Traits and Types of Champion Hunting Dogs

Traits and Types of Champion Hunting Dogs

Hunting dogs must be properly trained. In addition, certain traits bred into some dog breeds will create better hunting companions. Not just any dog is up to the task. Keep reading to learn more about the qualities successful hunting dogs have and which dog breeds are best suited for hunting.

Which Traits Should a Hunting Dog Have?

The following natural traits in a dog will help produce the best hunting dog, in addition to proper training.

Eager to Please

First and foremost, a good hunting dog should be eager to please its owner and obedient. A dog that runs off and devours prey on its own, or barks loudly scaring off prey, will be a frustrating companion for the hunter. Loyal and cooperative breeds, and a dog that listens to commands, will be easier to train for hunting purposes.

Smelling and Tracking Ability

A great nose is essential for good hunting dogs. The dog will have to track and find prey, potentially for long distances, in harsh terrain, and during inclement weather. In order to know a dog’s respective smelling and tracking ability in advance, it is helpful to know the dog’s breed and genetic smelling abilities. Certain dog breeds are bred for this very purpose.

Stamina and Running Shape

A hunting dog will potentially have to run for miles tracking prey. Therefore, the dog needs to be in excellent shape and have a body conducive for running long distances. Good stamina is essential for a dog to last during long hunting trips.

Retrieving and Soft Mouth

Ideally, a hunting dog will love to retrieve things for its owner, such as waterfowl and other prey. Starting with a dog that already enjoys playing fetch with something as simple as a ball will help later when training that dog to retrieve for hunting purposes specifically. The dog should also have a soft mouth and gentle touch so that the prey is intact and not damaged when returned to the hunter.


Not all dogs like to swim, but a good hunting dog does. Sometimes prey falls into, or needs to be tracked through water, such as rivers and lakes. The ability to retrieve prey while swimming in water is a nearly essential hunting dog trait.

Work Ethic

Some dogs are better suited to be work and sport dogs. Hunting dogs must be disciplined, and if trained properly, will enjoy the sport. If a dog is well-disciplined and more naturally amenable to hard work, the training will be much easier for the hunter. hunting dogs never hide how they are feeling, so owners always know what's happening with them

7. Evident Emotion

It's no secret that dogs are emotive animals. When they're happy, they wag their tails and jump around to show you their excitement. If a dog feels sad, it might whimper until it receives some much-needed affection. Hunting dogs never hide how they're feeling, ensuring their owner always knows what's happening with them. As a result, the dog and the hunter can communicate perfectly.

8. Intelligence

While every dog breed is smart in their own unique ways, certain breeds just have a higher level of intelligence than others. An adequate duck hunting dog will know how to make a quick decision in order to capture a duck, even if they weren't prepared for it. Hunting dog breeds are intelligent enough to follow commands and assess the situation to make the right choices to get the job done.

9. Athleticism

Of course, dogs used for hunting must be athletic. It's necessary for hunting dogs to walk and run for miles, keeping up with the fast-changing demands of hunting in wooded areas and fields. Additionally, under the scope of athleticism, sport dogs should have high endurance levels, speedy reflexes and enough stamina to keep up with their owners.

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What Are Good Hunting Dogs?

There are several excellent dog breeds for hunting because they feature many of the traits listed above. Here are a few examples of dogs that are ideal for hunting ducks, birds and other game in the wilderness:

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retriever makes for the perfect hunting dog. These pups are extremely loyal and smart, making them superb communicators out on the hunting trail. Additionally, Golden Retrievers are famous for their soft mouths, so you can rest assured they'll deliver the prey undamaged. Golden Retrievers are ideal duck hunting dogs. If you're interested in a dog that can hunt prey while being an adorable family companion, a Golden Retriever is your best bet.


These pups were bred in Hungary as hunting dogs, so hunting is in their blood. With their medium-sized stature, Vizslas have a strong presence on hunting grounds without compromising agility or endurance. If you love hunting across miles of wilderness, Vizslas are ideal companions as they can run for long distances with ease. Vizslas are best for hunting ducks and rabbits and they can help you track deer, too.

American Foxhounds

These hound dogs are classic hunters, bred for helping take down foxes in the wild. The American Foxhound's independent nature makes it ideal for hunting, and its agility is perfect for navigating winding paths and rough terrain, whether you're tracking foxes or deer. If you prefer a smaller dog that already has significant hunting prowess, you may prefer an American Foxhound for your next excursion.

Contact Golden Meadow Retrievers to Adopt Your New Hunting Dog

Are you planning on adopting a puppy so you can have a hunting partner? Golden Meadow Retrievers breeds and raises Golden Retrievers and Vizslas in Moorpark, California. Wherever you're located in the U.S., we can help you find your next puppy. As an American Kennel Club (AKC) Breeder of Merit, we work hard to ensure our puppies are as healthy as possible so they can go on to become great hunting dogs and companions for you. Contact us today to learn more about our dogs and begin the adoption process. Updated January 17, 2022

Traits and Types of Champion Hunting Dogs

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