous, and affection personalities, they also make one of the best family dogs.

If you are looking for a boisterous and affectionate family dog, that can perform in the field with the best of them. Then the German short hair pointer could be the best hunting dog for you.

1. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever is one of the most prized hunting dogs and is known for its ability to hunt waterfowl for long hours under difficult conditions. With its cold weather coat, you can spend long days outdoors. With its webbed feet, the Labrador retriever is most commonly used for hunting ducks but can easily assist with any type of small game.

Because the Labrador retriever is kind and good natured, it makes an excellent dog for children of all ages. If you are looking for a loyal active dog that is regarded as the best for hunting waterfowl and will make a great family dog, then the Labrador retriever may be the best hunting dog for you.

Regardless of what breed of hunting dog you choose, one thing to remember is they are all high energy, some more than others. Know what you are getting yourself into and make sure you have the time to dedicate to a hunting dog.


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