Healthiest Hunting Dog Breeds in the World [list of the Best 15+]

Best Deer Hunting Dog Breed – Deerhound Dog

Better known in North America as the Scottish Deerhound, these hounds were bred before the advent of the gun, to assist in the capture of red deer for the table. Pace and stamina were essential characteristics, and Greyhounds appear to have been involved in their early development.

Changes in hunting techniques contributed to the decline of the Deerhound, but Queen Victoria helped to ensure the survival of the breed, which was immortalized in paintings by the artist Sir Edwin Landseer.

It is not a common breed today but retains support from a dedicated group of owners. Deerhounds are good-natured dogs and settle well in spacious domestic surroundings. They need plenty of exercise, and will still chase the game if the opportunity presents itself. Although the Deerhound may appear somewhat similar to the Irish Wolfhound, it can be distinguished by its overall sleeker appearance. A good brushing of its harsh wiry hair will be adequate. Dark bluish-grey is the favored coat color.

  • Height not less than 30 in (76 cm), bitches not below 28 in (71 cm)
  • Weight 85-105 lb (38.6-47.6 kg)
  • Coat type/colour A thick, close-lying, harsh somewhat ragged coat is required, with a moustache of silky hair. (See Irish Wolfhound.) Colour grey, brindle and wheaten; red, sandy and fawn were once very popular.

Small Hunting Dog Breed Of Short Hair – Beagle Dog

This is another popular hound that is somewhat similar to the Basset, both in terms of appearance and temperament. It, too, is usually either lemon and white or a tri-colored combination of black, white, and tan, but its ears are much shorter than those of a Basset Hound. The origins of the Beagle are relatively obscure, although it is an old breed that has been kept for 500 years or so.

These dogs were developed in Britain, and here, early in their history, wire-coated individuals were sometimes known, although today all Beagles are smooth-coated. There is still some variation in size, although the original small ‘Pocket’ Beagle, which faded out during the early years of the present century, is smaller than those seen today. It stood up to 10 in (25 cm) at the shoulder, whereas the smallest Beagles today are rarely less than 13 in (33 cm).

The origin of the Beagle is obscure. Queen Elizabeth, I hunted with Beagles and Shakespeare mentioned them. Their work has always been the hunting of the hare and there are numerous packs throughout the country. Recently the breed has become popular as companions. For some time Beagles were the most popular breed in the U.S.A where the original stock had been imported from England. A considerable amount of fresh blood has recently been imported into Britain from the USA, where a smaller hound is preferred.

Beagles have proved highly adaptable by nature, and packs have been used to hunt a wide variety of game, ranging from rabbits in England to wild pigs in Sri Lanka. They may be accompanied on foot or horseback and must have regular exercise if they are kept as pets. Persistent training is to be recommended from an early age, so as to ensure they will return when called if they are running off the leash. Their short coats are easy to keep in top condition with very little grooming.

  • Height: 13-16 in. (33-40.5 cm)
  • Weight: 18-30 lb (8.2-13.6 kg)
  • Coat: smooth and short; of any recognised hound colour.
  • Head: of fair length with deep muzzle and long, low-set ears.
  • Body: short and strong with powerful loins.
  • Tail: moderately long and carried gaily.
  • Colour: black, white and tan.

Most Popular Small Hunting Dog Breed In UK – Bedlington Terrier Dog

The rather manicured appearance of this breed belies a true terrier temperament. Its origins date back to the 1820s when Joseph Ainsley began the development of these terriers, naming them after the town in Northumbia, England, where he was living. Subsequent crosses involving Whippets gave the emerging breed a more streamlined appearance, with the sloping or ‘roach’ back still being evident in Bedlington Terriers today.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier was also used during its evolution and is credited with contributing the characteristic top-knot of the breed. The Bedlington is hardly the sort of dog one could forget if once seen, looking very much like a lamb with its fleece and shape. The name Bedlington was first applied in 1825. A dog called ‘Old Flint’, born in 1782 was one of the early progenitors of the breed, which was then shorter on the leg and lighter in build.

