Have you been looking for the best hunting dogs with their specialty? Aside from being a great companion, some breeds are also suitable for hunting. However, not all pooches are ideal for such activities. Aside from your hunting gear, let’s take a look at 20 animal breeds that are always ready to come with you on your next hunting adventure.
Pets for hunting are capable of chasing other species, but it is essential that you pick the right breed that focuses primarily on the animal that you want to hunt. So we’ve listed down some of the best specialized hunting dogs in the hunting world. From small to big game hunting, indeed, there’s a pet that would match your game.
20 Best Hunting Dog Breeds
Hunting is now a sport for most people. Some hunters bring their furry pals, which makes it one of their key assets in capturing their prey. Just like humans, pets also have specialties when it comes to hunting. Pooches just need some experiences to unleash its full potential and use these natural talents.
Some breeds are good at catching flying prey, and some are even better at chasing down the wildest animals in hunting. It leads us to the question, what are the best hunting dogs with their specialty? When properly trained, dogs are far more efficient and capable hunters than humans because of their inherent strength, accurate sense of smell, and exceptional hearing abilities.
1. Best Rabbit Hunting Dogs: Beagle
If you love hunting rabbits, Beagles are your best companion. Aside from being an excellent homebody, these breeds are also great in picking up rabbit scents. Moreover, it is also the best canine for chasing bunnies in circles so that you can get a better shot.
For roughly 200 years now, tri-colored Beagles have been reliable when it comes to small game hunting. It may not be obvious, but this breed has one of the best noses in the canine world when it comes to scenting abilities.
The combination of a superior sense of smell, agility, and speed, Beagles are a good candidate for hunting rabbits. Moreover, it also excels in detection due to its keen sense of smell. It may sound like a service dog, but you can also expect a friendly demeanor. In fact, it belongs to the small-size breeds. Hence, you don’t need a large house or yard to give it a home.
2. Best Duck Hunting Dogs: Labrador Retriever
Labradors have physical attributes that are suitable for cold-water retrieving. Hence, they can help you hunt ducks and other water prey in the water, making it the best all-around waterfowl dog. From the name itself, these dog breeds love water exercises and activities, which include swimming and retrieving. Moreover, Labradors are the most intelligent of all retrievers because they mature faster.
Aside from being smart, this dog breed also has a double coat for warmth and webbed feet for water repellency. It also has a muscled body and thick otter tail for better maneuverability in the water. So, these traits will allow pet owners to train this kind of pet even at younger ages. When it comes to hunting, Labradors can handle the learning curve of hand signals, and whistles, which are essential whenever you are close to your target species.
Still, Labrador Retrievers are also a great family dog. Physically strong outside, but these pets also have friendliness and loyalty to its family. In fact, this dog breed is the most registered dog in America. After you hunt all day, Labradors will always come home and most likely play with children.
3. Best Fox Hunting Dogs: American Foxhound
From the name itself, American Foxhounds are your best fox hunting dogs. These are perfect hunting animals because of its enthusiasm that’s going to chase down everything you’re asking them to do.
Unlike the first two breeds, American foxhounds are specifically bred for hunting. Way back to its rich history of loyalty and capability, you can always rely on these dogs when it comes to hunting, tracking, and more.
At first glimpse, it may look like a Beagle until you realize that that latter is taller and leaner. Thanks to its athletic built, it is one of the most hard-working canines that you will see when it comes to hunting. Moreover, you can maintain it quickly as it only requires little grooming. You may think that it is a very wild dog breed since it loves hunting foxes, but these pooches are also great family dogs and loving companions.
4. Best Land Bird Hunting Dogs: Golden Retriever
Here are other best hunting dogs with their specialty, which is excellent in chasing land birds. It is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States today due to its friendliness and loyalty. Aside from being a companion pet, these breeds also love to hunt. The beautiful and fierce body built is suitable for hanging out in the sub-urban and doing some fun active sports.
