Man’s best friend, and partner in hunting is a big job for a pup to take on! You want a fierce and dedicated fetcher, that’s obedient and strong. Yet, when you’re home with the family, you want a dog that’s gentle and snuggly! This is an important balance to strike, and there’s plenty of dog breeds that attempt to create the perfect pooch. Stay tuned for the best spots to hunt and when on Montana Outdoor’s site. Here’s 5 of some of the best hunting dog breeds, so you can get started on your search for your pristine pup!
Nothing like a classic lab! Perfect for duck hunting specifically, these talented swimmers can fetch whatever you’ve shot across large distances and terrains. These pups were bread specifically for waterfowl, with a gentle and careful grip. They’re practically engineered for cold, water based hunts! They have a double coat for insulation, webbed feet, and an otter-like tail that helps them swim with purpose. They also mature at a younger age than other breeds, meaning training can happen sooner than later. Their intelligence makes complex training much easier, and after a long hunt they can come home and play with the kids!
First bred in Germany in the late 1800s, breeders wanted an all round hunting dog that was still friendly and could make a great family dog. They have high energy levels, incredible athletic abilities, and a need for work. If there’s something to be hunted in the area, the Pointer will find it. They’re great for hunting because they’re fantastic swimmers, and can be trained very well. Although, if you’re looking for a low activity, low maintenance dog, these puppies will not suit your fancy. They’re incredibly loving and youthful, but if left to their own devices, can be hyperactive and destructive! Just something to keep in mind while shopping for this breed.
Previously scoffed at by the hunting community, Irish Setters have had a big swing back in reputation! After a revolution of breeding and dog fads in the 1960s-1970s, Irish Setters had a lot of credibility to build back in the fields of brains and athletics. Now, in the last 15 years or so, these dogs have been responsibly bred back into champions! However, if you’re looking for a tough as nails pup, you might find better luck elsewhere. Irish Setters are notoriously sensitive, and respond better to positive reinforcement than harsh punishment. They also want to be apart of the family, so don’t expect to have a happy pup in the kennel. In the field, they’re fast and focused hunters and will help retrieve and target any prey!
Previously bred to hunt foxes, the American Foxhound is a breed with a great nose and incredible focus in the field. They’re independent, and prefer large and open spaces to roam and exude energy. They also make a great guard dog, or tracking hound, as their howl can carry for miles. These pups are bred to attack anything non-canine related, so if you have other pets at home, it’s not advised to own one of these pups. American Foxhounds are known for their incredible work ethic and nearly impenetrable energy levels. They can be stubborn at times and will require patience when training, but they’re loyal as ever and independent on the job.
Probably one of America’s favorite dogs of all time, Golden Retrievers are known for their upbeat yet gentle nature. Their versatility expands beyond this, however, and they make incredible hunting dogs. Webbed feet and thick coat make swimming in cold water a breeze. Soft mouths ensure that damage to the waterfowl or whatever else you have them retrieve will be minimal. In general, Goldies are easy to train because they lean toward people-pleasing as a core value. They shine in the field, and with some training can perfect their retrieval. The best part is, after a long day of hunting, you can rest assured they’ll be sweet and gentle with the kiddos. As much as you love them, they’ll love you back tenfold.