Best Hunting Dogs for Tracking Any Type of Prey

A hunting dog can be a tremendous asset if you want to hunt. Ever before dogs were domesticated, long before agriculture, humans and dogs have probably hunted together. Strong prey drive, trainability, and both endurance and athleticism are qualities of an excellent hunting dog.

dog with owner

All you need to know about the several hunting dog breeds is provided here.

Bird Dogs or Gun Dogs

Bird dogs, sometimes referred to as gun dogs, are taught to find, flush out, and recover small game for hunters. Pointers, flushers, and retrievers are the three basic groups into which they fall.


Hunters can more easily see and shot game because pointers are skilled at finding and pointing to prey. Noted pointer breeds include:

  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • English Pointer
  • Brittany Spaniel
  • Weimaraner

Strong prey drive, great endurance, and a good sense of smell characterize pointers. They are quite tamable for hunting because of their intelligence and desire to please.


Hunters can “spring” birds and small game out of tight cover by using flushing spaniels. Prominent flushing breeds include:

  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Boykin Spaniel

Athletes, thinkers, and trainable, flushers are well known. They like to please their handlers and have a great work ethic.


Ducks and other downed birds are trained to be recovered from both land and water by retrievers. Well-known retriever breeds consist of:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Flat-Coated Retriever

The intelligence, trainability, and love of water of retrievers are well-known. They are gentle mouthed and can retrieve game without hurting it.

Scent Hounds

Track and pursue prey by trailing scents using their keen sense of smell. Scent hound breeds of note include:

  • Dog Bloodhound
  • Breeds of coonhounds
  • English Basset Hound
  • Basset Hound

Scent hounds can track down extremely thin scent trails because to their extraordinary sense of smell. In their search of prey, they are tenacious and driven. Whereas Bloodhounds are excellent at following human scent trails, Beagles are better in hunting rabbits and hares.

Treeing Curs

Hunters can more readily find and shoot treeing curs because they are experts at chasing prey up trees. One breed renowned for its treeing prowess is the Catahoula Leopard dog.


Strong prey drive terriers are frequently employed to chase tiny animals like rats and rabbits out of their tunnels and dens. Classic hunting terrier breeds include:

  • Parson Jack Russell Terrier Russel Terrier
  • Breed of Rat Terrier
  • Fox Terrier

Terriers are renowned for their courage, perseverance, and capacity to follow prey into small areas. Many times, they are employed in conjunction with other hunting dogs to flush out and go for small animals.

All hunting dog breeds need to be socialized, trained, and cared for correctly to function safely. Hunters should select a breed that best suits their demands and provide their dogs enough mental and physical stimulation as well as veterinary treatment to guarantee their health and best field performance.

Hunting Dog Breeds: Trusted Companions in the Field

Worldwide, hunters rely on a wide range of hunting dog breeds as essential partners. Every breed, from the well-known Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever to the nimble German Shorthaired Pointer and sophisticated English Setter, contributes special abilities and qualities to the field. These dogs show unfailing commitment and intellect whether they are following scent trails, tracking large animals, or flushing out birds. Hunters can trust their dog partners for safe and successful hunting experiences with the right socialisation, training, and care, guaranteeing their health and best field performance.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever

One of the most often owned gun dogs is the Labrador Retriever. This breed can swim through chilly seas with ease and is passionate, active, and devoted. Duck hunting is sometimes considered to be best left to Labradors. Because they are amiable and like to please, Labs make great family dogs and companions in addition to being outstanding hunters. Explore the English Labrador, a kindred breed as well.

Golden Retrievers

Labradors, golden retrievers

Like Labradors, Golden Retrievers are highly prized gun dogs who are particularly good at catching birds and other small prey. They are willing, devoted, and incredibly trainable. Given their reputation for friendliness, golden retrievers make excellent family pets who get along quite well with kids. They need lots of exercise, though, to keep their bodies and minds healthy.


The pointer, sometimes called the English pointer

The Pointer, often referred to as the English Pointer, is a bird dog celebrated for its high prey drive and determined nature. This breed energetically pursues prey like quail and pheasants. Additionally, Pointers are fairly heat-tolerant, making them well-suited for hunting in warmer climates. Whether actively hunting or relaxing at home, the Pointer remains a loyal and loving companion.


beagle is running in garden

Scent-hounds like the Beagle are well-known for their keen sense of smell and unusual bark. Mostly, this breed is used for small game hunting, especially rabbit hunting. Excellent family pets, beagles also adjust easily to different home settings and usually get along well with kids. Beagles are renowned for being devoted and willing to please.

American Foxhound

American Foxhound

Strongly determined, the American Foxhound is a great sprinting hound who loves to chase. First developed from English Foxhounds, the main purpose of this breed was fox hunting. It has also evolved over time for deer hunting. Though they need a lot of daily exercise to control their high energy levels and strong endurance, foxhounds are devoted and caring friends.

English springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel

Outstanding bird dogs, English Springer Spaniels are especially good at chasing and flushing out pheasants. This breed can retrieve as well as Labrador and Golden Retrievers. Its little lower size enables it to more successfully negotiate smaller areas during hunts. The Springer makes a wonderful family dog and is renowned for being amiable and kind when not hunting.

Meet  West Siberian Laika

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Distinguished by its tenacity and athleticism, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a smart breed that is incredibly loyal to its family. Because of its innate water resistance provided by its oily coat, the “Chessie” is similarly suited to cold water as the Labrador. But compared to the Lab, this breed is more quiet and less gregarious overall; it is incredibly loyal to its family and frequently suspicious of outsiders.


Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick Coonhound

Nearly any animal, including mountain lions and cougars, can be pursued and treed by the Bluetick Coonhound. Even while not hunting, Bluetick are highly noisy and known for their great sense of smell. Their energy levels are not good for flat living, but they are great friends for very busy families.

English Setter

Best Hunting Dogs for Tracking Any Type of Prey

Highly successful in bird hunting, the English Setter is celebrated for its pointing, sprinting, and hunting skills and can also be taught to retrieve. As their popularity grew, setters were categorized into two types: conformation and field. While conformation setters are larger and more suited as show dogs and pets, field setters are smaller and less feathered, optimised for hunting. Still, field setters are also rather good friends.

Irish Setter

Irish Setter

Though gorgeous, the Irish Setter is as tough and hardworking as it is renowned for its elegant agility and brilliant red coat. Like the English setter, this breed has show-quality and field variants; field dogs are especially good in chasing birds. Though they need lots of activity to stay happy, Irish setters are kind, affectionate, and gentle, which makes them appropriate friends for many kinds of households.

Each type of hunting dog undergoes rigorous, specialized training to excel in their respective roles, ensuring they meet the unique demands of either bird or big game hunting effectively.

Differences in Training Between Bird Hunting Dogs and Big Game Hunting Dogs

Training hunting dogs varies significantly between those bred for bird hunting and those for big game hunting due to the differing nature of their tasks and the quarry they pursue. Here’s a closer look at these differences:

Bird Hunting Dogs

Types: Common bird hunting dogs include Pointers, Retrievers, and Spaniels.

Training Focus:

  • Scent Detection: These dogs are trained to use their keen sense of smell to detect birds. Training involves honing their ability to pick up and follow bird scents.
  • Obedience and Control: They must respond to commands promptly, staying within range of the hunter’s shotgun to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Specific Skills:
    • Retrievers: Trained to mark where birds fall, retrieve them from water or land, and deliver them gently to avoid damaging the game.
    • Pointers: Taught to freeze or ‘point’ upon scenting game, allowing the hunter to ready for the shot.
    • Spaniels: Skilled in flushing birds out of their cover and retrieving them.

Cooperation: Essential for bird dogs as they must work closely with the hunter, maintaining a manageable distance and responding to cues.

Big Game Hunting Dogs

Types: Includes Scent hounds (e.g., Bloodhounds, Coonhounds), Cur dogs, and Terriers.

Training Focus:

  • Endurance and Tracking: These dogs are trained to follow the robust scent trails left by big game over considerable distances and through challenging terrains.
  • Independence: Big game dogs are often required to work farther from the hunter, tracking, and sometimes even engaging large animals independently.
  • Vocalization: Especially in hounds, training involves baying or vocalizing to alert hunters to the location of the game, often after it has been cornered or treed.


  • Cur Dogs and Terriers: These breeds are trained for their boldness and agility to confront and sometimes hold large game, such as boars, until the hunter arrives.

Autonomy: Big game dogs operate with a greater degree of independence compared to bird dogs, often tracking alone for long periods.


What is The Most Versatile Hunting Dog?

Many people rank the German Shorthaired Pointer as the most adaptable breed of hunting dog. The German Shorthaired Pointer is much sought after by hunters because of its remarkable pointing, retrieving, and tracking abilities as well as its versatility in different environments and game kinds. Being one of the most adaptable hunting dogs, it is also favoured for a variety of hunting chores because of its intelligence, endurance, and trainability.

What are the top five Most Dangerous Breeds of Dogs?

The top five most dangerous breeds of dogs are Pitbull’s, Rottweilers, American Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers, and Wolfdogs.

Final thought

Whether hunting big game or birds, hunting dog breeds are vital to hunters’ success. Every breed is perfectly suited for particular jobs because of its own qualities and skills. To guarantee the health and efficiency of their hunting partners, hunters must, however, choose a breed that fits their demands and way of life while also offering the right care, training, and socialisation. It’s also critical to steer clear of promoting myths about particular dog breeds and instead concentrate on ethical ownership and constructive training techniques for all breeds.

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