Calm Hunting Dog Breeds: A Guide to Relaxed and Effective Canine Companions

In the world of hunting dogs, there’s a surprising variety of breeds that display a level-headed nature, making them suitable for both hunting excursions and life at home. These dogs are able to seamlessly transition between tracking in the field and lounging with their families, showcasing their adaptability and loyalty. Not only are they skilled athletes, but they’re also affectionate pets with the ability to bond deeply with their humans.

So, if you’re looking for a dog that can provide the best of both worlds, look no further than the list of calm hunting dog breeds collated below. These reliable and intelligent canines are perfect for individuals and families who want a well-mannered and versatile pet, whether you’re actively participating in hunting activities or simply admiring their incredible instincts from the sidelines.

An overview of hunting dog breeds that are calm

When it comes to hunting dog breeds, you may think of high-energy, intensely focused dogs. However, there are several calm hunting dog breeds that make it easier for you to enjoy the benefits of a hunting companion without the high energy levels. These calm breeds possess the necessary skills and characteristics for hunting, but display a more relaxed demeanor overall.

One such breed is the Labrador Retriever, popular for its versatility and calm personality. They are skilled in retrieving game in various environments, and their gentle nature makes them great family companions as well. Similarly, the Brittany is another chilled hunting dog breed that originated in France. These dogs are highly trainable, and their excellent pointing and retrieving abilities make them a top choice for hunting enthusiasts.

The English Setter is another prime example of a calm hunting dog breed. They are known for their even-tempered demeanor and their ability to work well with hunters. These dogs are highly skilled in pointing and setting game, making them invaluable partners in the field.

When considering calm hound breeds, American Foxhounds also stand out for their gentle nature. Primarily used for hunting foxes, these dogs are known to have a strong prey drive while maintaining a peaceful disposition. These qualities make them not only great hunting companions but also pleasant family pets.

Having a calm hunting dog breed doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice performance or skill in the field. Their easygoing temperaments make these breeds perfect for hunters who appreciate a more harmonious partnership. As you explore your options for hunting dog breeds, be sure to consider these calm and capable companions for your hunting adventures.

Spaniel breeds

Spaniel breeds are known for their versatility as hunting dogs and loving companions. In this section, we will explore some of the calmer Spaniel breeds that make great hunting partners and pets.

English springer spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is a popular yet regal breed in the United States. Despite their smaller size, they make excellent hunting partners, known for their ability to find, flush, and fetch game. They have an energetic but balanced temperament, making them great companions and family pets.

Cocker spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is an affectionate and gentle breed. They are eager to please their owners and are generally easy to train. Like their Springer counterparts, Cocker Spaniels are talented hunters, adept at flushing and retrieving game, especially in wooded areas and water. Their calm nature allows them to transition seamlessly from the field to your home.

Cavalier king charles spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a toy breed, but they maintain some of the hunting instincts common among Spaniels. They were originally bred for companionship, making them very affectionate and friendly. Although not commonly used for hunting due to their small size, they can still showcase their natural instincts when given the opportunity.

Boykin spaniel

Boykin Spaniels are closely related to American Water Spaniels, Pointers, and Retrievers. Originating in South Carolina, they are a versatile hunting breed, skilled in flushing and retrieving in both land and water environments. Boykins are easily trainable and have a friendly disposition that allows them to excel as both hunting companions and family pets.

Clumber spaniel

Clumber Spaniels are known for being great hunters and loyal companions. Hailing from Nottinghamshire, England, they have a sturdy build and are part of the Sporting Group’s calmer dog breeds. Their even-tempered nature, combined with their tenacity, makes them excellent hunting dogs, particularly for waterfowl and upland game.

Tibetan spaniel

Tibetan Spaniels are an ancient breed, originating in Tibet alongside their larger cousins, the Tibetan Mastiff. Though not typically considered a hunting breed, these small dogs possess agility and keen senses, making them effective watchdogs. Their friendly and adaptable nature makes them excellent companions for both active and sedentary lifestyles.