High stamina, extremely intelligent, and physically healthy – these are the traits that make Golden Retrievers excellent in physical sports, especially bird hunting. Moreover, it also has a happy disposition that’s why pet owners love adopting one in their homes. Golden Retrievers will hunt down ducks or small birds and smile all the way through.
You won’t have any problems in training, plus these pooches are fun for the whole family. These dogs could be both a man’s best friend and one of the best hunting breeds that you can find. After all, these breeds are retrievers, known for catching birds and returning them to the hunter without damage.
5. Best Quail Hunting Dogs: Pointer
Do you want more best hunting dogs with their specialty? The ultimate pooch above all the gun breeds – the slick, fast, and bird-obsessed Pointer will not stop until it gets its bird prey. This dog can work on the hardest terrain just to give you your target.
Don’t worry about staying cool because the thin coat allows them to get through the heat from the sun. Moreover, it has a perpetual endurance, which is suitable for all-day hunting. Still, make sure to bring enough water for your furry hunter.
Pointers have been dominating the field of bird hunting for decades. You can always rely on fast and hard work. Moreover, these dogs will never leave you because they have the willingness to lock and hold on for as long as needed. If you look for them, you can even find Pointers are usually high-energy pets that are suitable for hunting. When trained properly to behave, this dog breed is also ideal as family dogs.
6. Best Racoon Hunting Dogs: Coonhound
If you have been dealing with raccoons, let these sharp-nosed hunters get rid of the pests for you. Coonhounds have the instinct to catch raccoons as well as other prey that you want to find while hunting.
It comes from several variations like Bluetick, Black & Tan, Redbone, American English, and Treeing Walker, but they all came from one family. An ancestry of excellent hunting dogs. Of all Coonhounds, Treeing Walker has the most remarkable tenacity and intelligence.
Regardless, just like Retrievers, Coonhounds consist of dog breeds that are supremely tough with incredible stamina. Moreover, this pet also has excellent noses. In fact, its ancestors have been famous for pursuing cougars and mountain lions. If you’re a hunter who stays outdoors all day long, these are the trains of a dog companion that you must bring with you when it comes to massive hunting games.
7. Best Squirrel Hunting Dogs: Mountain Cur
Still haven’t found the best hunting dogs with their specialty? There are many ways to hunt squirrels. Either you catch them on the spot by walking through the forest while sniping, or stalk until you find the right timing to catch it off guard.
Another way and the best method is to use Mountain Cur dogs to locate, mark, and help you take a shot. Almost every pet may enjoy hunting squirrels, but Mountain Curs are the most special breeds to do this task with enthusiasm.
However, since 1998, UKC hasn’t registered these dog breeds. Still, it has been one of the most all-around dogs used for hunting and protection. With the mixed ancestry of Hounds that have great noses and voices, and Terriers with added tenacity – this is a dog breed for all purposes in the frontier of the wilderness.
8. Best Deer Hunting Dogs: American Foxhound
Originated in Maryland and Virginia, here’s the best dog for catching deer. It has all the characteristics required to run deer successfully. From energy, high stamina, excellent sense of smell, to enthusiastic natural hunting attitude – the American Foxhound is everything you need as a hunting companion.
Unlike many other scent hounds, American Foxhounds are “running” hounds, as opposed to “treeing” hounds. It means that these breeds love to hunt a lot more and be a part of the process than the outcome of the hunt.
American foxhounds are going to sprint through troubles to catch a deer or a fox. It can put reluctant deer on their feet and keep them going better than many other common breeds, such as the shorter-legged beagle.
9. Best Sea Duck Hunting Dogs: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
If you love sea duck hunting, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are the only embodiment of real American hunters. This hard-working and utilitarian dog breed can play the cold and rough waters. Moreover, it has a more solid built compared to Labradors
The thick and oily coats help in repelling cold temperatures while the webbed feet are suitable for swimming. Whether the target sear duck is on icy or running water, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever will always find a way to hunt it down.
