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15 Best Hunting Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

beagle hunting

15 Best Hunting Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

There are various styles of hunting dogs. Some hunt and kill game themselves, while other breeds aid human hunters with their flushing, springing, or retrieval skills. In any case, hunting dogs need keen senses, alertness, and boundless energy. Many hunting dogs form a close bond with their owner while hunting or lying on the rug in front of the evening fire.

Whether you’re looking for a hunting companion or a loyal dog that enjoys long walks and plenty of activity, here are 15 ideal hunting dog breeds. They are not listed in any particular order, so be sure to check them all out to find the right pup for you!

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The 15 Best Hunting Dog Breeds

1. Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever with bird
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10–12 years
Height 21–25 inches
Weight 50–80 lbs.
Best for Duck hunting

The Labrador Retriever is muscular and strong and usually loves the water. As hunting dogs, they are renowned for their prowess in hunting waterfowl. In the home, they are known for being loving and gentle dogs. They are highly intelligent and easy to train, which allows them to become service dogs, guide dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever at the beach
Image Credit: K O Moore, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10–12 years
Height 21–25 inches
Weight 55–85 lbs.
Best for Migratory bird hunting

The Golden Retriever is similar in many respects to the Labrador. They are roughly the same size and have the same keen sense of intelligence. They are also loving and friendly, so they are also used as therapy and rehabilitation dogs. The Golden is highly skilled as a small game hunter and is an excellent companion in the field and on the couch. They have longer hair than the Lab and shed frequently but are also considered the more sensible of the two breeds.

3. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

chesapeake bay retriever_mtorben_Pixabay
Image Credit: mtorben, Pixabay
Lifespan 10–12 years
Height 20–26 inches
Weight 55–80 lbs.
Best for Sea duck hunting

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was initially bred from Newfoundland puppies and Water Retrievers local to the Chesapeake Bay area. They are highly skilled and revered as water retrievers today. They tend to be stockier than Labradors, and their coat is exceptionally good at protecting against cold water. They love to swim, and like most Retriever breeds, they are equally happy spending time with their owners at home.

4. Mountain Cur

mountain cur_Kyle Christian_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Kyle Christian, Shutterstock
Lifespan 14–16 years
Height 16–26 inches
Weight 30–60 lbs.
Best for Squirrel hunting

The Mountain Cur is a working dog that tracks and hunts small game like raccoons and squirrels. The breed is often called the pioneer’s dog because they were brought over to the U.S. and assisted settlers with hunting, farming, and guarding. They are intelligent and used as multipurpose farm dogs, but they can be quite stubborn and are best in the hands of experienced owners.

5. Vizsla

Vizsla with bird
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan 12–15 years
Height 20–24 inches
Weight 40–65 lbs.
Best for Pheasant hunting

The Vizsla is skilled at hunting fowl and water game. They are excellent scent dogs, and while they make gentle and loving family companions, they can be excitable and show signs of stubbornness. You will need to give them a great deal of exercise to wear them out and calm them down.

6. Weimaraner

Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay
Lifespan 11–14 years
Height 23–27 inches
Weight 55–90 lbs.
Best for Boar hunting

The Weimaraner is a powerful hunting dog that enjoys freedom and space. They love to hunt. If they are not used as a working dog, the Weimaraner will need many long walks and time off the leash. They retain a strong prey drive, so care has to be taken with this breed around smaller animals. They can make good family companions but need plenty of exercise, can be lively, and tend to bark frequently.

7. German Shorthaired Pointer

Image credit: Burry van den Brink, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12–14 years
Height 20–25 inches
Weight 45–70 lbs.
Best for Grouse hunting

German Shorthair Pointers are highly intelligent and equipped to keep up with even the fastest and most agile small game. They are built to deal with challenging terrain, are loyal and obedient, and need an owner who enjoys the outdoors just as much as they do. The Pointer does not have an off switch, so you will have to match their energetic nature.

