Dogs bred for hunting are sometimes more specialized than universal.
Most dogs were originally bred to fill some sort of work or hunting niche. For example, Wire Fox Terriers were bred to hunt foxes and Bloodhounds were bred to be ruthless hunters prepared to battle any prey they faced.
As most breeds have slowly turned from work dogs to family dogs, there are many that are still trained as hunting companions. If you’re considering adding a dog to your hunting crew, it’s important to find the right dog for your hunt and train it properly using the latest training gear. Take a look at these four breeds commonly seen in the field and be sure to stock up on the latest training gear.
Labrador Retriever: Waterfowl Hunting
The Labrador Retriever is the all-American dog, hunting tactically during the day and coming home to play with the family at night. Originally from Newfoundland, the versatility and intelligence of this breed is a bit of a mystery.
By many accounts, Labrador Retrievers were used by fishermen to retrieve fish that fell of hooks, hauling in swimming lines and bringing in fishing nets. With their double coats keeping them warm and repelling water, and their webbed feet, muscular bodies and thick tails keeping them afloat, these dogs are accustomed and bred for cold-water retrieving.
Labrador Retrievers are excellent at marking, retrieving and delivering waterfowl, especially ducks. Not only are their bodies adapted, but their extreme intelligence results in less of a learning curve and the ability to grasp training at a younger age while maturing faster than other dog breeds.
Beagle: Rabbit Hunting
Although petite, the strength, speed and agility of Beagles make them a great choice for rabbit hunting. Originally imported from England to the U.S. in the early 1870s, Beagles quickly became both hunting companions and family pets, and have been used for small-game hunting for hundred of years.
Beagles are known scent hounds and boast one of the best noses in the canine world. Also known for their speed, they are quick to chase potential prey and their predisposition to constantly bark helps hunters keep track of their dog’s location.
American Foxhound: Deer Hunting
Bred in the U.S. from English Foxhounds, the American Foxhound was developed originally for fox hunting in Maryland and Virginia. They are now used for running deer toward hunters, and are excellent hunting dogs because of their extensive range, high energy, long-lasting stamina and excellent sense of smell.
Natural pack dogs, American Foxhounds get along really well with other dogs and working with them for the thrill of the chase, making them very successful at getting reluctant deer on their feet and keeping them moving during a hunt.
Appalachian Turkey Dogs: Turkey Hunting
This extremely specialized canine is bred to break up flocks of turkeys every fall. They were developed by combining three breeds of dogs: they get their good looks and drive for feathers from from the Setter breed; stamina, speed and drive for prey from the Pointer breed; and desire to chase, bark and track from Plott Hounds.
Turkey Dogs use their senses of scent and sight to find flocks of turkeys, then bust through the flock and chase the birds while barking. Once the birds are scattered, the dog returns to the hunter and allows him or her to finish the hunt.