American water spaniel

The American Water Spaniel is a versatile hunting breed, developed in the United States for retrieving waterfowl and upland game. They are skilled at working in water, and their small size makes them an excellent choice for navigating marshlands and rivers. With a friendly and intelligent temperament, these dogs are highly trainable and can easily become part of your family.

Retriever breeds

Retriever breeds are popular choices for their combination of calm disposition and hunting prowess. In this section, we’ll focus on three retriever breeds: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Labrador retriever

The Labrador Retriever is well-known for its friendly, outgoing, and obedient personality. As a hunting companion, it excels in waterfowl retrieval thanks to its natural swimming ability and water-resistant coat. You’ll find that your Labrador Retriever is highly trainable, making it an excellent option for both experienced and novice hunters. In addition to hunting, Labradors are widely used as therapy and service dogs due to their calm and easygoing demeanor.

Golden retriever

Golden Retrievers are another versatile hunting breed, prized for their gentle nature and trainable temperament. Like the Labrador, the Golden Retriever is an adept swimmer and has a natural affinity for waterfowl retrieval. They possess a dense, water-repellent coat that keeps them warm in cold weather. Golden Retrievers are also known for their loyalty and eagerness to please, making them great companions both in the field and at home. However, be prepared for regular grooming, as their long and wavy coat tends to shed.

Chesapeake bay retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a strong and powerful breed, developed to thrive in the challenging conditions of the Chesapeake Bay region. They are known for their remarkable swimming and retrieving skills, as well as their resilience in cold water. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a strong and protective coat that requires minimal grooming, making it a fuss-free option for a hunting partner.

When it comes to temperament, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is more reserved compared to the Labrador and Golden Retrievers. They can be protective of their family and territory, which might make them better suited to experienced dog owners. With proper training and socialization, your Chesapeake Bay Retriever will prove to be a steadfast friend and hunting ally.

Setter and pointer breeds

These breeds are known for their calm demeanor and excellent hunting skills. Let’s explore some popular setter and pointer breeds to help you find the perfect companion for your hunting adventures.

English setter

The English Setter is a sociable, even-tempered breed. They are known for being gentle and methodical, with their working/field breeding line sometimes displaying a mischievous side. English Setters excel at hunting and are excellent pointers, making them a great choice for bird hunters. Their cautious approach ensures a quiet and calm hunting experience.

Irish setter

Irish Setters are known for their stunning red coat and friendly disposition. These dogs are well-suited for bird hunting thanks to their keen sense of smell and natural pointing ability. They are often considered to be more energetic than other setter breeds, but still maintain a calm demeanor during hunts. Irish Setters are also known for their loyalty and eagerness to please, making them a wonderful hunting companion.

German shorthaired pointer

German Shorthaired Pointers are versatile and intelligent dogs, known for their excellent hunting abilities. They have a strong prey drive, meaning they are persistent and focused during hunts. While they can be energetic, they are also obedient and responsive to training, which allows them to maintain a calm demeanor when necessary. They excel at pointing and retrieving, making them a popular choice among bird hunters.

German wirehaired pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a sturdy, strong breed with a wiry coat that offers protection in various weather conditions and rough terrain. Similar to their shorthaired counterparts, they possess a strong prey drive and are excellent at pointing and retrieving. They also show a calm demeanor in the field and work well with other dogs, making them an excellent hunting companion.

English pointer

The English Pointer is a breed known for its grace and agility, making it an excellent choice for hunting birds on the move. They are dedicated working dogs with a strong natural ability to point and track game. While they can be energetic, they are also able to maintain a calm demeanor in the field, ensuring a successful and enjoyable hunting experience.

Hound breeds

Hound breeds are known for their exceptional hunting skills, and many of them are also known for their calm demeanor. In this section, we will discuss eight calm hunting dog breeds in the hound group.

