3 Best Dog Breeds for Hunting
By Jeri McBryde
, last updated January 29, 2012
Listing the 3 best dog breeds for hunting is like asking a mother whether she loves one child over another; after all, every hunter has a favorite breed and is convinced his dog is top dog. A big part of determining the best breed of hunting dog depends on the type of hunting and what you personally expect from your companion. Three breeds that are constantly praised as among the best hunting dogs are the Labrador Retriever, the German Shorthaired Pointer and the English Setter.
The Labrador makes a perfect hunting companion; they are very intelligent and want to please their handlers, giving them a temperament that’s ideal for training. Their web-like feet and moisture-repellent coats make them the perfect for environments where they may encounter water. In fact, labradors love the water and have no problem diving into the pond and fetching fallen ducks and birds (The labradors' affinity for water has earned them the nickname "the water dog"). The retrievers’ mouth has a gentle grip that allows them to retrieve the prey without damaging it.
Labradors are also very adaptable. The medium-sizes Labrador weighs in at 55-75 pounds and excels as a tracker and a pointer. They are just as adept at retrieving quail on land as they are in the water. They like to hunt, regardless of the season, climate or terrain, making them one of the 3 best dog breeds for hunting.
German Shorthaired Pointer
The German shorthaired pointer is popular known as "the bird dog," but is also a tracker of land animals like raccoons, opossum and deer. The breed is of medium size, ranging in weight from 55 to 70 pounds. The name "German Shorthaired Pointer" alludes to its origin as a cross-breed of the Spanish pointer and German scent hound. The dog has a notoriously well-honed sense of smell.
The pointer is at home on land or in the water. Like all the dog breeds mentioned here, the German Shorthaired Pointer is very intelligent, obedient and easy-to-train. The pointer is very athletic and can be found way ahead of the hunter, scouting for the prey. The Pointer, like its name implies, is a hunting breed that doesn’t flush out the prey, instead it freezes and points to the tracked prey.
The English Setter is one of the oldest hunting breeds and is known as "a gun dog." It exemplifies the best traits of both spaniels and pointers. The English Setter, like the Labrador and the German Pointer, has a great sense of smell, as well as ample intelligence, enthusiasm, and eagerness to please its master.
The Setters are medium-sized, range in weight from 55-80 pounds, and are full of energy; in fact, these dogs love to race across the hunting fields. The English Setter was bred to silently track prey, then crouch or sit down and wait for the hunter’s approach (rather than flush out their prey).
No matter what breed you choose, a hunting dog is a hunter’s loyal companion; they all have a special place in the hearts of their owners.