The Ten Best Hunting Dog Breeds

We know there are people who don’t believe in hunting and are appalled by the sport. We fully understand that this article might not be the best read for that type of person. The unspoken understanding about coming to dog site is that we will talk about dogs, all dogs. Some may not agree with it, and some may see it as wrong, but dogs have been an integral part of hunting for centuries now, and little is set to change that. It is with that in mind, we wrote this list of the ten nest hunting dog breeds. These are the best of the best with keen senses of smell and natural instincts in the wild.

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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You should be able to tell with most of the breeds that they are hunting dog breeds just by their name. For most brutal sounding, Bloodhound definitely wins. Known for their strong nose and unbelievable tracking range, the Bloodhound is a great canine companion to any hunter. Plus, look at that face? So much character. How can you not love it?  The Bloodhound can smell prey as well as just about anything from extremely long distances.

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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Golden Retrievers

Again, right in the name it is clear that this is a hunting dog breed. People don’t realize how many different aspects of things hunting dogs can do. In this case, it is clear that these dogs retrieve animals. It is also widely known that they are remarkable at it. If you had to find your own prey as a hunter, do you realize how next-to impossible that would be? Great family dogs, fur sure. But great hunting and companion dogs as well.

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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Irish Setter

For those who don’t know, Setters set up the spot where the hunter gets a line of sight for the animal he is hunting. Like a pointer, which we will talk about a little further on in the article. What makes the Setter so remarkable is that it can get close enough to the “prey” that it sets up an easy shot for the hunter, but the dog itself rarely ever scares or gets spotted by any of the animals. A long coat and propensity towards being able to handle cold weather are also great traits that add it to the list.

(Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

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Labrador Retriever

You already know about how we feel about Retrivers, but Labrador Retrievers are what many consider the ultimate hunting dog breed when it comes to water fowl and pheasant. It’s cold weather coat can ensure it can stay outside with you all day, and just like you, it doesn’t want to leave until the job is finished. The bonus is, the whole time, you get this adorable, sweet companion sitting next to you.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)



The coat is one of the things that mark the Pointer apart from the Setter. Though the Pointer’s thinner coat makes it less likely to endure some cold weather with you for long periods, its ability to stay on task is a sight to behold. The above photo is one of the only examples we have on the list of the dog doing what it does best. As you can see from that regal stance, the Pointer takes its job very seriously. Which is what makes it such a great hunting dog breed.

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Crazy to think, but the Beagle has been a hunting dog breed for over two hundred years. When it comes to small prey hunting. few breeds go at it with the zest and passion that a Beagle does. ¬†Often used to teach younger kids about hunting (I can only imagine some people cringing as they read that), the Beagle is one of the only dogs on the list that can lead a kill. What that means is, it can get a target (like a rabbit) to run in a circle over and over, ensuring an easier shot for those just learning. An adorable breed for the family, but don’t forget what they are bred to do.

(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

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American Foxhound

Much like the Beagle, the Foxhound is an aptly named breed that helps to hunt, come on, guess with us? Foxes! Yes. Keep in mind, it is not just foxes, but most small prey. They are most well known for being used to hunt fox. Unlike the quiet skills of some of the retrievers or pointers, the Fox hound is vocal and full of energy when it comes to finding its prey and helping its master get the kill.

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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Do not let that photo fool you. It may look like the Weimaraner is just chilling, but it probably just got done with some crazy, hours long hunt and is just taking a quick rest before going back out. What is great is that very calm demeanor is brought along with them when they help hunt, making them perfect for smaller birds and the like. Their longer legs make them extremely fast, too, which provides benefits as well.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

coon hound

Coon Hound

A very sweet breed (that I have a particular soft spot for), the Coon hound may be laid back and gentle and sweet most of the time, but my goodness, this dog has a nose on it. I don’t just mean literally. This dog picks up a smell, you better back off and just let it follow it (in the right scenarios). Their noses will never lead you off. That is exactly why they are one of the best hunting dog breeds in the whole world.

Image Via NextDayPets

plot hound

Plott Hound

Okay, so let’s end this list in the most extreme way possible. Let’s say you wanted a dog that helped you hunt bears. No joke. Well, guess what? There is a hunting dog breed for that, too. While we do not ever recommend hunting bears with any kind of dog (or for any reason, really). If you were gonna do it, and wanted to go at it fully prepared, the Plott hound would be the dog for you. What they do is give chase, follow the scent, and let out a very distinct bark that means “follow me” in hunting dog breed language. They are also quite brave and strong, so when they do follow their prey into their habitat, they can stand their ground. A powerful dog and an undeniably cool way to end the list.

Image Via VetStreet

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One Comment

  1. I’ve been hunting since I was a kid. Always bird hunting (generally pheasant, duck, quail). i got dragged into deer hunting a few times and did some wild game hunting in Africa and Wyoming….There’s only 3 dogs we have ever seen at lodges, ranches, and what our furry friends are themsleves.

    1. Brittany (overwhelming amount. Any bird dog trainer will tell you these are the best for pointing and locating birds than any dog. And they have winning personalities.)

    2. German Shorthair best mix between the retriever and pointer. they can do it all.

    3. Lab. amazing for retrieving, best for duck hunting. and the most popular breed for any larger bird since they can carry them and swim.

    Hunting with a hound is maybe good if your’e tracking a prisoner. When I was in the market for a pup I asked a few trainers what they suggest for any hunting primarily birds. I don’t think a single hound/beagle was ever mentioned let alone 90% of this list.

    If you’re looking for a hunting dog chances are you are not deer hunting since you’re goal is to use your stand to our advantage (so take all the hounds out of the picture).

    If you’re looking for a hunting dog and doing any bird hunting.

    1. Lab/Golden
    2. GSP
    3. Brittany

    Other than that I wouldn’t even consider anything else. The little guys are also amazing pets.

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