Basset hound

The Basset Hound is a medium-sized hunting dog that was originally bred in Belgium and France. Known for their exceptional scenting abilities, Basset Hounds are often used for tracking game. They are a friendly and laid-back breed, making them ideal companions for those looking for a calm hunting dog.


Bloodhounds are large, powerful dogs with a strong sense of smell, often used in search and rescue operations. They are calm and gentle, yet focused and determined when on the hunt. Their stamina and persistence make them excellent partners for hunting tasks.


The Beagle is a small and versatile breed with a great sense of smell. Although they are energetic, they can be calm and gentle, making them suitable for hunters seeking a more relaxed companion. Beagles are easygoing and can work well with other dogs, making them a popular choice for small hunting groups.

Irish wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the tallest dog breeds in existence and was originally bred to hunt wolves. Despite their imposing size, Irish Wolfhounds are gentle, calm, and good-natured. They can be quite reserved, making them effective partners for quieter, more strategic hunting activities.


Although Greyhounds are best known for their racing abilities, they were initially bred for hunting hare and other small game. They are quiet, sensitive dogs with a gentle temperament. Their speed and agility make them perfect partners for hunting events requiring quick and stealthy movements.

American foxhound

The American Foxhound is an athletic breed with a long history of hunting foxes. They are friendly, easygoing dogs with an even temperament, making them suitable for hunters who need a calm canine companion. American Foxhounds excel at tracking and have excellent stamina, making them great partners for extended hunting trips.

Bluetick coonhound

Bluetick Coonhounds are known for their distinctive coloring and loud, baying voice. While they may be vocal when on the hunt, they are calm and gentle at home. Bluetick Coonhounds have a strong prey drive and excel at tracking, making them a valuable addition to hunting expeditions.

Plott hound

The Plott Hound is a versatile and courageous breed, originally developed for hunting wild boar. They are tenacious and determined but can be quite calm and friendly when they are off the hunt. Their loyalty and focused work ethic make Plott Hounds reliable hunting partners.

Other hunting dog breeds


Newfoundlands are large and gentle dogs, known for their strength, endurance, and intelligence. They were originally bred for water rescue and pulling heavy loads on land. While not a traditional hunting breed, they can excel in tasks that require stamina and power, such as retrieving waterfowl or assisting in hauling game. With their patient and calm demeanor, you’ll find that Newfoundlands are ideal companions for various outdoor activities.


The Pekingese might not be the first breed that comes to mind when thinking about hunting dogs, but this ancient Chinese breed does have a hunting background. Originally, Pekingese dogs were bred to hunt small game and deter rodents. Though they are small and not as athletic as other hunting breeds, you may find their alertness and keen senses valuable in certain hunting situations.


Whippets are a calm and docile breed known for their incredible speed and agility. While they were originally bred for racing and lure coursing, Whippets can be utilized as hunting companions in chasing small game, like rabbits or hares. Their mild temperament makes them suitable for a relaxed hunting experience, and their endurance allows them to cover long distances with ease.


Boerboels are a powerful and confident breed originating from South Africa. Bred as guard dogs and farm protectors, Boerboels have the strength and courage needed to keep predators at bay. While not specifically a hunting breed, their guarding instincts and tenacity could prove beneficial in certain hunting scenarios, such as keeping unwanted animals away from your hunting grounds.

Mountain cur

The Mountain Cur is a versatile and dedicated hunting dog, excelling in tasks like treeing and tracking game. This breed is especially proficient at hunting squirrels, raccoons, and other small game. Mountain Curs are known for their endurance, intelligence, and determination, making them an ideal choice for hunters who require a calm and focused companion in the field.

Temperament and traits

When looking for a calm hunting dog breed, it’s essential to consider their temperament and traits. You will find that these dogs are often affectionate, intelligent, and even-tempered, which makes them great companions during hunting trips and at home.

