For centuries, dogs have made excellent companions and efficient hunting partners. Their superior sense of smell, agility, endurance, and ability to navigate all types of terrain have enabled canines to hunt down animals that humans can’t conquer by themselves.
If you’re looking for an amazing pooch for your next hunting adventure, here are the top 10 deer hunting dog breeds to consider.
The 10 Deer Hunting Dog Breeds
1. Labrador Retriever
Labs are widely considered to be the best duck hunters out there. But did you know that they also make awesome deer hunters? Energetic, enthusiastic, and extremely intelligent, the Labrador Retriever can withstand almost any type of weather condition. These pups can go the extra mile when it comes to tracking and retrieving the kill. If you plan on hunting near bodies of water or on colder days, be sure to have a Lab by your side.
2. American Foxhound
The dog of choice for America’s first president, the American Foxhound excels as a deer hunting dog. Thanks to their strength, stamina, and sharp sense of smell, this breed is a great selection for daytime deer drives. Alone or in a pack, the American Foxhound will chase down a deer until the animal is exhausted. This love for the run is what categorizes American Foxhounds as “running” hounds instead of “treeing” hounds.
At home, this breed loves to spend quality time with the family and gets along well with young children and other pets.
3. Treeing Walker Hound
A great hunting partner for deer, bear, coyotes, and raccoon, the Treeing Walker Hound has a high prey drive and the ability to chase down almost anything. Bred in the United States, this hunting breed loves to run and chase. You’ll know exactly where the deer is thanks to this hound’s distinctive call. Treeing Walker Hounds are great for both quick hunts and all-day hunting competitions.
4. Bluetick Coonhound
This scent hound will be hot on the tracks of any deer it comes across. Bluetick Coonhounds have been known to even chase mountain lions and cougars! If you’re ever cornered by a big cat, you can rest easy knowing this hound has your back. Weighing between 45 and 80 pounds, this stellar sniffer can be very vocal while not pursuing the game. This breed makes an awesome household pet for active families.
5. German Shorthair Pointer
Hunting deer requires lots of stamina and scent-power. Thankfully, the German Shorthair Pointer has both! This pointing breed can easily outwit even the most elusive deer and can efficiently hunt down game in all kinds of terrain. The German Shorthair Pointer was officially recognized by the AKC in 1930 and makes a great family pet while during its downtime.
6. English Setter
A gorgeous dog with a silky coat and large head, the English Setter is an amazing gun dog and hailed for is running and pointing skills. This breed will gladly plod along next to you until it’s time to go to work. Then, the dog will take off and expertly locate just about any game.
Despite its small stature, this pint-sized pup makes an excellent deer hunter. Its incessant baying will help you to easily locate both the dog and the deer. The colorful Beagle is also easy to spot and has one of the best noses in the hunting world.
Additionally, Beagles make great family pets for country, suburban, and city dwellers.
8. Plott Hounds
Agile and athletic, the Plott Hound is an awesome deer hunting companion. This tough, smart, and gritty breed can find and hold a scent like a pro. Its choppy, loud bark allows you to effortlessly follow the dog when it’s in pursuit. These dogs can easily navigate dense, woodsy areas to help you locate hiding deer. Recognized by the AKC in 2006, the Plott Hound also makes a great family friend in the home.
9. Mountain Cur
The Mountain Cur was originally developed in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia to hunt raccoons and squirrels. Today, they make wonderful deer hunters thanks to their endurance, speed, and sense of smell.
10. Golden Retriever
One of the most popular dog breeds for families, the Golden Retriever is also a great hunting partner. This highly intelligent dog can navigate the water as easily as it can find its way through the forest. Smart, sturdy, and strong, the Golden loves to run and chase. It obeys commands and will quickly help you locate and take down a deer.
Breeds to Avoid
While all dogs have a natural prey drive, some breeds aren’t good hunters. They’re better suited as lap dogs. Some dogs that you should never hunt with include the Maltese and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
How to Pick a Deer Hunting Dog
There are some unique qualities that every great deer hunting dog should possess. These include:
A deer hunter should never be without an excellent hunting dog. If you want your next hunt to be successful, consider adding one of these breeds to your family.
Featured Image Credit: Vitalii_Mamchuk, Shutterstock