This is the sole purpose of this site – to explore and refine as much information and insight into their dog behaviour and care requirements.
Hunting dog Breeds
A hunting dog is any dog that was bred specifically to hunt another animal with or without a human.
Hunting dogs include hounds, terriers, dachshunds, cur type dogs, and gun dogs. These hunting dog subcategories can be further broken down as:
- 1 HOUNDS = Sight Hounds. Scent hounds, lurchers
- 2 GUN DOGS = Retrievers, Setters, flushing spaniels, Pointers, water dogs
- 3 TERRIERS (single category, many breeds)
- 4 DACHSHUND (single breed, various sizes, coats)
- 5 FEISTS (single category)
- 6 CURS (single category)
Some breeds go back many hundreds of years, some breeds are only very recent and not AKC defined.
As you can see, there are an incredible array of hunting dog categories. We will mainly look at the Hound dogs and Gun dogs / water dog breeds. That said I am sure your site search will come up with many other varieties.
We will concentrate on those dogs that make up the bulk of the hound dog category, the sight hound (that visually locate prey) and the scent hounds (follow scents to track prey). These dogs are employed at the very start of the hunt and are often ‘retired’ when approaching big game for other bigger purpose built breeds to finish the kill.
This hunting dog category includes one of the most diverse sets of breeds that you will find anywhere. Retrievers were originally known as water spaniels and would retrieve game shot in swamps. Setter Dogs have an inherent skill of locating and pointing at game birds.
Flushing spaniels locate and flush game out to the hunter and can work in water or dry land.
Pointer dogs locate and point at small game so that the hunter can approach and flush the prey/ game. They can perform a similar function to setters.
Water dogs are a sub-category or retrievers but have enough physical variations to be given their own category. They are strong swimmers, have webbing between their toes and soft jaws for retrieving through rough terrain without harming the game.
HUNTING DOG CLASSIFICATIONS
You will notice that many of these categories seem to overlap. Sight hounds, scent hounds, pointers and setters can all be employed at the beginning of a hunt to locate the game. Though they are usually attuned to different sized prey and used in different hunting landscapes. This site will unravel the nuances between breeds that at first look may appear to fulfill the exact same functions.
You will see that some dogs like Cocker spaniels can be classed as water dogs and flushing spaniels. The cocker spaniel was specifically bred to retrieve downed woodcock birds, in a water environment, though they can be used for flushing too. The reality is that all dogs evolved from wolves and reduce or enhance the seven major sequences that wolves use in their hunt. This is from initial tracking or sight of prey, to actual capture and kill.
CURS & FEIST BREEDS
Some of these dogs have been around for centuries and are a highly refined and specialist hunting dog. More modern hunt dog varieties such as the Cur (southern USA) and Feist dogs (some sources say this is just a type of Cur dog that hunt squirrels small game) tend to be recent American inventions and are not readily AKC classified. They are created for very specific hunting niches and usually defined by their specific function (treeing etc) or County/ Breeder.