One of the key traits of calm hunting dog breeds is their even-tempered nature. These dogs remain calm and composed in various situations, whether they’re out in the field or relaxing at home. This characteristic helps them excel in hunting scenarios, as they can focus on the task at hand without getting overly excited or anxious.

In addition to being even-tempered, these dogs are also known for their intelligence. They can quickly learn and understand commands, making them highly trainable and efficient hunting partners. With consistency and patience in training, you’ll find that your calm hunting dog will become an invaluable asset during your hunting excursions.

Affection is another notable trait in calm hunting dog breeds. After a long day of hunting, these dogs love to unwind and spend quality time with their families. They form strong bonds with their owners, and their gentle nature makes them wonderful companions for people of all ages. The Golden Retriever is a popular breed known for its affectionate and easygoing personality, often employed as therapy or service animals.

In summary, when searching for a calm hunting dog breed, focus on their temperament, intelligence, and affectionate nature. The combination of these traits ensures that these dogs will be excellent hunting partners and loving companions at home. Remember to remain patient and consistent in your training to help your dog reach its full potential in the field and as a member of your family.

Training and socialization

When it comes to calm hunting dog breeds, the importance of proper training and socialization cannot be overstated. As a responsible dog owner, your goal is to ensure that your calm hunting dog becomes a well-adjusted, well-mannered member of your family.

Early obedience training is key for both you and your dog to understand each other better. This will help you establish a strong foundation, making your dog more trainable and biddable. Begin by teaching basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” as these are essential for fostering a cooperative relationship between you and your dog.

Consistent socialization is equally crucial for your calm hunting dog. Expose them to a variety of environments, people, and other animals from a young age. This will help them become adaptable and confident in diverse situations, especially during hunting activities. In addition, proper socialization ensures that your dog remains well-behaved around family members, friends, and strangers.

Remember, consistency and patience are essential in the training and socialization process. Always use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior, as this will inspire your dog to learn faster and develop a strong bond with you. It’s also important to attend structured training classes to build upon your dog’s skills and knowledge. This way, both you and your furry companion will be well-equipped for success in various situations.

In conclusion, by dedicating time and effort to proper training and socialization, you will ensure that your calm hunting dog breed becomes a valuable, confident, and trusted companion both in the field and at home.

A brown and white short haired pointer holding point in a field of stubble

Exercise and athleticism

When looking for a calm hunting dog breed, it’s important to consider their exercise and athleticism. These traits directly impact the dog’s overall health, happiness, and effectiveness in the field.

Daily exercise is essential for your hunting dog’s physical and mental well-being. Not only does it keep them fit and agile, but it also helps manage their energy levels and prevent boredom. A well-exercised dog is more likely to display a calm temperament at home.

Most hunting dog breeds possess a significant degree of athleticism and stamina. For example, the Basset Hound is a medium-sized hunting dog known for its calm demeanor and impressive scent-tracking abilities. Other breeds, like the Boykin Spaniel, excel at locating game in a variety of environments and have exceptional stamina.

To ensure your hunting dog’s athleticism develops optimally, early exposure to different hunting scenarios and essential hunting dog supplies is critical. Well-rounded training, including basic obedience and specialized hunting skills, will contribute to your dog’s success and help them stay focused during hunts.

Remember that the level of exercise and athleticism required may vary between different hunting dog breeds, and even between individual dogs. Regularly assessing your dog’s fitness and adjusting their exercise routine accordingly is crucial to maintaining their overall health and performance.

In short, selecting a calm hunting dog breed means finding one that balances consistent exercise and athleticism with a measured temperament both in the field and at home. By providing your dog with adequate exercise and proper training, you’ll ensure they are well-equipped to perform in a variety of hunting scenarios.

Compatibility with families and children

Choosing a calm hunting dog breed that is compatible with families and children is essential for a harmonious household. These breeds are not only skilled hunters but also gentle and even-tempered, making them ideal family dogs.

