The Outdoor World

Hunting Dogs

You can’t talk about hunting without mentioning the hunting dog. Hunting dogs have been bred and trained for centuries to flush, chase, catch, and sometimes kill during a hunt. Types of hunting dogs include hounds, gun dogs (also known to as bird dogs), and terriers. Each class has certain characteristics within the breed that separates them from the others. As an example, some breeds of hound dog, which may or may not include beagles, coonhounds, foxhounds, grey hounds, ridgebacks, whippets, etc., have a more sensitive nose and are excellent trackers, while other hounds have a much keener eye sight and the ability to see prey at greater distances. I assure you that it is not as black and white as it sounds. There are hounds which can do both quite well.

Gun dogs may include retrievers, spaniels, and pointing breeds, and are known for their flushing abilities as well as their ability to sight and retrieve a down bird. As with hounds, not all bird dog breeds have the same ability, or the same instincts. Retrievers are known as good swimmers making them the perfect water fowl companion, spaniels are trained for hunting within shot gun range, which makes them the perfect companion for pheasant hunting, pointers are trained to freeze and point their bodies toward prey (thus, the name pointer), and terriers are known for their ability to locate and fearlessly flush the den of an animal.

All of these dogs have the ability to become loyal companions, and in most cases are as excited as you to be hunting, it’s in their genes. That said, do your homework and invest the time needed in selecting and training the right dog. For a complete list of breeds visit the American Kennel Club website.