They live for the hunt. They live to please you. And they love to run, swim, leap and above all, bark. Man has had a hand in making these dogs lean, mean, hunting machines. In fact, the dog-man hunting pair have been with us for over 20,000 years -- since the hunter-gatherers’ period. Scholars also believe the Egyptians were one of the first groups to begin breeding dogs specifically for hunting purposes. The Egyptians bred large dogs meant to take down large prey.
There are specialized skills and strengths in each breed. There are breeds with a highly evolved sense of smell, like the beagle, which is used to sniff out contraband. Then there are those with a highly developed sense of sight, like the Irish wolfhound which protects large flocks of sheep. Or those with a keen sense of hearing such as the Norwegian elkhounds which have large ears, making them perfect receptors. Even the bodies of hunting dogs have been perfectly developed for the terrain and type of animal they catch. For instance, the German shorthaired pointer has a waterproof coat and webbed feet to retrieve birds from the water. Find out if you can identify these hunting dog breeds from a single image. Start the quiz right now.
Like other members of the Setter family, the English Setter is a gun dog or bird dog. It is a medium-sized dog with an average lifespan of about 12 years. English Setters hunt their prey by scent and freeze or set in position once the prey is found.
The Brittany breed of gun dogs was developed in and named after a province in France. Development of these energetic, well-built dogs began in the 1600s but they were not formally recognized until 1907. Most Brittanys have a naturally short tail.
Although the Treeing Walker Coonhound was bred specifically for raccoon hunting, it is often used for much bigger game, such as deer and even mountain lion. Treeing Walker Coonhounds are noted for their speed and excellent tracking abilities.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a fast and agile gun dog which is frequently used for hunting birds on land and in the water. This breed of medium to large sized dogs is well-suited to the task as it has a waterproof coat and webbed feet.
These small scent hounds are often used in the detection of contraband. They are also quite often chosen as pets, with the most popular one perhaps being Charlie Brown’s pet Beagle, Snoopy, in the long-running Peanuts comic strip.
The American Foxhound is a scent hound which, as its name suggests, was developed for the purpose of fox hunting. The breed is generally good-tempered but shy and may be found in a variety of colors.
The German Wirehaired Pointer is listed among the griffon type of dogs. Griffon have characteristically rough or wiry hair. Some, but not all, of the breeds which are regarded as griffon have the term "griffon" included in their name.
This large scent hound is characterized by its rich black and tan coloring, as well as by its extra-long ears. The Black and Tan Coonhound makes a good pet but its high level of independence means it may not always be suitable as a pet for children.
This LBD (Little Brown Dog) as it is sometimes called, has been bred as a hunter of wild turkey and duck. Their medium-length coat ranges from straight to moderately curly.
Irish Setters are characterized by their solid red or chestnut coloring which is attributed to selective breeding. The original Irish Setters were actually colored in a red and white mix.
These large-sized gun dogs fetch (retrieve) shot birds, taking them back to the hunter without damaging the bird in any way. The three subtypes of Golden Retrievers are the British, American and Canadian. They make wonderful family pets and are often featured in films and TV series.
By definition, the Redbone Coonhound has a short, smooth, dense coat which is solid red in color. The only variation allowed are small patches of white on the chest and on the feet. The Redbone Coonhound is long-eared and has webbed toes.
Often called simply “Pointer," this gun dog is typically white with colored patches but there are instances of English Pointers being solid colored. Aside from finding birds and pointing out their location, the breed can also be taught to retrieve game.
The origins of the American Pit Bull Terrier can be traced back to the British Isles. Some locations (and entire countries) have restricted or banned the ownership of American Pit Bull Terriers due to issues with their handling and temperament.
English Cocker Spaniels, which are bred as hunters, will typically have a shorter coat and less pendulous ears than those bred for show. The breed is regarded as an excellent choice for a family pet as it enjoys being in the company of others.
The mottled navy blue coloring of the Bluetick Coonhound is actually a result of black ticking (not blue as the name suggests) on a white background. This breed of coonhound has a coat that is short and smooth with a glossy appearance.
As a hunting dog, the English Springer Spaniel is trained to flush out and retrieve game. It is a quick learner and generally makes a very good house pet – however, show-bred versions are susceptible to the very rare disorder known as “rage syndrome” (just as with the English Cocker Spaniel).
These hard-working dogs love to be kept active and engaged. They can be used for hunting or treeing of prey and can also be trained as waterfowl hunters. The Mountain Cur has an average lifespan of 16 years.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever (sometimes referred to as Chessie) has a thick double coat of wavy (not curly) hair. The accepted coloration of the Chesapeake Retriever does not allow for any black markings but tolerates a small amount of white on the breast, belly, back or toes.
The name of the American Leopard Coonhound (often simply referred to as the American Leopard) comes from its distinctive markings. Actually, the breed was previously known as the Leopard Cur, with the change in name occurring in 2008.
The Large Münsterländer is a rare breed derived from the German Longhaired Pointer. They have a dense coat that is typically mostly black on their heads but mostly white on their tails. In-between, the combination of black and white is highly variable.
With its red and white coloring in a hard and wiry coat, the Welsh Hound bears a close resemblance to the English Foxhound. In fact, the Welsh Hound is a type of foxhound, with its breed gaining recognition in 2006.
Among the poodle breed of dogs, Standard Poodles (a size that includes the Corded Poodle) were traditionally kept as hunting or field dogs. The coat of the hunting Corded Poodle is always kept shorter than that of the Corded Poodle dogs which are show-bred.
