hunting dog breeds
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Humans and dogs have been the perfect hunting companions for millennia. This is how we came to domesticate these noble beasts. That codependent relationship has grown to the point that we even share living spaces. But, dogs are not merely pets. Some dog breeds hold on to this glorious past.

Hunting dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are loving, others aggressive. These are fascinating beasts with so much to give. So, let’s have a look at some of the best hunting dogs you could adapt to your family.

Why Do You Need a Hunting Dog?

The right question to ask is, “why wouldn’t I need a hunting dog?”. Sure, hunting is more of a sport than it is about putting food on the table. But, there’s so much fun to have a companion that stays excited and alert at all times. You could even talk to your hunting dog to pass the time.

It may not respond with words, but you’ll know it understands from the look on its eyes. Hunting dogs also have a far more evolved sense of smell than we mere humans do. So, It can sense the presence of prey from yards away. And, their hearing is just as on point.

Hunting dogs are eager to lend a helping paw. You don’t have to wade through thicket or water to retrieve your kill. Most hunting dogs will fetch fallen prey at speeds you couldn’t manage. And, as for protection? Well, you have a primed sword and shield in a hunting dog. It will fight to the end to protect you from any charging beast.

There are many benefits to having a hunting dog by your side. So, let’s just jump to the best hunting dog breeds you could adopt.

English Setter

  • Temperament: Affectionate yet mischievous
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Adult size: 45 to 80 pounds
  • Coat: flat & feathered
  • Origin: The United Kingdom
  • Standout Features: Sensitive and eager to receive and give affection

Let’s get things going with one of the most charming dog breeds you’ll meet. The English Setter is eager to please and will welcome you with excited barks from a mile away. This breed has a long and luxurious coat of fur. It’s white with specks of black all over. This may be the only drawback as the fur may get tangles while out on a hunt.

It has an imposing physic. It’s also quite athletic and has a high prey drive. So, you won’t have any problems motivating an English Setter into pouncing on its prey. Juvenile setters are mischievous, but they are intelligent enough to be trained to track and restrain prey.

German Shorthaired Pointer

  • Temperament: Boisterous, cooperative, and highly trainable
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years
  • Adult size: 55 to 70 pounds
  • Coat: Dense
  • Origin: Germany
  • Standout Features: calm, trainable and is good with kids and senior citizens

No other breed on the list is as ready for the hunt as the German Shorthaired Pointer. It’s intuitive, intelligent, and can outrun most game. There’s so much stamina, but it could use an off button. The best aspect of this hunting dog breed is that it will point towards your prey to line up a shot.

At home, they are gentle and loving, which makes them ideal if you have kids around. Just remember to keep the food safe from their reach as they tend to riffle through homes.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

  • Temperament: Dominant, friendly, protective, and intelligent
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 13 years
  • Adult size: 65 to 80 pounds
  • Coat: waterproof
  • Origin: The United States
  • Standout Features: Broad and sturdy physic makes them excellent swimmers

Chesapeake Bay retriever is a pure American breed. So, we can say it shares an almost patriotic sense of belonging out there on our great plains and forests. They may look heavy, but these dogs can run, even in wet conditions. So, you could take them to hunt duck and other waterfowl.

Their coat is waterproof, so they’ll jump into a lake and retrieve your prey. They also like playing with kids so they’ll feel right at home.

English Springer Spaniel

  • Temperament: Alert, engaging and social
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 14 years
  • Adult size: 45 to 55 pounds
  • Coat: Feathered
  • Origin: England
  • Standout Features: Proactively defend their territory and will alert you of any danger

The English Springer Spaniel is a diligent hunting companion. It will pounce into action and flush out the prey from it’s hiding spot. All you have to do is line up a kill shot. This breed doesn’t even flinch at the sound of gunfire. Your spaniel will even retrieve the fallen game and bring it to you.

At home, they are calm and playful at times. The only drawback is their fluffy coat, which needs loads of grooming.

Bluetick Coonhound

  • Temperament: intelligent, playful, and a tad stubborn
  • Life expectancy: 11 to 12 years
  • Adult size: 45 to 85 pounds
  • Coat: Hairy
  • Origin: North America
  • Standout Features: has a high drive for solving problems, howl like singers, and fierce enough to hunt bears.

The Bluetick Coonhound has a distinctively muscular body and stunning coat. While you can hear it bark from miles away, it’s quite friendly and welcoming. It’s at home in the wild, too, and fits into any environment without any anxiety. It can even take down smaller prey such as rabbits.

The coonhound is willful, so it’s wise to start training it when it’s a puppy. It will get along with the kids and visitors. That’s why it makes an excellent hunting dog and a terrible guard dog.

Golden Retriever

  • Temperament: Trustworthy, reliable, and relaxed
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Adult size: 60 to 80 pounds
  • Coat: silky and wavy
  • Origin: Scotland
  • Standout Features: A kind-hearted soul that’s eager to please

The golden retriever is America’s most beloved dog breed. They make excellent pets, service animals, and hunting dog breeds. What’s more, they have a gentle presence, and you can see so much compassion in their eyes. Golden retrievers are at home in the woods or inside your house.

While on a hunt, they show great stamina, on-point instincts, and intelligence. They will spot prey and even help bring the kill back home. It is also easy to train them to help with other tasks in the wild or at home.