8. Beagle

Beagle_Ross stevenson, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Ross stevenson, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12–15 years
Height 13–16 inches
Weight 20–25 lbs.
Best for Rabbit hunting

The Beagle is one of the most popular hunting dogs. They are low to the ground and stocky, and their tracking skills are impressive. They are also trainable, eager to please, and enjoy working. As family dogs, they are curious and playful little characters. Like all hunting dogs, they need plenty of exercise to meet their requirements, but Beagles also need attention to thrive.

9. American Foxhound

american foxhound_Giovanni Gio_Pixabay
Image Credit: Giovanni Gio, Pixabay
Lifespan 10–12 years
Height 20–25 inches
Weight 45–75 lbs.
Best for Deer hunting

The American Foxhound has been bred specifically to hunt foxes, and they do so by following a scent. At home, this can make them highly skilled food thieves. They are taller and leaner than Beagles and are athletic dogs that enjoy working hard. Their coat is easy to manage, and they make good pets for adults, children, and families.

10. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon running in the field
Image Credit: nicolasdecorte, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10–12 years
Height 20–24 inches
Weight 50–62 lbs.
Best for Upland bird hunting

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a hunting dog that excels in and around water. Their coat insulates their bodies in cold water, and they are tireless workers. The Griffon is also known for being a playful character and will bring a smile to your face when hunting or at home playing.

11. Jack Russell Terrier

jack russell terrier on log
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock
Lifespan 13–16 years
Height 10–12 inches
Weight 14–20 lbs.
Best for Badger hunting

The Jack Russell Terrier is a lively dog bred for fox hunting. They are proof that a dog does not have to be big to be brave and a skilled hunter. They retain their Terrier ways, which means that they can dig and jump their way out of most situations, and many of them still have a strong prey drive. While smart and loving, the Jack Russell Terrier can be difficult to handle if they do not get enough exercise.

12. Wire Fox Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier hunting
Image Credit: TSViPhoto,Shutterstock
Lifespan 13–14 years
Height 12–16 inches
Weight 13–18 lbs.
Best for Fox hunting

The Wire Fox Terrier can become difficult to handle if they do not have enough exercise. In fact, the Wire Fox Terrier is well known for being mischievous. They are intelligent and loving, but they are always plotting something.

13. Bluetick Coonhound

coonhound_Taylor Walter_Shutterstock
Image By: Taylor Walter, Shutterstock
Lifespan 11–12 years
Height 21–28 inches
Weight 45–75 lbs.
Best for Mountain lion hunting

The Bluetick is one of several coonhound breeds. All of them make worthy hunters and good pets for the active owner. The Bluetick is not a cautious animal, and they will chase cougars if given the chance. They can also be quite vocal when at home, so they may not be suitable for living in an apartment.

14. Bloodhound

Image By: Edoma, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10–12 years
Height 22–28 inches
Weight 80–110 pounds
Best for Deer hunting

The Bloodhound is somewhat unusual in the world of hunting dogs. They are docile animals when they are not in the thick of a hunt. They are affectionate and will happily curl up at your feet or in front of the fire. However, they are highly skilled trackers that can hunt anything once they have the scent. They need regular exercise but aren’t as boisterous as other hunting dogs when at home.

15. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound_Piqsels   
Image By: Piqsels
Lifespan 12–15 years
Height 18–22 inches
Weight 45–60 pounds
Best for  Big game hunting

The Norwegian Elkhound is a strong canine because they are used to hunt and take down elk. They used to hunt with the Vikings, and they can hear virtually every noise in the woods. As a pet, they can be somewhat stubborn, although they will be incredibly loyal to their family. Their stubbornness and strength mean that they are usually best for experienced handlers.


There are dozens of hunting dog breeds, including those that are skilled in the water and those more at home roaming the mountains. All these breeds need regular exercise and can become difficult to handle otherwise. However, they make excellent pets for active and outdoorsy families, and they are intelligent enough to learn commands and tricks.

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Featured Image Credit: olginaa84, Pixabay

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