two bird dogs with owner

List Of Hunting Dogs

Most dog breeds today fulfill the role of companion and pets only. For some, who previously served more practical roles, this is a role they are quite happy to fulfill. Hunting dog breeds still prefer to be used in similar roles to their forefathers. Here’s a list of dogs that love to hunt.

black lab
Attentive black labrador dog looking up, side view. Isolated on white background. Obedience concept.

The list of the 10 best-hunting dogs, in no particular order, is as follows:

  1. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  2. Brittany Dog
  3. American Foxhound
  4. German Shorthaired Pointer
  5. Beagle
  6. Labrador Retriever
  7. American Pit Bull Terrier
  8. English Setter
  9. Bloodhound
  10. Boykin Spaniel

Hunting dogs need to hunt in order to be happy, and when we show them how to put their unique abilities to good use, they become so much more than a friend; they become an ally. Because of their agility, sense of smell, and keen hearing, dogs are far more robust and effective hunters than most humans when properly trained.

List Of Hunting Dogs

hunting dog with owner
English pointer and man upland bird hunting in the Midwest.

The following hunting dog list features some of the best sporting dogs known to man. However, there are many excellent hunting dogs that I could have included in the list, like the following:

1.      Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

A Chessie’s commitment to its owners is what differentiates them from other retriever breeds. They love you unconditionally and may like others, but their loyalty lies with their owner. They go where you go and act more like a sidekick or partner in crime, for lack of a better description.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are sporty and enjoy being outside, particularly in the water. They’re also adamant about reaching the goals you set for them. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers will continue in the face of adversity to return that duck or goose to you, even if the water is icy or the weather is terrible.

Chessies can retrieve small game on the uplands, but they are the best waterfowl hunting dog. It’s the hunting dog you want if you hunt in harsh, frigid circumstances. Chessies have great senses of smell and are especially adept at detecting injured birds.

It’s also worth mentioning that their coat is waterproof, so they won’t get snagged while retrieving ducks, geese, or any other birds you choose to hunt. They are very capable of retrieving hundreds of waterfowl per day, hence the nickname the ‘Sherman Tank’ of retrievers.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers weigh between 55 to 80 pounds and have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Bird hunting is their specialty.

2.      Brittany Dog

The Brittany is a fantastic option for a hunting dog for flushing, retrieving, pointing, and even competing in agility competitions. When looking for a hunting dog that’s extremely resourceful regarding hunting responsibilities, look no further than a Brittany.

They can spend the week at home with you, and when you are ready to go hunting, the dog is ready to go and can do everything a large breed can. A Brittany has an average life expectancy of 14 to 15 years, weighs between 30 to 40 pounds, and their specialty is hunting birds.

3.      American Foxhound

The American Foxhound was bred to chase foxes and work well with horses on a hunt. President George Washington was an avid breeder of American Foxhounds and honed his breed with British imports and French stock that he received from Marquis de Lafayette, playing a crucial part in the breed’s evolution.

American foxhounds are athletic, hard-working hunting dogs. When around children or at home, they have a loving easy-going demeanor but don’t be fooled by their sweetness; these canines can be highly aggressive when it comes to hunting and are outstanding hunting dogs in every way.

American foxhounds are scent-hounds who hunt relentlessly. The dogs can run for hours, only stopping when the scent is no longer detectable. They have a peculiar howl, which has an unusual bell-like sound. American Foxhounds have an average life expectancy of 11 to 13 years, weigh between 60 to 70 pounds, and specialize in hunting medium to large game.

4.      German Shorthaired Pointer

Many hunters consider the German Shorthaired Pointer the king of the crop. GSPs has everything a sport animal should have:

  • Intellect
  • Athleticism
  • Dedication
  • Obedience
  • Stamina
  • Power

One thing they lack is an off button, so be prepared to provide as much time in the great outdoors as possible. Hunting is their preferred exercise of choice. The second choice would be running, swimming, and organized dog shows. GPSs have boundless energy and is not a dog that enjoys lounging on a couch.

