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3 Types of Hunting Dogs and What They Do

Flickr/Scott Beckner

Here are the three types of hunting dogs we use today, and how we use them to our advantage.

There are a variety of dogs that can participate in a variety of sports. Here we'll take a look at which kind of hunting sports dogs can participate in based on their breed.


The hound group can be divided up into scent hounds and sight hounds. Scent hounds follow their nose to the prey animal. Their nose knows! They likely hunt in packs that the hunters follow until they have cornered or treed their target.

Image via Flickr/Deb

Sighthounds work independently and chase their prey to kill for themselves. They usually target animals that are smaller than themselves, whereas scent hound are not afraid of larger prey since they are in a pack. Some sight hounds, such as the Irish wolfhound, are bred to hunt and chase larger animals like wolves.

Gun Dogs

There are a variety of gun dogs. This category can be divided up into retrievers, setters, spaniels, pointers, and water dogs. Retrievers, such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever or the golden retriever, are bred to find ducks and bring them to their handlers. They are known for their ability to remember where the ducks land to retrieve them at a later time.

Duck Hunting

Setters are skilled upland pointers. They are supposed to be able to flush birds should the hunter ask for it. Spaniels are also used to locate and flush game for hunters.

Pointers locate and flush game for the hunter. Their size and athleticism exceeds many other sporting dogs so they have a greater range than spaniels. In warmer states, they are land and water hunting companions.

Water dogs, such as poodles, are bred to assist waterfowl hunters. They are very capable swimmers. Some water dogs, like the Portuguese water dog, assist fishermen by herding fish into their nets.


Terriers are very high-energy, determined hunting dogs. They will stop at nothing to get to their prey. They are bred to locate their target and then capture and kill it. They often dig into dens and tunnels to kill their prey. Terriermen are hunters who use terriers to hunt.

Image via Flickr/Mark Robinson
Flickr/Mark Robinson

Dogs truly are man's best friend. They are also outstanding hunters. We're blessed to have harnessed their skills for our benefit!

3 Types of Hunting Dogs and What They Do