What is a good hunting dog breed?

This will vary depending on what you're hunting. There are three basic kinds of hunting dogs:

Hounds - A hound is a dog that chases or follows the tracks of an animal. If you are hunting some kind of animal that runs along the ground, such as a fox, squirrel, rabbit, deer, coyote, boar, or whatever else along those lines, you should be getting one of these. It actually gets even more complicated than that, because there are two different kinds of hounds.


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1) Sighthounds - A sighthound hunts by chasing down the prey as fast as it can. They hunt using sight, so they have to see the prey, and then they run very quickly to keep it in visual range. This kind of hound is good for small, fast animals like a rabbit or squirrel or large, docile animals like deer - it is not good for something bigger and aggressive like a boar because the hound will actually physically confront the prey and try to kill it. You don't want your dog fighting something that can actually hurt it. Some examples: A greyhound, a whippet, an Irish wolfhound, an American staghound, and a Scottish deerhound. The full list:

Afghan Hound

American Staghound


Bantu Hound



Canary Islands Hound


Circassian Orloff Wolfhound

Cirneco dell'Etna

Cretan Hound


Hottentott Hound

Hungarian Greyhound

Ibizan Hound

Irish Wolfhound

Italian Greyhound

Kafir Hound


Kangaroo Dog


Khalag Tazi

Khoikhoi Hound



Mudhol Hound

Pharaoh Hound

Podenco Andaluz

Portugese Podengo

Polish Greyhound


Rampur Greyhound

Rhodesian Ridgeback


Santal Hound

Scottish Deerhound

Silken Windhound


Southern Russian Steppe Hound

Spanish Greyhound


Vaghari Greyhound


Zulu Hound

2) Scenthounds - These are hounds that track prey by their scent, and you will need to choose a breed of dog with a highly developed sense of smell. Often they are slower, but they have better endurance and can run quickly for short distances. They traditionally were used in packs to hunt things like foxes. Now bloodhounds are commonly used to track criminals, but you can use them to find any game that walks on the ground and would leave a trail of smell. The full list:

Basset Hound

Bavarian Mountain Hound




Coonhound (all types)




Ibizan Hound

Kerry Beagle

Norwegian Elkhound


Polish Hound

Polish Scenthound

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Zyler Hound


Gun dogs - Gun dogs are the kind of hunting dog you use if you're going hunting for birds. There are, again, several uses you could put a gun dog to, and different breeds are better for different uses:


1) Pointers - A pointer is a dog that has an instinct to find game, face it, and then freeze, so it is pointing towards what you need to shoot. They include English Setters, Irish Setters, German Pointers, and Brittany Spaniels - a full list is here.


2) Retrievers - A retriever is a dog that will go out and get the bird, bringing it back to you without damaging it. They are generally very friendly, good natured dogs who would rather please their owner than eat the bird - they are thus very common as pets. Golden retrievers, labs, poodles, and cocker spaniels are all retrievers. You can see a full list here.


3) Water dogs - A kind of retriever, they are bred to go into water, swim out, and retrieve game or flush it towards the hunter. These are great for duck hunting. Poodles are the most famous of these, along with labs and Irish Water Spaniels.


4) Flushing Dogs - Also called Spaniels, these dogs are bred to run into the brush and flush the birds out so that they fly toward the hunter. They include Cocker Spaniels, Water Spaniels, and basically any breed that has the name "spaniel" in it.


5) Setters - Setters are sort of a mix of hound and bird dog. They trace birds that walk on the ground by scent - so for something like a turkey, a quail, or a pheasant they are good. Unlike a hound, they will not chase after the bird. When they come to it, they freeze like a pointer, so the hunter can take a shot at it. Irish Setters are the most famous.

Terriers - Terriers are used to hunt small animals like rats. They can also track quarry like quail. Any dog breed that has Terrier in the name is, of course, a Terrier - common ones are Irish Terriers, Scottish Terriers, and Rat Terriers. One caveat, though: you should get a bigger one if you want to go hunting with it. Some terrier breeds have been miniaturized to be show dogs or pets, and they won't be able to kill the prey safely.

Dogos - This is actually one specific breed, the Argentine Dogo. It was bred specifically for big game hunting, so if you want a hunting dog for something huge like a bear for some reason, this is it. You have to be careful, though - some lines of Dogo have been bred to fight, which is not good for hunting (you would not want a dog actually engaging or attacking something like a bear).

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