The Bedlington has been used to hunt rats, its pace also proving useful against other animals, especially rabbits and hares. Their natural intelligence, coupled with a willingness to swim if necessary, meant that these terriers were popular companions for poachers.

The tenacious nature of the Bedlington was also utilized in dog-fighting circles.
The coat of the Bedlington Terrier does not moult like that of most breeds, and so regular daily combing is needed to remove dead hairs. Trimming will also be necessary on occasion, to prevent the coat from becoming tangled while, for exhibition purposes, scissoring by hand is required, rather than stripping as with other terriers.

Bedlingtons are active dogs and quite playful, but they may not always agree with other dogs. They generally become a loyal, affectionate member of a family, however, and are quite patient with children, although this obviously depends to some extent on the individual dog. Bedlington Terriers are relatively easy to train.

  • Height: 16 in (40.5 cm)
  • Weight: 18-23 lb (8.2-10.4 kg)
  • Coat: thick and linty with a tendency to twist.
  • Colour: blue, blue-and-tan, liver, liver-and-tabor sandy.
  • Head and skull: narrow but deep and rounded. Profuse silky top-knot. Low-set ears with a fringe at tip.

Best Wolf Hunting Dog Breed – Borzoi Dog

Another member of the sighthounds, the Borzoi evolved in the Soviet Union to hunt wolves and is sometimes also known as the Russian Wolfhound. It has an elegant, aristocratic appearance – long legs, a gracefully curving back with a long neck and tapering head – and appears to have changed little since it was developed in the middle of the seventeenth century. Borzois hunted in couples, approaching a wolf simultaneously from each side. They then wrestled it to the ground and held it for the huntsmen so that it could be killed.

Borzois were first exhibited in Britain by the Prince of Wales at the end of the last century, and also became known in the United States at about the same time. In 1903 the Russian Wolfhound Club of America was founded and did much to popularise the breed. They can be bred in any color, although white is generally prominent in their coat, which needs careful grooming to preserve its appearance.

Borzois can prove rather remote by nature, being far less playful than many other breeds. It is important that they be kept in an environment where they can use their speed regularly. There are few sights more graceful than these dogs running together.

This is the most elegant and spectacular breed of all dogs. A great favorite with the Russian Court and nobles, the Borzoi was condemned and kennels dispersed when the Bolsheviks came to power. The breed was bred exclusively for the purpose of wolf-hunting.

The Borzoi arrived in England about 1875 and immediately attracted attention; many of the leading breeders took an interest in its British future, and by 1892 the first specialist club was formed, largely through the help of the late Duchess of Newcastle. Today, it is bred more for beauty than for coursing but proves fairly popular in Britain and the U.S.A.

  • Height: not less than 29 in. (73.5 cm)
  • Weight: 75-105 lb (34-46.7 kg)
  • Coat: long and silky, flat, waved or curly.
  • Colours: not defined.
  • Head: long and fine, deep powerful jaws.

United States Fox Hunting Dog Breed – Fox Hound Dog

The modern Foxhound is closely related to the old and now extinct Southern Hounds, the Talbots, and the St. Huberts of the Ardennes. Fox-hunting is not as old as stag-hunting, but the Hound commonly used for that sport has now been stabilized for at least three centuries as a defined type; in the 13th century, Hounds were used to the fox, but they were slow plodders compared with the modern dog.

The Foxhound is by no means common, being seldom kept in ordinary life, but its use is entirely in the field of sport. Many of these breeds are in America, where they are usually bred a little shorter and in smaller packs.

  • Height approximately 23 in (58.5 cm)
  • Weight about 70 lb (31.8 kg)
  • Coat type/colour Coat short and smooth. Colour tan-and-white with black markings, tan-and-black with white legs, throat and tail, lemon and white and pied mixtures.

Best Bear Hunting Dog Breed – The English Pointer Dog

The original purpose of the Pointer was to find and indicate a ‘point’ where hares were lurking so that Greyhounds could then be brought in to run them down. The advent of shooting, however, saw the role of the Pointer modified to find suitable games for the guns. Pointers are therefore essentially working dogs but can settle in the home if they have plenty of exercise as well.

