Ask five different people what kind of hunting dog to buy, and you will get five different opinions. It is best to be familiar with a wide variety of hunting dogs before making your decision. Our mini-guide below covers some of the more popular breeds, plus a couple you may have never heard of.
The small-statured, good-natured, hunting beagle makes a lovable companion on small game hunts. Most often used for flushing and chasing rabbits, the beagle has one of the best noses in the dog world. These agile little dogs will keep you aware of their location during a chase through thick brush with their happy yapping. The excitable but loving beagle makes a great house dog and has run beside hunters for 200 years.
German Shorthair Pointer
These intelligent dogs carry their great sense of smell and wily brain in a rough and tough body. Originating in Germany, as the name implies, you can find these sure footed distance pointers enduring the elements with the best. You will never hear a German Shorthair complain about rugged terrain as they lead the way. And they do not spook tough-to-catch game birds. These animals are a favorite for hunting chukar. Should these birds take flight, this dog's stamina will ensure a long and often fruitful chase.
This enthusiastic breed was imported to the United States by European settlers and registered with the UKC in 1998. A mix between the hunting nosed hounds and tenacious terriers, the mountain cur excels in the forested wilderness. With a pinch of shepherd in their blood these dogs are well rounded and intelligent. Often found as companions in the Midwest and South, the mountain cur is a great marker of quick skittish prey.
The nose of a hound on the body of a long distance runner makes for a great tracking dog. The bluetick coonhound possesses the ability to scent old trails and give chase at a steady rate. Out of southwestern France, these canines were bred to pick up the faintest trail in a cold environment and hold the trail. The bluetick coonhound will stand its ground when necessary, even against big and dangerous game such as cougars or mountain lions. Mountain range hunters will find these pups to be man's best friend.
Treeing Walker Hound
Often regarded as the most balanced of the hounds, the walkers possess the great nose of their line. Coupled with speed, tenacity and a great bark, the walker will scent and chase all manner of game. Descending from foxhounds and bred in the United States, these dogs are considered “hot-nosed” and great competition hunters. They make for wonderful companions on a quick hunt.
The tough and gritty Plott hound is an athletic and strong hunting buddy. Descending from German big-game dogs imported to the United States over 200 years ago, the Plotts came into existence in North Carolina. The hound nose is strong with these dogs and old scent trails provide no great obstacle. These muscular canines will chase and corner whatever you, the hunter, fancies and hold while barking until you catch up. They are especially suited for large game.
Since I personally own four wire-haired dachshunds, we are listing the dachshund as the first and probably the most unheard of hunting dog. The dachshund is among the most versatile small size hunting dogs. Originating from Germany, where its name means badger hound, the dachshund is a versatile tracking and hunting dog. In the US and all over the world the dachshund is used for a variety of hunting tasks, from hunting small game to tracking wounded big game. In the US especially, the dachshund is becoming increasingly popular for it ability to track wounded game.
Regardless of your hunting tastes, you can always count on greater enjoyment and success with man's best friend at your side. Be sure to check out our blog post, What you need to know when buying a hunting or a tracking dog. And check out the Tracking Dog Supply website for items to train your dogs and enhance your hunt, such as remote training collars, beeper collars, books and videos, accessories, carriers, crates, gates, fencing and more.