Labrador Retriever

  • Temperament: Playful Social Alert Going and Responsive
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Adult size: 60 to 75 pounds
  • Coat: short, dense, and waterproof
  • Origin: England, Canada
  • Standout Features: does not cringe at the sound of a gun.

The Labrador is another American favorite. It’s the type of breed that little kids and hunters wish to own. It’s always on guard, loving, and loves pleasing its owner. On a hunt, it will help in tracking, flashing out, and retrieving prey.

It has a short fur coat that makes it easy to groom and keep pest-free. The Labrador retriever brings so much to the table that it’s hard to see a downside to such an amazing hunting dog breed.

American Foxhound

  • Temperament: independent, sweet-tempered, and loyal
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Adult size: 45 to 65 pounds
  • Coat: medium length, short and hard
  • Origin: North America
  • Standout Features: tends to think independently and help you while hunting evasive prey.

As the name suggests, American Foxhounds were bred for hunting. They have a historical pedigree for hunting, scaring prey, tracking, and making the hunt more fun. Fewer breeds are as useful in hunting foxes as this dog.

It may have a small stature and lean physic. But, this dog has some bite and bark to the mix. It gets along with kids. However, it will bully cats, poultry, and other animals that share a yard.

English Pointer

  • Temperament: Outright, Amiable and active
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years
  • Adult size: 44 to 66 pounds
  • Coat: Dense
  • Origin: England
  • Standout Features: silent, intelligent, and can be trained to point in the prey’s direction.

This is a British bred hunting dog, developed exclusively for pointing in the direction of the prey. The English pointer is the ideal hunting companion for birds, deer, rabbits, and hunting most wild game. It’s a midsized dog. So, it can hold its ground against most American game.

Training for the English Pointer starts when it’s a puppy. This is because it’s willful, and as they say, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It will fit into your home as long as you have some space for it to play and get rid of all that energy.

Treeing Walker Coonhound

  • Temperament: Confident, Trainable, and Clever
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 13 years
  • Adult size: 50 to 70 pounds
  • Coat: Dense and Glossy
  • Origin: The United States
  • Standout Features: they have a stubborn and independent streak but are eager to serve

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is probably the most tenacious and industrious hunting dog breed on our list. These dogs don’t hesitate and jump into action when out on a hunt. They are a bit willful and have trouble obeying some commands. But, they make up for this by being very loyal and eager to help.

They also make excellent fox hunting dogs. This is due to stature and athleticism. They pair well and even bond with other dogs, such as beagles and Foxhounds. What’s more, they can fit into your home even if you live in an apartment.

Boykin Spaniel

  • Temperament: Enthusiastic, social, and loyal
  • Life expectancy: 14 to 16 years
  • Adult size: 32 to 38 pounds
  • Coat: med-length and moderately curly
  • Origin: South Carolina
  • Standout Features: one of the calmest and alert dogs on the list

Boykin Spaniel is excellent, especially at hunting birds since it came from North Carolina. It’s intelligent, easy to train, and adapts to any environment. You can even take it into the wetlands or brush for a spot of duck hunting.

At home, they make great pets and service animals. The only drawback is the Boykin Spaniel’s long wavy fur coat. It also needs a frequent wash, or it will stick up your entire home. Overall, it is a very beautiful hunting dog and can be the envy of your neighborhood.

Which Dog Is Best For Hunting?

As the saying goes, “Every dog has its day!” Well, that’s because every breed brings some benefits and shortcomings to a hunt. It’s really hard to settle on an outright best hunting dog. That is why we’ve made this list full of all-around hunting dogs.

However, there are hunting dog breeds that bring more to the table. For instance, the Labrador retriever makes a great choice if you have a large yard where it can frolic. The American foxhound or Kerry beagle also make great choices if you don’t have loads of space in your home. Your choice comes down to your ability to groom and provide enough space for your dog to wander.

What Kind Of Dog Hunts Bears?

Large hunting dogs such as the beagle or bloodhound can track and intimidate bears. You can also trust in the Treeing Walker Coonhound, English Pointer, and American foxhound to have your back when facing the odds against bears.

Other Bear hunting dogs not featured on the list include;

  • Karelian Bear Dogs
  • German Shepherds
  • Caucasian Mountain Dogs

What Dog Breed Is Used For Fox Hunting?

Fox hunting dogs tend to be smaller, stubborn, and athletic. The American foxhound and Kerry Beagle are the best fox hunting dogs on the list. Other hunting dogs that fox hunters favor include terrier and setter breeds.

How do you care for a hunting dog?

Hunting dogs need the same care and attention that other breeds require. Dogs have an innate drive to feel needed. You could give your pet all the material things it needs, but it could still be depressed if you don’t show it some compassion.

  1. Here are a few ways to ensure that doesn’t happen;
  2. Ensure your hunting dog gets all the necessary vaccinations.
  3. Hunting Dogs need to be well fed.
  4. Wash your dog regularly.
  5. Long coat breeds also need to be brushed regularly.
  6. Clean their teeth regularly.
  7. Allow your hunting dog to take a breather between hunts.


As you can see, it’s hard to settle on the hunting dog breeds. Each one has some amazing qualities and brings such joy to your hunt (and even home). However, one thing to pay close attention to is a dog’s temperament. That way, you can pick one that’s suitable for your home and general mood. We hope this list and guide make a choice easier for you.


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