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The Ultimate List: Top Hunting Dogs by Breed and Category

Here are the ideal hunting dogs by breed and specialty.

The bond a hunter has with his or her dog is like no other, and your buddy, sibling, or parent can't even come close.

Hunting dogs have the exceptional ability to know what we are thinking, can read our body language, and respond to the subtle verbal and nonverbal cues we give off during the hunt.

You love hunting, and your dog loves it just as much, if not more. Your dog will have your back through the rain, sleet, and snow, and won't give up until you do!

In case you are in the market for a hunting dog, or just generally interested in them, here is a list of the top hunting dogs in various game categories.

Upland Birds


A pointer will never quit pursing the bird! This hunter has an incredible, nonstop drive and is able to negotiate the toughest of terrains in search of its prey. The pointer has a thin coat of fur, so it can stay cool in the summer heat.



Labrador retrievers are the perfect pups for water catches. They have moisture-repellent coats and webbed paws, which enable them to thrust quickly through the water in search of their catch.

Labs are also highly intelligent. This is one of the smartest breeds known to man, so they are easily trained. Additionally, a lab's easy-going and loving temperament makes it a great pet.


The English Springer Spaniel and English Setters carry all the qualities hunters desire in a hunting dog. They have sturdy legs and abundant energy. Their thick, cropped undercoats are covered by longer top coats, which makes them well-suited for a variety of weather conditions.

Their amazing ability to flush or spring birds out of hiding is unmatched by most other breeds. If you have a steady shot, you and your Spaniel are guaranteed to get game.



The Dachshund (yes, dachshund!) uses its tiny stature to its benefit when hunting. Size notwithstanding, their legs are powerful enough to track smaller game better than most large dogs.


Fox terriers were bred in 17th Century England to ferret out foxes from their hiding places deep in the woods. These hunting dogs use their size to their advantage, just like dachshunds. They have a keen ability to crawl in and out of tiny spaces. Their long legs allow them to keep up with most small game, and their determination is unmatched.



Beagles are natural trackers. Their distinct howling shrieks warn of an imminent catch. Beagles are excellent in lone tracking, but they also work well in pairs or packs.


The coonhound is definitely a hunter's best friend. This courageous dog relies on scent rather than sight, treeing their prey until their master arrives to finish the job. In addition to raccoons and other small game, coonhounds can be quite successful at hunting larger game like mountain lions.

Feral Pig/Hog

Pit Bulls and the Dogo Argentinos are the perfect hunting dogs for the plague of hogs damaging billions of dollars of agriculture each year. The chase dogs zip along after their prey until the hogs turn, ready to fight. Then the catch dog charges in, grabbing onto any part of the pig they can until their master arrives to finish the kill.

Now, grab your canine partner and go get 'em!


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The Ultimate List: Top Hunting Dogs by Breed and Category