This pet may be a slower-maturing dog, but it can be tricky as you teach and train new tricks. However, you must train these pooches with authority without getting too physical. During the old times, Chessies’ job was to protect gear, guns, and boats at the docks as the hunters rested in waterfront saloons. Slowly, the role evolved to being a waterfowl-hunting retriever even in the harshest conditions.
10. Best Pheasant Hunting Dogs: English Springer Spaniel
If pheasants are your thing for hunting, English Springer Spaniel has the stamina to cover ground all day long and an excellent sense of smell to point the locations of the target.
Moreover, it can definitely catch up with the run-and-gun nature of the pheasant hunting game. Springers may be smaller than Labradors, but it can cover up the whole ground due to its high energy levels.
When it comes to retrieving instincts, you wouldn’t have any problems as these breeds have more reliable senses. Even just by picking up scents, springers have a pleasant temperament and are loyal to their owners.
11. Best Small Hunting Game Dogs: Irish Setter
Irish Setters are just like their English counterparts that are always ready to hunt alongside you day and night. However, these dog breeds require relatively high maintenance for its thick, beautiful, and luxurious coat.
From necessary fetching skills to hunting birds, these pets are smart, determined, resourceful, and highly energetic. Moreover, after a day of hunting, it changes its personality to a friendly, loving, and playful companion.
For over 200 years, this breed has been popular to all hunters and even sportspeople. Unlike Labradors, Irish Settles can be a bit boisterous, which means you may need patience in training. The process of learning is challenging for this dog, but it will serve you excellently in the bush while hunting. With those natural trains in hunting, Irish Setters are suitable small hunting games.
12. Best Wild Boar Hunting Dogs: Bloodhound
Unique and tough – these are the top qualities of a Bloodhound. It has superb investigative skills, which makes it suitable for tracking the scent of your target. Some law enforcement agencies use Bloodhounds to assist them in looking for missing persons. For this reason, pet breeders call it the Sherlock Holmes of the canine world.
These dogs will live up to your expectations due to unparalleled tracking abilities, which makes them excellent hunting dogs. Initially bred for big game hunting and other potential challenging outdoor games. It may seem too smart, but Bloodhounds are also a great companion both on and off the hunting game. The nickname suggests like it is a ruthless hunter, but these breeds are friendly, loyal, and playful towards its owners.
Whether you’re hunting for wild boar or deer, Bloodhounds are one of the best companions. However, take note that some are stubborn to follow tricks. So, it is essential to establish authority in the beginning. Moreover, there may be some instances that it will give other dog breeds of the same sex due to its strong personality.
13. Best Upland Birds Hunting Dogs: Weimaraner
Is there a dog that can help you track upland birds? Definitely, and Weimaraners are one of the best bird hunting dogs. It is one of the most unique and elegant breeds in the sporting group. These pups have their roots in Germany, where they were initially bred to hunt anything – from upland birds to bears. These breeds are energetic, but may not be too evident due to its ungracefully thin and tall appearance. Their lean legs make them look awkward at first glance, but it also helps the Weimaraners to be quicker and calmer.
Due to its thin built, expect extreme athleticism, unmatched intelligence, and incredible senses. Moreover, it requires very little maintenance when it comes to grooming the coat. These are the traits, which are perfect for hunting pheasant, quail, or other highlands bird species.
Weimaraners may look ferocious, which they are when it comes to hunting, but this pet bonds well with children and the whole family. Regardless, it has a hunting pedigree that is also suitable for big games in tracing predators like wolves. However, it requires lots of training in discipline and exercise because it can be loafing.
14. Best Grouse Hunting Dogs: English Setter
When it comes to grouse hunting dogs, English Setters have a keen nose to track the scent of spooky birds without scaring it away. At first look, you may think that it is a Dalmatian because of its black spots, and white fur.
However, the thick, long coat and the shape of the face make it different. Setters are famous for propensity to work closely with you during a hunting game. It will stay in sight to hold a point just to give you the best position in taking a shot.
