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Are Golden Retrievers Good Hunting Dogs? Everything You Need to Know

Written by: Hallie Roddy

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Hallie Roddy

golden retriever with bird

Are Golden Retrievers Good Hunting Dogs? Everything You Need to Know

We all know by now that Golden Retrievers have become known as one of the most perfect family dogs, but this breed hasn’t always had the sole purpose of being companions. Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be hunting companions to the elite. Are Goldens still as good at hunting as they used to be? Yes, Golden Retrievers are excellent hunting dogs and are still used for this purpose today. However, finding one as skilled as they used to be is a bit more challenging.

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The 5 Things That Make Golden Retrievers Good Hunting Dogs

Even though dogs were bred to retrieve small game, there are certain characteristics about them that make them perfectly suited for the sport.

1. Breeding

Golden Retrievers were created to fill a gap in the world of hunting dogs. There wasn’t a dog breed that was as successful at retrieving birds from the water as they could on land while still being gentle and friendly to humans. A lord took some of the best characteristics of many different dogs and gave us the Goldens that we know and love today.

Golden retriever dives into the water
Image By: Mordasova Elena, Shutterstock

2. Strong Sense of Smell

One of the things that set these hunting dogs apart from others is their incredible sense of smell. This breed has one of the strongest senses of smell of all dog breeds that makes it easy for them to track down birds no matter how far away they glide after being shot.

3. Trainability

There wouldn’t be any hunting dogs if they weren’t trainable. Goldens are intelligent and eager to please; the two perfect characteristics that make training easy.

4. Intelligence

Intelligence doesn’t only suit these dogs in picking up commands. They can also figure out shortcuts and solve puzzles that they come across while out hunting. Some hunters even say they are smart enough to know exactly how hard to grab the birds so they don’t put too much pressure on them.

golden retriever hunting duck
Image Credit By: Andre Sudholt, Pixabay

5. Energy

Golden Retrievers seem to never tire. This breed is energetic and easily build up their stamina with the right training. This means they can run and retrieve for hours without getting too winded.


Choosing a Dog for Hunting

As time has gone on, many Goldens are bred less for hunting and more for companionship. If you are hoping to purchase one of these dogs to hunt with, we recommend finding a reputable breeder that is field-bred. Don’t be scared to ask the breeder for information on their lineage as well as health history and screenings from the parents and litter. When you purchase a dog who was bred for hunting, they’re more likely to pick up on training and have a knack for retriever birds your first time out.



Golden Retrievers are some of the best hunting dogs you can have. While they aren’t as common to use for sport these days, there are still plenty out there who love nothing more than spending the day retrieving for their masters. If you know what you’re looking for, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a breeder with a good reputation and history of breeding successful hunting dogs.

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Featured Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

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