This fairly large breed of dog is extremely popular and pleasant and they are often kept as family pets or trained to work with the disabled. Aside from retrieving game (as their name suggests), Labrador Retrievers are also good trackers and hunters.
These energetic, small terriers were originally bred to hunt foxes and other similarly sized quarry. The coat of the Jack Russel Terrier may be either smooth or rough and they are instances where a dog has a coat that is both. The Jack Russel Terrier has a life expectancy of up to 16 years.
The Plott Hound is a breed of coonhound, but unlike the other breeds in that group, the Plott Hound is not descended from the foxhound. The Plott Hound is the state dog of North Carolina and was originally bred as a hunter of boar.
The American Cocker Spaniel is known simply as the Cocker Spaniel in its native country. The same holds true for the British Cocker Spaniel. The American Cocker Spaniel is a long-eared gun dog with very distinctive medium-long hair.
The Small Münsterländer is a gun dog which is often trained to hunt, point out and retrieve prey. They are social and highly intelligent and as such, do very well as house dogs.
Dachshunds are normally muscular, long-bodied and short-legged. Their coats come in three varieties which are longhaired, smooth shorthaired, and wirehaired. They were bred to scent and hunt burrowing quarry.
The Whippet is a descendant of the greyhound and like the greyhound, it is also popular in dog racing. They are fast sighthounds (hunting prey by sight) and are regarded as a good choice for a house dog.
The Smooth Fox Terrier is an energetic and friendly dog which was traditionally used for fox bolting – chasing foxes into the open. These dogs enjoy interacting with humans – so being groomed is a particular treat for them. Smooth Fox Terriers can live up to 19 years with proper care.
This dog also goes by the names “Redtick Coonhound” and “American English Coonhound.” It is a scent hound and will track and find its prey using its keen sense of smell. English Coonhound color variations include redtick (most common), bluetick and tricolor with ticks.
The Weimaraner is often described as a good starting dog for anyone just learning how to hunt with dogs. It enjoys human company and becomes quite attached to its owner. The Weimaraner is prone to suffering from separation anxiety when its owner leaves (to go to work or run errands, for example).
The Dogo Argentino is also known as the Argentine Dogo and the Argentine Mastiff. It has a completely white coat and any Dogos born with any other coloration mixed in (no matter how small) are often considered to be flawed. The Dogo Argentino is large and muscular and was specifically developed for big game hunting.
This medium-sized gun dog has a short coat which is normally a solid golden rust color. The Vizsla is a gentle, loyal and affectionate dog which makes it ideal to have as a pet. It is also a great swimmer and hunter.
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest retriever breed. Its name is derived from where the breed was first developed (Nova Scotia in Canada) and from its tolling ability (luring waterfowl to within shooting range of the hunter).
The Wire Fox Terrier is named for its rough, broken coat. This energetic and intelligent dog was developed specifically to chase quarry back into its burrow and keep it there until the hunter arrives.
The rare American Water Spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin. It is an agile hunter both on land and in the water. Its coat can be either curled or wavy and it is typically liver, brown or chocolate colored.
The Portuguese Water Dog shares the same ancestry as the poodle. It is classified as a working, utility and gun dog. Two well-known Portuguese Water Dogs are Sunny and Bo, owned by former U.S. President Barack Obama and his family.
The Fiest breed originated in the U.S. and was first used as ratters (chasing and killing rats). The Fiest goes by several other names including Treeing Feist, Treeing Terrier, Ratting Terrier, Rat Terrier.
The Bloodhound has been bred for centuries and has developed into what is perhaps the best of all the scent hounds. Its ability to discern and track human scent is legendary. Police forces very often use the Bloodhound to find fugitives and lost individuals.
The Clumber Spaniel is the largest breed among the spaniel type of dogs. Apart from its size, it is distinguished by its, usually, white coat. The Clumber Spaniel is very versatile as a retrieving dog and is a good choice when the hunt takes place in an area with dense cover.
The Lurcher is not a purebred dog but instead results from the crossing of a sighthound with another breed of dog. In order to obtain the best characteristics, the most common pairings are: a sighthound and a collie (which introduces a herding instinct); and a sighthound and a large scent hound (which improves tracking abilities).
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is also known by the names “African Lion Hound” and “African Lion Dog.” It was often used in lion hunting and was tenacious enough to keep a cornered lion at bay until the hunter arrived. Its name refers to a distinguishing ridge of hair running down its back.
This medium-sized dog was redeveloped from its original show dog status to be a hunting dog. The Field Spaniel has long silky hair which is most commonly solid black, liver or roan.
The Barbet is a rare, medium-sized dog with a very thick and long coat. The texture of the coat can be described as woolly, curly and wavy in different locations on the dog. As a hunting dog, the Barbet is ranked as a waterdog and is used for flushing and retrieving prey.
The Sussex Spaniel is a sporting and gun dog which enjoys being around people. It has a rather laid-back temperament but can become quite protective of its owners. The Sussex Spaniel makes a very good pet for families with small children.
The Spinone Italiano is an ancient Italian breed of gun dog. They are very docile and loving animals that make extremely good family dogs. The Spinone Italiano has a life expectancy of approximately 9 years.
While the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has a soft under coat, its outer coat is best described as tough and wiry. The coat of this hunting dog may be a variety of colors but dogs with completely black coats are considered flawed. The nose of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is always brown.