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Types Of Hunting Dogs


It is not just that dogs are great, but also that they’ve truly been with us since our earliest “hunter and gatherer” days.

Man’s best friends have been helping humans hunt and living as members of their community for at least 14,000 years, and we can trace the breeding of relatively specific types of hunting dogs back to the early civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

If you’re intrigued by the sport of hunting, considering it as a hobby or as a fun pastime, then you should consider a canine partner as it can make the experience more fruitful and fun.

People erroneously equate hunting dogs to just gun dogs or hounds, although those are two very distinct breeds.

In actual fact, there are several subbreeds of gun dogs and hounds, as well as other classifications of hunting dogs. Let’s dive right into the types of hunting dogs and explain.

Some of the most common hunting dog types include


From the majestic Afghan Hound to the miniature stance of the Beagle, the hounds have been bred for their excellent hunting prowess for a long time.

Either using their keen eyesight or their outstanding sense of smell, they are very good hunting dogs. There are two main types of hounds: the Scent hounds and Sighthounds.

The Scent hounds

The scent hounds love to follow scent trails and depend more on their sense of smell than their sight. They possess some of the most powerful noses in the world and will track prey into water or trees without losing the scent over long distances.

They usually have big floppy ears that collect and sweep up the air and the scent around the hound’s head for a moment longer, thus helping it recognize the smell of the prey.

They are not sprinters like sighthounds, instead, scent hounds simply track their prey until they eventually find its hiding place.

Then, they either kill it if they can (and are trained to) or they signal the hunters with their loud, booming barks to come and take care of the rest.

They usually hunt in packs. Examples include the Bloodhound, the Bassett Hound, American Leopard Hound, Foxhound and the Alpine Dachsbracke.

The Sighthounds

The sighthounds are high-speed sprinters that primarily depend more on their sight as the name suggests and their incredible sight. A sight hound’s method of hunting is what’s known as “coursing.”

They notice the prey from a distance, stalk it, start chasing it when they are close enough and kill it. Typically, they hunt alone. They are constantly looking out for moving targets to chase.

They are slender and majestic beasts that are a sight to behold when they are in full swing action. The Afghan hound, Saluki, Borzoi and the Greyhound (known as the fastest dog in the world) are good examples of sighthounds.


Like the hounds, gundogs have been bred for centuries as hunting dogs. But the gundogs have been bred specifically to work in close co-operation with a human partner, and hence are less independent than the hounds.

They assist hunters to get their game, particularly birds. There are three main types of gun dogs which include retrievers, flushing dogs and pointing breeds.


Retrievers are typically used to retrieve birds gunned by the hunter. A well-trained retriever will watch and follow the handler’s gun as he shoots, marking, and remembering each bird that is downed.

Examples of retrievers are the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever.

Flushing dogs

Flushing dogs are bird-dogs trained to locate and flush game birds by provoking them into flight. Flushing dogs use noise or movement to cause the game to become nervous and leave cover.

They are particularly useful in hunting pheasants. Some examples are the English Springer Spaniel, the English Cocker Spaniel and the Clumber Spaniel.

The Pointer breeds

The pointer breeds track the scent of a prey item, then instinctually freezes once it has located its quarry.

The typical pointing position shows the dog’s body stiffening, holding one paw up in the air, the tail points upwards, and the nose signals toward the scent.

They tend to be active, enthusiastic, intelligent, and eager to please. Examples are the Bracco Italian, the English Pointer and the Brittany.


The word terrier means ‘of the earth’. And our terrier breeds were selectively bred by man to hunt prey that hides underground especially rodents and foxes. Terriers are small but mighty and full of personality.

They come in all shapes and sizes (though they’re often little, from the jolly wee West Highland White Terrier to the strong but soft-hearted Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Feisty and energetic are two of the primary traits that come to mind for those who have experience with Terriers.

In fact, many describe their distinct personalities as “eager for a spirited argument. Other examples include the Miniature Schnauzer and the West Highland White Terrier. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and the Bull Terrier.

If you are looking for a hunting dog, you may be drawn to one particular group or another, as there are a lot of options to choose from.


This article discussed everything you needed to know about the types of hunting dog.

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