Hunting dogs are just a type of dog that has been bred to hunt with humans. Back when people had to hunt in order to eat and it was far more difficult we relied on dogs to help. The dogs did a variety of things including tracking prey, retrieving, pointing and chasing down prey. There are several different hunting dog breeds that worked with humans to hunt and each had their own characteristics that made them valuable. Hunting dogs are smart, highly trainable and love to work with their owners. Hunting dog breed have their own skill set and different breeds are better with different game. Let’s look that the different breeds of hunting dogs.
Hounds can be broken down into two categories, those that hunt by smell or those that hunt by sight. They help their owners with all kinds of game from rabbits to large game. The hounds that use their sight to hunt tend to be fast and slight (not small) and they can include whippets, greyhounds, Irish wolfhounds and Afghans. All these dogs are thinner and very fast. Hounds that hunt by scent are thicker and rely on endurance rather than speed. These kinds of dogs include beagles, basset hounds, blood hounds and fox hounds.
Water dogs don’t hunt by sight or sound instead they will point or retrieve game that you have already shot. Most are used with some form of bird hunting and they work well in marshes and near water although they are used in land game. Setters and pointers are more specialized they are trained to wait until the hunter tells them to stop. They are great swimmers and can find your game and bring it back to you undamaged. These types of dogs include retrievers, spaniels, setters and pointers.
Terriers are much different from hounds or retrievers in that they don’t go hunting with their owner, these dogs were trained to hunt and kill vermin on farms. These dogs are also much smaller and the breeds include Jack Russells, Boston terrier, and even the tiny little Yorkie.
Hunting dogs make great companions but if you are looking for one that you can train to hunt with you then find a breed that suits the type of hunting you do most. Talk to vets and breeders to find the right breed of dog for you. Most of these dogs also make great family pets, they are smart and highly trainable, you don’t need to be a hunter to appreciate these breeds.