11 Best Dog Breeds for Hunting To Make Your Adventure More Fun

11 Best Hunting Dogs |  How To Protect a Hunting Dog with Quality Dog Hunting Equipment  |  Conclusion |  FAQs

If you’re looking for a hunting companion, there is no better option than adopting one of the best hunting dogs. This category of four-legged pups has everything a hunter must have — fearlessness, blazing-fast speed, and most importantly, a super active prey instinct.

However, since hunting dogs are quite active, they can get hyper at any time, especially if untrained. So, you must invest in quality dog hunting equipment before bringing a Poodle, Retriever, or Coonhound to your home.

Let’s check out the 11 best hunting dogs, their characteristics, and what makes them strong contenders in this list. We will also list some sturdy dog hunting gear from Northland Dog Supply to let you hunt with your furry friend without worry.

11 Best Hunting Dogs

When searching “What is the most fearless hunting dog?” you might be surprised to see the sweetest dogs on the list. Yes, even the adorable Standard Poodle and friendly Beagles are hunting dogs.

Here is a list of the 11 best dog breeds that make great hunting companions:

1.    Labrador Retriever

A Labrador Retriever needs no introduction when it comes to their hunting characteristics. These gun dogs have been working in the water for decades.

These medium-to-large-sized dogs are known as the best duck hunters due to their exceptional “retrieving” skills. In addition to waterfowl, Labrador Retrievers can hunt small game animals, such as rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels.

Whether in water or harsh terrain, these dogs are brave enough to trek almost every surface without hesitating. While they are friendly and calm, you should always take them for hunting with a harness.

2.    Golden Retriever

Genius, fearless, and easily trainable — Golden Retrievers don’t only make amazing family dogs but also great hunting buddies. Goldens fall under the “gun dogs” category in hunting due to their strong hunting instincts.

Like Labrador Retrievers, they are not afraid of water and love to hunt and retrieve ducks and other waterfowl. As a responsible parent, you should always send them in water in a vest.

Golden Retrievers’ easy-going nature and quick learning abilities make them the best hunting dogs. They quickly grasp their owner’s instructions during hunting and assist them in different areas. What else does one need from a hunting partner?

3.    Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Also known as “Chessies,” Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a long history of being excellent duck and bird hunters.

In the early 1800s, humans sent them along the Chesapeake Bay’s water body to hunt waterfowl. Their thick, oily double coat keeps them safe from cold, and specialized webbed paws allow them to swim freely.

The best part? These best hunting dogs have retained this characteristic even today!

However, it’s a safe practice to send them in water in a coat or vest.

4.    Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a medium-sized hunting dog known as a “toller.” These gun dogs are one of the small hunting dog breeds among retrievers. In fact, many people mistake them for small-sized Golden Retrievers.

The toller is genius, energetic, and alert — all of which make them one of the best dog breeds for hunting. They are also strong and active, possessing an intense urge to please their owners.

These characteristics make them the best hunters and ideal for dog agility training. You can train them with a target stick or teach them fetching with a ball toy.

A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever loves to do something every time. So, ensure you keep them engaged in different activities, whether hunting, hiking, or swimming.

5.    Beagle

Beagles are one of the small hunting dog breeds that can do both simultaneously — be a great family dog and a fearless hunter. Their name is inspired by their “beagling” hunting style.

These friendly and social dogs love hunting hares, rabbits, and birds. While some classify Beagles as scent hounds, others consider them gun dogs due to their “flushing” and hunting capabilities.

Besides rabbits, Beagles also love hunting bobcats, wild boar, foxes, and sometimes stoats. This makes them vulnerable to scratches, so make sure to include a protective helmet in your dog hunting gear.

6.    Weimaraner

Bred to be the best hunting dog, Weimaraner is a fearless, athletic, friendly, and obedient dog breed. They are also quite versatile, excelling at hunting, pointing, tracking, and retrieving waterfowl and small game in water and on land.

Weimaraners belong to the sporting group and require lots of physical and mental stimulation to stay happy. If left bored, they can cause severe destruction. So, beware!

For additional safety, add a quality dog collar to your stuff to keep things under control.

However, these dogs are eager to please their owners, so you can enjoy the best hunting time with your furry companion.

7.    German Shorthaired Pointer

Like Weimaraners, German Shorthaired Pointers are also jacks of all trades. These gun dogs can hunt, point, trail, and retrieve a wide range of game, including rabbits, squirrels, different types of birds, raccoons, and even deer. No jokes!

German Shorthaired Pointers love water, too. Their strong hunting instinct and prey drive empower them to detect hidden game easily. For this reason, these dogs should be kept away from smaller pets.

To ensure their calmness during hunting, make them wear a sturdy harness or collar.

They are also super smart and strong, making them an excellent participant in dog agility training programs.

8.    Standard Poodle

Standard Poodles may not look as intimidating as the other best hunting dogs on this list, but it doesn’t make them any less. Don’t get fooled by their friendly and adorable demeanor; these dogs are here to hunt!

A Standard Poodle is intelligent, athletic, and active, with outstanding retrieving skills. They love swimming and, even more, retrieving waterfowl quickly.

Make sure they are wearing a protective waterproof jacket before getting into the water. Accidents can happen anytime.

