While there are many different breeds of dogs, there are only certain breeds that are excellent choices for helping hunters. There are four specific categories of hunting dogs and these are:
Hounds – This category of hunting dogs include scent hounds and sight hounds. These hunting dogs are used for hunting large predators, coyote, raccoon, and jackrabbit. A sight hound, such as a Whippet, is great for their speed and their visual awareness. They can see their object from far away and then speed away to neatly and quietly pursue, then kill their object. They are not only very visually keen, but they are independent, silent, and extremely quick.
Hounds that use their sense of smell, instead of sight are called scent hounds. These hounds have sensitive noses. Scent hounds such as the Coonhound, are great at tracking other animals. In most cases, they do not kill the prey, instead they lead the hunter directly to it. They will, if needed, kill the animal, but it generally runs it up a tree.
Gun Dogs – In this category, the dogs are more compatible with hunters who use shotguns as their main source of hunting. These hunting dogs do not scare easily and are not sensitive to sounds of a shotgun. In this category of hunting dogs, it is divided up into different classes.
The Retriever Class, such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, is useful for both land and water, in multiple weather elements. These are usually used for bird hunters, and respond well to commands by whistle, verbalization, and hand gestures. Water Dogs, such as a poodle, are included with the retriever class.
The Setter Class, such as the English Setter, these dogs are used primarily by hunters who are needing the dogs to “flush” game birds.
The Spaniel Class, such as the English Cocker Spaniel, is another breed of hunting dog that works well for small game and upland birds. They have the unique ability to not only flush the prey, but also locate them as well.
The Pointer class, such as the Pudel Pointer, is perfect for spotting and flushing, they use the technique of finding, then pointing at the prey.
Terriers – Terriers, such as the Lakeland Terrier, Fell Terriers, and The Jack Russell Terrier, are perfect for hunting mammals. These have the ability to find, target, kill, or capture with extreme force.
Curs – Curs such as the Catahoula Leopard Dog, is used for very large animals which might include cougars, raccoon, and boars.
While many of these breeds have the natural ability and instinct needed to hunt, training is still a requirement. These dogs are bred specifically for hunting in most cases, but that does not mean they are born with the knowledge of what you want them to do. You will notice early on in your ownership that these dogs are instinctive with natural abilities. However, it is up to you to train them to be acute and knowledgeable hunting dogs.
For example, you will want to raise your Retriever by teaching them the different signals you will use. It is necessary to train the dog to respond to your specific commands. It is also important that you develop a very close and trusting relationship with your hunting dog.
You need to have discipline and control. You do not want your hunting dog running after something they see in the forest. You want your dog to only respond and take action when required. This requires personal training and bonding between you and your dog.
What about Training for Gun Dogs?
Gun Dogs are a special breed that have special requirements. You will definitely want to consider special training for your gun dog. This does not mean you have to go find a professional, but there are many resources available on the internet that will help you understand what steps you should take.
For gun dogs, specific training is required. You will need to teach them different signals and commands that you might use. In other words, he will need training on signals with the hand, commands, and whistling. For most gun dog owners, they will start their hands on training using dummy bait, such as a fake bird or other animal. After the animal becomes comfortable using the dummy, they are then ready to accompany you on hunting trips.