Hunting can be a great pastime, but why go hunting alone? Dogs and humans have hunted together for centuries, humans relying on a dog’s prey instinct to assist in looking for food. Hunting dogs should have a strong prey drive, be athletic, be receptive to training, and have a large amount of endurance. Before deciding on a hunting dog, make sure to keep in mind the type of hunting you do: gun dogs typically hunt smaller prey, flush out prey, and retrieve the prey for the hunter, while scent hounds follow an animal’s scent and make noise so the hunter can follow them even when they’re out of sight.
If a hunting dog seems up your alley, here are a few breeds to consider.
The Bluetick Coonhound is a great scent dog. They have an amazing range for any canine and can pick up even the most subtle of smells. This dog is also fearless, staring down prey larger than it is when the need arises. They have tons of energy and can be quite vocal when the hunt is on. This can also make them trouble to have when living in a space that has very close neighbors, like an apartment or a condo, but they will make an excellent companion whether hunting or not.
English Springer Spaniel
An excellent gun dog, this breed is good for both flushing out game for their hunting companions as well as bringing the prize back. Their specialty is bird hunting since they are able to carry the small cargo for many miles without issue. English Springer Spaniels may be smaller in size than your typical hunting breeds, but their navigational skills are superior to most. They are also great with kids and make wonderful cuddle buddies.
Determined to get the job done, the American Foxhound has no problem running through the densest brush to get animals from their hiding spots for the hunters to kill. Their primary use is on fox hunts in the United Kingdom alongside fellow hunting dogs the Beagles. They love making their companions happy but do require a lot of exercise to keep them fit and their endurance level high. Be sure to let them out daily.
This dog is very agile and great to use as a gun dog. They are a hearty breed and can collect birds with little to no trouble. Irish Setters are also very friendly and great for families. Whether in the home or out in the woods, they can be the perfect hunting dog with the proper training. Just make sure to let them out to stretch their legs every once in a while to keep them at their peak.
For more information on these and some other amazing hunting buddies, check out this article.