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10 Deer Hunting Dog Breeds: Understanding Which Is Right for You

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

German Shorthaired Point_Vitalii_Mamchuk, Shutterstock

10 Deer Hunting Dog Breeds: Understanding Which Is Right for You

For centuries, dogs have made excellent companions and efficient hunting partners. Their superior sense of smell, agility, endurance, and ability to navigate all types of terrain have enabled canines to hunt down animals that humans can’t handle by themselves. If you’re looking for an amazing canine for your next hunting adventure, here are the top 10 deer-hunting dog breeds to consider.

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The 10 Deer Hunting Dog Breeds

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Image Credit: danielle828, Pixabay

Labs are widely considered to be the best duck hunters, but did you know that they also make awesome deer hunters? The energetic, enthusiastic, and extremely intelligent Labrador Retriever can withstand almost any type of weather condition. These pups can go the extra mile when it comes to tracking and retrieving the kill. If you plan on hunting near bodies of water or on colder days, be sure to have a Lab by your side.

2. American Foxhound

american foxhound_Olga Aniven_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

As the dog of choice for America’s first president, the American Foxhound excels as a deer-hunting dog. Thanks to their strength, stamina, and sharp sense of smell, the American Foxhound is ideal for daytime deer drives. Whether alone or in a pack, the American Foxhound will chase down a deer until the animal is exhausted. This love for the run categorizes American Foxhounds as “running” hounds instead of “treeing” hounds.

At home, the Foxhound loves to spend quality time with the family and gets along well with young children and other pets.

3. Treeing Walker Hound

Treeing Walker Coonhound_Mary Swift, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

The Treeing Walker Hound is a great hunting partner for deer, bears, coyotes, and raccoons. They have a high prey drive and the ability to chase down almost anything. They were bred in the United States and love to run and chase. Thanks to this hound’s distinctive call, you’ll know exactly where the deer is. Treeing Walker Hounds are great for quick hunts and all-day hunting competitions.

4. Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick coonhound
Image Credit: Taylor Walter, Shutterstock

This scent hound will be hot on the tracks of any deer it comes across. Bluetick Coonhounds have been known even to chase mountain lions and cougars! If a big cat ever corners you, you can rest easy knowing this hound has your back. Weighing between 45 and 80 pounds, this stellar sniffer can be very vocal while not pursuing the game. The Bluetick Coonhound also makes an excellent household pet for active families.

5. German Shorthair Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer pointing
Image Credit: Burry van den Brink, Shutterstock

Hunting deer requires plenty of stamina and scent power. Thankfully, the German Shorthair Pointer has both! This pointing breed can easily outwit even the most elusive deer and efficiently hunt down game in all kinds of terrain. The German Shorthair Pointer was officially recognized by the AKC in 1930 and makes a great family pet.

6. English Setter

Image Credit: michellegraber, Pixabay

The English Setter is a gorgeous dog with a silky coat and large head. They’re skilled gun dogs hailed for their running and pointing skills. The English Setter will gladly plod along next to you until it’s time to go to work. Then, the dog will take off and expertly locate their prey.

7. Beagle

Beagle dog
Image Credit: Ross stevenson, Shutterstock

Despite their small stature, Beagles make excellent deer hunters. Their incessant baying helps you locate them and the deer easily. The colorful Beagle is also easy to spot and has one of the best noses in the hunting world. Additionally, Beagles make great family pets for country, suburban, and city dwellers.

8. Plott Hounds

Plott Hound
Image Credit: Purino, Shutterstock

The agile and athletic Plott Hound is a remarkable deer-hunting companion. This tough, smart, and gritty breed can find and hold a scent like a pro. Their choppy, loud bark allows you to follow them when they’re pursuing game. Plott Hounds can easily navigate dense, woodsy areas to help you locate hiding deer. Recognized by the AKC in 2006, the Plott Hound also makes a great family friend in the home.

9. Mountain Cur

Brindle Mountain Cur dog
Image Credit: Kyle Christian, Shutterstock

The Mountain Cur was developed in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia to hunt raccoons and squirrels. Today, thanks to their endurance, speed, and sense of smell, they make wonderful deer hunters. They have enhanced treeing instincts, and they were indispensable to early pioneers and settlers.

10. Golden Retriever

golden retriever_Shutterstock_Olena Brodetska
Image Credit: Olena Brodetska, Shutterstock

As one of the most popular breeds for families, the Golden Retriever is also a great hunting partner. This highly intelligent dog can navigate the water as easily as they can make their way through the forest. Golden Retrievers are smart, adaptable, and strong, and they love to run and chase. They obey commands promptly and make excellent pets.


Breeds to Avoid

While all dogs have a natural prey drive, some breeds aren’t good hunters. They’re better suited as lap dogs. Some dogs that you should never hunt with include the Maltese and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel_BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

How to Pick a Deer Hunting Dog

There are some unique qualities that every great deer-hunting dog should possess. These include:

  • Desire to hunt
  • Willingness to learn
  • Agility
  • Stamina
  • Strength


In Conclusion

A deer hunter should never be without an excellent hunting dog. Although the dogs we discussed excel at deer hunting, some breeds are also skilled at hunting other creatures. For instance, the Mountain Cur has excellent treeing skills for hunting raccoons and squirrels. Hunting dogs typically have a higher prey drive and a better sense of smell than most breeds, but they still require thorough training.

Featured Image Credit: Vitalii_Mamchuk, Shutterstock

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