Which Breeds Are the Best Hunting Dogs & Why?
- Pointers are good bird dogs in wide-open country. They are air-scent dogs, which helps them to easily sense prey. Pointers have a keen sense of smell, allowing them to seek out prey and quickly point it out to the hunter. Pointers are obedient dogs, but require lots of training. Examples of pointers include the wirehaired griffon and German short-haired and English setter pointers. These dogs work best at a distance and can work on land or water, and as trackers.
- Retrievers love the water and are known best for duck hunting. They are all-around, versatile dogs for hunting and the family. Retrievers have a good temperament, making for easy training. Retrievers such as the golden or the Labrador retriever have webbed feet and coats that repel water, making them ideal for water. Retrievers also have very soft mouths, enabling them to handle prey without damage.
- Spaniels are known for the ability to sneak up on prey and flush it out, making them good bird and rabbit hunters. These dogs work tirelessly and are loyal. Spaniels -- among them the springer and English cocker spaniel -- have calm dispositions, making them good family dogs. These dogs are smaller, allowing them to get into thick brush.
- Hounds are known for their ability to corner prey up a tree, particularly when raccoon hunting. Hounds have a keen sense of smell and sight, able to track any type of prey. The redbone coonhound or bluetick hound fall into this category. There are two types of hounds: the sight hound and scent hound. Sight hounds work quickly, sighting the prey, pursuing it and carefully killing it within minutes. They have binocular vision, similar to wolves. Scent hounds have among the most sensitive noses of all breeds. They have the ability to scent and chase their prey for long distances. Scent hounds have a deep, distinctive bark, making it easy for the hunter to find them and the prey.