The influence of the Pointer (its ‘frozen’ stance characteristic of its fieldwork) has extended into, many other contemporary gundogs, although its origins are now unclear. It has been suggested that it may first have been bred in Spain, using a combination of Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, and Foxhounds. The Spanish Pointer is a heavier breed today than its English counterpart, which is the form known simply as the Pointer. It is bred in a variety of colors, including lemon, orange, and black, and liver, as well as combined forms with white. Tricolored forms are also known.

Like the Spaniel group, the Pointer originated in Spain, where, during the early 17th century, it was famous for its ability to point to the bird with its nose, body, and tail in a straight line. At the time, it was a slow and ponderous animal. In an attempt to produce a speedier dog a cross of Foxhound blood was introduced at the time but without success since the hound’s instinct is to seek scent on the ground whilst a setting dog should find it in the air. The Pointer was one of the two breeds at the first British dog show held at Newcastle in 1859.

  • Height 25-27 in (63.5-68.5)
  • Weight 44-66 lb (20-30 kg)
  • Coat type/colour Coat short and smooth. Colour white with liver, black or lemon markings, although whole blacks are sometimes seen. Ears long, thin and silky; body lithe and muscular; the deep muzzle should be somewhat concave; tail long and tapering; should lash from side to side when the dog is moving.

Healthiest & Best Bird Hunting Dog Breed For Beginners – German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointers descend from the old slow, heavy Spanish Pointers. The objective was a breed that would be capable of tracking and pointing its game and retrieving it once it had been shot. To improve and stabilize the hound breed, the German Club was founded in 1872.

Americans and Canadians found these ‘bird dogs’ of value in their type of country and imported a number between 1918 and 1939. In Great Britain, a Club to further interest in the breed was established in 1951 and a few dogs appeared at shows in 1953. Since then progress has been steady and these dogs are gradually becoming more popular in the show ring and the field.

  • Height 21-25 in (53.5-63.5 cm) at shoulder.
  • Weight 45-70 lb (20.4-31.8 kg)
  • Coat type/colour Coat short, flat and coarse to the touch. Colour either solid liver, liver-and-white spotted or ticked. The thick, high-set tail is docked to approximately half-length.

Best Duck Hunting Dog Breed – Retriever (Chesapeake) Dog

In 1807, an English brig foundered off the Maryland coast – the crew and two puppies were rescued by the American ship Canton. The puppies, named ‘Canton’ and ‘Sailor’, one black and the other ‘dingy red’, were probably of the breed that produced the modern Labrador retriever; remaining in the locality they became excellent fun and water dogs.

From this pair descended a line of hardy dogs noted for their prowess in the icy waters of Chesapeake Bay. Crosses of other retrieving breeds may have been made in later years. The Chesapeake Bay retriever is recognized by the American Kennel Club but seldom seen in Great Britain although exhibited at Crufts in 1936.

  • Height 21-26 in (53.5-66 cm)
  • Weight 65-75 lb (29.5-34 kg)
  • Coat type/colour The coat is thick, short and wavy and the harsher outer coat is somewhat oily and thus resistant to wet. The colour varies from dark brown to ‘dead grass.

Best Hunting Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed – Spaniel (Irish Water)

This traditional Irish breed may have descended originally from stock that originated in Europe. There is a clear relationship between the Standard Poodle and this breed, and there are suggestions that the Portuguese Water Dog might have played a role in its development.

There used to be two forms of water dog in Ireland. The North Water Spaniel was the smaller variety, with a wavy coat that was tow-colored (parti-colored), while the southern form had a curly coat and, overall, was more similar to the contemporary Irish Water Spaniel.

The coat of this breed remains a distinctive feature, being dark liver with a slightly purplish hue and quite tightly curled over the body. The hair on the legs and also on the top of the head is more open, with the face and tail having conspicuously straight hair.

These spaniels are totally at home in the water, being powerful swimmers and able to dive without hesitation. Their coat provides good insulation and is water-repellent. The Irish Water Spaniel is not a particularly common breed, but is very responsive to training and makes a lively, intelligent companion.

