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Man's Best Friend: Best Types of Dogs to Use as Hunting Partners

Posted by John McAdams - Feb 26, 2015

Dogs are known as “Man’s Best Friend” for many reasons, not the least of which is their ability to assist people in hunting both big and small game. Over the years, many different types of dogs have been bred with a wide variety of skills and specialties. If you are looking for a dog to use on your next hunt, there is probably a type of dog on this list that can help you in that endeavor, regardless of what it is that you are interested in hunting.

The Beagle was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1855. Though they are a relatively small and unimposing breed, Beagles are tenacious hunters. Their sense of smell rivals that of the Basset Hound and the Bloodhound. This makes them one of the best choices for hunting which requires good ground scenting skills.

They are also incredibly agile and have great endurance. Beagles also work well both alone and in a pack. These traits, combined with their vocal disposition, make them very popular among rabbit hunters. In addition to rabbit hunting, Beagles are also popular choices for fox and deer hunting and are occasionally used for quail or pheasant hunting.

German Shorthaired Pointer

As their name states, the German Shorthair Pointer originated in Germany and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930. The incredibly intelligent German Shorthair Pointer is an outstanding pointing and retrieving bird dog and can be trained for many different styles of hunting depending on the game pursued and the terrain the hunt will occur in.

Due to their excellent sense of smell, they are capable of tracking big and small game in addition to birds. They are most commonly used for hunting pheasant and chucker, though they are also commonly used for hunting quail and grouse.

Black & Tan Coonhound
Officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1945, the Black & Tan Coonhound is a medium sized dog with an incredible nose. The Black & Tan has legs that are long in proportion to the rest of its body, allowing it to swiftly cover great distances with its long strides. It also has excellent endurance, which allows the Black & Tan to follow a scent for many miles before tiring.

Few dogs have a nose that compare to the Black & Tan, making it a great dog for following a scent trail. As you would guess from the name, the Black & Tan is most commonly used as a raccoon hunting dog. However, many hunters use it for hunting opossum, deer, bear, and cougar as well.

Dogo Argentino
First bred in Argentina in the 1920s and 1930s, the Dogo Argentino is an incredibly strong and athletic dog that was designed specifically for hunting large, dangerous game. They have a very powerful frame, incredible endurance, and a fearless personality.
Though it is descended from the Cordoba Fighting Dog, the Dogo Argentino was bred specifically to lack significant aggression towards other dogs, making it suitable for hunting in a pack. Their strength, endurance, and tenacity make them ideal for hunting cougars and feral hogs, especially in rugged terrain and in brutally hot weather. One or two Dogo Argentinos are also commonly added to packs of hounds when pursuing bears or leopards for the occasions that the pursued animal decides to fight the dog pack.

Labrador Retriever
There is a reason why Labradors are one of the most popular hunting dogs in the United States. Not only are they excellent cold-water retrievers, but they are also quite intelligent and friendly. Officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917, they were bred specifically to be good retrievers and the original breeders succeeded admirably in that goal.
Labradors are excellent swimmers and have a warm, water repellent coat to go with a soft mouth. All of these traits make them ideal choices for the waterfowl hunter, especially for those hunting in extremely cold weather. Not only are they very popular among duck and goose hunters, but they are often intelligent enough to be trained for different types of hunting as well. It is not uncommon to see Labradors trained as pointing or flushing dogs for upland bird hunting


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