Chasing a grouse can be a challenge, so you must ensure that your dog is comfortable with tracking, retrieving, and force fetches commands. Like other dogs that are popular in hunting, the English setters have two distinct lines: verification and ground. It means this breed excels well in tracking the prey and even chasing it after the hunter made the shot. Due to its popularity even in the past, the first dog registered with the American Kennel Club was an English Setter, named Adonis.
15. Best Pig Hunting Dogs: American Pitbull Terrier
For hunting wild boar and pigs in the forest, American Pitbull Terriers can accompany you. In early history, most farmers and ranchers found one of the most versatile canines. It has the built of a Pitbull and the intelligence of a Terrier.
These two primary traits make it suitable for forest hunting games. In some countries, they also use it as rescue and police dogs. When trained properly, it can perform narcotics and explosives detection, and border patrol dogs. In competitive dog athletics, the American Pitbull Terriers will prevail in endurance, agility, and weight pulling.
Experimental mating between Bulldogs and terriers started in England, Scotland, and Ireland in the 19th century. The goal was to cross the athleticism of Terriers with the power of Bulldogs. Foreigners eventually brought the bull-and-terrier crosses to the United States. Since then, it has been famous to most ranchers and farmers when it comes to driving livestock and hunting while being a dedicated family companion. The American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pitbull Terrier came from the same ancestry, but different names are depending on the location of the dog clubs.
16. Best Bird Hunting Dogs: Boykin Spaniel
Boykin Spaniel is a natural when it comes to hunting, especially for birds because it excels well when it comes to flushing and retrieving. The best trait of this breed is intelligence, which makes the training a lot easier.
Moreover, the uncompromising determination when hunting will give you an advantage when tracking down your prey. Aside from bird hunting, this dog also performs well in dense brush and wetlands, which makes it ideal for shooting waterfowls like ducks.
Outside the context of hunting, a Boykin Spaniel is an excellent pet that is loving and easy-going. However, take note that it requires more maintenance due to its long and relatively wavy fur. Boykin Spaniel originated in South Carolina at the beginning of the 20th century. These uncommon best hunting dogs are famous for serious hunters. Therefore, it climbed up the rankings on hunting dog charts all over online hunting dog resources.
17. Best All-Around Hunting Dogs: Brittany Dog
Brittany Dogs are almost similar to Setters, which are incredibly versatile and talented when it comes to hunting. Whether your game includes flushing, retrieving, pointing, and even agility, this dog breed is an excellent companion. Just like its beautiful name, these dogs are exceptionally handsome or charming with just the right amount of fur. Hence, it requires minimal maintenance when it comes to grooming.
Whether for hunting, adventure, and companion at home, Brittany dogs are loyal and smart. Originated in France in the 1800s, these breeds are originally for pointing and retrieving. It is a cross of distinct Spanish and English setters, resulting in a quick and curious species.
Apart from being merely adorable, loveable, and friendly family dogs, Brittanies are one of the best hunting pets. However, take note that you need to be physically ready when owning this pet because it requires a lot of exercise. Otherwise, it may become restless without activities.
18. Best Rabbit Hunting Dogs: Jack Russel Terrier
Developed in England some 200 years ago, this breed was originally for hunting foxes. In hunting, never belittle small breeds. Jack Russel Terrier is an energetic breed that will help you point the location of your target rabbits. Once properly trained, it is one of the smartest pets for small game. It can do more than flushing and hunting squirmy little species.
If you love hunting rabbits, you should put Jack Russell close to the top of your list. As long as you can reduce their energy in the morning, you won’t get disappointed by this breed.
Even at home or on the game trail, it is bright and extremely loving. Charming, affectionate, lively, and independent, these are the traits that you will love about this dog.
19. Best Turkey Hunting Dogs: Appalachian Turkey Dogs
Let’s continue our list of the best hunting dogs with their specialties. When it comes to hunting turkeys, it is essential that you have a companion that is a big runner while tracking the scent through thin air.
