If you’re an avid hunter, you’ve probably owned or thought of owning a hunting dog before. There are various dog breeds out there and the variety keeps growing. It can be difficult to decide on which hunting dog is the best for you. In this blog, we’re going to break down some of the top breeds and why they could be a great fit for you. Hopefully, by the end you are able to break down each breed and have a clearer mind when it comes to making a choice.
It’s important to first note the differences in breed characteristics. In general, the most common hunting dogs are scent hounds or gun dogs. Depending on your hunt, that will directly correlate with the type of dog to get. Let’s dive into the two types:
- Gun Dogs: Typically called bird dogs, which is their primary prey. These dogs can also hunt smaller animals, such as rabbits. They distinctively locate prey and fish it out for you to shoot. They usually retrieve the quarry for you.
- Scent Hounds: This type of dog will follow prey trails with its nose. They’re able to follow the trail for long distances and leave calls behind for their hunter to follow. Some scent hounds focus on prey. While others are “treeing” dogs that chase prey up a tree and wait until the hunter arrives.
If you’re into hunting, this breed probably comes as no surprise to you. Definitely the most popular, Labrador Retrievers are the perfect bird dog to have with you during a hunt. This is mostly due to the fact that Labradors are great in the water and love swimming. Their thick tail is utilized as a powerful rutter, combined with their webbed feet make them swim incredibly fast. Labs started out as duck retrievers, after they were brought back to England in the 1800s. They make excellent retrievers that work in a variety of settings, like waterfowl hunting and game hunting, with the stamina to continue working for many hours at a time.
At Revital Outdoors, we chose to work mainly with Labrador Retrievers. We find that they make great pets, on or off the field. Being avid outdoorsmen, we work with a few different breeds and have always found great success in our labs.
German Shorthaired Pointers
Filled with energy, you’ll be busy with German Shorthaired Pointers. However, they can bottle that stamina to be one of the best hunting dogs in the league. They’re extremely versatile dogs and instinctive hunters all-around. They have been used to hunt quarries of all kinds, including rabbits, raccoons, game birds, and even deer. Also, if there’s prey nearby, they’ll be the first to find it. They have razor-sharp instincts for anything that could be prey. However, you will want to take these pups straight to training as their endless amounts of energy can be destructive at times. It’s important to note that they’re great swimmers as well, making them a great companion for waterfowl hunting.
These dogs work well in an upland field such as corn or cattails. They can put bird up as good as any other breed and they do a great job in the waterfowl area as well. It’s also important to note that they’re smaller in size than a Lab or German Shorthaired Pointers, (GSP.) They have no problem working for hours as they have an abundance of energy. Additionally, English Springer Spaniels were bred to be great hunting dogs.
Similar to Labs, Golden Retrievers make a name for themselves as one of the top hunting dogs. They have a lot of the same qualities that the Lab does, but they might even be more affectionate and fun. Note that they’re hardworking and amazing hunters. Golden Retrievers are water-loving swimmers that will shine during duck season. You’ll definitely need to look into training for these pups as they tend to be goofy and need some shaping. However, their high energy levels will keep them engaged in any field of work. At home, they’re a great house and family dogs. You truly can’t go wrong with a Golden Retriever as a hunting dog.
If you’re looking to double your hunting dog for a house dog, look no further. If you look at Brittany, you’ll see the fuzzy, friendly, stub-tailed pup that is an excellent hunting dog. This breed can be a little quirky and hard to understand. You will probably wonder what they’re thinking. But, they’re great easy-going pups that love a family environment and also happen to be great at hunting.
One thing to note about this breed is that each English setter can look so different from one another and it might be hard to realize that they’re the same breed. Setters can range from 35-pounds to 80-pounds. They are well-known for their stance when hunting, called ‘setting’. They’re medium-sized, energetic pups that are also friendly. The smaller English Setters are thought to be more agile in the field. They can be extremely energetic and rambunctious dogs when they aren’t given enough exercise. However, they’re typically laid back at home, given the right amount of exercise.
Regardless of breed
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There are many great breeds out there depending on what you’re looking for. Sometimes, it’s just refreshing to know that there are more breeds for hunters than the lab. We hope that this article helps you narrow down your search. At Revital Outdoors, we are committed to helping you focus on your passion, in the outdoors or not. Educating our community is our top-priority. If you have any further questions, please contact us here.