A hunting dog is a canine that hunts with or for humans. There are several types of hunting dogs developed for various tasks and purposes. The major categories of hunting dogs include hounds, terriers, dachshunds, cur type dogs, and gun dogs. Further divisions can be made among these categories based upon the dogs' skillset and capabilities.

Hunting dog
Dealer the Labrador Retriever and a redhead duck.jpg

Breeds and capabilities used in huntingEdit

For a list of breeds of each type, see the detailed articles for each category:

Main category Subcategory Example Summary
Hounds Hounds are further divided into sighthounds and scenthounds depending upon the primary sense used to locate quarry. Many mammals such as jackrabbits, raccoons, coyotes, deer, and other large predators are hunted with hounds.
Sighthounds Whippet Sighthounds are tall and lean running hounds, adapted for visual acuity and speed. Their hunt method is called coursing, where prey is sighted from a distance, chased, and caught.[1]: 36, 102 
Scenthounds Redbone Coonhound Scenthounds are hounds that primarily hunt by scent. Scenthounds are used to trail and sometimes kill game. They hunt in packs, leading the hunters on a chase which may end in the quarry being chased into a tree or killed. Some of these breeds have deep, booming barks and use them when following a scent trail.
Lurchers Lurcher A Lurcher is a sighthound crossed with a working dog breed—usually a pastoral dog or Terrier bred selectively for working.
Gun dogs Gun dogs are used primarily by small game hunters using shotguns. Gun dogs are classified as retrievers, spaniels, and pointing breeds.
Retrievers Chesapeake Bay Retriever Once classified as a water spaniel, a retriever's primary role is to find and return shot game to the hunter. Retrievers can spend long hours in a duck blind and visually spot and remember the location of downed birds. At command, they retrieve the birds. They may be able to follow hand, verbal, and whistle commands to the downed bird. They typically have large, gentle muzzles.
Setters English Setter Setters have a long history as upland gun dogs. They appear to have a native ability to locate and point at upland game birds. They flush the birds at the hunter's command.
Spaniels English Cocker Spaniel Spaniels have been used as hunting dogs for hundreds of years.[citation needed] Flushing Spaniels are used to locate and flush game for a hunter.
Pointers German Shorthaired Pointer Pointers are dogs trained to locate and point at small game allowing the hunter to approach and flush the game. Pointing breeds have greater range than Spaniels.
Water dogs Poodle Water dogs are a subclass of retrievers. Typically, they are strong swimmers with a lot of endurance and are bred to hunt all manner of waterfowl.
Curs Catahoula Leopard Dog Curs hunt similarly to terriers, though usually larger game. Curs are used to hunt raccoons, as well as feral pigs, cougars and other large mammals.
Dachshund Dachshund The Standard Dachshund was bred to scent, chase and flush out badgers, foxes and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the Miniature Dachshund was developed to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. In the American West they have also been used to hunt prairie dogs. In Europe Dachshunds are widely used for hunting deer, boar and smaller game such as rabbits and hares. They are also excellent scent dogs and they are often used to track down wounded animals after car accidents for example. The Dachshund is also the only certifiable breed of dog used to hunt both above and below ground.
Feists Feist Feists are small dogs that hunt small game, especially squirrels, in a similar manner to large hounds hunting raccoons and large game. Feists may hunt in packs, and "bark up" on trees to alert the hunter. The feist was developed in the southern United States, reputedly from small Native American dogs and British fell terriers.[citation needed]
Laikas  Karelian Bear Dog Laikas are hunting dogs from Northern Russia, especially Siberia. Laika breeds are primitive dogs who flourish with minimal care even in hostile weather and hunt game of a variety of sizes by treeing small game, point and baying larger game and working as teams to corner bear and boar. [2]
Terriers Lakeland Terrier Terriers are used to hunt small mammals. Terriers locate the den or set of the target animal and then bolt, capture or kill the animal. A working terrier may go underground to kill or drive out game. Hunters who use terriers are referred to as terriermen. Larger members of this class, like those of the bull and terrier family, are sometimes used to hunt larger game, like razorbacks: the hunter will send in scenthounds to corner the pig and the much more heavily built catch dog will charge at it, bite it and hold it down until the hunter can come and kill it.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fogle, Bruce (2000) [1995]. The Encyclopedia of the Dog. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7513-0471-9.
  2. ^ Bergovoy, Vladimir. "HUNTING WITH LAIKA". Hunting Laika of Russia.

Further readingEdit

  • Deeley, Martin. "Working Gundogs: An Introduction to Training and Handling. (1990, reprinted 2002) The Crowood Press. ISBN 1-85223-764-3.
  • Fergus, Charles. Gun Dog Breeds, A Guide to Spaniels, Retrievers, and Pointing Dogs, The Lyons Press, 2002. ISBN 1-58574-618-5
  • Roettger, Anthony Z. and Schleider, Benjamin H. III. (2004) Urban Gun Dogs: Training flushing dogs for home and field. The Writer's Collective. ISBN 1-59411-050-6

External linksEdit