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Top 5 Hunting Dog Breeds

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Best Dog Breeds for Hunting

By A. Forrest Jones, III


Dogs have been hunting for thousands of years, but some breeds are especially fit for the sport of hunting. We sat down with Steven Howze of the Mississippi Hunting Dog Association to find out which are the best hunting dog breeds.

1. Labrador Retriever

For duck hunting retrievers such as the Labrador Retriever is one of the best choices. The Labrador retriever has bundles of energy and is an excellent swimmer, perfect for jumping out of the blind to snag a duck or goose. Labrador retrievers are also popular for smaller game such as dove or quail.

2. Boykin Spaniel

Spaniels, especially the Boykin Spaniel, are popular for hunting duck, dove, quail and other birds. "A lot of people use them on turkey hunts," says Howze.

3. Beagle

Beagles make good hunting dogs, especially when going for game besides birds. "That's what everyone uses for rabbits," says Howze. Beagles are also a good choice to hunt deer, in that they are very easy to handle.

4. Treeing Walker Coonhound

For raccoon and hog hunting, the Treeing Walker Coonhound is among the best. A descendent from the English and American Foxhounds, this dog breed has been dubbed "the people's choice" of the coonhound breeds. 

5. English Pointers

Pointers, especially the English Pointer, make great bird dogs for hunting dove, quail, grouse and other bird. "I think Pointers are the best bird dogs," says Howze. 

Hunting Safely

There are many dangers associated with hunting. Dogs can easily be mistaken for game or inadvertently roam into the path of other nearby hunters. Buy your dog a blaze orange vest (which will make him or her easier to see), reflective collar (breakaway style), and any other safety-related equipment necessary for the hunt. 

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  • Hunting Dogs are the BEST
    06/16/2015 12:32pm

    Of these 5 breeds I have had the pleasure of having a Lab, a Beagle and now an English Short Haired Pointer! All 3 of these dogs had amazing hunting instincts, are smart, faithful and very loving dogs. Each of them had their own methods for hunting and never disappoint! I love(d) them all. My Pointer is a character and loves everybody that she meets and has been great not only on the hunt but great with people, kids and other dogs. I have been so very lucky to have them in my life!

  • 02/25/2017 09:56pm

    Dear me, you hunt? I truly feel concerned. Loving the dogs you have is not quite the same as loving and murdering innocent creatures with them.

  • Where are the Springers?
    10/06/2015 03:11pm

    Where are the English Springer Spaniels. Who does your research? If you need photos, I can provide you with some.

  • 10/07/2015 06:33pm

    I had a Springer spaniel mix breed for 12 years....Looked like a pure bread springer but was smaller....I rescued him and some thought he was a mix of cocker spaniel and springer. When we walked by a duck pond I was happy that he completely ignored the ducks and was more interested in calmly sniffing the area. The ducks however seemed interested in him but he couldn't be bothered to even look at them. Not being a hunter, I was glad.