In this case, Appalachian Turkey Dogs are also a popular choice for many turkey hunters. It is a combination of Setters, Plott Hounds, and Pointers.
However, AKC does not recognize such dogs. Still, it has a stylish appearance with excellent stamina, fast speed, and range. Moreover, it has the desire to chase, track, and bark as loud as it could, which are suitable for driving prey. Appalachian Turkey Dogs fill a hunting specialty that requires specific attributes derived from its purebred roots.
20. Best Hog Hunting Dogs: Dogo Argentino
This cute and extra special breed is stunning from its muscular built to its unique face. Bigger, stronger, and more agile than a Pitbull, Dogo Argentinos have been bred specifically for big-game hunting. Originating in South America, Dogos are also the best hunting dog even during a hot climate and rough terrains.
The well-muscled body of this breed and the thin white coat make it look so beautiful. The intimidating game face look is so fierce whenever this dog goes into hunting.
However, it is still a friendly and loyal companion at home. Just make sure to train it to avoid displaying its aggressiveness towards other people and even other dog breeds.
The Best Hunting Dogs – FAQ
Even in the old days, people have been hunting other species with the assistance of their dogs. However, since not all breeds are suitable for this activity, make sure that you come with the best hunting dogs with their specialty on our list. Depending on the species that you want to catch, some dogs have their unique strengths while others are suitable for all-around hunting games. Finally, let us answer some of the common questions about the best hunting pet companions.
What is the Most Versatile Hunting Dog?
Brittany Dogs are one of the most versatile hunting dogs that are adaptable and flexible to various tasks whenever on the field. From pointing, flushing, to retrieving, this dog breed loves to be a part of every process in catching prey and even join some agility contests. Moreover, it can track down various species from small to large sizes. Whether hunting companions or at home buddies, Brittanys are loyal and intelligent for as long as you train in properly.
We understand that you’re probably looking with the best hunting dogs with their specialty. Brittanies are exceptionally unique and beautiful. It also has thin coats that match the muscular built that requires little maintenance when it comes to grooming. However, this pet needs a lot of exercise. Otherwise, it will become restless. So, whether you go hunting or not, make sure that you do some physical activities at least 30 minutes to one hour every day.
What is the Best Coon Hunting Dog?
Black and Tan Coonhounds are the best coon hunting dog. Judging from its name, it has a great nose to the ground for tracking its prey and barks up when hunted. With its large bone structure, it can move swiftly with rhythmic strides, which is suitable for any kind of hunting game. Moreover, it has impressive stamina that is excellent for running. In fact, it can go for miles and overcome the thick bushes of any forest, and even cross the river.
This canine is recognizable with its distinctive size and color. Moreover, it is relatively larger compared to other coon hunting dogs of the same family tree. As a home buddy, Black and Tan Coonhounds are independent and smart. It may also be playful and gentle towards children. Find out more about the best hunting dog with their specialty for every game.
What is the Best Gun Dog Breed?
Retrievers and Pointers are some of the best gun dog breeds of all time. Both pets have a beautiful appearance and spooky nose to track their prey. These breeds are both smart and have the physical strength to take on any hunting adventures. From its thick otter tail, muscled body, to fierce space, these trains will allow pet owners to train this kind of pet even at younger ages.
Moreover, these breeds have been dominating the game of gun dog hunting for decades now. You can always rely on its fast and hard work because it is always willing to lock and hold whenever needed.
What is the Best Rabbit Hunting Dog?
If you enjoy scavenging rabbits, you should consider Jack Russell dogs. Developed in England about 200 years ago, this breed was originally for hunting foxes. It is energetic and will help you determine the location of your target rabbits. It could be one of the smartest small game pets. As long as you consume their energy every day, you won’t be disappointed by this breed. It’s intelligent and extremely affectionate even at home or on the game routes.
Different types of hunting benefit from their most suited breed. Now you can purchase a hunting breed with confidence and know they will be your best friend and the ideal hunting companion.