You may have to tolerate your pet from time to time plunging into a pond, however, if the opportunity presents itself. These dogs are extremely intelligent, make willing workers, excelling in water retrieving. When ‘off duty’ they have an endearing and somewhat clownish sense of humor.

  • Height 21-23 in (53.5-58.5 cm)
  • Weight 55-60 lb (25-27.2 kg)
  • Coat type/colour Coat (the most vital feature) dense, tight and crisp ringlets all over the body except the face, tail and front of hind legs below the hocks. Colour rich puce-liver.

The Most Famous Hunting Dog Breed With Spots – Dalmatian Dog

This elegant breed was originally developed in Yugoslavia and brought to England during the 18th century where their splendid physique made them valued as coach dogs.

It was originally intended that they should be guards for the mail coaches but, before long, no smart or fashionable equipage was considered complete without one or two of these dogs running either beside the wheels or with their noses to the back axle. The arrival of the internal combustion engine made their task redundant and now these dogs are simply pleasant and sometimes sporting companions.

These are very good house dogs and make dependable guardians. They are unlikely to bark unless there is a stranger in the vicinity. You must be willing to allow them a good run every day, however, which may not always be easy in a town. Dalmatians are energetic dogs by nature, interestingly, their puppies are born pure white in color and only develop their characteristic spots during the first few weeks of life. The short coat itself requires very little attention, even during a moult.

Check that any puppy that you are thinking of purchasing has normal hearing, as some individuals can prove deaf. In a good exhibition dog, the spots should be clearly defined and circular in shape. Although black-spotted Dalmatians are most common, there is also a variety of spots that are liver-brown in color. The coat itself needs the minimum of grooming to stay in good condition, but, particularly during a moult, brushing should be carried out in the garden to save loose hairs being shed around the home.

  • Height 23-24 in (58.5-61 cm)
  • Weight 50-55 lb (25 kg)
  • Coat type/colour The sleek, glossy coat should be short and fine; the ground colour pure white with round, well-defined spots of black or liver colour. The body spots should be approximately the size of half a crown and smaller on the head, face, ears, tail and legs.

Best Hunting Dog Breed With Beards – Airedale Terrier Dog

The largest of the terrier breeds, the Airedale is named after the River Aire in Yorkshire, England, where it was first bred. Here it was originally known by a variety of local names, such as the Bingley and the Waterside Terrier. Its present name was established at the Airedale Agricultural Show in 1879.

Airedale Terriers are thought to be descended from the now-extinct Black and Tan Terrier, with crossings involving Otterhounds also playing a part in its ancestry. The Airedale has been used for hunting a variety of games, ranging from rats to foxes and badgers. Its intelligent and alert nature has led to its involvement in police work, and the breed was a popular choice as a messenger dog, working in the trenches during the First World War.

Today, these terriers are a frequent sight at dog shows around the world, although for show purposes their coat has to be stripped by hand, which is an onerous task. Airedales are tough dogs and may occasionally become embroiled in a fight with another dog, but they are not aggressive by nature. They will prove formidable guards, however, being very loyal to their owner. In terms of exercise, they do need a good run every day, otherwise, they may become bored and destructive.

  • Height 23-24 in (58.5-61 cm)
  • Weight 44 lb (20 kg)
  • Coat type/colour smooth, black and tan

Rare Otter Hunting Dog Breeds – Otterhound Dog

For many centuries the otter has been hunted in England; the earliest references are those made to the Hounds of King John and other 13th century packs. These were not the Otterhounds of the type seen today being then very promiscuously bred and much slower in action.

The modern Otterhound is the product of the Southern Hound, Bloodhound, Griffon Vendeen, and the Welsh Hound. The tendency today is, unfortunately, to use crosses of the two breeds, rather than maintain the pure race, which is infinitely superior. The Otterhound is still recognized by the American Kennel Club and used in the U.S.A. for general sport.

