Types Of Hunting Dogs

The many different types of hunting dogs for you to be aware of.

There are many different types of hunting dogs, that are excellent hunting dogs, but not all are classified specifically as hunting dogs.  

Hounds hunt small game such as jackrabbits, raccoons, and other smaller animals that live in thickets and underbrush.  Not all hounds hunt solely with scent, as some use their keen eyesight (sight hounds) too.

Gun dogs are one of the most familiar categories of hunting dog.  Keep in mind, not every hunting dog is a gun dog.  

Hunters hunting with shotguns, especially those seeking a variety of birds, mostly use gun dogs.  

They include retrievers, pointers, setters, and spaniels typically.   Terriers and feists are additional categories of gun dogs and have often squeezed into rabbit holes and other dens to chase out quarry.

Curs are larger hunting dogs and are usually used to hunt bigger animals like, for instance, cougars.

There is a broad range of breeds that are classified as gun dogs.  They are the best dogs to choose when you are seeking those to retrieve or even track down prey.  

Each one has characteristic skills and some are similar in a few ways:


Not only are retrievers a good choice as hunting dogs, but they also make wonderful family pets.  They are excellent swimmers and like the water.

 If you are intending on hunting ducks or other fowl close to the water, you should choose a retriever, as he will have no problem grabbing birds, whether they are on land or in the water.  

Retrievers also learn the command “fetch” easier than most other dogs, as their natural instinct is to retrieve items.


A few spaniels enjoy water, but their ability lies in finding game that hides in thick cover.  They are like retrievers in that they then bring the game back to you.  

Cocker spaniels are particularly good family pets, but also fantastic hunters.  English springer spaniels and cocker spaniels are two of the most common spaniel breeds used for hunting, although field spaniels are also growing in popularity.  

Spaniels can be used to chase game out of hiding and retrieve it on land and water alike.


Pointers, such as the German shorthaired pointer, discover the prey for the hunter and point at it, thus their name.  This breed will traverse a much larger region than spaniels, but are dependent on the hunter to draw out the quarry.


Setters, reminiscent of pointers, will discover and point at prey, but will also smell out the prey on command.  Setters, such as English setters, are talented at tracking upland birds.

However, as hunting dogs, they are generally used more in England and Ireland than in America.

Water Dogs

When we hear the word “poodle,” we often think of a lap dog with a convoluted hair-do.  However, the poodle is a sort of retriever that enjoys the water and is, in theory, a hunting dog.  

Big traditional poodles are superior dogs to use for hunting when hunting close to the water.   Different from other hunting dogs, poodles have actual hair in place of fur and must be clipped every so often.  

An odd aside: they are excellent hunting dogs for those with dog allergies.

The sort of hunting you plan on getting will influence the type of hunting dog that is suitable for you.  Try to plan for this in advance, so that when you hunt for your prey you have the proper expectations for the dog.

Knowing what your dog is capable of in the field will help you train him to be the best hunting dog he can be.

When purchasing hunting dogs you must also consider what kind of hunting dog supplies you might need. A few supplies to consider are dog training collars, bird launchers, and electronic dog fences.

If you want to know more about hunting dogs, visit www.gundogsonline.com

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