Best Dogs For Hunting | Top 11 Amazing Breeds

When it comes to hunting dogs, there are many different breeds to choose from. But which are the best dogs for hunting?

Well, that depends. You will need to ask yourself a few questions in order to find your ideal hunting companion.

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a hunting dog

  • What type of game do I plan to hunt?
  • What is my climate like?
  • Do I want a dog that can work on land, water, or both?
  • What range and speed do I want my hunting dog to have?
  • What activity level do I wish for in a hunting dog?
  • Which breed temperament will best suit my household?
  • Which breed is good with children in the home? (if applicable)

Getting a hunting dog is a fantastic experience! They bring a whole new dimension to hunting, however, it’s important to choose a breed you can live with on a daily basis.

Your hunting dog will be more than a hunting partner, they will become a family pet, so be sure to match your energy level and lifestyle to the dog you choose.

Best Dogs for Hunting

German shorthaired pointer best dogs for hunting

German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP)

The shorthair or GSP hails from Germany.

This gundog is a versatile hunter, a hunter of both feather and fur.

Most in Germany still us them to hunt as multitude of game, however, in the United States they are primarily an upland bird dog.

This dog will hunt, point, and retrieve game.

The German Shorthaired Pointer normally has a moderate range, however genetics can have an influence on this trait. They will hunt pheasant, grouse, woodcock, dove, and chukar.

This dog is capable of hunting duck and geese as well, but they are not well suited to hunting in cold temperatures.

This breed also excels at tracking and shed hunting.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: This breed is affectionate and friendly. They make excellent companions for those that can meet their exercise requirements. They are intelligent, easy to train, and have amazing drive. GSP’s don’t like to be left alone, they want to be with their owners. They love to be included in family activities. Keep in mind that this breed is a velcro dog.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
  • Shedding: Moderate (especially in spring and fall)
Beagle best hunting dogs

The Beagle is also on our list of the best dogs for hunting

This scent hound is a vocal hunter.

They let their master know when they are on a track by baying loudly.

This lets the hunter know where the game has been, so they can strategize about where it will go next, and be ready!

Beagles are primarily used to hunt rabbit or hare, although I know people that use them to hunt upland birds with good success.

These dogs can be hunted in a pack, as that is the traditional way they were used, but you can also hunt a single beagle.

If you don’t mind a noisy hunter, maybe the beagle would be a good fit.

This breed also has a double coat and does well in cooler temps.

  • Activity Level: Medium
  • Temperament: This little dog is cheerful and loving. They make great family pets and normally do well with kids. This breed loves food, because of this they are prone to counter and table surfing.
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
  • Shedding: Moderate
weimaraner hunting dog

Weimaraner (Weim)

This breed has been nicknamed the “grey ghost”.

The Weim was developed in Germany as a large game hunter. They hunted boar, bear and deer.

This beautiful gundog was once reserved for nobility.

In present time, the weimaraner is most commonly used to hunt upland game birds.

The Weim is fully capable on hunting ducks and geese as well, but is not suited for hunting in cold temperatures.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: This dog is very intelligent! They are loving and loyal to their family members. Their intelligence make them easy to train, but their independent nature can cause them to be stubborn at times.
  • Lifespan: 11 to 12 years
  • Shedding: Low to moderate
labrador best hunting dogs

Labrador Retriever

This breed is perfect for hunting ducks and geese.

Most labs have a strong love of the water, and are able to hunt in cooler temperatures due to their double coats.

Some labs are bred to point game. They are called “Pointing Labs”.

A pointing Lab is just an ordinary Labrador that has been selectively bred to point game.

These dogs are very versatile and can hunt duck, geese, and upland birds.

The lab is a large, strong dog that can easily retrieve larger game such as geese and swan.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: The lab is the most popular dog in America. This is probably due to its amazing temperament. These dogs are friendly, affectionate, obedient, and easy to train. Most labs are terrific family pets and are known to be great around children.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 13 years
  • Shedding: High
vizsla hunting dog

Number 5 on our best dogs for hunting list is the Hungarian Vizsla

This unique and beautiful dog comes from Hungary. At one point in time this dog nearly became extinct.

The Vizsla excels at hunting upland birds, such as partridge, although rabbits and small game are also on the menu.

They have a medium range in the field, and travel at a moderate speed.

Dogs that come from field trial lines will be faster and range at much further distances.

