Hunting Dog Breeds
I'm searching for the perfect dog. Of course, "perfect" is in the eye of the beholder. Today, I wanted to find breeds of dogs that are suitable for hunting. What makes a perfect hunting dog? Do dogs still hunt in this day and age? I headed for Petland Naperville, where on any given day, they can have up to 100 (or more!) different puppies for sale. This gives me a great place to observe many different breeds of dogs in one setting, and to compare different breeds that are considered suitable for hunting. I was greeted by a Pet Counselor, who was very knowledgeable about hunting breeds.
The first thing that I learned is that there are different ways to hunt. You may use a gun to shoot down fowl, send a dog to sniff out game, use a dog's keen eyesight to hunt, or even use a dog to hunt down burrowing animals. Depending on the kind of hunt you have in mind, you might need a large dog or an equally capable small dog.
First, let's look at those small dog breeds. One of the best hunting dogs for flushing out burrowing animals is the Dachshund. These animals use their noses to track down small-to-medium prey. This dog can hunt above ground (deer, rabbits, etc.) or below ground (fox, badgers, etc.)
Next, we talked about animals that use their eyesight to track down prey. Many of these dogs are large dog breeds. Different kinds of "sighthounds" include Greyhounds, the Whippet, or the Irish Wolfhound. Well, I used to own a Greyhound, and I can say from experience that when my Greyhound spotted something, he wanted to take off and capture it! He even tore through my fenced back yard, caught a rabbit in less than 3 seconds, and through it up in the air! Even though I did not train him for hunting, it was in his blood and he did what came naturally to him.
Next, my Pet Counselor brought out a Bloodhound. Wow! I've only seen Bloodhounds on TV shows. This large dog breed is perhaps the most well-known breed for hunting through scent. Bloodhounds are well-known for hunting down people (think escaped convicts or missing children). They can even follow a scent several days after the scent first appeared! Our modern police departments use Bloodhounds in their everyday work.
The final group of breeds that are suitable for hunting that my Pet Counselor talked about were large dog breeds that were used for hunting with guns. Any breed of dog with the word Retriever in it (think Golden Retriever) is used to retrieve game that has been shot down and bring it to their owner. Pointers (German Shorthaired Pointer) and Setters (such as the English or Irish Setter) will find prey and then stand completely still so that their hunter knows where they are. Then they will flush birds out of fields and into the air so that their owners can shoot them down. Finally, Water Dogs (such as the Standard Poodle) and Spaniels (like Cocker Spaniels) will retrieve the prey from water so that their owners do not have to retrieve it.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the Pt Counselor today. I was glad to have someone who knew so much about hunting dogs---both small dog breeds and large dog breeds. I would highly recommend that you go to Petland Naperville to if you need information on dog breeds.