German Shorthaired Pointers have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, weigh between 45 to 70 pounds, and specialize in hunting birds.

5.      Beagle

Beagles are the most popular hound dogs in America and were initially developed to hunt foxes, small deer, birds, and rabbits. Beagles are clever, tenacious, loyal, and obedient. With the appropriate training methods, they will become outstanding hunting dogs and hunt whatever you put in front of them. 

Beagles always seem happy and make awesome family dogs due to their curious and adorable nature. They are happy on a sofa, inside the house, or in a truck, but let them loose in the woods and see them at their happiest while chasing after a rabbit or two.

The average life expectancy of a Beagle is 10 to 15 years, and it weighs between 15 to 30 pounds depending on its height.

6.      Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are just about the most adorable dogs on this list. Labrador puppies have the capability to melt the stoniest of hearts. As their name suggests, they are retrievers and hunters at heart. Nothing makes a hunter prouder than a Labrador Retriever with a bird in his jaws, slimy-mud paws, and a duckweed-spackled coat.

Labrador Retrievers never give up and will go beyond their limits to ensure you have a smile on your face and a duck on your plate. Small waterdogs were crossed with huge Newfoundland dogs to produce this medium-sized retriever with powerful legs and a water-resistant coat.

Labrador Retrievers have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, weigh between 55-80 pounds, and specialize in hunting birds.

7.      American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terriers are friendly, loyal, playful, and extremely loving family companions that adore children and adults alike. Many people know that the American Pit Bull has two sides; a loving pet when at home and a ferocious hunter who will fight to the death when hunting game.

The American Pit Bull was originally used as nanny dogs for families of small children until they were being deployed as watch and hunting dogs due to their other attributes that include:

  • Robustness
  • Ferociousness
  • Muscular Bodies
  • Powerful Jaws

These attributes make them ideal candidates to hunt the over-populated scrappy wild-boar roaming across America unchecked. A fight that the American Pit Bull Terrier willingly undertakes and typically wins. Their average lifespan is 8 to 15 years, weighing between 30 to 65 pounds, and they specialize in hunting large game.

8.      English Setter

English Setters have long luscious coats, and it’s also their biggest disadvantage when hunting, as it can quickly become muddy and tangled while out on the hunt. Suppose you don’t mind the extra grooming required, the athletic, clever, and obedient. An English Setter makes a wonderful hunting companion.

English Setters are built to perform in the most unforgiving terrain and are top hunters of birds. These hunting dogs will test you, but when they get their act together, it’s a magical hunting experience that awaits you. The English Setter has an average lifespan of 12 years, weighs between 45 to 80 pounds, and loves to hunt birds.

9.      Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are lovingly referred to by the nickname Sleuth Hound due to their impressive tracking abilities. These hounds are easy-going when on the hunt and a great companion on and off the game trail. Bloodhounds have powerful legs that allow them to sniff over miles of difficult terrain.

Bloodhounds, like pack dogs, love being around other dogs and children. When you need to find something, no dog on earth can match the nose of a Bloodhound. That’s why they are typically used to find people who are lost or in hiding.

Bloodhounds are relentless when put on a scent. They have an average lifespan of 11 to 12 years, weigh between 80 to 110 pounds, and hunt large game (humans.)

10.  Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniels are medium-sized flushing and retrieving bird dogs who make sweet and loving family pets. When unleashed in the field, these lovable canines turn into tigers. Boykin Spaniels were bred to operate in the swamps and lakes of South Carolina and can swim like seals in the water due to their web-toes.

Boykin Spaniels may not be the biggest hunting dog on the list, but when it comes to hunting doves, wood ducks, marsh hens, woodcock, and quail, they comfortably hold their own. Boykin Spaniels have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, weigh between 25 to 40 pounds, and love to hunt anything with feathers.


bird dog with owner
Hunter with rifle standing on gravel road and holding dog on a leash. Bright light is in the background.

A hunting dog is a special breed of canine. The camaraderie found between a hunter, and his hairy partner is hard to describe. If you are looking for a hunting dog, you will surely find one in the article above.


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