What Is The Best Small Hunting Dog Breed To Buy?

Jan 13, 2023 | Activities with Pets

Do you love the thrill of the hunt? If so, you need to get yourself a hunting dog! There are many different breeds of hunting dogs, each with its own unique set of skills.

This blog post will discuss the 10 best small hunting dog breeds. Whether you’re looking for a spaniel to flush out game birds or a terrier to track down rabbits, we’ve got you covered!

Hunting With Dogs

A man and his dog hunting

Hunting with dogs is a method that allows the hunter to use the canine’s superior senses to locate small game, flush out prey and even retrieve small game from areas that human hunters would otherwise be unable to access.

Hunting with dogs uses the keen senses of small hunting dog breeds to locate small game animals. The dog will typically work in small groups, spreading out and searching for small game, such as rabbits, pheasants, and other small prey. The dog will bark or “point” at its intended target when it finds any signs of a small game. The hunter then aims and shoots the game animal.



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For enthusiastic hunters, setting out with small dog breeds is the perfect way to hunt for smaller games.

History Of Hunting With Dogs

A dog hunting in the field

Hunting with dogs has a long and storied history. Going back 12,000 years ago, archeologists have uncovered evidence that dogs were employed for hunting, protecting, and even carrying heavy loads. In almost every culture, dogs have played a longstanding and important role. Dogs were used for hunting small game by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Small breeds were used to locate and flush small game animals such as ducks, geese, rabbits, hares, and small birds, while larger breeds were used for hunting larger game such as boar and deer.

The small hunting dogs were also used to track game that had been shot by the hunter, ensuring that the hunter would not lose his quarry. Over time, small hunting dogs were bred to have different characteristics, such as small size and keen sense of smell, to enhance their hunting abilities further.

Small hunting dogs were often preferred due to their agility and speed. Smaller hounds were also easier to transport from place to place, making them a valuable asset for small-scale hunting expeditions. We can say small hunting dogs have been a part of our lives and culture for centuries. Over time, the sport of hunting with dogs became popular among European nobles and eventually spread across the world.

In the 19th century, small hunting dogs of various breeds began to be bred specifically for their hunting abilities. During this time, small terriers were especially popular due to their small size and ability to navigate small tunnels and tight crevices in search of small game.

Top 10 Best Hunting Dogs

Choosing a good hunting dog is essential for any successful hunt. Different breeds have different traits that make them more suited to particular types of hunting. Below, we will go over 10 small hunting dog breeds and discuss their unique attributes:

1. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniels are small breeds of hunting dogs that have been used for small game birds for centuries. The breed dates back to the 1500s when European hunters first developed small spaniels to flush out small games from dense cover.

Cocker Spaniels have an excellent nose and small, compact body that allows them to navigate tight spaces and small tunnels. Cocker Spaniels can also be trained to retrieve small game birds, making them an ideal small hunting dog breed.

There are two variations of the Cocker Spaniel – the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel. Both are small hunting dogs, but they have slightly different characteristics.

The English Cocker Spaniels are slightly larger and have a more pronounced muzzle, while the American Cocker Spaniels are smaller and have a more rounded head.

2. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. The breed dates back to Newfoundland, Canada, in the early 1800s, when small fishermen used them to retrieve small fish from icy waters.

The Labrador Retriever is known for its intelligence, trainability, and excellent sense of smell and retrieving abilities. They also have a small, compact body and short fur that helps keep them warm in cold weather.

Labrador Retrievers are a great choice for small game hunters because they have a strong work ethic and can retrieve small animals quickly and accurately, whether on land or in the water. Animals such as upland birds, rabbits, and hares can quickly be flushed out and retrieved by these small hunting breeds.

3. Beagle

Beagle

The Beagle is one of the oldest small hunting dog breeds. The Beagle is a highly diverse hunting dog as they are originally bred for and have been utilized for hunting smaller game such as rabbits and foxes, but they have also been utilized for hunting large game such as deer.

The breed has a strong sense of smell and can be used to locate small game animals such as rabbits, hares, and upland birds quickly and accurately.

The beagles’ small size and extended ears make them perfectly suited for small game hunting, as their built-in antennae allow them to pick up on the slightest sound or scent.