  • Height 24 in (61 cm)
  • Weight 65 lb (29.5 kg)
  • Coat type/colour Coat hard, crisp and not too long, with woolly undercoat. Colour grizzle, black, blue or red, with tan markings.

The Most Versatile Hunting Dog Breeds – English Setter Dog

The English Setter combines great physical beauty and charm of character with working ability. Setting dogs was first heard of in this country during the 16th century.

As a breed, the English Setter owes a great deal to Mr. Edward Laverack and Mr. Purcell Llewellin. During the 19th century, these men did much to improve their appearance and working ability. The purpose of a setter was to locate the game and then dropdown to indicate its presence. The breed was first taken to the United States in 1874, and here they soon began to make a strong impression in field trials.

The English Setter is still highly valued as a gundog and can be trained quite easily for this purpose. These dogs enjoy outdoor life and should never be kept in a small apartment, deprived of the opportunity for proper exercise. They have been bred in various color combinations with white, including liver, lemon, and black forms. There is also a tri-color, which is black, white, and tan.

Providing you have adequate space, this gentle and affectionate breed will be an ideal choice as a family pet, although the coat will require grooming and some trimming to maintain its good condition. It is customary to bathe these dogs prior to a show and then comb the coat flat while it is still wet, leaving it to dry in this position.

  • Height 25-27 in (63.5-68.5), bitches 24-25½ in
  • Weight 66 lb (30 kg), bitches 56-62 lb
  • Coat type/colour The coat should be slightly wavy, long and silky with breeching and fore-legs well feathered. Colours black-and-white, lemon-and-white, liver-and-white or tri-colour. Scimitar-shaped tail well feathered.

Best German Hunting Dog Breeds – Weimaraner Dog

This breed has been developed with considerable care. It originated in Germany during the last century, from crossings of various breeds, including pointers, and was bred as a gundog. The German breed club insisted on rigorous standards, and only approved matings were permitted. Weimaraners only became more widely known during the 1940s, when the breed was introduced in the United States. Their sleek, silver-grey appearance attracts keen interest, but it is not always appreciated that Weimaraners need proper training to ensure the best development of their working abilities.

These dogs have active natures and must be able to have a good run every day. They have proved obedient and make loyal companions, while their coat needs very little attention to remain immaculate. Occasionally, a long-haired form of the Weimaraner crops up in the litters of normal dogs. these cannot be registered, but are otherwise identical to the true Weimaraner in terms of temperament.

  • Height 24-27 in (61-68.5 cm)
  • Weight 70-85 lb (31.8-38.6 kg)
  • Coat type/color Coat short, smooth, and sleek. Ears long and lobular and set on high. Tail docked to about 6 in.

Best Spanish Hunting Dog Breeds – Ibizan Hound Dog

This appears to be another ancient breed, which was known to the Egyptians. Its modern name is derived from the island of Ibiza, where the breed is believed to have been maintained in a virtually pure state for several thousand years. Ibizan Hounds are also traditionally popular in nearby Spain, where a wire-haired version is known. These hounds have only become known to a wider audience during recent years, however, first reaching the United States in 1956.

Their sleek, alert demeanor has ensured that they have established a strong following. Their hearing is acute, and they are now valued as gundogs. Ibizan Hounds will settle easily in domestic surroundings, get along well with children, and are not aggressive by nature. You will need to be prepared to take considerable exercise, however, if you decide to keep one of these lively hounds. They can be either a solid red, white, or lion (tawny), but are more often a combination of these colors.

The Ibizan Hound is a swift and very ancient type of dog and thought to descend from hounds introduced to Ibiza by the Moors or the Phoenicians. It has maintained a high degree of purity and is valued as a hunter and watchdog. Two specimens were exhibited at Cruft’s in 1929. During the past few years, others have been imported and there are signs of the breed becoming established in England, and a club has been formed to advance its interests.

  • Height 22-29 in (56-73.5 cm)
  • Weight 42-50 lb (19-22.7 kg)
  • Coat type/colour The coat can be short and smooth or rough and wiry. Colour white-and-red, white-and-chestnut, white-and-lion colour, or any of these colours alone. Body racy with long tail; ears large and erect.

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