- Hunters value dogs with a keen sense of smell.truffe image by Mireille Roobaert from Fotolia.com
A good hunting dog must be receptive to training while also having an innate instinct that makes it want to retrieve or track game. A wide variety of hunting dogs have been bred especially for their specific skills. Hunting dogs are often categorized into terriers, hounds, gun dogs and curs.
- Golden retrievers are enthusiastic.golden retriever image by goldenjago from Fotolia.com
Golden retrievers are versatile dogs that combine intelligence and athleticism. The breed's soft mouth prevents damage when the dog retrieves downed birds. They are the most popular gun dog in the United States, according to "Gun Dog" magazine.
- Coonhounds are a breed of American-style hunting dogs that rely upon their keen sense of smell to track down their quarry. They get their name from their ability to follow animals that tend to escape into trees, such as raccoons.
- Basset hounds are often used when hunting rabbits.basset hound image by Christophe Fouquin from Fotolia.com
Hunters value basset hounds for their keen sense of smell. This is a short-legged and heavy dog that belongs to the hound family. The breed’s low stature and excellent tracking abilities mean it is most suited to hunting small game on foot.
English Springer Spaniel
- English springer spaniels are high-energy dogs.english springer spaniel image by Jeff Dalton from Fotolia.com
This is one of the oldest breeds of gun dogs and is much admired by hunters for its ability to flush and retrieve game, says the English Springer Spaniel Club. The breed's hunting skills and affectionate and excitable personality made it a favorite in Renaissance England.
- This breed is graceful, athletic and--according to "Gun Dog" magazine--one of the hardest-hunting bird dogs. Pointers are used for finding upland game using a combination of pointing, honoring and, when suitably trained, retrieving.
- English setters display above-average intelligence.setter image by luda berlinerblau from Fotolia.com
The English setter’s history dates back to the 14th century, making it one of the oldest gun dog breeds. It was developed from the spaniel and used for finding, and then setting, birds. It is a valued in hunting for both its endurance and athleticism.
- The bloodhound is the largest and most powerful of all the hounds. It was originally bred to hunt wild boar and to track deer. It is famed for its powerful sense of smell, which enables it to follow a scent over great distances.
- The beagle is one of the most recognizable members of the hound family.Beagle image by Buffy1982 from Fotolia.com
The beagle resembles a small foxhound and is a robust and hardy rabbit-tracker. More than two centuries ago, Thomas Bewick wrote in a book called, "A General History of Quadrupeds": “They follow by the exquisiteness of their scent, and trace [the hare’s] foot steps through all her various windings with such exactness and perseverance, that they afford most excellent diversion.”
- This multitalented breed is capable of hunting, pointing and retrieving. The dogs bear a likeness to both setters and spaniels, and were originally bred to work with the falconers of noble families. Today they are valued for their athleticism, intelligence and versatility in all parts of the hunt.
- These dogs look like bigger-boned versions of small munsterlanders and have a similarly utilitarian past. They are not good long-distance runners but prefer to stay within a range of a few dozen yards. For this reason, drents are usually used to hunt close-in birds such as grouse and pheasant.