Here are our top 12 favorite hunting dogs:
1. English Foxhound
The English Foxhound was bred for its hunting and tracking abilities. It is strong, determined and tenacious, making it an excellent field dog. They are also highly sociable creatures and make excellent companions for highly active owners. However, English Foxhounds bred for the show ring might be a better option for owners looking for a more laid-back Foxhound. And although smaller creatures might stir up their prey instincts, these dogs generally get along excellently with other animals and pets.
2. American Foxhound
These dogs were bred with the purpose of hunting foxes, and are still very much up to that task. Deer hunters have also adopted their running skills to fall deer season, but American Foxhound are a great hunting breed because they will pretty much chase down anything you tell them to.
Perhaps seen as the “iconic” hunting dog, the Beagle is much like the American Foxhound in its persistence, energy, and love of the chase. Its short legs handicap it somewhat in the pursuit of bigger game, but if you are hunting varmint like rabbits, the Beagle is your dog.
The Pointer’s thin coat disqualifies it a bit from effective big game hunting in the snowy north, but in the southern United States, where temperatures stay hot, the Pointer is the perfect companion for finding and bagging birds in an expansive field.
Their very name makes them sound like ruthless hunters, and Bloodhounds live up to that expectation with their strong noses and unparalleled tracking abilities making them great hunting dogs.
When it comes to an elegant, powerful hunting dog, there is nothing quite like the Brittany. Favored by hunters as a popular breed at field trails, the Brittany is quick, curious, independent, and easy to train. Great pets for families and retirees, Brittanys should not be left alone for long periods of time as they can become destructive.
7. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Like its Retriever brethren, this dog, bred for duck hunting on the shores of its namesake Chesapeake Bay, is an energetic, intelligent, water-loving dog with the endurance to happily charge through a long day of hunting.
Unique and elegant looking, with long legs that may make them look awkward at first glance, Weimaraner dogs are fast and calm, perfect for hunting pheasant, quail, or other birds.
Got a raccoon problem? These sharp-nosed hunters will root out their namesake pests and help you bag them for good. If you are looking for a hunting dog that will go with you through all conditions and terrain types, this might be the companion for you.
10. Irish Setter
If Pointers are the perfect dog for hunting quail in the south, then Irish Setters are ideal for fall turkey hunting.
11. Labrador Retriever
It’s right there in the name. Most retriever breeds make wonderful hunting dogs, and the Labrador might just be the “ultimate” hunting dog. With bundles of energy, a cold-weather coat meant for long days outdoors, and the willingness to go to any lengths to retrieve your kill, the Labrador Retriever is best for duck hunting, but can help you out with any type of small game. Just make sure your hungry Lab doesn’t eat the bird for him or herself.
12. Golden Retriever
Often considered the quintessential “family dog,” Golden Retrievers, like their Labrador cousins, are also wonderful small-game hunters. These dogs are perfect as a household breed for the kids which also doubles as a hunting partner for the parents.