Humans and hunting dogs have a long, storied history together. In fact, some of the first domesticated dogs were likely bred to help assist humans in capturing and killing game for food.
Today, hunting dogs still provide their human companions with invaluable assistance on hunting trips. The term does not describe an official breed group recognized by the American Kennel Club. Rather, it refers to dogs that either hunt with or hunt for humans, which includes many breeds from the sporting group and the hound dog group.
Hunters desire certain qualities and characteristics in hunting dogs. They need a good sense of smell to track and retrieve the quarry. For longer trips, a hunter will need a dog with a lot of energy and stamina.
If you are the Pack Leader to a hunting dog — or a mixed breed dog that is part hunting dog — you will need to find activities that fulfill their particular hunting drive, or they may direct those instincts elsewhere, resulting in problem behaviors.
Some hunting dogs, like pointers and setters, are bred to simply find the prey, usually fowl, and mark the spot where it is so the hunters can find it. A good activity for these breeds is search and rescue.
Retrievers do exactly what the name says, so a good non-hunting challenge for them is anything that involves bringing something back to their human, like flying disc or Flyball. Terriers have a strong prey drive, which can be fulfilled through agility training, especially using a lure.
Here is a little background on the top hunting dog breeds that, with regular exercise and mental challenges, make good family members.
The top 10 hunting dogs (alphabetically)
Do you own a hunting dog? Share a photo in the comments and tell us a bit about him or her.
At Cesar’s Way, we strive to be a single pack, and packs have rules, boundaries, and limitations. Here are ours for the comments:
Also, please note that because of volume, we are unable to respond to individual comments, although we do watch them in order to learn what issues and questions are most common so that we can produce content that fulfills your needs. You are welcome to share your own dog tips and behavior solutions among yourselves, however. Thank you for reading our articles and sharing your thoughts with the pack!