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10 Sporting Dog Breeds Worth Getting to Know (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

Sporting dogs were bred and raised to perform a variety of hunting tasks for their human companions who enjoy the hunt or do so for a living. Not all sporting dogs were designed to perform the same tasks, however. Some point to where the prey is, so hunters know exactly where to focus their efforts, while others retrieve the prey once it has been defeated. Still others hit the water to kill and retrieve waterfowl of different types. Here are 10 sporting dog breeds that are worth getting to know.

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1. Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever with bird
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

Labrador Retrievers are athletic, well-balanced dogs that make just as good family pets as they do hunting dogs. They can weigh anywhere between 50 and 80 pounds when fully grown, and they have black, yellow, or chocolate coats. They are sociable, affectionate, loyal, and great at games like fetch because of their natural intuition to retrieve things. They are also full of energy and need plenty of time to play and exercise every day, especially if they do not go out hunting often.


2. Irish Setter

irish setter
Image Credit By: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere

This breed is considered one of the quickest dogs in the sporting world. They have a graceful yet sturdy build and rich coats of either chestnut or mahogany. Their powerful legs make them excellent gun dogs. However, they have a sweet and affectionate side that makes them enjoyable family companions. They are extremely intelligent and take well to training for anything from hunting to competing on the agility course.


3. Weimaraner

Weimaraner
Image Credit: Pixabay

These working dogs are large in size and were originally developed to help hunt down game. They have side-set eyes that allow them to pay close attention to what is happening all around them. The Weimaraner is a cheerful dog that loves to play with children but means business when it comes to tending the farm. They are quick to learn, but they also get bored easily, so their training and daily activities should be varied to keep them engaged.


4. Vizsla

Vizsla with bird
Image Credit: Pixabay

These versatile dogs have been bred for hunting, but they have much more to offer. As far as hunting goes, they know how to track down small game like birds and rabbits. They also excel on the agility course and tend to do well in the show ring. They are easy to communicate with due to their telling facial expressions. The Vizsla is eager to please and maintains high loyalty toward their human family members.


5. Curly-Coated Retriever

black curly coated retriever
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

As one of the oldest breeds of Retrievers in existence, this breed hails from England and has a coat of curly, dense fur. These dogs have been written about since the early 1800s and have made a reputation for themselves as expert retrievers. Despite their dense, thick fur, they need little grooming to stay clean, healthy, and good-looking. The Curly-Coated Retriever loves water and will be happy to spend a long day swimming before cuddling up with the family for movie night.


6. Brittany

american brittany spaniel with bird
Image Credit: Elmira Yu, Shutterstock

The cute dogs have long legs and light bodies, which makes them extremely fast and agile. Some are born without tails, but they all can cover ground quickly when necessary, which is why they have remained one of the most popular hunting breeds available. The Brittany dog is always curious, playful, and rambunctious, which can make them quite a handful. Still, they are great with kids and can become awesome family pets with training and daily exercise.


7. German Shorthaired Pointer

Vitalii_Mamchuk, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Vitalii_Mamchuk, Shutterstock

This breed originated in Germany sometime in the 19th century as hunting companions.  They were trained to hunt both on land and in water, which is why they will not hesitate to jump in a lake, river, or ocean for a swim. The German Shorthaired Pointer has an elongated body, alert eyes, and long floppy ears that are hard not to fall in love with. These dogs do shed heavily and require weekly grooming to keep the house from turning into a furball.


8. American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel on bench
Image Credit: Pixabay

These all-American hunting dogs have a big reputation for being loving family pets. However, they can be stubborn, and if they do not get enough exercise, they can be downright destructive. The American Cocker Spaniel tend to push their limits to see what they can get away with, so training and a firm yet loving hand are necessary when they are still puppies. They are great playmates for kids but should always be supervised to ensure that roughhousing does not get out of hand.


9. German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired Pointer
Image Credit: Pixabay

This versatile dog breed does well at hunting but also makes for an ideal family pet. The German Wirehaired Pointer is energetic, fun-loving, adaptable, and athletic. They are known for excelling on the agility course and for their inherently stellar tracking skills. Sometimes called a Wirehair or GWP, this breed needs vigorously daily exercise. Walks every day are a good start, but time at the dog park and an opportunity to run, play, and catch things like balls or frisbees are also necessary.


10. Greyhound

Arabic Greyhound
Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

The Greyhound is considered a noble breed that is gentle, affectionate, and loyal. These dogs are big, strong, and fast, which can seem intimidating at first. But once you get to know one, it becomes clear that these dogs are nothing but big teddy bears. Popular on the racetrack, Greyhounds are suitable hunting and family companions. They love to please their owners and rarely cause trouble within the household if they are well exercised.

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Final Comments

Sporting dogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and personalities. They all have one thing in common, though: their high energy levels. One should only consider adopting a sporting dog breed if they have the time and energy to take them outside for walks, hikes, and playing in the park daily. Hunters should find any breed on our list to be suitable for their sport. Which sporting dog breed is your favorite, and why? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a message in the comments section!


Featured Image Credit: BoraAlma, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.