10 Best Hunting Dog Breeds

Theres no better companion on a hunt than a dog. But a hunting dog has the qualities, skills, and characteristics to help you succeed.

They also may undergo special training in pursuing and retrieving game under diverse settings and conditions.

A good gun dog must exhibit remarkable intelligence, compliance to owner’s commands, alertness, aggressiveness toward its prey, and must be a fast runner.

They must have heightened senses keen eyesight, sharp nose, and highly sensitive ears – indispensable qualities to a hunting dog.

A hunting dog’s size and strength should also be considered, depending on the type of hunt you’re into – whether big game, small game, or bird hunting.

Below are 10 of the world’s best hunting dogs breeds.


1. Golden retriever

Because of their gentle mouth (damage to game’s skin is unlikely) retrievers are perfect for waterfowl and bird hunting, and also soft-bodied animals.

This dog has a tough, rugged, and athletic build that makes it one of the best gun dogs in the world.

Their obedience and loyalty toward their owners can never be questioned, and they can be overly energetic.

2. Beagle

These small breed of English hounds have been used by royalty to hunt rabbit and hare for centuries.

They are known for their legendary keen sense of smell, toughness, cleverness, extreme stamina, and doggedness (no pun intended!) in pursuing prey.

They’re loyal and work well with hunter owners and other dogs. Trust the beagle to be the fiercest hound pursuing bunnies and the kindest thing around kids.

In fact, they’re as sprightly as any dog around and are excellent pets for children or for the whole family.

3. Bloodhound

Bloodhounds have extraordinary eyesight and possess a very keen sense of smell that they can retain the smell of prey for days on end.

Thats why these dogs are, more than ever, the go-to animals for search and rescue operations in natural and man-made calamities, as well as to track down fugitives from law, missing persons and animals.

They can be very good pets, too. Thanks to their sociable character, children love to cozy up with them as much as these bloodhounds love to chase down wild boar and deer.

4. English pointer

English pointers have been around as gun dogs for centuries now, and have much proven their mettle in pursuing game birds.

On a hunt they can be highly intense – running and jumping – and to an amateurish trainer, they can be truly a handful.

So, keeping them under control is of the essence. These high-performing dogs are actually friendly, loyal and they love being with people.

5. American water spaniel

American water spaniel are best for waterfowl hunting.

They’re great divers and swimmers, and they can be good at fishing, too.

They’re gentle, sociable and friendly, and highly protective of their master. Verily, they can both be good in the field and at home.

6. Coonhound

Having a keen sense of smell, a coonhound is absolutely best for hunting opossums, raccoons, and bears.

They can drive out game hiding in trees or from underground covers.

They are known for their high endurance, strength, excellent health and just love the outdoors, especially harassing helpless prey.

7. Gordon setter

Gordon setters are born natural hunters taking on waterfowl and birds.

They are smart, fearless, move gracefully, and possess a keen sense of smell.

Their calm temperament, combined with high intellect and pluck, make Gordon setters one of the best hunting companions there is.

8. Chesapeake Bay retriever

Chessies, as they are fondly called, are highly intelligent and athletic gun dogs.

Their loyalty and devotion to the owner is unmistakable – they’re a great partner and friend outdoors or at home.

Their perseverance in tough cold weather conditions make them the best waterfowl retrievers and the best buddy to have around.

9. Irish setter

An Irish setters stylishly beautiful looks can be deceiving.

They’re actually intelligent and built tough, athletic, obedient, and most of all, versatile bird hunters.

Owing to their brilliant mahogany coat, they are at times referred to as red setters, having every bit of good quality there is in a bird dog.

At present they’re becoming more and more popular at dog show competitions due to their elegant and charming looks.

10. American foxhound

The American foxhounds’ awesome tenacity is unrelenting when it comes to hunting and bagging prey.

They hunt by scent and can run for hours on end and stop only when the fox’s scent is lost or the pack of hounds has the prey cornered and taken down.

This type of hounds can grow big, with males weighing up to 75 pounds and are long-legged.
They are usually employed to hunt by a pack of about 30 to 40, and you can just imagine the look of terror on the prey’s face when cornered and totally ganged up by a ferocious pack.

Did your dog breed make the list?

So there you have it. Given the wide variety of dog breeds designed for hunting, this is as objective as we can get in presenting our 10 best hunting dogs.

You might have your own assemblage of the same subject to compare with ours, but the bottom line is still you getting the right breed of hunting dog that matches the kind of game you’re investing into.

Whatever breed you finally choose, do remember that more than their hunting skills and energies, dogs are your co-hunters deserving of your respect and friendship.

That’s probably why friendliness and loyalty to their owners are common traits of hunting dogs. Who wouldn’t want to hunt with his buddy in the first place?