Jacob Osborn

12 Best Hunting Dog Breeds | Man of Many

Widely considered one of the best duck hunting breeds, Labrador Retrievers are as friendly as they are effective (friendly toward humans, that is—not toward ducks). Between their ability to withstand cold temperatures, perennial loyalty, and downright enthusiastic behaviour, this is a bird dog breed that no hunter can refuse. They also make for terrific family pets.

1. Labrador Retriever

Like the friendly Labrador, Golden Retrievers will track down ducks or birds and smile the whole way through. Easy to train and fun for the whole family, these dogs are both man’s best friend and one of the best hunting breeds you can find.

2. Golden Retriever

Equipped with a powerful snout and voluminous bark, the beagle ranks among the best scent hounds in the world. In addition to its savvy sniffer, the breed tends to have a muscular body and long, floppy ears. As with the retriever, this top hunting pet will serve you well in the bush and also at home with the fam.

3. Beagle

True to its name, the American Foxhound tracks down foxes or deer with impeccable precision. Bursting with energy and determination, these classic hunting pets demonstrate solid running skills and fierce loyalty. Just remember to read up on your local ordinances before hunting larger game, which aren’t always in season.

4. American Foxhound

You might think of the English Springer Spaniel as an ideal family pet, but it’s also a downright classic bird dog breed. Thanks to its compact size, it can get into spaces that larger dogs might not be able to penetrate. When you’re feeling like pheasant for dinner, this hunting dog will serve you well. Plus, it’s just a flat-out beautiful breed!

5. English Springer Spaniel

With a name like pointer, you can probably guess that this is at least a good hunting dog breed. More than that, it’s one of the most iconic bird dog breeds in the world. Thanks to a thin coat, pointers can withstand extreme heat and humidity. They’re also known to deliver all-day stamina and loyal companionship.

6. Pointer

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a hunting pet in the truest sense of the concept, and also one of the best duck hunting dog breeds. With its oily coat and webbed feet, it has no problem swimming into ice-cold water when retrieving prey. Train yours properly and it will never let you or your family down. That said, Chessies can be somewhat temperamental with those outside their immediate circle (i.e. non-family members).

7. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

More than one of the most energetic hunting hounds, the bluetick coonhound is quite fearless. According to legend, this breed is willing to punch well above its weight class by taking on cougars or even lions. Otherwise, it will chase all sorts of game into a tree and then trap it there until you arrive. Should you buy a bluetick coonhound, prepare to get used to barking both in the bush and at home.

8. Bluetick Coonhound

Look beyond the English Setter’s noble appearance and you’ll find a truly versatile hunting pet, who can point and run with considerable efficiency. When properly trained, this bird dog will also retrieve your catch from the thicket. Due to the breed’s increasing popularity over time, most setters now fall into two distinct categories: conformation dogs (i.e. show dogs and pets) or field dogs (i.e. hunting dogs). In case it’s not yet obvious, you should go with the latter when looking for a top hunting pet.

9. English Setter

Similar to their English counterparts, Irish Setters are as handsome as they are effective. It’s then no surprise that this breed likewise breaks down into either conformation dog or field dog. Stick with the latter and you’ll get a quintessential hunting pet, which demonstrates solid work ethic, impressive agility, and fierce determination when tracking birds or other game. At home with the family, meanwhile, this breed couldn’t be sweeter.

10. Irish Setter

You knew this was one of the best hunting hounds as soon as you saw the name, and the common bloodhound is indeed a fearless tracker. In addition to its superior snout, this breed touts a hefty build, commonly weighing anywhere from 80 to 120 pounds.

11. Bloodhound

Good for hunting pheasant and other upland birds, each Weimaraner dog is distinguished by its long legs, elegant appearance, and calm demeanour. Of course, no amount of inner sanctitude will stop it from springing to life when prey is in sight, and then taking off at top speed.

12. Weimaraner

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