Like retrievers, a Standard Poodle is also adept at retrieving small game, such as squirrels and rabbits.

9.    English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniels are known for their exceptional “flushing” and “springing” game skills.

These gun dogs are adept at finding and chasing down flying birds, enabling their owners to hunt them down quickly — and in the quarry. Not only that, but English Springer Spaniels can also retrieve the shot quarry to their owners.

If you’re still wondering, “what is the most fearless hunting dog?,” you may have found your answer. When hunting and retrieving, English Springer Spaniels aren’t afraid of the thickest bush or even larger predators.

However, they can’t skip scratches. So, ensure your dog is wearing a protective vest before chasing down the prey.

They also possess immense strength and endurance, so you can teach them dog agility training without hassle.

10.    Treeing Walker Coonhound

This “best hunting dogs” list would have been incomplete without including a hound breed. So, welcome the Treeing Walker Coonhound.

This medium- to large-sized dog is popular as an excellent scent hound that can follow and hunt prey with its scent trail. Amazing, no? In fact, these dogs can chase a raccoon up a tree just by tracking their scent, allowing the hunter to catch the prey and access its quarry.

Because they run pretty fast, ensure your pet is wearing a reflective bandana to prevent getting lost in the woods.

Besides raccoons, Treeing Walker Coonhounds can also hunt cougars, bobcats, bears, and deer.

11.    Boykin Spaniel

As South Carolina’s state dog, the Boykin Spaniel has strong roots from the 1990s. At that time, these gun dogs were considered reliable companions for dove, turkey, and duck hunting, and that’s true even today.

Boykin Spaniels are the best hunting dogs for waterfowl and land game alike. They have webbed paws for swimming and comfortably hunting waterfowl. When it comes to the land, these dogs can hunt and retrieve ducks, quails, pheasants, and other birds.

For their easy tracking, ensure you have a complete kit with yourself, including collar, harness, and vest or a jacket.

Don’t expect them to be as fast as the Labrador Retriever; they are a bit slow but hunt like any other expert hunting dog.

How To Protect a Hunting Dog with Quality Dog Hunting Equipment

Undoubtedly, hunting dogs are hyperactive and energetic. Yes, most are obedient and eager to please, but that’s not the case with every breed. That’s why you should invest in quality dog hunting equipment to ensure your pup’s safety in different terrains.

Once a hunting dog starts running, you may not be able to catch them anytime soon. The situation can be even worse if you have any of the African dogs. They are wild and run pretty fast.

But don’t worry; these dog hunting gear will ensure everything stays in your control:

A Vest

A vest is an essential dog hunting equipment that protects your pup’s chest and core area from extreme weather, sticks, and barbed wires. Most vests come in bright colors like orange and yellow to allow hunters to recognize their furry friend from a distance.

You can find many dog vest brands on Google, but we recommend checking out Northland Dog Supply’s Rivers West Upland Dog Vest.

This vest is made of “H2P” waterproof fleece to keep your dog’s chest area dry, whether it snows or rains. It features a zippered back with velcro closure, broad underbelly coverage, and ample foreleg room, ideal for pointing dogs.

Another option is the CoyoteVest SpikeVest Dog Harness Vest. It has special spikes to protect your pet from sudden predator attacks. These removable spikes are made of stab-resistant Cordura fabric and are on the neck and the back.

A Coat

The next thing to include in your dog hunting gear is a coat. It protects your pet from getting scratched up, offering more protection than a vest. Yes, the coat doesn’t cover their arms and legs, but it still does the job.

Check out Northland Dog Supply’s Filson Shelter Cloth Dog Coat. This clothing is made of 100% oil-finished shelter cloth, contributing to its lightweight and water-resistant outlook. Its lining is red and black plaid with 100% virgin Mackinaw wool.

The best part? You can easily adjust this dog hunting equipment on your pet’s neck and chest — thanks to its oversized Velcro closures.

Eye Protection

Last but not least, eye protection is necessary for your dog when they’re out hunting, especially in the woods. Good specs will protect your pet’s eyes from severe infections and injuries.

Get a durable pair of goggles for your best hunting dog that sits comfortably on their eyes.


So, have you found your hunting companion? Whether you opt for the Golden Retriever or the Poodle, know that you’ve made a great choice regardless. Every dog breed we listed above makes the best hunting partner.

But before you go hunting, ensure you have purchased the right dog hunting equipment. Browse through Northland Dog Supply’s hunting accessories, and pick their Filson Shelter Cloth Dog CoatRivers West Upland Dog Vest, and CoyoteVest SpikeVest Dog Harness Vest. Don’t forget the eye protection.

Enjoy a safe and fun-filled hunting experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best hunting dog?

The best hunting dog is the Labrador Retriever, but some people prefer Golden Retrievers. Both are fearless and easily trainable dogs with exceptional hunting skills. They are also pros at finding and retrieving prey.

Are hunting dogs aggressive?

When trained properly, hunting dogs aren’t aggressive to people or other dogs. However, they have a high prey drive, so they should be kept away from cats and children until they are completely trained.

Why use a dog vest for hunting?

A dog vest keeps your pup safe from scratches and predator attacks. It also keeps them afloat in the water longer, allowing them enough time to retrieve the prey safely.

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