Hunting dogs are the best companions for hunters especially with the canines’ instinctive characteristics that enable them to work with humans conveniently while at the same time adapting to their environments and the climate. In fact, scholarly resources are convinced that hunting dogs were already present by the time men used hunting as their survival means. Scholars believe that hunting dogs are specifically bred to accompany hunters dating back during the British colony of the late 18th century up to the present. In our modern times, hunting dogs are used not only during hunting activities, but also during search and rescue, sporting activities in some European and Mexican countries, and specialized guard units.
1st: Basset Hound
Basset hounds are traditionally known for the skills in hunting badgers and rabbits using their sense of smell in tracking and scent recognition. Prominent characteristics of the basset hounds are their short but powerful legs, heavy bone structure, large head, short and shiny coat, and massively tough pads. Despite their hound blood relation, basset hounds are known for their friendly temperament, spoiled character, frequent vocal responses such as barking, murmuring and howling, and most significantly, their prominent ability to vocalize their emotion and intent.
Basset hounds are extremely good at sensing movement around them and even the slightest variation in the climate and environment. Using their unique vocal skills, they can easily relay to their human companions the observed changes in its surroundings, clues of the tracked object, and the traces of the target’s scent. Basset hounds also possess strong scent detectors and extraordinary memory for the different smells they encounter thus allowing them to easily track their targets.
Also known as the St. Hubert Hound as well as Sleuth Hound, Bloodhounds are the top-notchers in tracking through the use of smell. Bloodhounds are known for their skills in hunting deer and wild boar, as well as tracking missing persons, prisoners and even missing animals. Bloodhound is able to retain the smell of their target for days and use it even when situated in long distances. Being a large breed and fearless breed, bloodhound is quite gentle, affectionate and loves to be surrounded by human beings. In fact, many owners in North America and Britain have bloodhound their family pet.
The existence of bloodhound in the area of hunting can be traced back during the 13th century in the medieval stories of the Scottish Robert the Bruce and William Wallace who referred to them as Sleuthhounds. According to various historical logs, bloodhounds are known to track thieves, poachers, cross-borders, and wild animals. During the American Civil War, bloodhounds were used to track runaway prisoners and slaves. Presently, bloodhounds are used in various cities of America to track criminals and missing individuals.
3rd: Cairn Terrier
Known for its skills to track rats and pests, Cairn Terrier is the witty small to average canine creature that specializes in hunting through the use of strategic means of catching their prey. The Cairn Terrier is considered as one of the oldest breeds of terrier that can be traced from the Scottish earliest working dogs, and according to historical logs, Cairn terriers were used to hunt and burrow their prey among the man-made cairns; hence, the name Cairn Terriers.
In European countries, Cairn terriers are kept as house pets to perform some duties of the other common domestic feline pet, the cat, especially in hunting and killing mice, rabbits, and other pest rodents. The Cairn terrier is an intelligent breed with adventurous and loyal personalities making them a preferable companion when hunting. Unique hobbies of this breed are its strong and willful stubbornness, love for digging, and friendly temperament allowing them to adapt easily among children.
Also known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is known to be a descendant of the sighthounds and Greyhounds. Russia and Middle-Asian countries describe this canine breed as a fast and agile dog with silky, shorthaired and wavy coat. Traditionally, Russians use Borzoi in hunting wolves, deer and even wild boards because of their quick and fast responses against the slightest variations in their environment. Significant characteristics of Borzoi that are applicable in hunting are their highly sensitive sight and sense of hearing, independent nature, agility in tracking, high endurance and stamina, and most especially, its tendency to disregard issues of containment allowing them to independently chase the target regardless of the traffic and distance.
The Borzoi is an athletic and non-territorial breed, and does not display aggressive behaviors towards human beings; however, with their intelligence and independence, Borzoi is likely to sense if the impending intruder is a threat that needs to be expelled immediately. Borzoi seems to possess higher logical and analytical skills compared to other breeds. In fact, they are unlikely to obey the orders of their masters especially if they do not see any reward or benefit coming from satisfying the orders of their masters.
5th: Rhodesian Ridgeback
The unique South African breed, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, has been used to hunt the king of the jungle, the lions. Known for its bravery, loyalty and intelligence, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have been used mostly by European settlers in Africa to hunt lions together with the 18th century Khoi-khoi tribes. When hunting, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are being sent in pack formations to trace and to confuse the prey by its taunting tactics, which is used to keep the lions “at bay”.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are quite aloof when it comes to strangers, possess tendency to become reward seeking, and quite complicated to handle due to its strong-willed personality and tendency to require strenuous training methodologies. Being athletic, protective of their owners and loyal, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are highly recommended as guard dogs and trackers during the hunt.
6th: American Water Spaniel
Also known as, a Water dog, this type of a gun dog is regarded as one of the oldest kind of spaniels that are extraordinarily talented when it comes to water hunting. From the name itself, water spaniels are highly talented when it comes to swimming, adaptation to training and best type of retrievers among the lines of spaniels. Waterfowl hunting, a European traditional hunting of ducks and fowls, is in fact one of the activities water spaniels usually participate into together with their hunting companions.
Water spaniels are enthusiastically talented in hunting feather and fur animals, and can even dive under water to hunt for fish. This creature possesses friendly, intelligent, family-oriented and strong-willed behaviors, and has a tendency to become over-protective of its owner.
7th: English Pointers
Being an athletic and graceful type of a gun dog, the English Pointer is known for its persistent and hard-driving tracking skills and enthusiasm when it comes to hunting. Traditionally, English Pointers are used in upland-games wherein non-water fowl birds are pointed by the canine as directed by its owner. As early as 17th century, English Pointers have been part of various hunting sports such as locating rabbits, hares, birds and even wild deer.
English Pointers are naturally congenial, affectionate, loyal and non-aggressive, and most of all, they can easily adapt with other kinds of dogs and even other animals. This creature is naturally athletic and loves outdoor activities that involve running, galloping, fetching and hunting games, although there are occasions when an English Pointer would prefer to lie down throughout the day especially when surrounded by family or lots of familiar individuals. Being a congenial and friendly breed, the English Pointer is best kept as a family or guard dog despite its instinctive tendencies to hunt.
8th: Sussex Spaniel
The Sussex Spaniels is known for their loud barks that easily taunt its preys and rare among breeds of spaniels. The Sussex Spaniel is naturally bred to carryout a unique means of hunting that allow the canine to conveniently penetrate undergrowth and obstructed areas, and with their tactical, focused and excellent stamina, a Sussex Spaniel can locate waterfowls even without relying mostly to the scents of its preys. Sussex Spaniel tracks its prey at a moderate pace yet with agile movement, and possesses the ability to persistently locate even with the faintest scent.
Also known as, a Gazehound, this canine breed is particularly talented in tracking down its prey using its sight, and overpowering endurance, speed and agility. Sighthound can immediately detect movements in its environment, and from there, pursue its prey while keeping it in constant view. Deer, hares, wild boars and rodents are the usual preys of the Sighthound, and it can easily capture them with the use of its long legs for longer strides, and a larger chest compartment to support both the lungs and the heart for efficient and rapid anaerobic and aerobic movements.
10th: Gordon Setters
Another type of gun dog that is talented in hunting game involving both feather non-water and waterfowls, such as quails, goose and pheasants. A Gordon Setter uses its subtle movement, scent-sensitive nose, intelligence, bravery and hunting enthusiasm in tracking and catching of its preys. This canine creature is a natural hunter who can easily adapt with the environment and distinctively endure more than 60 minutes of straight strenuous training.