Their small, compact bodies make them well-suited for small spaces and dense cover. The breed is also known for its stamina, enabling them to keep up with small game hunters on long hikes or hunts.

4. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a small hunting breed created in the United States in the late 19th century. The breed is known for its intelligence, trainability, and strong retrieving abilities. Its small, sturdy frame enables it to search small spaces and dense cover in search of small game animals.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a versatile small hunting dog breed that can be used for hunting waterfowl and small game hunting. The breed has a waterproof coat that helps protect it from the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay, making it an ideal choice for duck hunters.

5. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a small hunting dog breed developed in Germany for small game hunting. The GSP is a versatile and intelligent hunting dog with an excellent sense of smell and natural pointing instinct. The breed can be used to hunt small mammals, small birds, and even small reptiles. Pointing breeds, also known as bird dogs, have a strong instinct to point toward the game bird.

GSPs are perfect small-game hunters because of their intelligence, trainability, keen sense of smell, and tracking abilities. They are also small enough to navigate small tunnels and tight spaces in search of small game animals.

The American Kennel Club recognized the GSP as a versatile hunting dog, a testament to the breed’s small game hunting capabilities.

6. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the perfect hunting partner for small game hunters looking to take on ducks and geese. This Canadian-bred breed is known for its agility, compact size, and intelligence, all of which allow them to thrive in its environment as a great companion in pursuit of prey.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever’s petite size makes them exceptional hunters, as they can maneuver through the tiniest of spaces and alight without difficulty. On top of their agility, these retriever breeds are famously obedient and intelligent – attributes that make them perfect for hunting upland birds or waterfowl in limited areas.

7. German Hunting Terrier

German Hunting Terrier

The German hunting Terrier is a small and muscular hunting dog breed bred in Germany for small game hunting. The breed has a strong sense of smell, enabling them to quickly locate small animals such as rabbits, hares, and small birds.

German hunting terrier has the energy to spare and will retrieve anything big enough to carry while small enough to fit into small spaces. The breed is also known for its loyalty and intelligence, making them very trainable and easy to retrain.

8. Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniels are small hunting dog breeds developed in the United States for small game hunting. The Boykin Spaniel breed has a strong sense of smell and can be used to locate small game animals such as rabbits, hares, squirrels, and small birds quickly and accurately.

The Boykin Spaniel’s small size and strong retrieving instinct make them well-suited for small game hunting, as their small size allows them to fit into small spaces and dense cover. The breed is also known for its intelligence, loyalty, and stamina, enabling them to keep up with small game hunters on long hikes or hunts.

9. French Brittany

French Brittany

The French Brittany Spaniel is a great, versatile dog for bird hunting and waterfowl hunting. They have a similar hunting style to American Brittany’s; however, they have a smaller size and lower energy level.

Small game hunters have used the small and muscular breed for centuries due to their superior sense of smell and tracking abilities.

The small size and agility of the French Brittany Spaniel make them perfect for small game hunting, as they can easily fit into small spaces and quickly cover uneven terrain.

The French Brittany is versatile, and they are highly intelligent as well as friendly. They are great family dogs as well as great competition-hunting companions.

10. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

If you are looking for a small hunting dog breed that is also great as a family pet, Golden Retrievers might be your ideal choice. The breed is small enough to maneuver small spaces and dense cover but strong and determined enough to hold their own against small game animals.

The Golden Retriever has an amazing sense of smell and tracking abilities which makes them excellent small game hunters. They are also famously loyal, docile, and obedient, making them easy to train and retrain.

The Golden Retriever is a great combination of a small hunting dog breed and family pet, as they can be used for small game hunting during the day and cuddled up with the family in the evening.

Conclusion

A dog running in the stream

These small hunting dog breeds are great companions for small game hunters who want an agile and intelligent partner on the hunt. Each of these breeds has a small size that makes it perfect for small game hunting, and they all have strong senses of smell and tracking ability that allows them to locate small animals quickly. With the right training and love, these small hunting dog breeds will be loyal companions you can count on for many hunting adventures.

If small game hunting is your passion, then one of these small hunting dog breeds might be your perfect hunting companion.

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