Top 9 Bird Dog Breeds

When it comes to dogs that excel at a particular skill, hunting dog breeds are undeniably accomplished. While any bird dog breed is excellent at tracking and receiving prey, there are a few breeds in particular that really stand out as the crème of the crop. There are many great hunting breeds, and each is special in its own way. Breeds that excel at hunting tend to have a strong work ethic and desire to please. They’re very intelligent dogs, and they make wonderful companions because of that.

The following are some of the most common bird hunting dog breeds.

1. German Shorthaired Pointer

Prized for its hunting ability and high intelligence, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile hunter that can trail, retrieve, and point many different types of game, including pheasant, waterfowl, and raccoons. Their water-repellent coat allows them to work just as well in water as they do on land. Additionally their short coats make it easier to find parasites after being out in the field, but it may make them slightly less desirable for hunting in very cold conditions.

2. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is known for its prowess in rough, icy waters, and is a strong, powerfully built gundog that was bred to retrieve local birds around the Chesapeake Bay. The breed also has webbed feet, which makes them great swimmers. The Chessie is a large size breed of dog in the gundog or sporting family of dogs.

3. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

An alert, determined hunter, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever originated in the beginning of the 19th century in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, where they were used for tolling and retrieving ducks. They would entice them to the shorelines for the hunter, then go out and retrieve them. The Toller is the smallest of the Retrievers, sometimes mistaken for a small Golden Retriever, and has a strong desire to work and please.

4. Weimaraner

Known for working with great speed, fearlessness, and endurance when on the hunt, the Weimaraner originally hunted big game like bears and wolves, but have since become an excellent all-purpose hunter that points and retrieves birds. They are also devoted to their families and have strong protective instincts.

5. Labrador Retriever

The Lab is one of the most efficient retrievers of the game. These gentle, intelligent, easy to train dogs are the most popular breed in the United States. While Labs are versatile and do many jobs today, they still do field work. And Labrador Retrievers perform well in cold water, which makes them optimal duck or goose hunters.

6. Curly Coated Retriever

The Curly Coated Retriever is a multi-purpose hunting dog, bred to work until the job is done and retrieve in extremely heavy cover and icy water. It has long been used for retrieving duck and quail. Its unique, curly coat is water resistant and protects it from harsh weather and cover. The breed originated in England. They are great athletes that are at their happiest when they’re active.

7. English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is know for its ability to keep going and going under adverse hunting conditions. They were bred to work long days alongside hunters springing birds from their cover, then pointing and retrieving the downed bird. Keep in mind that English Springer Spaniels are not double coated and they can get cold, so they’re not as suited for the water.

8. Irish Water Spaniel

A strong working drive used for both upland game and waterfowl make the Irish Water Spaniel an expert hunting dog. The breed has tremendous endurance and tolerance for cold water, and the Irish Water Spaniel continues to be a great hunting companion. The breed is also nonshedding, so they’re good for allergy sufferers.

9. American Water Spaniel

A working gundog prized for its top-notch retrieval ability, the American Water Spaniel was a favorite of waterfowl hunters in the Great Lakes region. It is still popular with hunters today, although the breed is very rare. Truly an “all American” dog, the breed was developed in the state of Wisconsin during the 19th century. Though they are versatile hunting dogs, they are also suitable for smaller homes and apartment life, if given adequate activity and exercise.

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