One such breed is the Labrador Retriever, known for its friendly nature and adaptability. These versatile dogs are great with children and can even be trained as therapy dogs due to their gentle demeanor.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is another family-friendly option. Easily trainable and eager to please, these dogs are energetic yet gentle with children. Their intelligence and affectionate nature make them a joy to have around the house.

If you are looking for a medium-sized dog, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever may be a perfect fit. Bred to be both hunters and family dogs, they are intelligent, friendly, and patient with children.

It is essential to consider your family’s lifestyle and environment when selecting a hunting dog breed. Keep in mind that these dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation to maintain their overall well-being. By providing a nurturing environment and proper training, you will have a loving, skilled hunting companion that is also a cherished member of your family.

Hunting skills and partnership

As a hunter, having a calm dog breed by your side can greatly enhance your hunting experience. These canines possess remarkable skills such as tracking prey, flushing out birds, and retrieving game. A strong partnership between you and your dog will significantly improve your chances of success during your hunting expeditions.

When hunting birds, your calm canine companion can play a vital role in detecting their presence. Dogs with keen scenting abilities can easily track down pheasants and other wild birds, enabling you to focus on taking the shot. In some cases, they can also be trained to flush out their prey, which makes birds easier to target for you.

While pursuing larger prey like deer and mountain lions, your dog’s tenacity and courage become even more important. Calm hunting dog breeds have the innate ability to fearlessly face off against these wild animals, allowing you to safely assess the situation and plan your approach. Additionally, their intelligence enables them to quickly adapt to the demands of deer hunting or tracking mountain lions, making them invaluable partners in the field.

Apart from tracking and confronting prey, another key skill in calm hunting dog breeds is their ability to retrieve game. After you successfully shoot down birds or other small prey, your dog should promptly bring them back to you. This not only increases efficiency but also ensures that you swiftly move from one target to another, maximizing the productivity of your hunting sessions.

A successful partnership with your hunting dog demands mutual trust and understanding. To achieve this, invest in proper training so that your dog obeys your commands and fully embraces its role as a hunting partner. This strong relationship will result in better coordination, leading to a more rewarding experience when hunting various types of game, from birds to foxes and even larger wild animals.

By carefully selecting a calm hunting dog breed and nurturing your partnership, you can effectively enhance your hunting skills and derive greater satisfaction from your time spent in the great outdoors.

Frequently asked questions

What are some breeds of hunting dogs with a calm temperament?

Some hunting dog breeds known for their calm temperament include the Labrador Retriever, English Setter, and Boykin Spaniel. These breeds are generally even-tempered and can adapt well to various hunting situations while maintaining a calm demeanor.

Which friendly hunting dog breeds are best for families?

Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels are known for their friendly demeanor and make excellent family pets. They are good with children and also possess hunting instincts, making them great companions both at home and in the field.

Which hunting dog breeds are easiest to train and have a calm demeanor?

Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, and Boykin Spaniels are some hunting dog breeds that are relatively easy to train with their calm demeanor. They are intelligent, quick learners, and respond well to consistent training methods.

What are some low-energy hunting dog breeds suitable for beginners?

English Setters and Clumber Spaniels are examples of low-energy hunting dog breeds that could be suitable for beginners. These dogs require moderate exercise and have a more laid-back demeanor compared to high-energy hunting breeds, making them a good choice for those just starting with a hunting dog.

Which hunting dog breeds are known for being good with children?

Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Beagles are among the hunting dog breeds well-regarded for their interactions with children. These breeds are generally friendly, patient, and enjoy the company of kids both in and out of the hunting field.

What are some large, calm breeds of hunting dogs?

Some large, calm hunting dog breeds include the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Irish Setter, and Weimaraner. These dogs have strong hunting instincts along with a calm and gentle demeanor that makes them appealing to hunters who prefer larger breeds.

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