It takes a special kind of dog to race through briers and track down game.
For the avid outdoorsmen, there's no better companion than a hunting dog. Dogs have been hunting alongside humans for hundreds of years, and the bond a hunter shares with his hunting dog is as strong and intimate as they come.
Hunting dogs live for the sport behind chasing after a pheasant's tail feathers or catching the scent of a nearby flock of mallards, and their owners live for the thrill of watching their dogs at work.
A hunting dog needs to be quick, instinctive, and intelligent, and these five breeds lead the pack.
1. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer is the quintessential bird dog. With power, speed, and endurance, these dogs are athletes that work seamlessly with hunters to retrieve everything from ducks to raccoons.
Their willingness to learn makes training easy and fun, and it won't take long for a German Shorthaired Pointer pup to become a valuable hunting companion. They're affectionate dogs that bond quickly with their owners, and hunting will be ever more enjoyable with a German Shorthaired Pointer prancing by your side.
2. English Setter
Elegant, graceful, and energetic are the best words to describe an English Setter. Their unique coat colors and graceful bodies attract attention everywhere they go, but these dogs are more than a pretty face.
English Setters have been bred as gundogs for the past 400 years, and they use a combination of gut instinct and training to track down their owner's kills. They're the ideal blend of power and stealth, making them an obvious choice for hunters across the world.
Standing no taller than 15 inches, the Beagle may not be exactly what you think of when you imagine a fierce hunting canine. But what they lack in size, they more than make up for in hunting prowess. Beagles were bred to hunt in packs and are often depicted in historic illustrations of hunting parties.
If hunting hares is your game, there's no better partner than a Beagle. Whether working in a pack with military precision or running solo, Beagles use their strong sense of smell and natural instincts to strike fear into the hearts of bunnies everywhere.
4. Golden Retriever
With glamorous good looks, most people think a Golden Retriever's place is atop a pristine couch cushion or casually strolling down a white-washed sidewalk. But don't let those movie star good looks fool you. Golden Retrievers do just as well in a muddy field as a residential living room.
The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in America, and their drive and determination makes them excellent hunting dogs. Under that silky fur is muscle pulled taut and ready to spring. They love spending time with people and catch on quickly to training. Water is a Golden's best friend, and woe be to any waterfowl that gets in their way.
5. American Pit Bull
As the wildcard on this list, the American Pit Bull is plagued with a controversial reputation. There's no doubting the fact that American Pit Bulls are fearsome fighters, and with the right training, they're unmatched when it comes to boar and other large animal hunting.
They're stocky, courageous, confident, silly, obedient, and misunderstood. Don't let common misconceptions keep you from recognizing the pure hunter heart of these powerful animals.
When you find the right partner, all the pieces of the hunt come together. No more fumbling, no more missed opportunities, and no more hunting alone. Whether they're streaking across muddy fields or plunging into ice-cold lakes, these hunting dogs mean business.
Owning a hunting dog is a responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly, but it's a valuable partnership that comes with countless rewards.
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