This breed will hunt, point, and retrieve game.

The Vizsla isn’t well suited for hunting in cold climates.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: The Vizsla is a “velcro” dog. They are affectionate, loyal, and eager to please. This breed can be sensitive and should not be subjected to harsh training methods.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
  • Shedding: Low to moderate
German wire haired pointer

German Wire-haired Pointer

This breed is a tough and rugged hunting dog!

These versatile gun dogs, typically hunt upland game birds, such as partridge.

Wirehairs are double coated, and their coat is also water repellant.

This feature allows this breed to hunt ducks and geese as well as upland game.

This dog does well even in cooler temperatures.

The wirehair will hunt, point and retrieve on land or in the water.

This dog works at a moderate range and pace.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: This breed can be aloof with strangers, however, they are affectionate and loving with their family. The wirehair can be willful, and a challenge to train. They are protective of their owners, but may not get along well with other dogs. Early socialization with people and other dogs is a must.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
  • Shedding: Moderate
small munsterlander

Small Munsterlander

The small munsterlander is well equipped to hunt both fur and feathered game.

This gundog hunts upland game and waterfowl, such as ducks and geese.

They are bred to hunt, point, and retrieve. The Munsterlander has a medium range.

This breed is a great choice if your hunting on terrain that is less than ideal, such as swampy conditions.

The Munsterlander is great on land and in the water, even in cooler climates.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: This dog is fearless and strong nerved. They are great family pets. They are strong willed, but trainable.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
  • Shedding: Moderate
wire-haired pointing griffon

Wire-haired Pointing Griffon

This dutch gundog is a rough and tumble hunting companion.

Griffs hunt on a variety of terrain and have a moderate hunting range, and tend to match their pace to that of the hunter.

Unlike most other pointers, the griff has a double coat.

This means he will eagerly retrieve your ducks and geese, even from cold water.

The Griffs coat also protects it from harsh conditions in the field.

They will hunt, point, and retrieve upland birds, and also excel at tracking wounded game.

  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: This affectionate dog is good with kids. They are outgoing and calmer than some of the other pointing breeds. They are friendly, and don’t like to be left alone too much. This breed can be somewhat difficult to train. They are a “softer” dog, and should be guided through training with a gentle hand.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Shedding: Low
spinone italiano best dogs for hunting

Spinone Italiano

The Spinone is an excellent choice for the foot hunter.

This breed hunts upland game, and stays closer to foot, with a slower, but steady pace.

This is a hunt, point and retrieve breed.

The Spinone will happily retrieve game on both land and in water.

This dog does well in cooler climates, and has a dense, shaggy coat to protect him from the elements.

  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: This breed is social and does not kennel well. They are a patient, affectionate, and docile dog with their family. They have a clownish personality, and are sure to make you laugh with some of their antics.
  • Life Span: 8 to 12 years
  • Shedding: Low to moderate
pointer best dogs for hunting

Number 10 on our Best Dogs for Hunting List is the Pointer

This dog can cover some serious territory.

Pointers are big running dogs and depending on the lines, can be very far ranging.

Not only do they have a very long range, this breed is very fast, making it difficult for the average foot hunter to keep pace.

The dog will hunt and point birds, but most aren’t adequate retrievers.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: This dog is very independent but can make a good pet if it is socialized at an early age. This breed is usually an affectionate member of the family.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 17 years
  • Shedding: Moderate
fox hound best dogs for hunting

American Fox Hound

The American Fox Hound is one of the first dog breeds developed in the United States.

The Fox Hound is a scent hound bred to hunt foxes.

They have also been used to hunt deer.

These high energy hounds are capable of hunting in packs, or individually.

They can chase prey over rough or uneven terrain, with great stamina.

  • Activity Level: High
  • Temperament: Independent, good-natured, and loyal all describes the Fox Hounds personality. This breed can be difficult to train, and requires firm, and consistent handling.
  • Life Span: 10 to 12 years
  • Shedding: Moderate

In Conclusion

There are many different hunting dogs to choose from, take your time, research, and consider the differences in each breed.

If you choose your hunting partner based on the dog as a whole, you will be much happier with your choice in the long run.

Once you have decided on a breed, it’s time to contact a breeder. Here are some “Questions to ask a dog breeder”.

We hope “Best Dogs for Hunting” has given you some food for thought.

***And hey, while you’re here, check out our recommended hunting supplies***

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